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Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. News

An Appeal For Syrian Refugee Relief from Fr. Anthony Sabbagh

Dear Friend,

This is a time of unparalleled need. Right now, we are now witnessing the largest exodus from a single conflict in a generation. More than 11 million innocent men, women and children are escaping from the unrelenting violence brought on from the brutal conflict in Syria. You've seen the images. The Syrian refugees are leaving everything behind and some are even dying to get to safety inside Syria and abroad.

Parishioners of St. George Orthodox Church in Allentown, PA, have strong family ties in Syria—grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles; nieces and nephews. In fact, Lehigh County ranks third among U.S. counties for number of people who are of Syrian descent, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

St. Nicholas Cathedral Concludes Jubilee Year with Joyful Feast

The jubilee year in honor of the 100th anniversary of the repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn reached its apex with the celebration of the Feast of St. Raphael in the Archdiocesan Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, NY, on November 6–7, 2015. St. Nicholas is the first parish community established by the saint in 1895. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided at Great Vespers on Friday evening and Festal Orthros and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning, assisted by Their Graces, Bishops John and Nicholas of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

NY Times Article Features St. Raphael and Brooklyn Cathedral

St. Raphael's funeral (source: St. Nicholas Cathedral)St. Raphael's funeral (source: St. Nicholas Cathedral)On November 5, 2015, The New York Times published an article by reporter Andy Newman, "A Centennial Celebration for Brooklyn's Only Saint." The article noted that on Friday evening and Saturday morning, November 6-7, the community of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral would be marking the 100th anniversary of the death of the beloved Antiochian saint, St. Raphael of Brooklyn. The weekend is the culmination of the centennial year of remembrance and celebration.

"When Bishop Hawaweeny died in 1915," reported the article, "4,000 mourners lined Pacific Street. In 2000, he was canonized at a monastery in Pennsylvania.

"On Friday night," it continued, " St. Raphael's feast will fill St. Nicholas Cathedral, which moved in 1920 to a former Episcopal church on State Street, a soaring, richly painted space of 60-foot ceilings and walls of gold and white and pastel blue."

Read the full story in The Times.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Hosts the First Metropolitan New York Pan-Orthodox Clergy Retreat

On Monday November 2, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph hosted the first pan-Orthodox clergy retreat for the clergy of metropolitan New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, New Jersey. Other hierarchs in attendance were His Eminence Archbishop Michael (Dahulich) of the OCA diocese of New York and New Jersey and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The retreat was attended by more than 30 members of clergy and was led by Metropolitan Joseph. The theme for the retreat was "Holy Nation, Holy Diaconate, Holy Priesthood and Holy Episcopate."

His Eminence focused on the key attributes that must be present in every Orthodox Christian across the categories of layman, deacon, priest and bishop, emphasizing the need for holiness and decorum.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Consecrates St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church of Florida, New York

On Saturday October 31, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, assisted by His Grace Bishop Nicholas, consecrated the Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch located in Florida, New York, pastored by Very Rev. George Kevorkian.  Also celebrating were 14 members of clergy from the New York Metropolitan Deanery.  There were 200 of the faithful in attendance and the day was made more beautiful by a combined choir from the area churches. 

In his homily, Metropolitan Joseph stressed the importance of a church consecration as the setting aside of the church as a sacred place.  The altar was washed with soap and water, sprinkled with rosewater, and anointed with Holy Chrism.

BuzzFeed Features St. Nicholas Cathedral in Story About Syrian Christians

St. Nicholas CathedralSt. Nicholas CathedralOn September 28, 2015, the popular website BuzzFeed featured a story by reporter Leticia Miranda, "Christian Syrians in the U.S. Fear for their Families Back Home." Miranda described the situation for many families who are in anguish over the situation of their loved ones living in war-torn Syria. The plight of Christians "has been an ongoing concern for human rights advocates since the beginning of the war in 2011," noted the article. "Since then, more than 700,000 Christian Syrians have left the country, according to Open Doors International, a U.K.-based organization tracking the persecution of Christians."

Read the full post on BuzzFeed

St. Vladimir's Seminary to Celebrate Orthodox Ed Day October 3

[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] The community of Saint Vladimir's Seminary has been busy making final preparations for Orthodox Education Day, "East Meets East," slated to be celebrated on the school's campus on Saturday, October 3, 2015. The seminary's annual open house and fall festival will celebrate the relationship between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches and explore the history of their dialogue.

The day will begin and end with Orthodox church services, and a marketplace filled with international cuisine and Orthodox books and gifts will be open all day. Renowned author and scholar Archpriest Dr. John Anthony McGuckin will give the keynote address, "Our Common Father: Saint Cyril;" workshop leaders will address a wide variety of topics, such as Coptic iconography; seminarians will perform a concert of sacred Orthodox music; and a book discussion group will talk about Tito Colliander's Way of the Ascetics.

