During the month of January, the youth of the Antiochian Archdiocese traditionally focus on two worthy SOYO programs: Sacred Gift of Life, and Purity, Virginity, Chastity. Local Teen SOYO chapters and high school Christian Education classes are encouraged to view and use the resources found on SOYO's website. Some of the materials include a case study on abortion and the sacred gift of life developed by Dr. H. Tristram Engelhardt, leading Orthodox bioethicist; lesson plans with discussion questions about chastity; and essays about the Sacrament of Matrimony and the mystery of marriage.
The SOYO site explains that "while people may have failed to make good choices in the past on this most important issue of life, SOYO chooses to help educate a generation of teens to make good choices with how they use their body and how they treat life - given as a gift from God." With these resources, teens, under the leadership of their pastors and advisors, will have the material necessary to hold productive discussions which will hopefully further their belief and commitment to the sacred gift of life and to the virtues of purity and chastity.
The Office of the Secretariat for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America recently released an encyclical regarding Share the Light Sunday, 2013. It reads:
“With Thy light that never sets, shine forth, O Christ, in the hearts of those who in faith sing Thy praises, and grant us Thy peace that passeth understanding: that so, running from the night of ignorance towards the day of Thy commandments, we may glorify Thee who lovest mankind.”
Beloved Clergy, Godly Monastics, and Blessed Faithful:
We greet you during this great and joyous Feast of Theophany. This feast marks the beginning of Christ’s salvific revelation, and it is therefore an appropriate time to remind the faithful of the ministry that Orthodox Christian Network is providing to the world.
“The night of ignorance,” as stated in the hymn above, bombards us daily through the radio, television, movies, billboards, magazines, and the internet. Orthodox Christian Network stands to help shine the light of Christ to combat the night of ignorance. On this Share the Light Sunday, we ask that you not only make an effort to listen to and watch the programing we offer through our website, but also share this ministry with your friends and family.
Summer camp registration: Summer Camp registration is open! Register online or by printing out registration forms. Please don't wait to register - camp fills up quickly. Please note that you are not registered until you have placed the $100 deposit and your receive a confirmation email that indicates you have completed the registration process. Also note that to take advantage of the early-bird discount you must have your camper tuition fees paid in full by March 1st. Register your child today!
The January 2013 issue includes the following articles:
Patriarch Ignatius IV: An Incarnational Theologian, pg. 3
by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip
Letters of Condolence on the Passing of Patriarch Ignatius IV, pg. 10
A Farewell to Patriarch Ignatius IV: A Personal View, pg. 26
by Economos Antony Gabriel
Dying Well: Spiritual Essentials and Practical Advice for the Family, pg. 32
by Fr. Josiah Trenham
By Ernestine Ede and Justin Sayfie
On November 16-18, 2012, St. George Cathedral of Coral Gables, FL, began a year-long celebration of her Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary) with a weekend to remember.
The festivities began on Friday evening. Saint George Cathedral was adorned with long ribbons of red and white satin streaming from the center archway of the altar and the bells were joyously ringing in jubilation at the arrival of the Metropolitan’s motorcade at the front of the Cathedral. Our pastor Fr. Fouad Saba, the members of the parish council, and the faithful of St. George Cathedral had for several months eagerly awaited the arrival of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, His Eminence Archbishop Joseph, His Grace Bishop Antoun and His Grace Bishop Nicholas. The Cathedral was also honored to have in attendance The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, Fawaz El-Khoury, the vice chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and Mrs. Mary Winstanley O’Connor, the North American chair for the Order of St. Ignatius. In addition, a special honor was bestowed on the Cathedral with the arrival of Maronite Bishop Mounir Khairallah of Batroun, Lebanon.
O Jordan River, why wast thou astonished at beholding the Invisible naked? And he answereth, saying, I beheld Him and trembled; for how shall I not tremble and fear, when the angels trembled at sight of Him, heaven was astounded, earth was encompassed by trepidation, and the sea was bashful, with all things visible and invisible; for Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to bless the waters.
