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The Great Fast can be challenging to students undergoing theological studies. Our physical and spiritual struggles intensify. In her great wisdom, the Church helps us valiantly fight the good fight - "to accomplish the course of the fast" - by offering us the "heavenly bread and cup of life" during certain days of the Great Fast, so that we may ward off sin and "attain unto and adore Thy holy resurrection."
One must learn to balance chapel life, family obligations, community service, papers, readings, choir practice and personal time. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of seminary life, the Byzantine Choir of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) chanted the Presanctified Liturgy at St. Vladimir's Three Hierarchs Chapel, with His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn in attendance.
SVOTS Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, along with the newly-ordained Antiochian seminarian Dn. Scott Miller, celebrated the service, which employed the Byzantine style of chant and the rubrics of the Antiochian tradition.
"Christ is Risen!" "Indeed He is Risen!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in the early morning hours of May 5. After waiting for spring in the Northeast this year, the dark and short days of the season have given way to "the day that knows no night" and the celebration of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. Once again, our father in Christ, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, returned home to celebrate the Feast of Feasts and the season of seasons in his cathedral, the mother church of the North American Archdiocese.
Listen as the chanters of St. Nicholas, led by Protopsaltis Rasem El Massih, sing "Today is the Day of Resurrection."
[Yonkers, NY/ SVOTS Communications] From May 26 to June 26, 2013, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will be offering six continuing education programs, of varied and unique interest, including a class for academic credit. Register before May 15, 2013, to have the $50 registration fee waived!
Sunday, May 26–Sunday, June 2, 2013
“A Journey in the Sacred Arts: Iconography Workshop for College-Age Youth,” designed for college-age students and endorsed by Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), — Khouria Erin Kimmet, Annunciation Press Icons, iconographer and workshop leader
Friday, May 31–Saturday June 1, 2013
“Conference on Poverty” — The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, SVOTS chancellor/CEO and conference coordinator’ and participants Jay Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and Susan R. Holman, adjunct lecturer at Episcopal Divinity School and senior writer at Harvard Global Health Institute
Now is the time to register online for your diocese's "family reunion" this summer, your regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)! The theme for this year, "The End of History...The Last Judgment," will be the focus of the Creative Festivals, a highlight of the conferences. Youth and organizational meetings, spiritually edifying speakers and services, and social events for kids and adults alike, all make the PLCs one of the Archdiocese's most established and popular traditions. Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page for full information.
The 2013 PLC schedule begins June 5 in Kansas City and ends July 3 in Montreal:
Diocese of Wichita, June 5-8: St. Basil Orthodox Church hosts the PLC at the Westin Kansas City Hotel in downtown Kansas City, "one of America's Best downtowns" according to Forbes magazine.
Diocese of Miami, June 12–16: St. Basil Antiochian Orthodox Church hosts the PLC at the Hilton New Orleans, where guests will sample the history and cuisine of this historic city.
A Connecticut couple, lifetime members of the Antiochian Archdiocese, have been named the longest married couple for 2013 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a Christian group based in San Bernardino, CA. John (101 years) and Ann (97 years) Betar shared their story with the Hearst Connecticut Media group: how they eloped and married in New York when Ann's father arranged for her to marry another man, and how they subsequently sustained their long and happy marriage.
John and Ann had already celebrated their 80th anniversary at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, in Bridgeport, CT on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. Additionally, the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Group presented them with a plaque and other gifts at their granddaughter's home in Fairfield on Saturday, February 9, 2013.
A photo gallery of the couple, along with the news post, can be found here.
On a sunny February afternoon in the Gerritson Beach section of Brooklyn, NY, the Vicar–General of the Antiochian Archdiocese The Very Rev. Thomas Zain and Mrs. Aida Nicolaou, a parish council member of St. Nicholas Cathedral, joined State Senator Martin Golden in one of the neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy. There, on behalf of His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, Fr. Thomas distributed $5000.00 worth of Home Depot gift cards to several families who sustained major damage to their homes and are trying to rebuild.
"Many people are still facing difficulties as they try to rebuild their homes and lives after the devastation wrought by Sandy last October, 2012," noted Fr. Tom. In addition to the financial distress and cold weather, many are facing bureaucracy from insurance companies, the government and private institutions. People in the community eventually requested help directly from Senator Golden, who has been working tirelessly as an advocate for his constituents, including the Gerritson Beach neighborhood.
