Let us honor John, that pride of ascetics, that angel on earth, that man of God in heaven, that adornment of the world, and that bliss of virtues and good deeds; for, planted in the house of God, he flourished with justice; and, like a cedar tree in the wilderness, he caused the flock of Christ to grow, those sheep endowed with speech, in righteousness and justice.
-Vespers of the Feast
On the fourth Sunday in Lent we commemorate St. John, the great seventh-Century ascetic and author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent. As we continue the Lenten fast, we recall St. John's account of the labors necessary to approach God, and we take comfort in the Lord's words: "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt 24:13).
As hierarchs and clergy begin arriving for the wake and funeral of our beloved Metropolitan Philip, His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan, the Patriarchal Vicar, and His Grace Bishop Anthony celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Annunciation this morning. After the liturgy, the hierarchs and clergy went to the funeral home to vest Metropolitan Philip in his hierarchical vestments. Memory eternal!
Additional pictures available below.
The Archdiocese is deeply grateful for the wide range of tributes to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip which have begun to follow his repose. This collection of tributes from religious leaders, media outlets, and international sources will continue to be expanded.
We also offer in tribute this memorial photo gallery of Metropolitan Philip's life and work, which will also continue to be expanded. Our thanks to all of those who have contributed photography. Also available is a gallery celebrating His Eminence's dedication to the youth of our Archdiocese.
Below, we highlight three videos of His Eminence. The first is from Pascha 2011 at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. The second video was prepared in honor of Metropolitan Philip's 80th birthday, and was presented with these remarks by Fr. Anthony Gabriel at the 2011 Archdiocese Convention. The third was originally prepared by Fr. Ayman Kfouf of St. George Church of Troy, MI in honor of Metropolitan Philip's historic 2013 visit. This video was played during the last official, celebrational pastoral visit of His Eminence before his falling asleep.
Verily, Gabriel did come to thee, disclosing the purpose which was before the ages, hailing thee and saying, Rejoice O unseeded land! Rejoice, O unburning bush! Rejoice, O depth inaccessible to vision! Rejoice, O bridge leading to the heavens! Rejoice, O lofty ladder whom Jacob did behold! Rejoice, O jar of divine manna! Rejoice, O dissolution of the curse! Rejoice, O recall of Adam! The Lord is with thee.
Vespers of the Feast, Tone 6
Homily on the Annunciation by St. Gregory the Wonderworker
God's Free Gift, by Fr. Steven Rogers
The Boy Who Died and The Boy Who Lived: Reflections on the Annunciation, by Douglas Cramer
The Archdiocese communicates with a heavy heart as we struggle with the news of the falling asleep in Christ of Metropolitan Philip. May his memory be eternal!
We express our sincerest appreciation to our Father in Christ, His Beatitude Patriarch John X, for his pastoral care and love. His Beatitude was in continual contact with us, and with Metropolitan Philip during his hospital stay, and showed his love and concern for his spiritual children in North America. For this, we are most grateful. May the memory of Metropolitan Philip be eternal, and may God grant many years to His Beatitude Patriarch John.
The schedule for all events associated with the falling asleep of Metropolitan Philip is available here. All events will be held at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York unless another location is specified. In lieu of flowers for the funeral, donations can be made to the Archdiocese for the benefit of the Retired Clergy Fund.
Both letters appoint Metropolitan Silouan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina as the Patriarchal Vicar until such time as a new Metropolitan is elected by the Holy Synod of Antioch. The Patriarchal Vicar is responsible for the administration of the Archdiocese until a new Metropolitan is elected. Archbishop Joseph will serve as the Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese. Archbishop Joseph will arrive in New Jersey on Friday March 21, and Metropolitan Silouan will arrive on Monday March 24.
Visit the Metropolitan Philip Memorial Page of Antiochian.org for information on the life, work and passing of our beloved Primate. A biography, news archives, reflections on and by Metropolitan Philip, links to video and audio, photo galleries and more are currently available or being prepared.
Listen to a historic Ancient Faith Radio interview from 2009 of Metropolitan Philip conducted by Fr. Peter Gillquist, of blessed memory. Metropolitan Philip talks candidly about such things as Orthodox unity, music, our witness to the world, and his most memorable accomplishments.
Read a tribute to Metropolitan Philip's life and legacy from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, where His Eminence served as Board of Trustees Vice President and Vice Chairman.
The Archdiocese is grateful for this account of the prayers of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on behalf of Metropolitan Philip. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, presided at the Panikhida celebrated for the repose of Metropolitan Philip’s soul.
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, with great sadness, announces the passing unto life eternal of His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America. May his memory be eternal! Details are forthcoming. Read a biography of Metropolitan Philip here. See all information on His Eminence here.
