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


Seminarians Welcomed at Annual Dinner on September 24

As the autumn sets in each year, one annually thinks of a new Ecclesiastical and school year, football season, and the changing colors of leaves. For our Antiochian seminarians, another staple of the fall every year is their annual dinner with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. Each year Sayidna welcomes his spiritual children to the Archdiocese headquarters, where they pray, eat and talk together. This year, seminarians and their wives from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, St. Tikhon's Seminary, and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary were in attendance, along with the archdiocesan clergy who teach them at the various seminaries.

Fr. Thomas Zain, Archdiocese Vicar General, Interviewed on Syria by Hellenic Public Radio

Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and Dean of St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, was interviewed at length on September 14 on the situation in Syria by Archimandrite Eugene Pappas of Hellenic Public Radio. The interview is available for listening below in its entirety.

20/25 Anniversary Event for Holy Cross and Bishop Thomas

Clergy at the 20/25 Anniversary celebrationClergy at the 20/25 Anniversary celebrationBy Archpriest Gregory Mathewes-Green

The clergy and faithful of Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum, Maryland, welcomed His Grace Bishop Thomas to our Patronal Feast of the Elevation of the Cross from September 13-15, 2013. Along with His Grace Bishop Melchizedek (Orthodox Church in America), over twenty visiting clergy and many other well-wishers joined us in commemorating both the 20th Anniversary of the founding of Holy Cross as well as Sayedna Thomas' 25th year of ordination. The weekend also saw the ordinations of Lt. Col. Kelvin Gardner (chaplain, USAF). In total, four services and a banquet were held. Also included in the weekend was the annual retreat of the deacons of the Eastern dioceses with renowned scholar Dr. Christopher Veniamin, professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary.

A Reminder from Bishop Thomas: Clergy Retreat is Almost Here!

Fr. Anthony Yagze at a previous retreatFr. Anthony Yagze at a previous retreatSeptember 26, 2013

An important reminder from Bishop Thomas for all clergy:

Next week is the Annual Clergy Retreat for the Dioceses of Charleston/Oakland and New York/Washington. This retreat is open to all Orthodox clergy, regardless of diocese or jurisdiction. The speaker will be His Grace Bishop Anthony  (Michael) of the Diocese of Toledo. To register, please call (724.238.3677) or email Fr. Anthony Yazge, Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center, Ligonier, PA. 

Antiochian Delegation Receives Relics of St. Tikhon of Moscow from Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

View a photo gallery, courtesy of Fr. Thomas Zain and the Photographer for Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

View video of the Dormition Liturgy

From August 13-27, 2013, His Grace Bishop Nicholas and Vicar-General Fr. Thomas Zain led a group of 22 pilgrims from throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese (along with two from Damascus) on a two week pilgrimage of Russia. After the majority of the group returned home on August 27th, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas, Fr. Mousa Haddad from St. Mary Church in Palos Heights, IL and Bishop Nicholas' mother, Nadia Ozone, remained until August 30 to celebrate the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 28 (old style) with His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

The Divine Liturgy took place in the main historical Cathedral for all Russia, the Dormition Cathedral inside the Kremlin walls. It was in this Cathedral that the Patriarchs and Metropolitans of Russia were enthroned and Czars were crowned prior to the dark years of Soviet rule. Thanks to the efforts of our Antiochian representative in Moscow, His Eminence Archbishop Niphon, the delegation was invited to participate in the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy with His Holiness.

St. Vladimir's Seminary Announces 75th Anniversary Autumn Events

[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] "This fall, as we conclude our 75th Anniversary year, we will bring some innovative events to our campus," remarked The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY. "Our fall schedule is quite full, and it will hold some surprises, in honor of our Jubilee.

"Most notably," he continued, "Father John Erickson, former dean of our school and professor emeritus of history, will present our inaugural Father John Meyendorff Annual Memorial Lecture in September; and in October, we will host a college conference with the theme 'For the Life of the World,' titled after the phenomenal book by Father Alexander Schmemann.

"With these two events," he concluded, "we plan to give special honor to two former deans who had immeasurable impact upon our seminary during their tenures."