"Glory be to Thee Who hast shown us the light!" On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, the booming voice of His Grace The Right Rev. John Abdalah, bishop for the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England and the longtime editor of The Word magazine, announced the Feast of the Three Great Hierarchs. Saints Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom are the patrons of the St. Vladmir's Seminary (SVOTS) Three Hierarchs Chapel in Yonkers, New York.
The three hierarchs presiding over the Divine Liturgy included Bishop John (SVOTS Class of '84), His Grace The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn for the Archdiocese, and His Grace The Right Rev. Maxim, bishop of the Western Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.
On Sunday, January 27, 2013, His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, archbishop of Washington and metropolitan of All America and Canada, was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral, the primatial cathedral for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), in Washington, D.C. His Beatitude was elected at the OCA's 17th All-American Council held in Parma, OH on Tuesday, November 13, 2012.
The members of the OCA’s Holy Synod of Bishops and hierarchs from other Orthodox communions in North America and overseas participated in the events of the Enthronement, which included Vespers the evening before and a banquet which followed Sunday's Divine Liturgy and Enthronement. His Grace The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn represented His Eminence The Most Rev. Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, at the weekend's events.
There is an urgent need to find a bone marrow donor for Karen Takla, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and must have a bone marrow transplant within the next 50 days. Karen is the great-granddaughter of Fr. Farid Farkouh and the granddaughter of Sally Farkouh Takla who, for many years, was a very active member of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY and, more recently, a parishioner of St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Karen's mother and father are Kathy and Ronald Takla of Closter, New Jersey.
It has been strongly recommended that the Takla family reach out to the members of the Syrian/Lebanese community to be tested because a person's ethnicity is an important consideration when selecting a donor's bone marrow for transplantation. For those living in New Jersey, the Takla family has planned a bone marrow drive on Sunday, January 27 at the Westwood Community Center, 55 Jefferson Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675 from 1 to 5 p.m. At the Center, donors will be swabbed and later tested to see whether their bone marrow is a match for Karen.
Additionally, for those unable to participate in the drive, they will still have the opportunity of being tested by following the instructions on the attached flyer. This allows for a national appeal to those living outside the immediate area of metropolitan New York. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip supports a wide-sweeping effort to aid Karen at this most critical time in her life.
With the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, His Grace Bishop Nicholas and Archpriest Thomas Zain will be leading a pilgrimage to Russia from August 13-27, 2013. They will spend 8 nights in St. Petersburg and 5 nights in Moscow, visiting the various religious and cultural sights in both cities.
Highlights in St. Petersburg will include St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St. Isaac Cathedral, Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan and the Church of the Spilt Blood. The Hermitage, the Yusupov Palace, the summer palaces of the Czars and the Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress. Also included is a day trip to the ancient capital of Novgorod where we will visit the St. George Monastery and the Kremlin. In Moscow, highlights will include visits to the St. Sergius-Trinity Lavra (Monastery), which is the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church, Christ the Savior Cathedral, the Kremlin museums and Cathedrals, the Butovo Firing Range and several monasteries.
The group will be limited to between 16-22 people to keep the pilgrimage small in size. For a brochure containing more detailed information, please contact Fr. Thomas Zain at email@example.com.
Memory Eternal! Prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of the handmaiden of God, Kh. Joanne Bitar, wife of Archpriest Elias Bitar (retired) of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Little Falls, NJ. Khouria Joanne fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday morning, December 30, 2012, after a long battle with cancer.
A long time volunteer at Antiochian Village, and a beloved mother to Katrina, Sister Ignatia, Martha, Michael, and Antony, Kh. Joanne will be laid to rest at St. Nina's Monastery in Union Bridge, Maryland.
The service times at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 237 Long Hill Rd., Little Falls, NJ, are as follows:
Wednesday, January 2: Viewing and Trisagion service, 5-9pm
Thursday January 3, Funeral at 9:00 a.m.
May Kh. Joanne's memory be eternal!
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, 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.
St. Herman Middle School Retreat at Antiochian Village
- For students in grades 5 – 8
- "Reading the Holy Scriptures: Weaving Ourselves into the History of God's Love," with Fr. Noah Bushelli
- Retreat package: $90.00 per student, including lodging and meals at the Conference Center
On Friday October 12th, 2012, the Antiochian Heritage Foundation hosted its first annual Person of the Year Award Banquet. The purpose of the gathering was to honor renowned journalist Helen Thomas by bestowing on her the Antonian Gold Medal, the highest honor of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. The event took place at Kogok Hall in Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Potomac, Maryland. The following is an account of the evening given by committee member Tammy Ilyas Alvarez:
It was an event to remember for both the honoree, Journalist Helen Thomas, and the many faithful friends, admirers and family members who were there as a testament to this most deserving member of our community. Many present had traveled great distances including from overseas to participate in the tribute. Among the many attendees present were distinguished VIP’S from the White House and the State Department, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps and visiting clergy.