In response to the demand for Orthodox global news, the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) has launched a weekly news program covering Orthodox events worldwide. This Week in Orthodoxy is unique because it provides coverage of events around the Orthodox world from a single location. It is also OCN's first regularly scheduled video program.
Each program is a 5-7 minute piece filmed in the OCN studio in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. New episodes are posted each Friday evening, and feature 3-5 news stories from all parts of the globe. The show also includes announcements of upcoming news and events, as well as OCN updates.
Producer Seraphim Danckaert is a graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary currently finishing his PhD in Theology under a world-renowned Orthodox theologian Fr. Andrew Louth. Mr. Danckaert brings with him several years of experience working as a journalist and editor, which have provided him with both the necessary theological background as well as connections to key Orthodox thinkers from all jurisdictions.
Planting the doctrines of Orthodoxy, uprooting the thistles of wicked opinion, O blessed one, and growing well the plant of faith with the rain of thy sayings, thou didst offer to God, like a good farmer, ears a hundred fold.
+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 1
On the second Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the teachings of St. Gregory Palamas, who upheld the Orthodox doctrine that humans can know God not only through the intellect but through experience of His uncreated energies.
- Read A Man Fully Alive by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick
- Read The life of St. Gregory Palamas by Fr. Bassam A. Nassif
- Listen to Fr. Tom Hopko's homily on St. Gregory
...every day we should stand in awe of Him, as He is with us, and do what is pleasing before Him. If we are unable now to perceive Him with our physical eyes, we can, if we are watchful, see Him continuously with the eyes of our understanding, and not just see Him, but reap great benefits from Him. This vision destroys all sin, demolishes all evil, and drives away everything bad. It gives birth to purity and dispassion, and bestows eternal life.
+ St. Gregory Palamas
While in Florida and undergoing tests in the hospital, Metropolitan Philip suffered a minor heart attack on Sunday. He is in an encouraging situation in ICU.
A prayer service for His Eminence will be held this Monday afternoon at the Archdiocese Headquarters. We ask all of you to hold prayer services for his speedy recovery.
Update Tuesday Mar 11: Thanks to your collective and fervent prayers, Metropolitan Philip's status has improved. He is extubated (i.e. the doctors removed the tube from his mouth) and has conversed with his relatives and friends around him. He also conversed with His Beatitude Patriarch John X on the phone.
Please continue to pray for his speedy recovery.
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 9, 2014, multiple media outlets including a leading newspaper in Lebanon, The Daily Star, reported that the thirteen nuns held in captivity by Syrian rebels for over three months were freed late in the day, as a result of Lebanese and Qatari mediation. Officers from Lebanon's General Security received the nuns on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Arsal.
Parishioners and clergy at the Archdiocese's mother cathedral, St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, received the joyous news during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in which Bishop Nicholas was presiding. "We learned of the release just prior to commencing Holy Communion, and began ringing the bells of the Cathedral loudly, chanting 'O Lord, save Thy people' and 'To Thee the Champion Leader,'" says Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar-General of the Antiochian Archdiocese. An English translation of a statement from His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch, is being prepared by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.
Today hath appeared, a day full of joy, because the splendor of true doctrine shineth forth brilliantly, and the Church of Christ now sparkleth, adorned by the elevation of the Icons of the saints and their illustrating pictures, and believers attain there a unity rewarded of God.
+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 4
On the first Sunday in Lent, we commemorate the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787 A.D. upholding the use of holy icons in Orthodox worship. We also commemorate today the unity of Orthodox belief and the oneness of our Faith throughout our various jurisdictions, nations and languages and across the continents and the centuries.
The Great Lent: When Mercy Dries Up, Fasting Suffers Drought
By God's mercy John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East
Brethren, Pastors of the Holy Church of Antioch;
Beloved children in all dioceses in this apostolic see
Brethren and dearest spiritual children, whose strength and anticipation in God, strengthen ours;
Entering this redemptive period which leads us to the Cross (of Christ) and the dawn of His and thus our resurrection, these days bring to us the anticipation to Jesus and His divine consolation for His beloved humans; for whom He descended from His highest, incarnated in the Virgin, submitting Himself to the human law, willingly walking the path of the Cross, in order to rise from the dead, becoming the first fruit for our resurrection from our earthly misery and tribulation.
Jesus chose the path of the Cross, and drank from the chalice of death to simply tell us that the tribulation of our times will not overshadow our hope for light, and that hardship cannot eclipse the brightness of resurrection.
The month of March is designated as Antiochian Women’s Month by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, and is a time when the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America encourage their sisters in Christ to minister in their parishes and their communities. With this in mind, Khouria Suzanne Murphy, Religious Coordinator for the National Board of the Antiochian Women, wrote this reflection about the women saints of the Church.
