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September 2013 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The September 2013 issue includes the following articles:

Metropolitan Philip Addresses the 51st Convention, pg. 4

Resolutions of the 51st Convention, pg. 9

2013-2014 Sunday School Year Message, pg. 17
by Carole Buleza

Loving the Departed: Memorials and Almsgiving, pg. 22
by Josiah Trenham, Ph.D.

Old Heresies in the 21st Century, pg. 27
by Fr. Dan Daly

Orthodox Women's Retreat: Coping with Depression and Anxiety, pg. 29
by Elaine Holowach-Amiot

...and more!

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Speaks on Syria

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Saliba delivered the following speech at the evening prayer service at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, in Little Falls, New Jersey for the release of the two abducted Archbishops, Youhanna Ibrahim, and Boulos Yazgi. It is also an appeal to all Arabs in the Middle East and overseas. The speech is also available to download in Arabic (PDF).

Most Reverend Archbishops and beloved brothers and sisters,

We are gathered this evening to pray for the repose of the souls of the Arab martyrs who were killed in a vain war which history never experienced. When President Zain Al'abedeen was overthrown by a revolution in Tunisia, and when Colonel Mou'ammar Alqathafee was overthrown by another revolution in Libya, the United States said: "This is the Arab Spring."

In the Word Magazine, published in June which expresses the opinion of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese in North America, I wrote an editorial titled: "Is this an Arab Spring or a tornado?" This tornado extended to wounded Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, beloved Syria, and beautiful Lebanon, while Jordan is standing in these days on the edge of the abyss. After the Zionists' gangs defeated all Arab armies during the first war between Arabs and Israel, the great Syrian poet ‘Omar Abou Reshee, and with much indignation, delivered a poem in Aleppo which he said:

My nation, do you have among other nations a pulpit for the sword or pen?
I look at you with much sadness ashamed from your past which has vanished.
My nation, how many idols you glorified which did not have the purity of an idol?

Antiochian Day of Solidarity Scheduled for September 15, 2013

Pastoral Letter

On the Occasion of the Antiochian Day of Solidarity Scheduled for September 15, 2013

In Support of Humanitarian and Relief Work

By the mercy of God John X Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

Giving is the Criterion of our Belonging to the Reign of God “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25: 40)

The Holy Antiochian Synod has set the 15th of September of this year as a day of solidarity for all local and international parishes in order to support the humanitarian and relief work, which the Patriarchate of Antioch and the All the East has undertaken in the collaboration of national, governmental, ecclesiastic, and civil entities. The amount of pain and suffering endured by our sons and brothers in Syria until today is beyond any description. Moreover, the available resources are limited and can only cover a small part of the basic and essential needs of life, such as food, water, clothing, medicine, medical treatment, and shelter.

2013-2014 Sunday School Year Message from Carole Buleza

The following excerpts are from the Director of the Department of Christian Education Carole Buleza's address to Sunday School teachers. The full text is available in the September 2013 edition of The Word.

All of us teachers, I trust, begin the Church School Year with the hope that our efforts will produce in our students a closer relationship to Jesus Christ. In my conversations with teachers through the years, the same concerns come up — the children don't come regularly to Church but it's not their fault; we can't have church school for more than 20 minutes without parents coming to get their children; our materials are not engaging the children. Except for the last, which I hope to address soon, these are, and will continue to be, perennial concerns. What can be done?

I teach high school at my parish, St. John Chrysostom, in York, Pennsylvania. My students are not in the same high school and don't get to see each other during the week. They went to get refreshments right after Divine Liturgy and it was hard to get them to class on time. I made a deal with them.