The electrifying evening was both emotional and exciting. More than 300 guests greeted Helen as she maneuvered her way through the crowd of well wishers gathered to congratulate her on receiving an honor, which has only been bestowed on a very select, deserving few.
The Very Reverend Father George Rados, Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul gave the invocation. Throughout the evening, a professionally produced video gave us a glimpse of the life and work of the famous Helen Thomas. The speakers paid tribute to Helen Thomas and her remarkable accomplishments as a pacesetter for women during an era when women’s qualifications and talents were not recognized as equal to those of their male counterparts. Helen defied the odds without allowing adversity to stand in her way.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of the soul of Khouria Shirley Schneirla, who fell asleep in Christ on Thursday, October 4th, at age 89. She was the wife of the highly esteemed Fr. Paul Schneirla, to whom condolences may be sent via email@example.com
The daughter of Dorothy Downing Dillon Page and Donald Ormsby Page, Kh. Shirley was born on June 27, 1923 in New York City. A longtime resident of Far Hills and New York, she was the great-granddaughter of John Forrest Dillon, one time chief justice of the New York Supreme Court, and the granddaughter of William H. Page, attorney and a former president of the New York Athletic Club. She received her early education in France and England, attended the Hewitt School in New York, and was graduated in 1941 from the Wickham Rise School in Washington, Connecticut.
Khouria Shirley married William Sutfin Schneirla in June, 1942. Converts to the Orthodox Church, her husband was ordained into the priesthood of the Church and was both pastor for 50 years at St. Mary’s in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and a professor of Old Testament at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. She served on various church, inter-Orthodox, and ecumenical committees and initiatives. She was the mother of Dorothy Downie Orrill (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Peter Christian Schneirla, and the late William Sutfin Schneirla, Jr., and the sister of the late Donald Ormsby Page, Jr. May Kh. Shirley be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.
Many Orthodox faithful are unaware that there are 338 Orthodox churches in Guatemala, with 200,000 faithful and catechumens, and that hundreds of Latin Americans continue to leave the Roman Catholic Church on a daily basis, seeking other religious experiences, including worship within the liturgical services of the Orthodox Church. With this as a backdrop, St. Vladimir's Seminary is hosting a presentation by two dynamic priests who are at the center of this phenomenon, on Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m.: "Mission to Guatemala: Receiving the Mayan People into the Orthodox Church." The Very Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Andres Girón de Leon and The Very Rev. John Chakos will be guest lecturers, sharing first hand their missionary activities among the indigenous people of Guatemala. The presentation will be in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building on campus.
His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East presided at the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY on October 21, 2012. This was the highlight of his short visit to the United States. The Patriarch, accompanied by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP and His Grace, Bishop NICHOLAS (who celebrated the liturgy), arrived about 10 am on a warm autumn day as the church bells filled the streets around the Cathedral. The Cathedral Dean and Vicar-General of the Archdiocese, Archpriest Thomas Zain, greeted the Patriarch at the door of the vestibule and presented the Patriarch with the Gospel book to venerate. As His Beatitude made his way down the center aisle of the Cathedral, scores of people reached out to him for his blessing as the chanters, led by seminarian Rassem El-Massih, chanted the 9th ode of the Palm Sunday Canon, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord . . . . " After blessing the faithful, the Patriarch ascended the throne, the priests took his blessing and vested for the liturgy as Orthros continued with the Patriarch leading the chanting of the Katavasias.
YONKERS, NY [SVOTS Communications] Enter the worlds of Narnia, Middle Earth, and Panem on Saturday, October 6, 2012 on the campus of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, as the school celebrates its annual open house and fall festival, “Orthodox Education Day.” This year’s theme—“Inklings of Glory: Godward Journeys with Lewis and Tolkien”—opens doors to literary treasures with Judeo-Christian themes, including the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and the blockbuster movie and phenomenal book, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
What can crowds expect? Expert presentations about British authors Lewis and Tolkien; an icon exhibit of saints of the British Isles, with a special print display of icons by Sr. Joanna [Reitlinger], instructor of famed iconographers Fr. Gregory Krug and Leonid Ouspensky; Irish dancers from the Inishfree School of Irish Dance; book discussion groups for teens and young adults on The Hunger Games, and for older adults on The Abolition of Man; a concert of sacred music; and a children’s activity tent, with games and handicrafts—plus fabulous international foods!
