Diocese of Ottawa News
The Fall 2014 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York, with special dedication to our new Metropolitan Joseph! The issue contains:
- Metropolitan Joseph's Vision for the Archdiocese
- Message from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor V. Rev. Iskander Younes
- A message from Diocesan President Susanne Zeidan
- Highlights from the 2014 Mid-Summer Meetings at Antiochian Village
- Introductions to the Diocese of Ottawa's Board
- Happenings around the Diocese of Ottawa
- Antiochian Women Visit the Grave of Metropolitan Philip
- Miracles Are Still Happening by Lianne Nimey
...and more! Download (PDF) here.
Many years to His Grace Bishop Alexander!
Set aflame by the love of Christ, O glorious ones, you took up the yoke of His precious Cross revealing yourselves as followers in His footsteps by your way of life, and you became partakers of His divine glory, divinely-wise Alexander, with wonderful John and glorious Paul. As you stand before His throne, earnestly pray for our souls.
Troparion, Tone 8
The Very Rev. Dr. Daniel Matheson reposed in the Lord peacefully on July 5, 2014, surrounded by love. He was 99.
Father Daniel was born on the family farm in Pictou county, Nova Scotia. He was the youngest of four children born to Charlie and Annie Matheson. He was predeceased in 2010 by his beloved wife of 68 years, Presbytera Vera. He is survived by his devoted children Mary (Crawford), Neil (Donna) and Peter (Cindy). He was blessed with four grandchildren, Rawni, David, Heather and Danielle. He took much delight in being the great-grandfather of Kate, Sam, Will, Jack and Cullen. Father Daniel received his B. A. in 1940 from Dalhousie University in Halifax. He received his M. Div. degree from Pine Hill Divinity Hall (now Atlantic School of Theology) also in Halifax. In 1967 The United Theological College of Montreal conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa.
He was ordained into the ministry in the United Church of Canada in 1942 and faithfully served congregations in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Ontario. In 1985 Fr. Daniel was received into the Evangelical Orthodox Church where he founded and served the Holy Epiphany Evangelical Orthodox Mission in Ottawa. In 1987 he was ordained to the priesthood of the Orthodox Church. In 1991 he began his ministry in St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa. He was blessed with the love and fellowship of the St. Elias Christian community until the end of his life on earth.
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.
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.
George T. Mahshie, 87 of Syracuse NY, passed away at home on May 5, 2014. Mr. Mahshie, a lifelong resident of Syracuse, was the son of Towfick Mahshie and Malakie (Atallah) Mahshie. Mr. Mahshie attended public and parochial schools in Syracuse, graduating from Eastwood High School in 1944. He served from 1944 to 1946 in the U.S. Navy. Upon his release Mr. Mahshie attended Syracuse University where he received his bachelor's degree in 1949. He engaged in various employments and received his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1955. George was an attorney and counselor at law practicing law in New York State Courts, Federal Courts, and United States Supreme Court, maintaining a general practice of law until October 1988. Mr. Mahshie was a member of the Onondaga County, New York and American Bar Associations.
After his law practice Mr. Mahshie maintained a real estate brokerage business during which time he was President of Mahshie Realty and then on a part time basis, until his death working with his wife, Laraine, in the brokerage firms of Mincom 5 Star Realty and eL-M Real Estate. Mr. Mahshie was a member of the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors, the New York State Association of Realtors as well as the National Association of Realtors.
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.
Your Eminences, Graces, brothers in Christ, the Saliba Family,
We are all gathered this evening as a solemn tribute to our much lamented father in Christ, Metropolitan PHILIP, of Thrice-Blessed Memory: but I must say after 53 years of knowing you, O my Saidna, in the words of Abid Bin Al Abras, “my eyes seep sorrow- water skins with holes”.
If our most beloved Metropolitan PHILIP were to give his spiritual Children a farewell address, I’m sure that he would have said what St. Paul said to his own spiritual children in Corinth:
Ye Brethren, I beseech you, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye are to speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (I Corinthians 1:10)
It's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" - St. George Church in Montreal, Quebec, Canada is pleased to report that several members of the parish and beyond teamed up to stage a first-time fundraising evening that would bring the community together, raise funds for the Church and have everyone "Dancing in the Streets."
Close to 250 fun-loving guests attended Heart & Soul – A Motown Tribute on February 1st at the elegant Le Crystal Reception Hall and were treated to a fabulous night of social mixing, sit-down dinner, dancing, and a scrumptious late night buffet featuring Montreal's famous smoked meat and poutine. Musical entertainment by the electrifying R&B/Soul band The Freddie James Project keep everyone on the dance floor well into the late hours. Popular Montreal radio morningman Andrew Carter graciously emceed the evening.