Assembly of Bishops to Convene September 17-19

Assembly of Bishops, September 2012, Chicago, ILAssembly of Bishops, September 2012, Chicago, ILThe Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America announced on August 15 that the Assembly will hold its annual meeting September 17-19, 2013 at the Chicago Marriott in Schaumburg, Illinois. This is the fourth Annual Meeting of the Assembly, which is comprised of all 65 active Orthodox hierarchs serving the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  

The agenda, available here, includes discussion of the Assembly’s vision, proposals for canonical restructuring, and an Assembly-sponsored national youth conference. The Assembly requests the prayers of all clergy, monastics, and laity. 

In related news, the Executive Committee of the Assembly met at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan headquarters in New York on Tuesday, August 13.

"Man of the Year" Award Presented to Dr. George J. Farha

The Dr. George J. Farha FamilyThe Dr. George J. Farha FamilyOn Tuesday, July 30, 2013, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presented Dr. George J. Farha with the Antiochian Heritage Foundation’s 2013 “Man of the Year” award.

Born in Merj-Auon, Lebanon, Dr. Farha immigrated to the United States to pursue his baccalaureate degree at West Virginia University, and his doctorate of medicine degree at Tulane University Medical School. After graduating medical school, Dr. Farha came to Wichita where he met his wife Brenda.  Since beginning practice in Wichita, he has always brought Christ into his practice by taking care of the patient first and treating all patients with the best care possible.

Photo Gallery Tells Houston Convention Story

A photo gallery of the 51st Antiochian Archdiocese Convention, hosted by Fr. James Shadid and the parish of St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Houston, TX, is available on Antiochian.org. In addition to the biannual General Assembly meetings, liturgical celebrations, exhibits, youth activities, and department meetings were held at Houston's largest hotel, the Americas Hilton.

Special events emphasized the uniquely Southern character of this year's gathering. Families enjoyed a Country Western Dinner and Dance on Thursday evening. On Friday night convention goers attended the Mardi Gras Masquerade Dinner/Dance and the Grand Banquet and Hafli on Saturday night. In the week's culmination, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, with all eight Auxiliary Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese assisting.

See the photos here. Our thanks to the dedicated Houston Convention organizers for providing this photography.

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip's Address to the Archdiocese Assembly

On Friday, July 26, Metropolitan Philip delivered his message to the 51st Antiochian Archdiocese Convention in Houston, TX. Following is the written text of his address:

Your Eminences, Your Graces, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed Members of the Board of Trustees, Generous Members of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Energetic Members of the Antiochian Women of North America, Members of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Beloved members of SOYO, and members of our Parish Councils throughout North America and all faithful of our God protected Archdiocese.

Before I address the theme of our convention, first, I would like to convey to you some very good news about our Archdiocese. We have completed the purchase of property and buildings in York County, Pennsylvania for the establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla Monastic Community at a price of $885,845. The property is located in Glenville, Pennsylvania and consists of 51 acres of land which includes a four bedroom “move in ready” house, a two story barn, and a three car garage with an attached workshop.  The property also has a pond, and includes 30 acres of farmland and 7 acres of woodland. Our original plan was to build this convent at the Antiochian Village. However, it became clear that the cost of building at the Antiochian Village would have been $4,091,907.  This is a total saving of $3,206,062.  The purchase was funded by money saved in the Archdiocese from an endowment fund by the late Archimandrite John Matthieson, money which has been raised by the Antiochian Women, and generous donations from individual members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees.

Houston Convention Continues with General Assembly

General Assembly, 2013General Assembly, 2013On Thursday, July 25, the General Assembly was convened by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip at the 51st Antiochian Archdiocese Convention being hosted by St. George Church in Houston, Texas. The Assembly was graced by the welcome presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Paul of Australia, and His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan of Argentina. The meeting opened at 10:30, and it was announced that a quorum of delegates was present. Much productive business was accomplished, and many reports and videos were presented.

(See below for updates from the conclusion of the Assembly.)

