It was the joy and delight of the faithful of Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico to welcome His Grace Bishop Basil on the weekend of October 30-31, 2010. In addition to the Divine Services, the weekend centered around a townhall-style meeting in which His Grace discussed the pan-Orthodox Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held in May 2010. Besides members of the Holy Trinity community, the meeting drew in visitors and clergy from nearby OCA and ROCOR churches.
Sayedna Basil presented a detailed background history of the Assembly of Bishops, accompanied by many stories of his work and meetings as EA Secretary. He particularly emphasized the need for Orthodox laypersons to contribute to the work of the EA in their areas of expertise. While acknowledging that events will unfold in God’s time, His Grace communicated an enthusiastic hope that the work of the EA may begin to bear fruits for Orthodoxy in America far sooner than many people might expect.
On October 23, 2010, Sayedna Basil, Bishop of Wichita and the Diocese of Mid-America, was the celebrant the Thyranoixia (Opening the Doors of a Church Temple) at the newly completed Holy Ascension Orthodox Mission in Norman, Oklahoma. The V. Rev. Justin McFeeters, Pastor of Holy Ascension, the V. Rev. Constantine Nasr of St. Elijah Church of Oklahoma City, as well as other local Orthodox priests, assisted His Grace. Great Vespers followed immediately. Bishop Basil celebrated a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy the next morning.
A crowd of over 150 attended the blessing of the church building. Later that evening a banquet was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel with attendees from throughout the Diocese and included many local guests. In his keynote address, Bishop Basil commended the members of the congregation for their faith, hard work and commitment to the realization of this holy endeavor. The completion of the project is all the more amazing due to the extremely small size of the parish family.
The ground breaking ceremony for the new temple was held on January 29, 2009. Many obstacles were overcome in the construction project, including the relocation of a natural gas pipeline, delaying sever winter weather conditions, and forced compliance with innumerable local governmental regulations not actually appropriate for the building of a church. By the grace of God, the temple was completed with its first service of Great Vespers being served on Saturday, August 14, 2010.
Orthodox Christian Laity's website reports that the Antiochian parish in Salt Lake City hosted OCL's 23rd Annual Meeting on October 15-16. Notes the site, "Following Friday 6:00 pm Vespers at Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church hosted by Father Justin and his community, a joyous and informative fellowship and pot luck discussion followed. The topic was: 'The Impressions of His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah and His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel concerning the completion of the gathering of all Canonical Orthodox Bishops in May 2010 in New York to begin the process of developing a unifed Orthodox Church in the United States.'
Friday night program speakers included His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah and His Eminence Archbishop, providing their impressions of the May meeting of Bishops and the work that needs to be done...(towards) a unified Orthodox Church in the United States. The audience was attentive and asked good questions. Many were amazed on how difficult it is to become Orthodox Christians."
80th Anniversary Celebration
10th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Cathedral
and the Burning of the Mortgage
September 10-12, 2010
Click here for a gallery of pictures from the weekend
What a week-end!! We had so much to celebrate and be thankful for. We began by welcoming His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, at the airport on Friday afternoon. Fr. Ghattas, Fr. Boulos, Lebanon’s Charge D’affaires, Mr. George Zeid, City of Ottawa Mayor, Mr. Larry O’Brien, along with members of the Parish Council and the Organizing Committee gathered for an enthusiastic welcome. We were so grateful that Metropolitan Philip was able to celebrate this momentous occasion with us.
Saturday’s events began when members of the Organizing Committee were treated to a lovely luncheon with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and His Grace Bishop Alexander at our Parish home. Daniel Abraham, Chairman of The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, was also present with us for the luncheon and all our week-end festivities. Khouriya Helene, as usual, prepared a delicious lunch including the Metropolitan’s favourite - Kibbee Nayeh.
Fr. Noah Bushelli writes:
By God's grace, the prayers for many, and the wisdom, love, and forbearance of Sayedna Philip and Sayedna Thomas, much good for the Kingdom of God is being accomplished here at St. Philip Church in Souderton, Pennsylvania.
We were recently blessed with an special visit from Bishop Thomas, October 7-10.