The full day's schedule is as follows.

Pan-Orthodox Clergy Retreat with Metropolitan Joseph + Nov. 2, 2015

Pan-Orthodox Clergy Retreat for New York Metropolitan Area
November 2, 2015

Hosted by His Eminence Metropolitan JosephArchbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America

His Eminence Archbishop Michael, OCA Archbishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
235 Long Hill Rd.
Little Falls, NJ 07424-2005

Speaker: His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

St. Vladimir's Seminary Awards Honorary Doctorates to Metropolitan Joseph and Metropolitan Tikhon

Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor/CEO, drapes Metropolitan Joseph with the doctoral hood (Photo: Jasmine Yedigarian)Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor/CEO, drapes Metropolitan Joseph with the doctoral hood (Photo: Jasmine Yedigarian)[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] 

On Monday, September 14, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty of St. Vladimir’s Seminary bestowed a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, on His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. (View the photo gallery)

Additionally, His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was awarded with an honorary doctorate as well.

“We have the great honor today of being able to bestow the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, not upon one, but two worthy recipients—two leading hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in this country—the President and Vice President of the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Seminary,” noted the Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, Dean. “Both hierarchs, although only appointed to their positions in recent years, have distinguished themselves through many years of ministry. Your Beatitude and Your Eminence, you truly honor us today by your presence and acceptance of the degree to be awarded.”

St. Vladimir's Seminary to Bestow Honorary Doctorate on Metropolitan Joseph

July, 2015: Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John X, and The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield at St. Vladimir's SeminaryJuly, 2015: Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John X, and The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield at St. Vladimir's SeminaryOn September 14, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty of St. Vladimir's Seminary will bestow a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, on His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, at an Academic Convocation beginning at 7 p.m. St. Vladimir's will also award an honorary degree to His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Metropolitan Tikhon serves as President of the Seminary and Chair of its Board of Trustees, and Metropolitan Joseph serves as Vice Chair of the Board. The event is open to the public and will be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building.

Invitation to Attend Vigil at St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery, Glenville, PA

September 10, 2015

Beloved and most Reverend Fathers, Mothers, and Friends of St. Thekla's Monastery,

God be with you all.

The Lord is Wondrous in His Saints.
St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery in, Glenville, Pa, will be celebrating an all night vigil for, St. Thekla, on the 25th of September, at 8:00pm. We would be greatly blessed by your attendance and prayers.

Please, refer to the following contact information, so that we have an idea of how many may be coming:

Email: protomartyrthekla@hotmailcom
Land line: 717-630-8298
Cell: 443-244-0207

Keep us in your prayers.

Your unworthy servant in Christ,
Mother Justina

Tri-State Order of St. Ignatius Members to Co-sponsor Presentation by Mr. Samer Laham: "Syria in Crisis"

Download flyer

On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, a talk regarding the humanitarian crisis that has befallen the Syrian population, including Christians and other minorities, will be presented by Mr. Samer Laham, Director of the Department of Development and Ecumenical Relations for the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East. Admission is free; the presentation will be held at the City of the Museum of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, NYC. Donations will be accepted by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to help with their Syrian relief efforts.

The Cocktail Hour is from 6:30-7:30, followed by the presentation at 7:30. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will be in attendance. The co-sponsors for the event are The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the IOCC, and The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Space is limited! Please RSVP by September 25 to Christa Pourou, 212.570.3550 , or

Memory Eternal! + Nicholas Hamaty

Memory Eternal! Nicholas Hamaty of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Washington, D.C., passed away on Thursday August 20, 2015, at the age of 90.
Nicholas Hamaty served the church his entire life. However it was in 1954 that he undertook his first major task when he, along with several others, organized the St. George Choir. The choir was the stepping stone in building the SOYO organization of Washington, D.C., which elected Nick to be its first and second president. Nick was also elected as President of the Eastern Region SOYO during his second term as President of D.C. SOYO. He held this office for two terms, and for his faithful service His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony Bashir of thrice blessed memory awarded him the highest honor presented by the Archdiocese to a layman at that time, the Certificate of Meritorious Service.
Nick went on to be elected to NAC SOYO as an Eastern Region Delegate. In 1958 and 1959 he was elected to the offices of Treasurer and Vice President of NAC respectively. He continued to be active at St. George Church his entire life, serving on the parish council for many years and being active in all areas which supported the health and promotion of the Orthodox Church. In 2005 he was appointed by the parish council as a Life Member with voting rights, the only one to hold this position in the entire 107 years history of St. George of Washington, D.C.
One of the greatest rewards of Nick's work in the Church was meeting Joyce Farrah. In 1957, Nick and Joyce were married . He was a beloved husband for 58 years, as well as father, grandfather and uncle. His family, friends and his church were his life. He was loved by all who met him and he will be greatly missed. "Well done, thy good and faithful servant."