Dr. Bruce Foltz to Present Ecology Lecture at St. Vladimir's Seminary

[SVOTS Communications, Yonkers, NY] Dr. Bruce Foltz, an Orthodox Christian and Professor of Philosophy at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, will offer a free and public lecture, Sunday, September 1, 2013, 7 pm, at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, on "The Truth of Nature." The talk will contrast today's post–modern assumptions regarding the environment with patristic and historic Christian understandings of what it means to care for God's creation.

The lecture is being sponsored by St. Herman's Society for Orthodox Ecology (a seminarian-led group established in 2010 to address issues of ecological stewardship) and the Orthodox Fellowship of Transfiguration. Preceding the lecture, at 6 pm, members of St. Herman's Society will plant a new tree on seminary grounds to beautify the campus, which will be followed by an "Akathist in Praise of God's Creation" in Three Hierarch's Chapel.

Sacred Orthodox Music Concerts in New York and Washington DC

The Patriarch Tikhon Choir, a unique choral ensemble made up of professional singers from Russia and North America, under the direction of renowned Moscow conductor Vladimir Gorbik, will perform a premiere concert of Orthodox sacred choral works entitled "Their Sound Hath Gone Forth," Monday, September 16, 2013, at St. Malachy's Roman Catholic Church: The Actor's Chapel, 239 West 49th St., The Actor's Chapel, in New York City, at 7:30pm. Tickets (General: $35, Students: $15) can be purchased in advance and at the door.

The program includes works from the Orthodox All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy ranging from austere, centuries-old Znamenny Chants to sumptuous polyphonic works by such Russian masters as Dmitry Bortniansky, Alexander Kastalsky, Pavel Chesnokov, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Sergius Trubachev. Also featured on the program are compositions and arrangements by contemporary American Orthodox composers; several will be concert premieres. In keeping with the choir's multi-cultural approach, the program will be sung in both Church Slavonic and in English.

Teacher Training and Church School Director Workshops in Leavittown, NY

Educating Ourselves and Our Children in Godliness

St. John Orthodox Church
80 Water Lane North
Levittown, NY 11756
Saturday, August 10, 2013
8:30am-4:30pm (lunch provided)
Pre-Registration Required by August 4

Download brochure (PDF)
Download Flyer (PDF)

The Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC) and St. John Orthodox Church are proud to present an exciting workshop that will enhance the quality of teaching in our church schools.

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. 

Memory Eternal! + Kh. Jacqueline "Jacqui" (Tomey) Rados

Khouria Jacqueline "Jacqui" (Tomey) Rados, age 75, of Potomac, MD, passed away on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 after a long, courageous battle with an extended illness. Jacqui was born on January 20, 1938 in Canton, Ohio to Mike and Peggy (Albert) Tomey. She married and moved to Terre Haute, IN where she raised five sons before moving to Maryland and working over 20 years in the Montgomery County School system while performing her most beloved role of mother and grandmother.

Khouria Jacqui was preceded in death by her parents, Mike and Peggy Tomey; son, Christopher Rados; and sisters, Marlene Booth and Kathryn Martinez. The survivors include her husband of 52 years Fr. George Rados; son and daughter-in-law George and Hanada Rados; son and daughter-in-law Mark and Dana Rados; and sons, David and Paul Rados; grandchildren, Corey, Paul, Christopher, Nicholas, Alexi and Michael Rados; brothers, David, Michael and Alan Tomey all of Canton, OH; sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Don Boord of Massillon, OH, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Khouria Jacqui loved to bake and cook for all who visited her kitchen and was the adopted mother of many. She will be sadly missed by all whose lives she touched. Friends were received on Monday, July 15th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Ss. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD. Funeral Services were held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Interment was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery on Tuesday In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Ss Peter & Paul for the benefit of the Memorial Garden Fund.

Please sign the guest book.

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."

View the Archdiocese Mother Cathedral in Virtual Tour

St. Nicholas CathedralSt. Nicholas CathedralSt. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, is the mother cathedral and seat of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. It is also the first community established by St. Raphael of Brooklyn, North America's first consecrated bishop, founder of The Word magazine, and a great evangelist and teacher who planted twenty-nine parishes before his repose in 1915.

