Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. News
At its annual meeting on November 13–14, 2014, the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY elected His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph as Vice Chairman of the Board, to be effective immediately. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) serves as the Board Chairman.
The Seminary's Dean, The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, and Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, recognized Metropolitan Joseph's new position by presenting him with an icon of St. Vladimir during their visit to the Archdiocese Chancery in Englewood, NJ, on December 5. During that same meeting, the St. Vladimir's leaders also presented Patriarch John X with a check for $8000.00 designated for Syrian's suffering Christians. The gift was a tithe from the seminary's December 2 "Giving Tuesday" fund raising campaign.
Since its founding in 1938, St. Vladimir's has enjoyed a fruitful and reciprocal relationship with the Antiochian Archdiocese. About 16% of all of the seminary's alumni have gone on to serve in the Archdiocese, and most of today's North American Antiochian bishops are seminary alumns.
On Sunday, December 14, 2014, the final day of his visit to the United States before flying home from Washington, D.C.'s Dulles Airport, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, alongside His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, presided over a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD.
Joining them was His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America. (See the OCA's account of the joyous celebration here.) His Eminence Metropolitan Sabba and His Eminence Metropolitan Vasileios also concelebrated at the Liturgy.
Prior to Sunday's Liturgy, the parish of Ss. Peter & Paul hosted Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph for several events. A concert of Orthodox liturgical Christmas music on Friday, December 12, featured selections from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vespers, and Byzantine Nativity selections sung by Archmandrite Elias Bitar, George Theodoritis, and Raseem El Massih. On Saturday night, Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph presided over Great Vespers, and then attended a banquet held in their honor.
His Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided at Vespers Service on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, NJ. The service was followed by an open reception. NorthJersey.com reported that the evening "was a night of simple joy in the church's North Jersey community."
Staff writer Jeff Green noted that His Beatitude "John X spoke for about 20 minutes about building unity between the church in the U.S. and abroad, as well as about peace in the Middle East, notably war-devastated Syria.
“'We are one church, we are one community and the distances do not divide us, do not separate us,'" said the Patriarch.
On Sunday, December 7, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, broadcast live around the world by Noursat television.
See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.
Apolytikion of St. Nicholas, Tone 4
The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, a model of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. Therefore thou hast won the heights by humility, riches by poverty. Holy Father Nicholas, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.
December 6th is the celebration of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and the name's day of His Grace Bishop Nicholas. May God grant him many years!
His Grace will be concelebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Saturday, December 6, 2014, at the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, along with His Eminence, Metropolitan Niphon, Antiochian Patriarchal Representative to the Church of Russia.
In January, 2015, His Grace will be the guest speaker for St. Vladimir's Seminary's 32nd Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture, to be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building on January 30, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Bishop Nicholas will be speaking on "The Life and Ministry of St. Raphael of Brooklyn." In 2015 the Archdiocese will be marking the 100th anniversary of the beloved saint's repose with a year-long series of events commemorating the milestone.
On Sunday, November 9, 2014, we had the pleasure of having His Grace Bishop Nicholas visit with our parish, St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church in Florida, NY. Bishop Nicholas spoke to us about prayer and faith. It was a beautiful Hierarchal Liturgy, with our pastor Fr. George Kevorkian serving alongside His Grace. During coffee hour, we were blessed as our bishop sat with our Sunday School children and youth, talking with them about the importance of fasting, prayer and attending church every Sunday.
In other youth news, we took our young people to St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls NJ on Saturday, November 9, for a retreat on the topic of miracles. Our small parish also raised $220.00 last month during the Archdiocese's Youth Month; each of our kids participated in the readings, offerings, and greetings for Special Olympics.
Although we are a small parish we are doing great things in and around our community. From collecting food for the local food pantry to serving at the food kitchen, our kids and congregation as a whole have a heart for our neighbors.
By Destiney and John Sanchez, Youth Advisors for St. Ignatius
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 12-14, 2014
- 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: $100/person for lodging and meals; $120 if postmarked after November 15
- Download the registration form
- Download the Consent Form
- Visit the Antiochian Village's website
On Saturday, November 8, 7:00 p.m., His Eminence The Most Reverend Hilarion (Alfeyev), metropolitan of Volokolamsk and chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, will deliver a free and public lecture at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. His Eminence will speak on "Primacy and Conciliarity from an Orthodox Perspective," a topic discussed at the 13th plenary session of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches, of which Metropolitan Hilarion was a key participant.