On Sunday January 26th, 2014, St. George Church in Montreal, Quebec, Canada celebrated Godparents’ Sunday. It is a special day where Godparents, parents and grandparents get together with all the children for a special procession and blessing during Liturgy, followed by a get-together elongated coffee hour.
At the invitation of Economos Antony Gabriel, Pastor of St. George Church, his worship Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal, attended the Divine Liturgy on this special day. The mayor was accompanied by Mrs. Anie Samson, Mayor of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension Borough; Aref Salem City Councilor of St. Laurent Borough; and Joseph Daoura, City Councilor of Town of Mont-Royal. They were warmly received by a full attendance. At Fr. Antony’s request, the Mayor read the Epistle in French and then delivered a short speech in which he thanked the pastor and the parishioners for their kind hospitality, stressing that with hard work and perseverance, the city will improve its performance in attending to the interests and needs of its citizens and in fighting corruption.
MEMORY ETERNAL! Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of the newly-departed servant of God, brother, and concelebrant Archpriest George Aswad, pastor emeritus of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Niagara Falls, NY, who fell asleep in Christ early on the morning of January 31, 2014. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.
Condolences may be sent to his wife Khouria Grace and their children and grandchildren care of the parish email address, email@example.com.
Visit this Website to add your memories and read reflections and tributes for Fr. George.
(From His Grace Bishop Basil)
What: "Heaven, Hell & the Hereafter" Series
When: Begins Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.
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.
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.
Reporter Billy Shields of Global News, the news and current affairs division of Global Television Network in Canada, posted a news story on April 28, 2013 titled "For Arab Orthodox church, Middle East turbulence hits home." The news post noted that St. George's recent Palm Sunday celebration was dampened by the concerns of the faithful for the kidnapped bishops and the ongoing turbulence in Syria.
The parish, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, is headed by Economos Antony Gabriel of the Antiochian Heritage Foundation. “Today I asked for the people when they made their procession, to pray for peace, to pray for these bishops,” said Fr. Antony. ”We don’t want to see the church destroyed, and we don’t want Christians to leave the Middle East.” Reporter Shields noted that some of St. George's parishioners "...hail from the area Aleppo, where bishops Paul Yagizi and Yohanna Ibrahim were kidnapped."
The parish of St. Antonios Antiochian Orthodox Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia was blessed to have Fr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Antiochian Department of Youth Ministry, join us for a weekend full of inspiration, motivation and faith.
On Friday March 8, Fr. Joseph met with the parents of the youth in the community and informed them about issues that have become a serious problem within society. This includes sex, drugs and alcohol. Sadly, these common activities observed within society also affect teens in the Orthodox Church.
Increasing parent and teen awareness to these issues was an extremely important aspect of the weekend, as many parents were not updated with the latest science about the harm that results from the use of alcohol and drug substances.
- April 13-14, 2013
- Spiritual Talk: "Living an Orthodox Christian Life" on Saturday April 13, 1 – 5 pm
- Fr. Joachim Parr, Archimandrite, Monastery of St. Mary of Egypt, Russian Orthodox Church, New York
- Registration begins at 12 noon at the Canadian Serbian Community Centre at 1415 Barton St. E.
- Vespers to follow the talk, with Divine Liturgy on Sunday
- RSVP to Zorka Djurdjevic at Zorka Djurdjevic@cogeco.ca
The Antiochian Women of the three churches of Montreal, St. Nicholas, St. George and St. Mary, recently joined together in fellowship to celebrate the Christmas season at a new Arabic restaurant. It was time to join together in a beautiful evening, where the three presidents conducted the festivities in three languages: Arabic, French and English. There were plenty of games and laughter, and the spirit was one of joy and relaxation, especially after our long fall season of baking, bazaars, and banquets!
It was wonderful to witness all the ladies working together during the weeks before Christmas, preparing ilbee (wheat) for St. Barbara's Day, cleaning nuts and kneading dough, preparing intricate designs on the folded little treasures of shortbread containing pistachios and dates, setting out the booths of jewelry and designer bathrobes, lingerie, dresses, children's wear, hand-designed jewelry and artifacts to make a very eclectic and fun bazaar and Christmas season. A season to pray, play and work together!
On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the community of St. George Antiochian Church of Montreal, Quebec, hosted a celebration of 50 years of holy priesthood for their pastor, Economos Antony Gabriel. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presided over an entire weekend of festivities which culminated in the banquet held at Le Westin in Montreal on Saturday evening.
