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November 2013 Edition of The Word Now Available

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The November 2013 issue highlights the 51st Convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, held with great joy in July 2013 in Houston, Texas.

See this link to re-visit the Convention with Antiochian.org's commemorative photo gallery.

Included in the issue are texts of the reports given by Archdiocesan organizations and departments to the General Assembly;

Texts of the resolutions of the General Assembly;

The proposed budget for the fiscal year ending January 31st, 2015;

A speech given by Oratorical Contest finalist Daniella Batarseh; and more!

St. Raphael of Brooklyn + First Saturday in November

"Several themes emerge as the story of St. Raphael's life unfolds. The first is the mysterious way in which God led him from his native homeland to the shores of the American continent. The second is his submissive attitude to the providence of God. And the third is his love for the people of God. Though during his lifetime he was neither a wonder-worker nor a clairvoyant elder, St. Raphael embraced a life of total abandonment of self for the service of God and his fellow man: a life of true spiritual asceticism."

-from The Life of Our Father among the Saints Raphael Hawaweeny by His Grace Bishop Basil

On the first Saturday in November we commemorate our father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny) the Bishop of Brooklyn, good shepherd of the lost sheep in America.

Report from the Holy Synod of Antioch's October Meeting

The Patriarchate of Antioch reports:

The Holy Synod of Antioch held its second session from October 15th through 17th, 2013. His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X presided over the meeting, with the participation of Their Eminences, the Metropolitans and Fathers of the Holy Synod of Antioch: Spiridon of Zahleh and its dependencies; Georges of Jbeil, Batroun and their dependencies; Yuhanna of Lattakia and its dependencies; Elias of Beirut and its dependencies; Iliya of Hama and its dependencies; Elias of Tyre, Sidon; and their dependencies, Damaskinos of Sao Paulo and Brazil, Saba of Hawran and all Jebel al-Arab; George of Homs and its dependencies; Antonio of Mexico and Venezuela and their dependencies; Sergio of Chile; Silouan of Argentina; Basilios of Akkar and its dependencies; and Ephrem of Tripoli, al-Koura, and their dependencies. His Grace Bishop Ephrem (Maalouli), Patriarchal Vicar and Secretary of the Holy Synod, and Economos Georges Dimas, Record-keeper of the Synod, also participated in the meeting.

Their Eminences Metropolitans: Philip of New York and North America; Paul of Australia and New Zealand; and Constantine of Baghdad and Kuwait and their dependencies gave their regrets for not being able to attend. Metropolitan Boulos (Yazigi) of Aleppo and Alexandretta and their dependencies was present in the prayers and invocations of the Synod Fathers, despite his absence caused by his captivity.

After prayer and calling upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, His Beatitude opened the meeting by hoping that the Lord God may shower His blessings upon all the participants, so that they may rightly divide the Word of God's Truth to the believers and to all those who are thirsting for hope.

Residency Program for House of Studies Hosts International Students

Each year, the Antiochian House of Studies (AHOS), which focuses on applied theology via a distance-directed reading approach, hosts two residency weeks for students who are in the Pastoral Care, Doctor of Ministry, and St. Stephen's Certificate and Masters programs. Archdeacon Peter Boukulos, registrar for the House of Studies, reports that a successful Residency Program recently concluded at the Antiochian Village in September. "After completing each year of study in the St. Stephen's Course of Studies in Applied Orthodox Theology program, students are required to attend the Residency Program for one week," explains Archdeacon Peter. The full and rigorous program begins on Monday morning with Matins, breakfast, classes, lunch, classes, Vespers, dinner, and finally more classes that continue until about ten in the evening.

"In the recent session, we hosted an international group," he explains. "Fr. Maximos Nnachette of Nigeria, Fr. Konstantin Lautillo of the Philippines, Mr. Miladin Tripic from Australia, and Pelagia Chuan of Taiwan, all joined us for the session."

St. Demetrios the Myrrhbearer + October 26

Verily, the inhabited world found thee a great succor in tribulations and a vanquisher of nations, O fight-bearing one. Wherefore, as thou didst demolish the arrogance of Lahosh, and on the battle-field didst hearten Nestor, beseech, O Saint, Christ God to grant us the Great Mercy.

-Troparion, Tone 3

Verily, God, O Demetrius, who granted thee invincible power hath touched the Church with the live coal of thy blood streams, preserving the city unbreached; for it is established by thee.

-Kontakion, Tone 2

Read about the life of St. Demetrios.

Interview with Fr. George Morelli: To Teach and To Heal

A seasoned psychologist, priest, Archdiocese department chair, and prolific author, Fr. George Morelli has shared his articles with Antiochian.org readers for over six years. The assistant pastor at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Diego, Fr. George has taught university and seminary courses in psychology and pastoral theology, supervised doctoral clinical psychology interns, and authored many articles in his field. He can also be heard on his weekly Ancient Faith Radio podcast, Healing: Orthodox Spirituality and Psychology

You have been a faithful columnist for Antiochian.org for a number of years. What motivates you to write and is there a common thread that runs through all your columns?