He that encompasseth the heavens with clouds putteth on today the courses of the Jordan; and He that lifteth the sin of the world, cleanseth and purifieth me. Yea, the Spirit hath testified of Him from on high that He is the only Son of the Father on high. Let us, therefore, shout to Him, crying, O Thou Who didst appear and save us, glory to Thee.
In all the earth that received thy sayings, thy melody did resound, O righteous father, through which thou didst go about and proclaim, as worthy of God, the nature of creatures, cultivating the character of mankind, O thou of kingly Priesthood, Basil. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.
-Apolytikion of St. Basil, Tone 1
When the Savior condescended for the sake of mankind, He was willing to be wrapped in swaddling clothes, and He Who was eight days old on the side of His Mother, and eternal on the side of His Father did not disdain the circumcision of the flesh. Wherefore, let us cry to Him, O believers, Thou art our God; have mercy upon us.
-Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 8
Nativity Letter in English (Following, and as PDF)
Nativity Letter in Arabic (PDF)
With God’s mercy
John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East
To my brethren, the Shepherds of the Holy Antiochian Church And my children who belong to this Apostolic See
We approach these Holy and Blessed Feasts as we witness the crucial events our Antiochian Church has gone through recently, first and foremost with the departure of our Father, Patriarch Ignatius IVth who ministered the Church with patience and faithfulness for several decades. His memory shall remain alive in our minds and hearts, and shall be eternal before the Lord Whom he served all his life. At this time, our Church and our people are experiencing dramatic situations caused by violence and troubles shaking our region.
The Holy Spirit has willed that I be elected by my brothers, the members of the Holy Synod, to succeed this great Minister, in spite of my unworthiness. However, I rely on God and on you, my brothers and children of my Church, and this shall make me expect, with great hope, divine help, which will enable us to overcome these hard tests and look for a better future.
بطريركية أنطاكية وسائر المشرق للروم الأرثوذكس
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch & all the East
Statement issued by the Holy Synod of Antioch
The extraordinary Session of the Holy Synod of the Holy See of Antioch was held at 10.00 on Monday, December 17th 2012, in the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Saba (Esber), locum tenens of the Patriarchate of Antioch, in order to elect the new Patriarch.
The Session was attended by Their Eminences the Fathers of the Synod: Spiridon (Khoury) of Zahle and Baalbek, Georges (Khodr) of Jbeil and Batroun and dependencies, John (Mansour) of Latakia, Elias (Audi) of Beirut, Elia (Saliba) of Hama, Elias (Kfoury) of Tyr, Sidon and Marjayoun, Antonios (Shedraoui) of Mexico, Sergios (Abad ) of Santiago (Chile), Damiskinos (Mansour) of Sao Paulo (Brazil), Paul (Saliba) of Australia and New Zealand, George (Abu Zakhem) of Homs, Paul (Yazigi) of Aleppo and Alexandretta, Silouan (Moussi) of Buenos Aires (Argentina), John (Yazigi) of Europe, Basilios (Mansour) of Akkar, Ephrem (Kyriakos) of Tripoli, Koura, and dependencies, and the Patriarchal Vicar, His Grace Bishop Ghattas (Hazim) and the Secretary of the Synod, Reverend Father George Dimas.
Like a living monument and an animate image, thy yearly feast is come, O God-bearing Ignatius, proclaiming thy mystic teachings and thy heroic exploits, thy resistance for the Faith even unto blood, and those blessed and celebrated words of thine, which said: I am the wheat of God, and in the teeth of beasts shall I be ground up. Wherefore, as an imitator of the Passion of Christ, intercede that our souls be saved.
-Orthros of the Feast, Tone 1
Fr. Andrew Damick presents a study of the letters of this second century martyr and the third bishop of Antioch, St. Ignatius, in the podcast, Voice From Antioch: Martyrdom.
Metropolitan Philip Celebrates Divine Liturgy and Trisagion Prayers in Memory of Patriarch Ignatius IV
On Sunday, December 16, 2012, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip celebrated the Divine Liturgy and a Trisagion Service in for His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn. The cathedral was filled to capacity with many dignitaries and faithful from the greater New York area. His Grace Bishop Nicholas assisted His Eminence, along with The Very Rev. Thomas Zain, The Very Rev. Dimitri Darwich, Fr. Charles Baz, Fr. Adrian Budica, Archdn. Emile Sayegh and Dn. Andre Elhajj.