On Thursday, Sayedna accompanied myself and Cranford Coulter, the founder and director of The King's Jubilee to Center City Philadelphia where a food, clothing, and a good word was shared with about 150 homeless and hungry people. (For more on The King's Jubilee see www.shoutforjoy.net)
An article in the Food and Living section of the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia, has reported on an upcoming festival at St. George Cathedral which will feature icons. Keynote speaker Paul Finley, Executive Director of Antiochian Village, will be speaking on the topic "Icons, Not Idols: A Call to Christians to Give Their Sight to God."
The parish hopes to reach out to art lovers as well as those who already appreciate the intrinsic religious value of icons.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
Explains the Charlotte Ferrell Smith of the Daily Mail, "Featured iconographers from Pennsylvania include Michael Goltz of Pittsburgh; Michael Kapeluck of Carnegie; Nicholas Papas of Greensburg, and Cheryl Ann Pituch of Davidsville.
Father Andrew, a monk at the Holy Cross Hermitage in Wayne County, also will be on hand both days to demonstrate the process of painting an icon. Some refer to the process as writing an icon.
'Iconographers are theologians who write icons just like scripture is written,' said Father Olof Scott of St. George Cathedral.
'Laymen and priests do them. It involves preparation and prayer before starting. Iconography began in the first century. St. Luke was an iconographer who wrote the image of Jesus Christ.'"
On the weekend of September 17-19th, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip consecrated St. John Chrysostom Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. St. John Chrysostom was founded by His Eminence in 1978 as a Pan-Orthodox Mission in northeast Indiana. After over 30 years of growth in the Fort Wayne community, the parish erected a new church complex with a grand worship space, classroom education facilities and a large family room area for fellowship of the Orthodox Community. The new church's altar was consecrated on September 19th by Metropolitan Philip, with Archdeacon Hans Elhayek; parish priest Fr. Anthony Michaels; Fr. Nabil Hanna, dean of the Indiana deanery; Fr. George Smith, priest in residence; Fr. Joseph Rahall, founding priest of the mission; and clergy friends from around the Midwest.
Local Orthodox clergy, and parishioners and friends of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma gathered on Sunday evening, September 19, 2010, to offer thanks to God and to celebrate a milestone in the life of our parish. For ninety years the vine that was transplanted from Lebanon by immigration and then firmly established by the coming of Fr. Shukrallah Shadid as founding pastor in 1920 has grown and flourished. Today St. Elijah continues to offer the ancient worship, now in a large and modern temple; and she continues to proclaim the Word of God to a world in need of salvation.
A pre-banquet social hour began at 6pm, with attendees renewing acquaintances and reminiscing about old times. At 7pm all were invited to take their seats and hear St. Elijah’s choir perform three beautiful hymns under the direction of longtime choir director Alexander Mamary. They sang “I Leave You My Peace,” “Rejoice, O Virgin,” and “From the Rising of the Sun.”
Fr. Constantine Nasr offered the invocation, then James Farha (Chair of the Ninetieth Anniversary Committee, and Banquet Master of Ceremonies) introduced the evening’s program. While a delicious meal catered by Ned and Stacy Shadid was served, a slide show was screened entitled “Coming to America,” which had been prepared for the parish’s 75th Anniversary by Harvey Homsey and Karla Cohlmia. The historic photos stirred memories and were met with applause, and at times tears.
Bishop Basil writes:
May it be blessed! This past Saturday, October 2nd, 2010, the holy table at the new church temple of St. Basil the Great Church in Kansas City, Kansas was consecrated during divine services celebrated by myself, and assisted by the proistamenos Fr. Elias Issa and sixteen other priests and deacons. The relics of the Holy Hieromartyr Blaise the Bishop of Sebaste were sealed in the cavity in the holy table.
Over the course of several days in September 2010, the clergy and faithful of Holy Cross Church in Linthicum, MD, were blessed by a visit from His Grace, Bishop Thomas. Several events, liturgical and otherwise, were held during this period, giving the faithful multiple opportunities to greet, speak with, and be blessed by Sayedna.
Early in the week, the clergy and many of the faithful journeyed with His Grace to St. Mary Church in Hunt Valley, MD to join that congregation in the celebration of their Patronal Feast (Nativity of the Theotokos). Father Theodoros Daoud and the congregation welcomed us and provided a wonderful reception after the Liturgy.
On Wednesday, September 8, Holy Cross members and others met in the Parish Hall to hear an address by Bishop Thomas' spiritual son Dr. Tristram Engelhardt, entitled "After Christendom: Living in an Aggressively Post-Christian World." The address was well-received and discussion was vigorous and thoughtful.