May 27-29 was a weekend like no other! For months we prepared for this holy consecration event…not knowing what to expect. But we knew we had to be ready! We built a new iconostasis! We had new icons written for the occasion! We re-constructed the altar area to be suitable for Orthodox worship! And we built a new altar table! And now the weekend was upon us. Sayidna Philip was to consecrate the Church of the Virgin Mary in Alsip, Illinois!
Words cannot express the extent of our happiness at having His Eminence, Sayidna Philip consecrate our Holy Church. It was the wishes of our Pastor, the Rev. Father Mousa Haddad, and the entire congregation that he visit us. Also, since this would be his first visit to our community, it was befitting that he would consecrate our house of worship. Committees worked hard to prepare for this holy and historic visit. We welcomed Sayidna Philip and we were honored to have Sayidna Antoun also join us for this historic weekend. Also, we were grateful for the presence and assistance of Archdeacon Hans El-Hayek.
With great joy the congregation of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Beckley, West Virginia and its priest, Fr. Samuel Haddad, were pleased to receive His Grace Bishop Thomas for a visit to the parish on the weekend of the Fourth Sunday of Pascha, May 13–15, 2011.
The busy weekend schedule got underway Friday evening when Sayidna met with the parish council. Members had the opportunity to tell His Grace about progress that St. Nicholas has made during the previous year, including the installation of a beautiful Christ Pantocrator icon written by iconographer Matthew Garrett, new carpeting for the church, and continued growth of the congregation. Parish council members also discussed the ongoing work of various parish organizations, including the Women of the Holy Myrrh Bearers. The women’s group operates a soup kitchen called Carpenter’s Corner on the first Monday of each month, offers financial support to the local crisis pregnancy center, helps gather food for a nearby food pantry, and undertakes many other charitable endeavors, seeking whenever possible to provide assistance to those in need. In addition, the Myrrh Bearers contribute substantially to the Parish Building Fund and support all these efforts through organizing and leading the parish’s annual baklava baking project.
"Christ is Risen!" "Indeed He is Risen!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn New York, in the early morning hours of April 24. 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.
Video of portions of the service is also available, provided by Fr. Thomas. Click here to view the Pascha video on YouTube.
It has been become a tradition and a blessing that Metropolitan Philip celebrates Palm Sunday with the parish of St. George, Little Falls, NJ. This year, like the others in recent memory, the rainy April skies cleared for beautiful Sunday, perfect for a procession with palms. 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. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir'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.
Following the Gospel reading, Saidna addressed the congregation briefly then invited Fr. John Behr to deliver the homily for the day. Following the Eucharist, His Eminence and the gathered clergy led a procession of 500+ parishioners around the church, ending with the reading of the Gospel while the young children of St. George sat at the altar steps. Finally, Saidna gave the blessing and expressed his fondness for our parish, Christine Lynch and the St. George Choir, and thanked all those who chanted, served and participated in this Feast Day.
Claire Brandenburg, founder of Holy Annunciation Chapel and manager of the Heavenly Ladder Bookstore in Taos, New Mexico, speaks with Bobby Maddox about her efforts to spread Orthodoxy in northern New Mexico and about a new CD featuring the writings of Archpriest Sergius of Kasimov.
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.