On March 19, 2011, His Grace Bishop Thomas visited the congregation of St. Patrick’s Western Rite Orthodox Mission in Warrenton, Virginia. Since the establishment of the mission, Sayidna Thomas has been a great encouragement, always offering his time, guidance, and love. He is a true shepherd and spiritual father of the community. After greeting and giving his blessing to a group of smiling children, Bishop Thomas prayed alongside Fr. Patrick Cardine during Solemn Vespers. In the midst of worship he spoke with ardent love about our Most Holy Mother’s betrothed husband, St. Joseph. As though recounting the life of a dear and close relative, Sayidna told the story of St. Joseph’s deep faith, humility, and trust in God. His words could not have painted more clearly the reality that our Holy Church is truly one large family. Indeed, “we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses”!
Burr Ridge, IL – The Third Annual Pan-Orthodox Sanctity of Life Prayer Service and Presentation was attended by Orthodox Clergy and faithful from the Chicago area. The event was held on Sunday, January 30th, 2011, at Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church and was organized by the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago (OCCA).
After the prayer service, the Church community hosted a fellowship for all those in attendance which was highlighted by a presentation, given by Linda Couri, a former employee of Planned Parenthood, who has both professional and personal experience with abortion issues, who presented an inside perspective on the Pro Choice mindset.
She eloquently spoke about this approach which more often than not has become the manner in which society is run. What are the values, goals and motivations behind those who are Pro-Choice and what can we do to best address this complex and often hostile audience?
The Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan was blessed in the month of February 2011 to have several world renowned influential Christian leaders visit its community. Over the course of two weeks, the parish hosted Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a world-renowned Orthodox bishop and theologian from Cambridge, England, Bishop Augustin Ahimana, an Anglican bishop from Rwanda, and Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglia, a Catholic priest from Syria.
The first event took place on February 18th, 2011. Fr. George Shalhoub hosted a lecture luncheon for world renowned scholar, professor, and contemporary Eastern Orthodox academic author, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware during his visit to the Detroit area. Joining Metropolitan Kallistos was Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Diocese of Detroit, and Bishop Irineu, Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, along with close to fifty clergy from various Orthodox jurisdictions from throughout Michigan and the entire Midwest. Metropolitan Kallistos spoke to the clergy about the necessity of Orthodox Christian unity and cooperation here in America, and on diversity in general, and how we as Christian leaders in America, need to recognize not only the diverse nature of our country regarding the Christian faith, but we need to work towards creating ways to help open the doors of communication between all Christians. In addition to visiting the Basilica, Metropolitan Kallistos visited several other Orthodox churches in the Detroit area and addressed the body of Sacred Heart Catholic Major Seminary, on the topic of current and future Orthodox/Catholic dialogue.
St. Ignatius Mission in Boca Raton Celebrates First Anniversary and Metropolitan Philip's 80th Birthday
The Divine Liturgy celebrated every Sunday at 10am on a huge college campus… this is the Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch is based on Florida Atlantic University (FAU) on Glades Road in Boca Raton, Florida. FAU is a University which boasts over 28,000 students. St. Ignatius Boca at FAU may be the first Antiochian Orthodox Christian ministry ever established to serve upon a college campus in the history of this great Archdiocese. This Orthodox mission maintains unlimited growth potential where the hope is “to bring America home to Orthodoxy!”
His Grace Bishop Thomas celebrated the Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Mary Church in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on March 13, 2011. In addition to Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, His Grace also celebrated the Pan-Orthodox Vespers service. At the close of Vespers, a memorial service was held for the recently reposed Metropolitan Nicholas of the Carpatho-Russian Church.
On the weekend of December 17-19, 2010, His Grace Bishop Thomas made a pastoral visit to the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan. On Friday evening the Bishop's dear friends, Ken and Kathy Harb, hosted a gathering at their home to officially welcome His Grace to the Detroit area. On Saturday morning, Fr. George Shalhoub hosted a brunch for the area clergy in the St. Mary Cultural Center, and Fr. James King and his family hosted a dinner for the Bishop prior to Great Vespers.
The highlight of the weekend was the Divine Liturgy on Sunday Morning, where Bishop Thomas, on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, ordained Fr. James King to the Holy Priesthood. This was the first time in the forty year history of the Basilica that anyone had ever been ordained to the priesthood, and the community came out in full force to witness the event. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, His Grace inducted twelve new members into the Order of St. Ignatius. Following the Liturgy, a special banquet was held in the St. Mary Cultural Center in honor of the newly ordained Fr. James, his wife Audrey, and their children. The banquet was generously attended by the entire Basilica of St. Mary community.
We wish to thank all those who helped to make the weekend such a special occasion for the community, and especially Bishop Thomas for his love, spiritual guidance, and for blessing us with his presence.
With all eyes and hearts focused on Jesus Christ, a pan-Orthodox gathering of clergy and their parish councils came together for a common meal in Oklahoma City, OK. With this being the third annual gathering on February 13, 2011, a solid tradition is being established for Orthodox unity in central Oklahoma.
St. Elijah (Antiochian), St. George (Greek) St. Mary’s (Ukrainian) and Holy Ascension (Antiochian) all had a chance to share what the Lord is doing in their midst. Mr. and Mrs. Kory Warr were our hosts and The Very Rev. Constantine Nasr was our emcee. Father Jeremy Davis, of St. Elijah, shared about a successful seminar that will be implemented annually at St. Elijah called, “Sex as God Intends.” That is a two-day seminar for middle-school and high-school students with presentations made by the clergy, medical personnel and laity. By sharing this, it helped to spark the interest in duplicating that ministry for the other Orthodox congregations.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, February 1-2, 2011, His Grace Bishop Joseph visited the newly-constructed temple of Holy Resurrection Church in Tucson, Arizona. Following the service for the opening of the doors of the temple, His Grace celebrated a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation. His Grace remained in Tucson on Wednesday to meet with the faithful and the parish council of Holy Resurrection.
Click here to view more photos of Bishop Joseph's visit and of Holy Resurrection's new church building on the Diocese of Los Angeles web site.
On Saturday, January 15, 2011, the first Divine Liturgy ever was celebrated in the new Holy Annunciation Chapel in Taos, New Mexico. Fr. John Bethancourt celebrated the service, the first ever in the Taos area, with the help from Subdeacon Raphael Nava and members of the choir and congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chapel founder Claire Brandenburg and several other local Taoseños also attended the service. Following the Liturgy, Fr. John led a presentation and discussion on the theology of Holy Icons in the attached Heavenly Ladder bookstore and coffee shop. It was a delight to see the further development of the Taos mission project and to assist the vine of the Orthodox Church as it takes further root in northern New Mexico.
Heavenly Ladder Bookstore was featured in a recent edition of The Taos News:
A recent article in the Houston Chronicle discusses Antiochian Orthodox Churches in the Houston area and explores trend of American conversion to Orthodoxy:
Like many of his parishioners, Father Richard Petranek came to the Orthodox church in search of the past.
After 30 years as an Episcopalian priest, Petranek converted to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and leads a new but growing parish in west Houston, filled almost entirely with converts to the ancient faith.
"Most people come for the stability," he said. "The same thing that is taught today in the Orthodox church was taught 500 years ago, was taught 1,000 years ago, was taught 1,500 years ago."
At a time when most mainline Christian churches are losing members, Eastern Orthodox churches — which trace their beliefs to the church described in the New Testament - are growing, both in Houston and across the United States.