OCF Leadership Conference: September 11 & 12

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is inviting all of its spiritual advisors and OCF Chapter Presidents and Vice-Presidents serving campuses throughout New York and New Jersey, to a free-of-charge OCF Leadership Conference Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th, 2015.

The goals of this meeting are:

  • To offer support to local OCF Spiritual Advisors and Student Leaders
  • To Plan inter-chapter events for the upcoming calendar year
  • To promote unity and strengthening of relations amongst our college students
  • To strategically plant OCF chapters at college campuses

The schedule will be as follows:

Friday, Sept. 11th

3:00pm clergy arrive. Icebreakers (clergy only)
4:00-5:30pm clergy only session "Clergy Concerns"
5:30-6:30 dinner (Clergy and Students)
6:30 – 8:00pm round table

2016 Diocese of Charleston/New York Parish Life Conference

The 2016 Diocese of Charleston and Diocese of New York Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. Mary Church (Johnstown, PA) and St. Michael Church (Greensburg, PA), and will be held at the Antiochian Village. Dates are Wednesday to Sunday, June 29-July 3, 2016.

Please check back for more information.

New Opportunities for Theological Education Available Through St. Vladimir's Seminary

Gregory Abdalah of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, shares his experiences with fellow D.Min. studentsGregory Abdalah of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, shares his experiences with fellow D.Min. studentsSt. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary is now accepting applications for students who want to enroll in its Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Program and comprise the “2019 Cohort,” which will commence training in Summer 2016. Potential students may explore this innovative residential program that uses distance-learning and onsite intensives by perusing the D.Min. Program page, or by contacting Director of Admissions Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak or Program Director Priest Sergius Halvorsen, Ph.D. for more information.

Applicants for the new cohort may also apply for aid, through the Danilchick Family Endowment for Pastoral Studies. The fund, set up by the Reverend Protodeacon Peter M. Danilchick and his wife, Tanya, will help support qualified D.Min. students with their tuition, through need-based scholarships.

St. Vladimir’s Seminary to Confer Honorary Degree on Patriarch John X

(L to R) Fr. John Behr, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John, Fr. Chad Hatfield (photo: Dn. G. Hatrak)(L to R) Fr. John Behr, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John, Fr. Chad Hatfield (photo: Dn. G. Hatrak)[SVOTS Communications / Yonkers, NY] The Most Blessed John X (Yazigi), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, will be visiting St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary on Monday, July 27, 2015, to receive an honorary doctoral degree conferred by the seminary Board of Trustees and Faculty Council. The degree will be awarded at a public academic convocation at 6:00 p.m. in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building, during which His Beatitude will also give a presentation about the current circumstances of Christians in the Middle East. A public reception will follow.

"As Executive Chair of the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Seminary," said Alex Machaskee, "I am extremely pleased that we are conferring an honorary doctorate on His Beatitude John X, patriarch of Antioch and All the East."

Seminary Dean, the Very Reverend Dr. John Behr, added, "It is our joy to welcome Patriarch John to our campus, and it is our honor that he is willing to accept a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa from our school." Father John also mentioned that His Beatitude is known to him through a personal connection: he is a fellow monk at the Monastery of St. Paul on Mount Athos (Agiou Pavlou), the same monastic community at which Fr. John's brother, Fr. Evdokimos, resides.

Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. George Church + Washington, D.C.

Fr. Joseph Rahal writes:

The week of May 6-11, 2015 was a glorious week for the city of Washington and the Parish of St. George. On Wednesday, May 6, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, accompanied by Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih, arrived in Washington, D.C. for an official visit.

On Thursday May 7, His Eminence, accompanied by the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Pastor of St. George Church of Washington, D.C., the Very Rev. Isaac Crow of Ss. Peter & Paul Church of Potomac, MD, and Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih, attended and participated in the 100-year commemoration of the Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Antiochian genocide that took place in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire in Turkey.

On Friday May 8, His Eminence attended a private dinner with members of the parish council of St. George, their spouses and other prominent members of the Parish at the home of Jamal & Amal Motran in Fredrick, MD.

Metropolitan Joseph Participates in Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide

Metropolitan Joseph, seated in the first row, listens as the President of Armenia delivers his speech.Metropolitan Joseph, seated in the first row, listens as the President of Armenia delivers his speech.Press release: By the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Washington, DC
Friday, May 8, 2015

On Thursday, May 7, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph was a participant in the ecumenical commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The service was held at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. as a part of the National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial coordinated by the Diocese and Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Churches of America, East and West.