51st Archdiocese Convention Kicks Off in Houston

The city of Houston, and Fr. James Shadid and the parish of St. George Orthodox Christian Church, are hosting the Antiochian Archdiocese Convention this week at the Hilton Americas hotel. The largest legislative body of the Archdiocese, the General Assembly meets in convention biennially. In addition to the business meetings, liturgical celebrations, exhibits, youth activities, and department meetings  are central to each convention as well.

There will also be special events that emphasize the uniquely Southern character of this year's gathering. Families will enjoy the Country Western Dinner and Dance on Thursday evening, while on Friday evening convention goers can attend the Mardi Gras Masquerade Dinner/Dance; visits to several of Houston's tourist venues are planned. The culmination of the week is the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday with Metropolitan Philip and all eight Auxiliary Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese presiding. 

Conciliar Press is Now Ancient Faith Publishing

Chesterton, IN (July 24, 2013) — Conciliar Press announces a name change to Ancient Faith Publishing, in an effort to foster continued growth and forward momentum. This name change will not affect the operations or customer relationships in any way; it is simply a change in identity to better reflect our mission.

Conciliar Press was founded over 30 years ago as a ministry of the Evangelical Orthodox Church. When the EOC was received into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church by Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Conciliar Press became a department of the Antiochian Archdiocese. It continued and gradually expanded its work of publishing and providing a variety of quality Orthodox resources.

Fifth Annual Clergy Wives Weekend, Nov. 8-10

Dr. John Dalack and Kh. Laila ElliasDr. John Dalack and Kh. Laila ElliasIn the second weekend of November 2013, Antiochian Village will host the Annual Clergy Wives Weekend which is held in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah. Explains organizer Kh. Stefanie Yazge, "As always, the retreat schedule reflects Kh. Joanne's holy and holistic approach to life – we need to pray; we need to play. We need to enjoy the fellowship for this short time without parish responsibilities, family responsibilities or other cares of this world. We simply need a little time to breathe. The weekend has always been a tremendous success!"

This year's speakers include Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England, speaking on "Balancing My Life, Family Life and Parish Life," and Kh. Laila Ellias and her father Dr. John Dalack, speaking about "The Holy Family: Are We There Yet?"

Fundraising Efforts by Russian Orthodox Church Provide Aid to Syrians

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Russian Orthodox Church's Department for External Relations reported today that with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Service is continuing to coordinate a fund-raising campaign to help those affected by the armed conflict in Syria. Noted the Department's Website, "Among those transferring money are dioceses, monasteries, churches and individuals."

"Surely, we have received such a good response thanks to the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill which was very convincing,” explained The Rev. Vladimir Vigiliansky, rector of the Moscow Church of St. Tatiana. On June 25, 2013, His Holiness addressed the faithful in a letter, in which he stated:

Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us in His Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:29-37) who we should regard as our neighbor: the one who needs help, even if he or she has another views, confesses another faith or lives in another place.

Holy Land Exhibit is Available for Display

By Carole A. Buleza

"Scripture Through the Lens of the Holy Land" is an exhibit is available for rental from the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Christian Education (see below for details). The exhibit is dedicated to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip for his continuing support of Orthodox Christian Education, and to all in the Archdiocese whose roots in the Middle East have given the Antiochian Department of Christian Education the particular privilege of presenting the Holy Land in word and image. Participants at the 2011 Orthodox Institute, "Scripture Through the Lens of the Holy Land" were the first to view the exhibit prepared especially for that event.

St. Joseph of Damascus

Come, ye faithful, let us honor the martyr of Christ, a Priest of the Church of Antioch who by the word of the Word and by his blood and the blood of his companions baptized the land of Damascus, its Church and its people. Being immersed in the light of the Gospel from his youth, he worked and taught and defended the Church of Christ and her flock. O holy Joseph of Damascus, be for us an example, defending us and interceding for us fervently before the Savior.