His Eminence the Metropolitan Archbishop of Western and Central Europe has been elected Patriarch of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East. The Patriarch-elect Youhanna X (Yaziji) was elected by the members of the Holy Synod earlier today, December 17, during a special session held at the Balamand Patriarchal Monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Patriarch-elect was born in 1955 in the city of Latakiya, Syria into a pious Orthodox home. His father was Syrian and was a professor of Arabic Language. His mother is Lebanese. He has four brothers, with his brother Paul being the current Metropolitan of Aleppo, and he has one sister who is a nun. During his early studies, he played a key role in the leadership of Orthodox youth, and organized many choirs to sing in the local churches.
The Archdiocese calls for her members to pray with love and courage for all the victims and those suffering in the aftermath of the violence in Connecticut. As our Metropolitan Philip has written before during great tragedy, "We pray that our risen Lord Jesus Christ, who destroyed death, will grant the families and the entire country the peace and hope that only the empty tomb can provide."
A Prayer in Time of Trouble
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, who brought great joy into the world with your divine birth and salvation through your glorious Resurrection, who shed your precious blood to wash away the sins of man and to revive his spirit. Accept us as we approach your goodness and hear the voice of our petitions. Look with compassion upon your servants who have suffered great tragedy and restore hope and well being to their lives. Let not their faith waver. Permit not their hope to flee. Let not their hope in you fade away. Disperse the cloud of sadness that has encompassed them. Reassure their minds, lift up their spirits and restore their confidence. Open the doors of their hearts to permit the Holy Spirit to enter and abide their and bring renewal and healing to their bodies and souls. For you are the healer of souls and bodies, and reviver of the spirits of all of us, and to you we ascribe glory, thanksgiving and worship to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip will hold a Trisagion (Memorial) Service for our departed father of thrice-blessed memory, Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, on Sunday, December 16, 2012 at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY.
Orthros begins at 9:30 a.m. with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy followed by the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy celebrated by Metropolitan Philip and assisted by His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn and the Cathedral clergy beginning at 10:30 am.
Representatives of sister Orthodox Churches and other religious communities have been invited as well as members of the diplomatic corps. For questions regarding the service you may contact the Vicar-General, Archpriest Thomas Zain at firstname.lastname@example.org. For directions to the Cathedral, see the Cathedral website.
Visit the Antiochian Archdiocese memorial section dedicated to Patriarch Ignatius IV. View video of His Beatitude's funeral service, photo galleries, an excerpt from his writings, and more. Resources will continue to be added to this section as they become available.
+ Memory Eternal!
It is with great sadness that we report that His Beatitude Ignatius IV (1920-2012), Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, fell asleep in the Lord today, December 5th, 2012, at St. George Orthodox Hospital in Beirut Lebanon, after having suffered a stroke earlier this week.
Read a biography of His Beatitude's remarkable life of service and leadership.
Access Arabic language resources at the website of the Patriarchate of Antioch.
Listen to Ancient Faith Radio interview Fr. Thomas Zain on the passing of His Beatitude.
Read a tribute to His Beatitude from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.
We ask the Lord to grant rest to the soul of His servant Patriarch Ignatius IV – May His Memory be Eternal!
Update: Below are listed scheduled events in Lebanon and Syria.
We were saddened to learn that His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all The East was taken to St. George Hospital in Beirut yesterday after suffering a stroke. He is currently in critical condition at St. George Hospital. We ask all of the clergy and faithful of this Archdiocese to pray fervently for His Beatitude.
The December 2012 issue includes the following articles:
Getting Old in a Spiritual Way: Embracing God's Will in Aging, pg. 6
by Fr. Josiah B. Trenham
The Kiss of Peace: A Seal of Reconciliation, pg. 13
by Fr. Bassam Nassif
Conflict in Syria, pg. 20
by Dr. Najib Saliba
The Rise of Social Orthodoxy, pg. 26
by Fr. Ayman Kfouf
Works of the Order in Action: The More You Know Them, The More You Love Them, pg. 32
by Elias K. Hebeka