Accompanying His Eminence were the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Pastor of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Washington, DC; the Very Rev. Isaac Crow, Pastor of Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Potomac, MD; and Subdeacon Rassem El Massih. The delegation was seated on the first row facing the altar.

In the Armenian Genocide, over 1.5 million Armenians, Antiochians, Syrians and Assyrians perished at the hands of Ottoman Turks from 1915-1923.

2015 Dioceses of Charleston and New York Parish Life Conference

The 2015 Dioceses of Charleston and New York Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. John the Baptist Church of Levittown, New York. Dates are Thursday to Sunday, July 1-5, 2015.

Early bird registration deadline: Extended to May 13th!
Download Flyer (PDF, Rev. 4-15)
2015 Diocese of NY PLC on Facebook

Accomodations are at:
Upsky Long Island Hotel
110 Motor Parkway
Happauge, NY
Deadline for group rate reservations is May 20th.

To register for the PLC, purchase PLC event tickets, to place a message in the Souvenir Journal and for Sponsorship any of the events go to

For more information, please contact Father Boulos 516-457-5451, Chairperson Ramzi Kaywood 631-796-3844 or Vice Chairperson Imad Farhat 516-984-9047 or email:

Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. Stephen the Protomartyr Church + South Plainfield, NJ

On the fifth Sunday of Lent our parish community of St. Stephen the Protomartyr Church in South Plainfield, New Jersey, led by Father Stephen Tewfik and assisted by our Deacon Joshua Burnett, was blessed by a visit from our new Metropolitan Joseph. A week of intensive preparation led up to this historic event. Sayidna who was accompanied by sub-deacon Rassem El-Massih, delivered a homily discussing the meaning of Lent and the life of St. Mary of Egypt. The Church School children sang a church hymn for his Grace, led by our choir director, Sandra Hatrak. A fitting end to this service on the last Sunday of Antiochian Women's Month, was the induction by Sayidna into the Order of St Ignatius of Antioch of two of our parishioners, Mrs. Ibtihaj Kanj and Mrs. Guitta Barghash. Following Liturgy Sayidna was given a brief tour of our facilities and activities including Easter clothing donations to children from the local Head Start program. A delicious Lenten luncheon prepared by the ladies was served to climax a fulfilling day.

Memory Eternal! + Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko

Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, 75, dean emeritus of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York, and noted Orthodox Christian priest, theologian, preacher, and speaker, fell asleep in the Lord on March 18, 2015.

Father Thomas was the beloved husband of Matushka Anne [Schmemann] Hopko. They were married on June 9, 1963. Together, Fr. Thomas and Anne are the parents of five children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

"Father Thomas was a good friend of the Archdiocese," reflected Vicar-General and St. Nicholas Cathedral Dean Fr. Thomas Zain. "He helped educate many of our clergy over the years, and often gave lectures and led retreats in our parishes throughout the country."

Eastern Dioceses Fellowship of St. John the Divine Scholarship

The Eastern Dioceses Fellowship of St. John the Divine offers scholarships to qualified college students from parishes in the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, and the Diocese of New York and Washington D.C.  For more information, contact Maria Abdalah at:

Send all completed applications to:
Maria Abdalah
2 Lydia's Path
Westborough MA 01581

Deadline for all materials: June 1, 2015

For questions on this application:
Call 412-916-4772

Download the 2015 Scholarship Application (PDF)

8th Annual Lenten Retreat: March 21, 2015

Announcing: the 8th Annual Lenten Retreat for the Diocese of NY and DC
Hosted by St. Stephen the Protomartyr Antiochian Orthodox Church Women Group
609 Lane Ave, South Plainfield, NJ 07080 -
"Overcoming Worrying and Anxiety"

With Guest Speaker His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn
Diocese of New York and Washington D.C. and Assistant to the Metropolitan

March 21, 2015 - 10:00 am
Breakfast 9:30- 10:00 am, 10:00 – 12:00 noon 1st Session, Lunch 12:00 – 1:00 pm
1:00 – 3:00 2nd Session- 3:00 pm 3rd session (General Questions & Answers)
Followed by Great Vespers

This event is free and open to all adults and teens
Please RSVP by 3/10/2015

For more information and to RSVP, please contact
Carmen Elsabee (732) 548-4947 or
Rosemary Kattas (973) 270-0256 or


Bishop Nicholas Delivers Schmemann Lecture on the Ministry of St. Raphael

On January 30, 2015, His Grace Bishop Nicholas engaged his audience in a fascinating historical look at "The Life and Ministry of St. Raphael of Brooklyn" during the 32nd Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture, held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), attended the evening lecture.

Bishop Nicholas holds several engineering degrees as well as a Master of Divinity degree awarded with Highest Distinction from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He speaks Arabic and English fluently and has a working knowledge of French, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, New Testament Greek, and Modern Greek. His Grace administers the Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. and also serves as the assistant to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.