My motivation is that I see Christ as our ultimate Physician and Healer of our souls and ultimately our bodies following the brokenness (i.e. passions) that we have inherited from our ancestral parents. I am acutely aware that any of the gifts that I have been given are a gift from God and to be used to glorify His Name, to emulate as best I can the Trinitarian love the Persons of the Holy Trinity have for themselves and have extended to all creation and onto all mankind. I have an obligation to use these gifts as best I can to reflect this love.

Special Olympics Awareness Day: Sunday, October 20

The third Sunday of October, October 20, 2013 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 20th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the 2014 Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village August 8‐16, 2014. Next summer we will be celebrating our 33rd Annual Special Olympics Sports Camp. This ministry is run by and sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.

Camp and Youth Workers Conference Slated for Early 2014

Youth workers in North America are invited to the 2014 Camp and Youth Workers Conference, an annual gathering scheduled for January 23-25, 2014 at the Antiochian Village. Endorsed by the Assembly of Bishops, this year's Conference will address the theme, "Made in His Image and Likeness," with Keynote Speaker Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko.

The Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, explains that the conference is "intended to help the parish youth worker spiritually form the teens they work with, on the parish level. I encourage all parishes of the Antiochian Archdiocese to send your parish youth workers and teen SOYO advisors to this conference." Workshops will be available for three tracks: Youth Worker, Camp Ministry, and Pastoral.

Antiochian Women Announce Project for Syria's War Orphans

By Dianne O'Regan, Vice President/NAB Project Coordinator, North American Board of the Antiochian Women

This summer at the Archdiocese Convention in Houston, Metropolitan Philip announced the new Antiochian Women Project for 2013-2014 (PDF). He has challenged us with a mission that is beyond bricks and mortar, but goes to the very heart and soul of our faith: “Help the Orphans of War in Syria.” His Eminence has asked the Antiochian Women to raise $200,000 towards this worthwhile Project. All monies raised will be distributed directly to the affected areas. 

When asked by His disciples who was the "greatest in the kingdom of heaven," our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ called a little child to Him and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you ... become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:1-5).

2013 Orthodox Institute Coming October 31

Registration is open for this year's Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith, convening at Antiochian Village on October 31—November 3. The Institute is co-sponsored by the Antiochian Archdiocese, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Orthodox Church of America (OCA), and the Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC), and has become the premier conference for Orthodox educators and parents. His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh is the Keynote Speaker, and the theme is "Blessed is the Kingdom: Acts 2:42 and Today."

Please note that the official registration deadline is October 14th, although registrations will be accepted beyond the due date.

Loving As God Loves Means Evangelism

By Bishop John Abdalah, Diocese of Worcester and New England, and Editor of The Word

The theme for the Conferences this new Church Year is from the Gospel of Luke: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). God calls us to give all, but only after He has given all! He gives all for us. After God created all, He sent His only begotten Son to redeem the world and share His own love with us. He has joined us to Himself. He calls us to do likewise, sharing His word and Spirit and His love. In so doing, we are joined to be one with Him and one with each other. What our neighbors need most is what we need most: Jesus Christ. What a pity that most of the world still doesn't understand what God has done for the world and what He calls us to be! Calling us to love, with all of our heart, soul and strength, ultimately requires us to be love, as He is love. Loving in God's way allows us to be joined to God in the love of the Holy Trinity. Loving our neighbor means sharing ourselves, sharing God's love, sharing His Oneness. This love leads us to share God with our neighbors. Rather, this love allows us to share God who is in us with each other. Ministering to one another allows us to share in God's own ministry. This ministry is loving with all our heart, soul and strength.

Middle School Winter Retreat at Antiochian Village

Registration is open for the annual St. Herman Middle School Retreat, convening at Antiochian Village on the feast day of St. Herman of Alaska.

  • Who: Students in grades 5-8
  • Where: Antiochian Village Conference Center, December 13-15, 2013
  • What: interactive presentations and discussions, weekend liturgical services (with an outdoor supplication service to St. Herman), games, crafts, meals and snacks, sledding, geocaching, stargazing, guided night hike, a campfire
  • Why: The distraction-free environment of the Village and the spiritual emphasis of the retreat offer a wonderful opportunity for middle schoolers to focus on their faith 
  • How much:  $96/person for lodging and meals  
  • Download the registration form or visit the Antiochian Village's list of upcoming events for more information.

Seminarians Welcomed at Annual Dinner on September 24

As the autumn sets in each year, one annually thinks of a new Ecclesiastical and school year, football season, and the changing colors of leaves. For our Antiochian seminarians, another staple of the fall every year is their annual dinner with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. Each year Sayidna welcomes his spiritual children to the Archdiocese headquarters, where they pray, eat and talk together. This year, seminarians and their wives from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, St. Tikhon's Seminary, and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary were in attendance, along with the archdiocesan clergy who teach them at the various seminaries.