Prior to the lecture, His Eminence will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, bestowed by the seminary's Board of Trustees and faculty. Metropolitan Hilarion is an appointed member of the seminary board and the author of the SVS Press Orthodox Christianity Series.
The event will be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building on the seminary campus, and a public reception will follow. Because of the special convocation and lecture, the seminary's normal Saturday evening liturgical schedule has been changed: Great Vespers will be celebrated at 5 p.m.
October 18, 2014
A Ground Blessing ceremony for the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center is set for Saturday October 18, 2014 at 12:00 noon. The ceremony will include a combined prayer service of blessing of the site (agiasmos), and a doxology (a service of thanksgiving).
Established in 1916, the small Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas was the only house of worship destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 when the South Tower fell and completely obliterated the old church edifice. The new Saint Nicholas National Shrine will be rebuilt only a short distance away from its original location, at 130 Liberty Street and will be overlooking the 9/11 Memorial.
Archbishop Demetrios of America, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America stated: "Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox National Shrine, although destroyed in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 is now, with the grace of God, being resurrected at the new World Trade Center and it will soon rise like a glorious phoenix as a National Shrine and a place of pilgrimage for our Nation. It will be a place of faith, a place of peace and a place of solace and hope."
From September 30 to October 3, 2014, over two dozen priests from the diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic and the diocese of New York and Washington met at the Antiochian Village for a clergy retreat led by His Grace Bishop John. There were lectures and discussion groups in addition to the Divine Services.
Bishop John opened the retreat with a session about the role of a pastor in the solving of problems found in parishes. Questions such as: What is my role? What is appropriate? Who are we ministering to (or who do we need to minister to)? What are my boundaries? What are my obligations? Am I competent here? What is the will of God here?
The Very Reverend W.S. Paul Schneirla, longtime pastor at St. Mary Church in Brooklyn, New York, fell asleep in Christ on Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at the age of 98. May his memory be eternal!
Father Paul was ordained an Antiochian priest in 1943, and served parishes in Iron Mountain, MI and Allentown PA, before moving to New York to serve at St. Mary's in Brooklyn from 1951 until his retirement in August, 2002. He served in many capacities within the Archdiocese for 71 years, including: the first chairman of the Department of Christian Education, the dean of the Atlantic Deanery, the first editor of The Word magazine, and as the Archdiocese's Ecumenical Officer.
As a young man, Fr. Paul had converted to Orthodoxy from a Protestant background, and thus years after his ordination, his interest in the Western Rite was kindled by a visit to one of the Rite's parishes within the Romanian Orthodox jurisdiction in Paris, France.
Thursday, October 2, "Coffee with Sister Vassa," Sister Vassa (Larin), ryassofor nun, author of many scholarly articles and a monograph on Byzantine liturgy and theology, and outspoken public intellectual on current issues of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), will be on campus; time TBA.
Saturday, October 4, 9:00 am–5:30 pm, Orthodox Education Day 2014: Divine Liturgy begins the day. "Do Books Still Matter? A Celebration of Orthodox Christian Publications" is this year's theme, and several Orthodox Christian publishers will be on hand, with books galore for sale. The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr will deliver the keynote: "From Scroll to Book to Net: the Web of Knowledge." Enjoy workshops, children's activities, and ethnic food.
Friday, October 24, 7:00 pm, Orthodox Christian Laity, Public Forum: Join an enlivened public discussion on the topic: "The History and Future of the Assembly of Bishops and the Proposed Great and Holy Council in 2016," sponsored by Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL).
Registration is open for the Annual St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage, with His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic presiding. Lodging for both adults and children is available for the weekend, which is an annual event at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and camp in Bolivar, PA.
"Did you know that the Antiochian Village is one of the few places places in the United States where you can visit the grave and shrine of a saint of the Church?" notes Bishop Thomas. Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in the United States, reposed in the Lord in 1915 and was later canonized by the Orthodox Church in America in 2000. Appropriately, since St. Raphael is buried on the grounds of Antiochian Village, the pilgrimage includes a Service of Supplication to him. Other activities include small group workshops, a panel discussion with Bishop Thomas, a special movie showing, and the full cycle of liturgical services.