The weekend began with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip’s arrival to the Montreal airport on Friday, September 14, 2012. Joining His Eminence were His Grace Bishop Antoun, His Grace Bishop Nicholas, and Archdeacon Hans Elhayek. His Grace Bishop Alexander and the priests of Montreal and Ottawa greeted the bishops upon their arrival in a special VIP room at the airport. After we sat, relaxed and enjoyed good conversation with our beloved bishops, the hierarchs were taken to the Westin Hotel via limousine, where they would stay while in Montreal.
His Grace Bishop Alexander of the Diocese of Ottawa has been interviewed as part of an ongoing series produced by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. The interview is available here. His Grace mentions:
"The best thing for the meeting was that we all got together, we got to meet each other, we got to speak to each other face-to-face and to know each other. And at that point in time I thought that if the Assembly accomplished anything it would be to bring us all together."
The faithful came in numbers to come pray and play at the 2012 Diocese of Ottawa Parish Life Conference on little Prince Edward Island in the far east of Canada. The comments from the survey say it all – when asked what they liked most about the Parish Life Conference, here is a small sample of what attendees had to say:
From St. Anthony in Halifax: “...the outdoor nature, lobster dinner was awesome and planning and organization were excellent...”
From St. Elias in Ottawa: “The homey feeling and the relaxed schedule....”
Over the long weekend of June 28-July 1, the Dioceses of Toledo and Ottawa will enjoy worship and fellowship as they gather for their Parish Life Conferences. His Grace Bishop Anthony and His Grace Bishop Alexander will preside over the full slate of activities which include meetings for organizations such as SOYO, and events unique to the local settings.
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Chicago is hosting the Midwestern attendees at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Oakbrook, Illinois. Bishop Anthony is the keynote speaker and event highlights include a Friday comedy show, tours of Chicago and Oakbrook, and an offsite teen service project.
Further north, the parish of Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, has planned a SOYO Nature Walk and an Antiochian Women's tour and luncheon which includes stops at the Anne of Green Gables House and a gallery/cafe. Featured Speaker Carole Buleza, Director of the Department of Christian Education for the Archdiocese, will discuss "Ideas for Lively Bible Studies."
To live an Orthodox life in Montreal is a big challenge, and to keep our churches full on Sundays is a bigger challenge for our Montreal clergy. By the grace of God, however, St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church is undergoing a revival this year: our church is full, our youth groups are active, new families are joining our parish and, as one of our parishioners said at a recent luncheon, we are “alive and well.”
St. Nicholas Church was established by St. Raphael of Brooklyn and is the oldest Orthodox community in Montreal. We received great blessings this holy season, starting from the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross when we were visited by His Grace Bishop Alexander, who brought with him an antique cross, which has a relic of the Holy Cross embedded in it, with which to bless our parishioners following the Divine Liturgy.
On the following Sunday, the Feast of the Annunciation, we had a fabulous Mid-Lenten Luncheon hosted by our very active Antiochian Women. The next Sunday (St. Mary of Egypt), we were visited by His Grace Bishop Luka from our Patriarchate in Damascus, who asked that we pray for the Syrian people and reminded us of Syria’s rich Christian history.
St. Nicholas Church was established by St. Raphael of Brooklyn and is the oldest Orthodox Community in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. To live an Orthodox life in Montreal is a big challenge, and to keep our churches full on Sundays is a bigger challenge for our Montreal clergy. By the grace of God, however, St. Nicholas Church is undergoing a new revival this year: our Church is full, our youth groups are active, new families are joining our parish and we are, as said by one of our parishioners at one of our recent luncheons, “alive and well.”
We received great blessings this Holy Week when, starting from the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, we were visited by His Grace Bishop Alexander, who brought with him an antique cross with a Relic of the Holy Cross embedded inside it to bless our parishioners following the Divine Liturgy.
The next Sunday was the Feast of the Annunciation and we had a fabulous Mid-Lenten luncheon hosted by our very active Antiochian Women. The Sunday after (St. Mary of Egypt), we were visited by His Grace Bishop Luka from our Patriarchate in Damascus. Bishop Luka asked that we pray for the Syrian people and reminded us about Syria’s rich Christian history.
Following the Divine Liturgy on St. Lazarus Saturday, our youth enjoyed weaving palm crosses for our parishioners to carry on Palm Sunday. And on Palm Sunday itself, we were visited again by His Grace Bishop Alexander and we had a police escort around the block for our parish procession. That day we also had our annual bake sale of Arabic sweets prepared by our Antiochian Women, plus we had a sale of handmade goods by the residents of Al-Kafaat (Lebanon).