Troparion of St. Joseph, Tone 5

The Synaxarion

On the tenth of this month we commemorate the Holy Hieromartyr Yousef ibn Jirjis Mousa ibn Mouhana al-Haddad and his Companions. A married man, St. Joseph of Damascus, as he is popularly known, was at first a weaver and then was ordained to the holy priesthood at the age of twenty-four in 1817, and assigned Great Economos of the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos (al-Mariamiyeh) in the heart of the Old City of Damascus.

Metropolitan Philip Blesses the Convent of St. Thekla Property and House

On June 29, 2013, the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the Holy See of Antioch, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip traveled to Glenville, Pennsylvania in York County to bless the property and house which will be the home of the nuns of the Convent of St. Thekla in America.

His Eminence was accompanied by His Grace Bishop Antoun, and several clergy from the area, including Fr. Peter Pier, the host pastor from St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, Pennsylvania.

Approximately 50 people attended the blessing ceremony, many of whom were first time visitors to the convent property. The blessing was followed by a light lunch at the convent, and a dinner in the evening with the members of the Parish Council of St. John Chrysostom Church in York, Pennsylvania.

On Sunday, His Eminence presided at his first Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. John Chrysostom Church in their newly constructed church building.

Allentown Parish Reaches Out to Displaced Syrians of Lehigh Valley

"For I was hungry, and ye gave me food: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: I was naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." Matthew 25:35-36

The faithful of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Allentown, PA have organized in an effort to identify and locate newcomers who are seeking refuge in the United States, reports the Very Rev. Anthony Sabbagh. "The largest Syrian community in the United States is here in the Allentown area," explains Fr. Anthony. "People in Syria are contacting their relatives to come to the United States in order to escape persecution and poverty; their homes are demolished, their jobs are gone. Their families here can apply for them to come since our government has opened the doors for Syrians, who are now coming to Allentown in numbers."

Patriarch John X Presides Over His First Synod Meeting

The Holy Antiochian Synod, June 2013The Holy Antiochian Synod, June 2013A Statement issued by the Secretariat of the Holy Antiochian Synod
Balamand, Lebanon, 20 June 2013

The Holy Antiochian Synod assembled between the 17th and 20th of June 2013 in the first ordinary session presided over by His Beatitude John X and attended by Their Eminences the Metropolitans George (Mount Lebanon and its dependencies), Elia (Hama and dependencies), Elias (Saida, Tyre and dependencies), Anthony (Mexico, Venezuela and dependencies), Sergios (Chile), Damaskinos (Brazil and dependencies), Saba (Hauran and Arabia), Boulos (Australia), George (Homs and dependencies), Silouan (Argentina), Basilios (Arkadias and dependencies), Efrem (Tripoli, Koura and dependencies). 

Apologies for the absence were received from their Eminences Spiridon (Zahle and dependencies), Philip (New York and North America), Constantine (Bagdad, Kuwait and dependencies), Youhanna (Lattakia and dependencies), Elias (Beirut and dependencies) and Metroplitan Paul (Aleppo, Alexandretta and dependencies, who though absent on account of his captivity, attended in spirit through the prayers of the fathers of the Synod and their supplications.

Arab Spring or Tornado?

Editorial by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, from the June 2013 issue of The Word:

Since the so-called Arab Spring began in Libya in 2011, we have seen the devastation and destruction of that Arab country by Libyan and NATO forces. This Arab Spring has since spread to Tunisia and Egypt, the most populated Arab country. This fire has burned relentlessly in Gaza and all of Palestine since 1948. It is spreading into Jordan, Bahrain, and Iraq and has caused the most devastation in Syria, where many of us have ancestral roots. Unfortunately, the American and European news outlets are not reporting such stories to the world, neither through the written word nor graphic photographs like the ones you see in this sad issue of The WORD magazine. The WORD has been able to obtain these pictures and information from reliable sources. Syria has been most victimized and experienced the most devastation by this seemingly endless war. The WORD believes that the only country that can bring peace to this most explosive region of the world is the United States of America, because America has leverage over Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Europe.