When I was a little girl, I loved to read stories about brave knights and lovely princesses. By the time I was a mother, societal sensibilities had broadened so that our children not only read about brave knights, but also brave princesses. The Walt Disney company did a good job of coming up with female characters that were both feminine and brave – and they did this without diminishing the virtues of the male heroes. Our Orthodox saints, however, are not fairy-tale heroes. These brave men and women (and children) faced very real horrors – torture, enslavement, and death – with steadfast resolve.
Patriarch John X of Antioch and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow Issue Appeal on Syria, pg. 5
Role Models for Women in Antiochian Women's Month, pg. 6
by Kh. Suzanne Murphy
Glory to God for the Antiochian Women, pg. 8
by Kh. Dannie Moore
Some Thoughts Concerning the Dispute over Qatar, pg. 10
by Archpriest John W. Morris
A Missionary's Journey into Orthodoxy in Turkana, pg. 12
by Karen Morrison
Worship: What's the Point, pg. 20
by Chris Humphrey
Food, Sex, and Sports: Idols or Pathways to Salvation?, pg. 23
by Fr. Philip LeMasters
O Lord, we were estranged before from paradise, because of eating from the tree. Therefore, lead us into it again by Thy Cross and by Thy Passion, my Savior and my God. Fortify us therein that we may fulfill our fast with becoming purity, and worship Thy divine Resurrection and Passover of salvation, by the intercessions of Thy Mother.
-- from Orthros, Tone 2
For those observing the Lenten Fast, Cheese-Fare Sunday is the last day on which eggs and dairy are eaten before Pascha.
On Cheese-Fare Sunday, we also commemorate the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, entering into the Lenten fast in remembrance of mankind's separation from God through disobeying his commandment to fast from the fruit of the tree.
On February 27, we commemorate the repose of our beloved father among the saints, St. Raphael (Hawaweeny) of Brooklyn.
Today is the day we honor the holy hierarch Raphael! Who can describe his many sorrows and his many labors? Who can describe his many pains? He journeyed on land and on the sea, searching for his lost sheep, in weariness and in poverty, in sleeplessness, thirst and hunger. He became the good shepherd of the lost sheep in America, so let us cry out unto to him: O our Father, intercede for the salvation of our souls!
+ Praises at Orthros
- The Life of Our Father among the Saints Raphael Hawaweeny by His Grace Bishop Basil, published in the May 2000 issue of The Word following St. Raphael's glorification
- Akolouthia for St. Raphael (PDF)
- Biographical details of St. Raphael's life
- Read about a recent miraculous intervention by St. Raphael in the life of an Athos monk
- See a New York Times article about St. Raphael written on his arrival in America
Beloved in the Lord:
Greetings and blessings to you as we enter this most holy season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
It is with the greatest joy that I write to you today to inaugurate the 2014 Food for Hungry People campaign. This year marks the 40th anniversary of this charitable drive. When reﬂecting on the past 40 years, I call to mind the countless charitable organizations and individuals that we have helped because of this fund. Through the efforts of our dedicated and long-standing chairlady, Miss Robin Nicholas, and by your generosity on the parish level, this drive has grown into a strong witness of our Holy Orthodox faith on this continent and throughout the world.
This year holds special signiﬁcance as we continue to raise funds through various means to help those affected by the war in Syria. Through your contributions to FFHP over the years, we have helped many of the orphanages and other charitable organizations within Syria and throughout our Patriarchate and the entire the Middle East, in addition to our domestic charitable contributions. As we continue to witness the horrors of the war in Syria, please make a special effort this year to use FFHP to raise funds and awareness to the tragedy there so we can help those in need even more.
We urge you, during this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, to be very generous in your contribution to this campaign. As we practice the virtues which cleanse our souls, let us not forget or refrain from what St. John Chrysostom calls the “greatest of the virtues," giving to the poor. As important as prayer and fasting are, they are of no avail to us if we fail to give to those in need.
The trumpets shall blow, and the graves shall be empty, and all mankind shall rise trembling. They who have done good shall rejoice with joy, expecting their reward; and those who have done evil shall tremble greatly, moaning and shaking, as they are sent to suffering, separated from the elect. Wherefore, O Lord of glory, be compassionate toward us, and make us worthy to be of those who love thee; for thou art good.
- from Vespers, Tone 6
For those observing the Lenten Fast, Meatfare Sunday is the last day on which meat and poultry are eaten before Pascha.
To learn more about the season of pre-Lenten preparation, please visit our Great Lent section.
Read more about Meatfare Sunday, in an excerpt from Great Lent by Alexander Schmemann.
Listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko's reflections on the Sunday of the Last Judgment on Ancient Faith Radio.