On October 30-31, 2010, the congregation of St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Church, located in Chantilly, Virginia, and its priest, Fr. Thomas Palke, gratefully received His Grace Bishop Thomas. Bishop Thomas' visit was his first to the mission since the mission's move to Chantilly from nearby Centreville, Virginia, where we had met for four years. Sayedna Thomas presided at Great Vespers on October 30, during which he offered words of instruction, admonition, and encouragement to the congregation. Afterward, the congregation enjoyed dinner and a mini-concert from violinist Michael Munayer, a member of St. Raphael's. Over dessert, Sayedna spoke briefly and opened the floor for questions from the faithful. Among other topics, he discussed with the faithful the prospect of administrative unity among the Orthodox churches in America. Joining the mission for the evening's events were Fr. John Anderson, attached priest of St. Raphael, Fr. Patrick Cardine of St. Patrick's Orthodox Church in Warrenton, VA, Fr. Nicholas Aflord of St. Gregory the Great Orthodox Church in Washington, D.C., and Deacon Peter Maris of Holy Cross Orthodox Church of Linthicum, Maryland.
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.
On November 13, 2010, the parish of St. John Chrysostom Church in York, Pennsylvania warmly welcomed His Grace Bishop Thomas on the occasion of their annual patronal feast day celebration. Sayidna Thomas began the weekend festivities by attending a dinner with the parish council members and their spouses on Friday evening.
On Saturday morning, His Grace presided at the Divine Liturgy concelebrated by the Very Reverend Fr. Peter Pier, pastor of St. John Chrysostom and Reverend Stephen Vernak of Christ the Savior OCA Church in Harrisburg. Following Divine Liturgy, Sayidna enjoyed breakfast and interaction with the children in the parish hall. In the afternoon, the Teen SOYO met with Bishop Thomas for a session of “Ask Sayidna.” Great Vespers was then concelebrated by Fr. Peter and Fr. Nicholas Alford of St. Gregory the Great Church in Washington D.C., with Bishop Thomas presiding. Following Great Vespers, a gala banquet was held at nearby Heritage Hills Resort.
Josephine Katzbach ("Josie"), a parishioner at St. Matthew Orthodox Church in North Royalton, Ohio, has returned from Haiti, where she successfully delivered 2200 flip flops for those in need.
An experience in Haiti was the source for Josie’s idea. Months ago while she worked there in a clinic building project, several aid workers had to escort an ill woman from a clinic in town back up the mountain. Struck by her lack of material possessions, Josie literally gave the woman the clothes off her back, with the exception of her ﬂip-flops, the only shoes that would fit Josie's swollen feet. So when she and her friend returned to Chicago, inspiration struck and Josie said, “Hey, I have an idea. Let’s do ‘ﬂip-ﬂops for Haiti.’”
Josie is no stranger to helping others. She takes food and water to the homeless in Cleveland twice a month with parishioners from St. Matthew’s or St. George of Cleveland. A “life-changing experience”– that’s how Josie describes her first trip to Haiti. Although the city’s poverty and devastation are great, the poverty is even more extreme in the mountains. “They are the poorest of the poor,” says Katzbach. The earthquake did not have as much of an effect on them; instead, poverty is a way of life.
On October 26, 2010, St. Matthew's held a fund raiser: "Flip Flops For Haiti All You Can Eat Italian Dinner." All proceeds went to benefit shipping and the distribution of flip flops. Josie's husband Mark and her sister Antonette chaired the affair, and the people of St. Matthew came forward and ate and gave, enabling Josephine to return to Haiti with several thousand shoes. Josie was able to distribute several hundred, while a Catholic priest and nun offered to deliver the remaining shoes to those in need.
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.'"