Hotel Information and General Schedule Now Available for the Enthronement Weekend and Patriarchal Visit
Our block of hotel rooms at the Brooklyn Marriott is sold out for Friday and Saturday evening. You can try booking directly at marriott.com. You may continue to check the link below as rooms may pop up from time to time if people cancel. You can also check other hotels in the area including the Sheraton Brooklyn.
Archpriest Thomas Zain, Archdiocese Vicar-General, writes on September 2:
Greetings to you and your families as we begin a new ecclesiastical year. Preparations are underway for the visit of His Beatitude, Patriarch John X and the upcoming enthronement of our new Metropolitan. As we finalize the schedule for the weekend and work out details for the banquet, I wanted to share with you the link to make your hotel reservations at the Brooklyn Marriott. The rate is $299.00 a night plus tax. The deadline for reservations is November 7, 2014. Further detailed information regarding the weekend and the banquet will be forthcoming sometime in the near future.
The following is the general schedule. Times and banquet information will be added in later in the month and we will post them on the archdiocese website as they are confirmed.
Over 500 faithful from the Eastern Dioceses of New York and Washington, D.C. and Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic participated in the historic 2014 Parish Life Conference (PLC). Held at the Antiochian Village (AV) in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, it was a testament to the vision of Metropolitan Philip, who founded AV to foster fellowship and spiritual growth in the Orthodox faith. The grace of the Holy Spirit emanated throughout the conference, which was focused on the theme of loving God and neighbor, and was hosted by St. George Orthodox Christian Church of New Kensington, PA, with Fr. Meletios Zafaran.
Participants at the PLC had the unique opportunity to pray at the gravesites of St. Raphael and Metropolitan Philip. Father Anthony Yazge, the AV host priest and camp director, guided the group on an uplifting tour of the St. Raphael and St. Thekla shrines, and led a Supplication Service to St. Raphael.
On Sunday, July 27, 2014, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph visited St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY for the first time since his election. Saint Nicholas is the Mother Cathedral of the Archdiocese and the seat of the new metropolitan. Although many of the Cathedral faithful were out of town for summer vacations and travels to visit family overseas, a large crowd nevertheless came to greet Metropolitan Joseph.
During his homily, Sayidna Joseph told the congregation that while this was his first visit to the historic Cathedral as metropolitan, it would not by any means be his last. At the end of the Hierarchical Liturgy, Cathedral Dean and Vicar-General Archpriest Thomas Zain, and Vice-Chairman of the Cathedral Council Mr. Samir Khoury, presented His Eminence with an engolpion (an episcopal medallion) of the Theotokos, offered as a gift from all the Cathedral clergy and faithful. Many years to our new metropolitan!
Additional photographs follow below.
From June 25–28, 2014, the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East His Beatitude John X joined with the Fathers of the Holy Synod to call the faithful from around the world to the Hill of Balamand for a conference on Antiochian unity. Appropriately, the Conference concluded with the joyous celebration of the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, patron saints of the Antiochian Church. (Read the text of Patriarch John's homily.)
Antiochian.org has assembled a collection of photographs highlighting the Unity Conference. Additionally, the Patriarchate of Antioch's website has published photo galleries and written reports of the historic events in both Arabic and English, and galleries are also available on the Patriarchate's Facebook page. The sizable North American delegation, pictured here with Patriarch John X, was composed of bishops, priests, key department heads, and organization leaders. Members of the group will begin returning home on Monday, June 30.
[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, has chosen as its theme for Orthodox Education Day 2014, "Do Books Still Matter? A Celebration of Orthodox Christian Publications." This year’s traditional open house will be held Saturday, October 4, and will pay tribute to the importance of Orthodox Christian authors, illustrators, and publishing houses throughout the world.
The dean of the seminary, The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, author of academic, popular, and spiritual works, will be the keynote speaker. The seminary’s own publishing house, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (SVS Press), will receive special recognition on reaching its 50th Anniversary and will invite many other Orthodox Christian publishers onto campus to help it mark the occasion.
The first two Parish Life Conferences (or PLCs) for the Antiochian Archdiocese have kicked off the summer PLC season with a splash! From June 11-14 in San Antonio, Texas, host parish St. Ephraim the Syrian Antiochian Church is overseeing a lineup of events for attendees from the Diocese of Wichita, including talks by Keynote Speaker Sister Vassa Larin, as well as excursions to local attractions such as the River Walk and Sea World San Antonio. Also enjoying water access are the faithful of the Diocese of Miami, who are being hosted on June 11-15 by the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando at the Crown Plaza Hotel, with its proximity to lakes and the Atlantic coast.