Services for the day will include Divine Liturgy, an Akathist dedicated to St. Anna (served in front of the weeping icon of St. Anna from St. Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA), a Panikhida (memorial service) for departed loved ones, and Vespers. His Eminence The Most Rev. Tikhon, archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, will preside at the liturgical services. As usual, the chapel and campus bookstore will be open to the public throughout the day.
Admission to the grounds is free; directions and a full program schedule may be viewed here.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip has bestowed the Antonian Gold Medal upon renowned journalist Helen Thomas. For the occasion, a banquet will be held in her honor at Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church Hall in Potomac, Maryland on Friday, October 12, 2012. The event will commence with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30.
The evening will feature an invocation by Very Rev. Fr. George Rados of Ss. Peter and Paul, an introduction by Economos Antony Gabriel of St. George, Montreal; remarks by friends of Helen Thomas; the presentation of the Award; and a benediction by Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Rahal of St. George, Washington D.C. Other special guests will include Ambassador Ted Kattouf, Ambassador Clovis Maksoud, Hon. George Salem, Warren David (President of ADC), and former White House Interpreter Camille Nowfel.
Proceeds from the dinner will go to the Antiochian Heritage Foundation in Helen Thomas' honor. For reservations please contact either the Law Offices of Albert Mokhiber at 703-391-9898; or Mona at Ss. Peter and Paul Church at 301-765-9188.
2012’s clergy retreat for the Eastern Dioceses (the Dioceses of New York and Washington, D.C.; and of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic), held from September 17-21, centered on the spiritual life of the pastor. Its keynote speaker was the distinguished Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Dr. Veniamin spoke with thoughtful and true words about spiritual renewal, but “beyond that,” he said, the retreat was really about “inspiration: the art of inspiration in the Orthodox patristic tradition.”
Registrations will be accepted until October 30, but PLEASE HELP US OUT BY REGISTERING TODAY!
Please download and send in your form so we can make class handouts. See you soon!
Now is the time to register for the Orthodox Institute 2012: Culture. Morality. Spirituality. Held at Antiochian Village, Ligonier, PA, on November 1–4, this year's conference will survey current cultural views, beliefs of the church, and the challenges facing young people. Registration is open until October 14. Keynote Speaker Dr. Peter Bouteneff of St. Vladimir's Seminary will be joined by Featured Presenters Dr. Vigen Guroian (University of Virginia) and Dr. Philip Mamalakis (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology). The conference offers panel discussions, lectures, and fellowship for Orthodox educators, parents and clergy.
The St. Romanos the Melodist Choir from the Archdiocese of Beirut completed their two week tour at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY before a capacity crowd of over 450, on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Six hierarchs, numerous priests and deacons, and two counsels general from Lebanon and Cyprus, filled the cathedral for a night to remember.
To begin the concert, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP offered words of welcome, and then the choir of twelve men, led by Father Romanos Joubran, mesmerized the crowd with their beautiful music for a hour. After a short break, Part Two began with a special guest appearance by the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Then, to top the evening off, both choirs performed several hymns—first antiphonally, and then in unison.
Following the program, His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America presented Fr. Romanos and the group with a beautiful icon of St. Romanos the Melodist on a large polished stone. Metropolitan PHILIP then thanked both choirs, and all present gave the choirs a standing ovation.
Eastern Dioceses 2012 Fall Delegates Meeting
October 12-14, 2012
Diocese of New York and Washington D.C.
Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic
Hosted by St. George Church, Danbury, CT
Event page on Facebook
Download Registration Form (PDF)
Deadline for registration is Friday, October 5, 2012. Please mail a registration form (PDF) with your check to: St. George Orthodox Church Delegates Meeting, 125 Kohanza Street, Danbury, CT 06811.
Saturday night will be an international dinner featuring homemade foods from several different countries, as well as a hafli and dance featuring Arabic and American music.
St. George Church has set aside a block of rooms at the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Danbury, CT. For more information and directions, please download this hotel registration information PDF.