Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. News
On December 21, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP hosted the Annual Christmas visit of the Choir from St. George in Little Falls, NJ at the Archdiocese Headquarters. This visit has become an annual tradition, and always fills the headquarters with the joy of music, and good fellowship.
The choir began the singing of Christmas hymns outside the front entrance of the house and then made its way into the house to greet His Eminence. They were led by the pastor, Very Rev. Elias Bitar, and Mrs. Christine Lynch, the choir director. After receiving a blessing from His Eminence, the choir continued their beautiful singing in the living room. At the conclusion of the musical program, everyone gathered in the chapel for evening prayers.
Finally, the choir was treated to dessert and coffee in the dining room.
As always, it was an evening of joy and good fellowship during this most blessed season of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
His Grace Bishop Thomas recently visited St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York on the occasion of their patronal feast. Sayedna arrived in New York on Friday, December 3, 2010 and served liturgy for the feast of the Great-Martyr Barbara and St. John of Damascus on December 4 at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. The seminary hosted a lunch for His Grace together with the Antiochian students and staff. On Sunday, the feast of St. Saba, Bishop Thomas celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral and also celebrated the feast of St. Nicholas that day, followed by a dinner and dance in the Cathedral hall.
St. Anthony Orthodox Church in Bergenfeld, New Jersey is hosting its second annual wine-tasting on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 7:30PM. Stew Leonard's Wines of Paramus will provide a variety of wine and beer perfect for the holiday season. Appetizers and desserts for the holidays will be paired with Stew Leonard's selections. The charity event is open to the public, and will be held in the church's fellowship hall at 385 Ivy Lane in Bergenfield, NJ. Tickets are $25.00 for tasters and $20.00 for designated drivers and Seniors over 65 years old, or $30.00/$25.00 if ordered after November 13 and at the door.
The evening will begin with the celebration of the Blessing of the Five Loaves or Artoclasia, an ancient prayer and sharing of a traditional and delicious sweet bread, olive oil and wine.
Proceeds will benefit the philanthropic work of the parish and the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities).
The IOCC is the humanitarian aid agency of American Orthodox Christians. Established in 1992, it administers aid according to principles of Orthodox compassion and justice. It continues to work in Mississippi and Louisiana, building homes for people affected by Hurricane Katrina with Habitat for Humanity. It is mobilizing aid for Asia Pacific peoples suffering from typhoon and earthquake disasters. It is helping Uganda’s orphans recover from civil war and has been a key player in the aid of Haitian earthquake victims.
Tickets are available at Stew Leonard's Wines, 396 Route 17 North, Paramus, NJ 07653, (201) 649-0882 or by calling St. Anthony's at (201) 568-8840 & Press 7. You can also visit www.StAnthonysorthodox.org.
2011 Parish Life Conference + Diocese of Charleston and New York
Hosted by St. Mary Church; Hunt Valley, MD
June 29-July 3, 2011
On October 19, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip hosted the Annual Seminarian Dinner at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. In attendance were all of the Antiochian seminarians and their spouses from St. Tikhon, St. Vladimir, and Holy Cross seminaries. The evening began with the Vesper service for St. Artemios in the Chapel of St. John Chrysostom at the Archdiocese Headquarters. Following the Vesper service, everyone gathered in the large dining room for the group photo, which was then followed by dinner. After dinner, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip addressed the gathered seminarians and their spouses, discussing matters which are important to their future priesthood. He spoke about the importance of liturgical uniformity, of correctness and beauty of the liturgical music, and of the approach which a pastor must have toward his flock. After his remarks, His Eminence met privately with any third-year seminarian who desired to discuss important matters regarding his future.
The priests of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic and the Diocese of New York and Washington gathered together for their annual clergy retreat at the Antiochian Village from September 19 to 24, 2010. The special guest speaker was His Grace Bishop Michael, the bishop of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America. He spoke about evangelism in America. Evangelism, he said, involves three fronts: evangelism to ourselves and our community, evangelism to inactive members, and evangelism to the unchurched. Bishop Michael's lectures gave the priests in attendance excellent guidance on ways to minister in all three of those aspects with a view toward building a healthy and vital parish community.
In addition to the presentations by Bishop Michael, Fr. John Nosal and Fr. Joseph Butts led a discussion of the short story, “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy. The priests also gathered for a service of supplication to St. Raphael of Brooklyn at his grave site. They also had a question and answer session with Bishop Michael and Bishop Thomas, and had a discussion based on a movie. The retreat culminated with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Friday morning.
Matthew Namee, at OrthodoxHistory.org, has posted an alert to a recent New York Times article about an early Syrian American presence in Manhattan, not far from what became the site for the World Trade Center. While it was eventually displaced by the construction of entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, the once thriving community called little Syria, hosted three churches. Notes Namee, "...while the article doesn’t directly discuss Orthodoxy, it talks about the very same community into which St. Raphael came in 1895, and which included the first Antiochian parish on the continent."