October 2013 Edition of The Word Now Available

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The October 2013 issue includes the following articles:

Impressions of Our Pilgrimage to Russia, pg. 4
by Archpriest Thomas Zain

Charity as an Act of Faith Constituting Agents of the Holy Spirit, pg. 8
by Metropolitan Silouan

Giving is the Criterion of Our Belonging to the Reign of God, pg. 14
by Patriarch John X

An Appeal to All Arabs, pg. 18
by Metropolitan Philip

St. Basil on Higher Education in Every Age, pg. 20
by Fr. Gregory Harrigle

Healing Unresolved Grief: Resolving the Hidden Losses in Our Lives, pg. 29
by Fr. Demetrios Joshua Makoul

Sanctified Schooling: Working Out Our Salvation witihin Education, pg. 31
by Bishop Thomas (Joseph), Ed.D.

...and more!

His Beatitude Patriarch John X Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, met on Friday, September 27 with Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican in Rome. According to a report from Vatican Radio, "In his encounter with the Holy Father, the Patriarch spoke about the difficulties facing the Christian community in Syria and the surrounding region. He also talked about the plight of his own brother who was kidnapped last April, together with the Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Aleppo. The two leaders also shared their hopes for progress on the journey towards full Christian unity."

His Beatitude was interviewed by Vatican Radio after his meeting with Pope Francis. The interview is available here.

The following brief video report of the meeting has been made available by Rome Reports.

Appeal from the Patriarchate of Antioch for the Monastery of St. Thekla in Maloula, Syria

The Patriarchate of Antioch writes on September 24, 2013, the feast of St. Thekla:

Military acts are increasing in our beloved country Syria and Man pays a high price for this tragedy. So we see destruction prevailing in all the country and we see Man pained, displaced, hungry, thirsty and missing life in all places and at all times. One aspect of this tragedy touches the village Maloula and her Monastery of St. Thekla, a place of pilgrimage which witnesses to the continuous Christian presence of love from the first centuries of Christendom, in the one part, and testifies also to the deep relationship which links citizens to whatever religion they might belong.

The Monastery of St. Thekla in Maloula, a cultural monument, which belongs to all Syrian citizens, and at the same time, an international heritage belonging to all humanity, lives difficult and painful days at this time. The monastery is located in a region where there is exchange of fire and this renders it very difficult and dangerous for it to be provided and supplied. Recently, this exchange of fire damaged totally the electrical generator rendering it impossible to supply the monastery with water and threatening, therefore, the survival of this place.

Metropolitan Philip Announces Three Appointments for the Convent of St. Thekla in Glenville, PA

Mother EisodiaMother EisodiaHis Eminence Metropolitan Philip has announced the following three appointments for the Convent of St. Thekla in Glenville, PA. The Convent of St. Thekla is a monastic community of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

Effective immediately, Mother Eisodia is appointed the Acting Abbess of the convent, and Sister Kathrina will join the community. Effective September 1, 2014, Very Rev. Mark Sahady is appointed the Chaplain of the Convent following his retirement from the Air Force.

Mother Eisodia is a native of Los Angeles, California, and she attended college in Portland, Oregon. She has worked in the secular world as an engineer, and was raised in the Presbyterian faith. Her journey to Orthodoxy was fulfilled with her reception  into the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.  She received her monastic formation in Greece, and later moved to the U.S. She has travelled to Orthodox monasteries in Romania, Greece, Great Britain, France, and Mexico.

2013 Assembly of Bishops Concludes with Official Statements

The Assembly of Bishops reports:

In the final day of its annual meeting, the Assembly agreed to issue two statements—one on the Church’s unchanging position on marriage and one expressing grave concern over the escalating violence in the Middle East. The Assembly also released a message to the faithful on the conclusion of Assembly IV.

The three statements can be found here: statement on marriagestatement on violence in the Middle East; and message to the faithful.  

2013 Assembly of Bishops Convenes in Chicago

See below for updates from the second day of meetings.

The Assembly of Bishops reports:

The first day of meetings of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America reflected a growing collegiality and cooperation among those present. Forty-three hierarchs representing 11 jurisdictions are in attendance. The morning began with hierarchs participating in a common celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Des Plaines, IL.

"Today...we are here together in unity and joy in full awareness of the truth that the love of Christ has brought us together and is with us," said Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly, in his opening remarks to the hierarchs. "As we stand with awe, having prayed the Divine Liturgy and received the precious Body and Blood of our Lord, we are not only in God's presence but also more importantly, we experience His presence as one undivided Body—His Body."

OCN Interview with Bishop Basil Focuses on Assembly of Bishops Meeting

The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) has posted an interview with His Grace Bishop Basil, Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, discussing the topic of the fourth annual meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America scheduled for September 17–19 in Chicago, IL. Bishop Basil is the Secretary of the Assembly and is deeply involved in planning the upcoming meeting.