The Antiochian clergy of the Capital Deanery (the Greater Washington, D.C. / Baltimore area) were invited by the Franciscans of Washington D.C. to offer Orthodox Vespers on Sunday, May 18, 2014, at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, as part of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the meeting of Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagorus in Jerusalem in 1964. The 50th anniversary was also marked in Jerusalem this year by the meeting of Pope Francis I and Patriarch Bartholomew on May 25, 2014, where they prayed together for peace in the Middle East.
Prior to his repose, Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory received a request from the Franciscans asking for his blessing for this service, emphasizing the need to join together in support of the suffering Christians of the Middle East.
Special commendation to the following graduates, who have completed their course of study at an Orthodox seminary this spring:
Fr. Joseph Landino, St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary
Dn. Scott Miller, George Katrib, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, with Metropolitan Silouan and Bishop Nicholas in attendance
Peter Kavanaugh, Majd Akkawi, Christopher Kies, and Nicholas Mamey, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, with Bishop John in attendance
The people of St. Gregory the Great Orthodox Church in Washington D.C. were happy to welcome His Grace Bishop Thomas on the weekend of May 10-11, 2014. The occasion for this visit was to celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of our church building. In 2006 St. Gregory's congregation bought a townhouse which had been converted to a Protestant church. The community subsequently renovated it and made it suitable for Orthodox worship. On May 5 and 6 of 2007, Bishop Thomas performed the ceremonies for dedication. This year was the first that he was able to return for this annual celebration.
This year's conferences are spread out across five weekends in June and July. On June 11-15, the Diocese of Wichita and the Diocese of Miami will kick off the PLC season in San Antonio, TX and Orlando, FL. Shortly thereafter on June 19-22, the Diocese of Worcester will convene in Boston, MA. Fort Wayne, IN, will be the site for the final June conference with the Diocese of Toledo's PLC on June 25-29. Finally, the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Eagle River, Charleston and New York, and Ottawa, will all meet from July 2-6, combining Fourth of July celebrations with Parish Life Conferences.
As always, this year's theme, love for God and neighbor, 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.
To facilitate your parish participation in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals, all resources are available in the Festivals 2014 section of Antiochian.org. Additionally, ads for the souvenir journals can be purchased and registrations can be submitted through the Department of Conventions and Conference Planning's Antiochian Events pages.
On Friday, May 2, 2014, the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal of Washington, D.C. hosted a Luncheon/meeting with His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan, His Grace Bishop Nicholas and several Antiochian clergy from the area. The above picture was taken at St. George Church of Washington, DC.
Abraham Brown (Brownie or Abe to his family and friends), died on March 28, 2014, after a long illness. The most important things in his full life were his family, church, country and his love of music. He was born to Sam Brown and Mary (Corey) Brown in Homestead, PA on May 5, 1925. After graduating from the Homestead Public Schools in June, 1943, he entered the United States Army/Air Corps in July 1943 where he obtained training and education as a medical surgical technician. He is a proud American Veteran. Upon his discharge in February, 1946 he returned to Homestead where he purchased Donald Duck Cleaners. The following year he moved to Greensburg, PA. and entered Saint Vincent's College in Latrobe as a music major. After graduating with a B.A. in music in May 1951 he began his teaching career in Coalport, PA where he shared his love of music with students from elementary school through High School. He continued to pursue his education at Penn State University, Duquesne University, Bowie State College and received his Master's Degree in Education from Towson State College in 1969.
On June 11, 1950 he married Lula Mary Nassif in Altoona, PA. Their love produced four children; Samuel J. Brown (Donna) of Annapolis, Deborah A. Brown of New York, Dr. Stephen D. Brown (Jennifer) of Annapolis, and George E. Brown (Chris) of Annapolis. His 15 grandchildren (Sarah, Sammy, Anna, Lexi, Georgi, Helena, Laila, Catherine, Giselle, Stephen, Jenna, Mickey, Johnny, Annie and Georgia) were an endless source of his pride. Until his illness he never missed an event or activity for the children or grandchildren. He videoed every event so they could have their memories. In 1962, he made a permanent move to Annapolis, where for three years he taught music at Southern High School. He was then promoted as an administrator to the Board of Education for Anne Arundel County.