Recently, Bishop Basil spoke with AFR correspondent Matthew Namee about the historic assembly of bishops which took place in the week following Pentecost. His Grace was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Below are excerpts from the interview, which can be found here in full:
"The bishops delighted in being together and doing the work of the Church."
"The ultimate task was to prepare the Orthodox (Church) of this region...to constitute itself as a canonical, single Church.…It is a huge task, one that a vast majority of Orthodox Christians in America have been praying for, hoping for, talking about, for a long, long time."
"It’s as if the Mother Churches have said to us, ‘Look, you have been asking for this. Before we give it to you, we would like to know, what is your plan?’"
"We were blessed by the work of SCOBA….the work of the Episcopal Assembly was made quite easy by the 50 years of preparation."
"The Episcopal Assembly is comprised of every Orthodox bishop, not just the primates. We had 55 in attendance, (in New York) where the maximum of SCOBA members would have been 8."
Ancient Faith Radio has also posted an extensive interview with Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA, titled Unraveling the Episcopal Assembly. Additionally, Antiochian.org has compiled a summary of online Assembly articles.
On May 22, 2010, the Antiochian Archdiocese will hold a Gala Dinner to benefit children with special needs at The Al-Kafaàt Foundation at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City (Park Avenue on Grand Central Station). Proceeds from the dinner will be used to complete construction of a new compound at Al-Kafaàt, in The Village Center of the Foundation. This new compound will host population of 250 children with mental challenges. Excavations have already started in Beirut and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.
"Christ is Risen!" "Al-Maseeh Qam!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn New York, in the early morning hours of April 4. After a long and cold winter in the Northeast this year, the dark and short days of the season gave 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. The Cathedral was filled to capacity on the beautiful New York evening.
Following the Paschal services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children and adults in celebration of the Feast.
Joined by co-celebrants the Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Deacon Jason Blais from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, His Eminence began the day with the ordination of two Subdeacons from St. George parish – Peter Yazgi and Matthew Chatri. St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd viewing the Liturgy from our large parish hall via a large video screen.
Sayidna PHILIP spoke about the events in the Gospel of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and while this was not the first time Christ gave life to the dead, it was the most famous. Comparing it to today's world, His Eminence suggested that the event would be on "the headline biggest... the first item of news on TV!"
Coming this Friday and/or Saturday to hear Frederica? Bring a spare small mounted icon for a soldier in Afghanistan!
We will be collecting small icons that can be carried by Orthodox Christian Service men and women who are deployed presently in Afghanistan.
If you do not have an icon to donate, we will also be taking donations to provide prayer books, bottles for carrying holy water and Slavic and Greek Pascha breads for the service people to share as they celebrate the Resurrection.
On Friday and Saturday March 12-13, 2010, well-known Antiochian author Frederica Mathewes-Green will speak at St. Anthony Orthodox Church in Bergenfield, New Jersey. On Friday night, the topic of discussion will be The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts. Saturday's presentation topic will be The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer That Tunes the Heart to God.
Bergenfield, NJ, December 6, 2009 – The Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir, under the direction of Maestro Aleksei V. Shipovalnikov, will present A Star Shines in the East: Eastern Orthodox Lessons and Carols for the Christmas Season on Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 4:30PM at Saint Anthony Orthodox Church, 385 Ivy Lane, Bergenfield, NJ. The multi-media performance will include scripture readings, traditional American and Slavic Carols and choral gems from the various Orthodox Christian traditions. Works by various Slavic masters, including Bortniansky, Allemanov, Kastalsky and Degtiarev will also be featured accompanied by breathtaking seasonal images from the Holy Land and other Christian sites. A reception to meet the artists will follow. Tickets are $12.00 for adults and $8.00 for children and Senior Citizens.
The Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir was formed in 1997 as a missionary and educational group and draws its members from choir directors and singers from Orthodox parishes of various jurisdictions in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The Choir’s music witnesses to the range of the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church and is representative of the major stylistic periods of Russian Church music. In its 12-year existence the choir has established a reputation, both within and outside the Orthodox Church community, for outstanding interpretation of Orthodox liturgical music in the English language, as well as Church Slavonic and other languages. As is the tradition of the Orthodox Church, all music is unaccompanied by instruments.
With the Pennsylvania forests’ magnificent change of colors well under way, proclaiming the glory of creation, the clergy of the Diocese of New York and Washington DC, and the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid Atlantic gathered at the Village in late September with Bishop THOMAS for their fifth annual clergy retreat. In attendance with Sayedna were twenty-seven priests and deacons of the Brotherhood, and Mother Alexandra, abbess of St. Thekla Convent and her guest Mother Mariamne.
The retreat was led by one of the Brotherhood’s own – Archimandrite John Abdalah, pastor of St. George Cathedral, Pittsburgh. Bishop Thomas asked Fr. John to discuss the theme “Being a Priest with a Positive Attitude.” During the retreat sessions, Fr. John challenged the Brotherhood to consider three questions about their ministries. The first was what metaphor best reflects their ministry. The second was to ask what person had a significant influence on their ministry. And last was what do we want to be remembered for. As we discovered through the individual and collective answers to these questions, the images of how we see our ministries - now and in the future - profoundly affect the attitudes we portray to others through our day-to-day work in our parishes.
|Photo by James Demaria|
As has been the custom every year of his episcopacy, we were blessed to have our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP with us to celebrate the feast of feasts in his cathedral. St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, the mother church of the archdiocese, was filled to capacity on what was a beautiful spring evening in New York. Following the resurrection services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children (and adults) as they celebrated the feast. Please enjoy the pictures as we celebrate our Lord's resurrection from the dead.
Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!
“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to His own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
“O Christ Saviour, we were but yesterday buried with Thee, and we shall rise with Thee in Thy Resurrection. We were but yesterday crucified with Thee: glorify us with Thee in Thy kingdom.”
(Verse from the Third Ode of the Paschal Canon)
Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy, Trustees, Parish Council Members, and All Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese:
Christ is Risen!
On a beautiful Palm Sunday, April 12, 2009, the parish of St. George in Little Falls, NJ was blessed to have Metropolitan PHILIP to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us. Celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence was host pastor The Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Fr. Stephen DeYoung from St. Tikhon's Seminary. As always on Palm Sunday, the St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd of an additional 250 viewing the Liturgy from the Church Hall via a large video screen.
Tomb to Womb: The Liturgical Linkage between Christ's Annunciation, Nativity & Passion
On Friday, March 20, 2009, Fr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary, will speak on the liturgical linkage between the Feast of the Annunciation and Christ's Nativity and Passion. The event will be held at St. Anthony Church in Bergenfield, New Jersey. The program will begin after the Celebration of the Salutations to the Mother of God service at 7:30 PM. Refreshments will be served.
Some thoughts from Father John on the topic:
"On Holy Friday, as we bury the body of Christ, we read from Isaiah about the suffering servant, but conclude with the joyful words about the barren woman giving birth to many children. How is it that we come to know that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God, through his Passion, his Crucifixion and Resurrection, and how do we come to share in this, by dying to ourselves and our passions, to be reborn as sons of God, as the body of Christ?
As we approach the feast of the Annunciation, learn why we celebrate it on this day, its connection to the Passion and the Nativity of Christ... how we go from the tomb to the womb."
Over twenty strong male voices filled Ss. Peter and Paul chapel with a heavenly sound as the clergy of the Diocese of New York and Washington DC, and the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid Atlantic gathered with Bishop THOMAS in late September for their fourth annual clergy retreat at the Antiochian Village.
The retreat’s theme was the spiritual development of our youth, as well as ministering to our parishioners with special needs. The retreat was led by the Village’s own pastor - the Very Rev. Anthony Yazge. During our first session, Father Anthony reminded us of St. Clement of Alexandria’s words that the Church must implant within each child’s soul an ability to know God from the earliest age possible. This is the activity that must animate the children’s ministries within all our parishes. Fr. Anthony also discussed the differences in how children within various age groups understand the Church, God and prayer, and what these differences mean from a pastoral perspective. The session ended with the clergy discussing the challenges and the rewards they face in establishing an environment within their parishes that nurtures the spiritual growth of their children.
Beloved Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, Members of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, The Antiochian Women, Members of St. John the Divine and SOYO, and all faithful of our God-protected Archdiocese:
I am delighted to inform you that we have received news that our Father in Christ, His Beatitude, IGANTIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East [pictured left], will be visiting our Archdiocese this autumn. His Beatitude will arrive at Newark Liberty Airport on Tuesday, October 28, 2008, and will travel to Boston on Thursday, October 30. In Boston, he will preside over a fund-raising banquet on Saturday evening, November 1, 2008, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University of Balamand in Lebanon. During this auspicious occasion, the members of the Balamand Educational Foundation have decided to establish a scholarship fund in honor Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba) for needy and worthy students.
His Grace Bishop Thomas requests the prayers of the faithful for Joanne Bitar, the wife of Fr. Elias Bitar of St. George Church in Little Falls, NJ, who is undergoing serious medical treatments this week. May our Lord and His saints be with her and her physicians as they labor for her healing!
His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP visited St. Stephen the Protomartyr Chuch in South Plainfield, NJ on Sunday, July 6. His Eminence presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of St. Stephen's and to elevate Fr. Stephen Tewfik, to the dignity of Archpriest. His Eminence also ordained David Alexander to the Holy Order of Diaconate. Fr. Joseph Allen, Fr. Stephen Tewfik, Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Dn. Peter Boloukos assisted His Eminence during the service. The congregation then gathered in their newly-built parish hall to celebrate with a home cooked luncheon. The event was co-chaired by Brian and Christeen Scarpa. Ted Mandalakis, Parish Council chairman, gave an overview of the recent achievements of St. Stephen’s and presented Fr. Stephen with new vestments. Parishioner Lou Kattas spoke about the history of St. Stephen's from its founding 30 years ago by Orthodox converts. The newly elevated Archpriest, the Very Reverend Father Stephen Tewfik, delivered a moving speech which recounted the many “miracles” that led to the founding of St. Stephen’s and thanked all who were a part of it, especially Kh. Beba and their two sons, George and Paul.