The history of the Archdiocese and of St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn are one and the same. St. Nicholas Cathedral is the oldest continuous church in the Archdiocese and its only Mother Cathedral. Its long and illustrious history unfolded through the love, devotion and sacrifices of a venerable hierarchy, greatly respected priests and deacons, and holy people of God who have served and continue to serve.

"We invite you to explore the beauty of our historic mother cathedral through this virtual tour (see below) as well as the photos on the Google Plus page," notes Cathedral Dean The Very Rev. Thomas Zain. "The tour and photos were all created by the same professional photographers. Our building dates back to the 1850s, and we have been worshipping there since 1920. Much of the iconography is recent, having been added in the past 15 years."

Parish Life Conference Season Begins June 5

There is still time for you to register 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.

First up is the Diocese of Wichita PLC, kicking off on June 5 in Kansas City. 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.

Bishop Nicholas Offers Blessings to St. Vladimir's Class of 2013

Met. Tikhon and Bp. Nicholas award honorary doctorate to Anne Glynn MackoulMet. Tikhon and Bp. Nicholas award honorary doctorate to Anne Glynn MackoulSeventeen graduates from St. Vladimir's Seminary are now being sent out as priests, deacons, and lay ministers in service to the Church. At the Saturday May 18 Commencement Exercises, the Seminary awarded diplomas in three programs: 1 Master of Theology, 8 Masters of Divinity, and 8 Masters of Arts degrees. Graduates represented a broad range of ecclesial jurisdictions and included both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians; four priests and one deacon were among the graduates. Antiochian graduate Mr. Richard Mitry Ajalat received a commendation for service to the community.

Additionally, the Board of Trustees awarded three honorary degrees to accomplished Orthodox Christians, two of whom are members of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas (Ozone), auxiliary bishop for Brooklyn, Antiochian Archdiocese, presented the degree to Anne Glynn Mackoul, a member of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.

Antiochian Seminarian Reflection: Celebrating Services in Byzantine Style

Bishop Nicholas and St. Vladimir's clergy with Antiochian studentsBishop Nicholas and St. Vladimir's clergy with Antiochian studentsBy first-year St. Vladimir's Seminarian Rami Dahdal

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.

Metropolitan Philip Presides at Paschal Liturgy, St. Nicholas Cathedral

His Eminence at St. Nicholas Cathedral on PaschaHis Eminence at St. Nicholas Cathedral on PaschaThe Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Dean of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York reports:

"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.

View the photo gallery

Listen as the chanters of St. Nicholas, led by Protopsaltis Rasem El Massih, sing "Today is the Day of Resurrection." 

Registration Opens for St. Vladimir’s Seminary’s Summer Programs

[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

Antiochian Couple Receives Award for 80 Years of Marriage

John and Ann Betar (Photo: M. Barone)John and Ann Betar (Photo: M. Barone)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.

Gift Cards from Archdiocese Distributed to Sandy Victims

Fr. Tom Zain and Senator Golden with Gerritson Beach community advocatesFr. Tom Zain and Senator Golden with Gerritson Beach community advocatesOn 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.

Antiochian Bishops Preside Over Festal Liturgy at St. Vladimir's Seminary

L to R: Bishop Nicholas, Bishop John, Bishop Maxim (Photo: L. Parrott)L to R: Bishop Nicholas, Bishop John, Bishop Maxim (Photo: L. Parrott)"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.

Metropolitan Tikhon is Enthroned in Washington, D.C.

Bp. Nicholas (second from right) joins other hierarchs at Met. Tikhon's EnthronementBp. Nicholas (second from right) joins other hierarchs at Met. Tikhon's EnthronementOn 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.

Read the complete report on the OCA's website.

Urgent Need for a Bone Marrow Donor for Karen Takla of New Jersey

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.

Pilgrimage to Russia

St. Alexander Nevsky MonasterySt. Alexander Nevsky MonasteryWith 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 abounathomas@me.com.

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Joanne Bitar

Fr. Elias and Kh. Joanne Bitar in 2011Fr. Elias and Kh. Joanne Bitar in 2011Memory 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!