At the Antiochian House of Studies, lawyers and judges, politicians and correction officers, teachers and professors, theologians and pastors from a variety of Christian communions, business men and accountants, computer programmers and scientists, nurses and psychologists, clerks and grocers study theology. Basically, we find in the House of studies all the same kind of folks that we find in the parishes. Could it be that people in the Church are discovering a need to better understand and articulate the faith as the world becomes more complicated, or could it be that as the world falls again into ancient heresies and prideful self-delusions, church people recognize the need to learn how the Church dealt with such distortions in the past? God ordains each of us in baptism to His Royal Priesthood. In Christ, everyone is called by His name; The Christian participates in Christ’s own priesthood praising the Father and caring for mankind. Each of us baptized into Christ share in Christ’s own priesthood, bringing man to God and God to man. This is our common vocation and our shared and common life.
In parishes, we are faced with new and difficult challenges. Yet these challenges are not new at all. The Church has dealt with them before, so to meet the need to teach and witness in this new time, we need to rediscover the wisdom and history of our Church. Ministry today is indeed different from ministry in previous generations, but the delusions and heresies of our time are really recycled ancient ideologies.
Also, with more complicated life styles come more complicated challenges and temptations. In our highly technological age, with internet temptations and easier access to sinful things, we need to fortify ourselves and each other to fight the good fight and avoid such things. We should expect to do hard work in exercising self-control in a world that preaches self-pleasure and claims that hedonism is a human right. In the Garden of Eden, we learned that we could have everything if we submit to our loving, and by the way, healthy God. If we submit to God we can have everything that is good and wonderful, but without God and worshiping ourselves instead we will have only illusions and distortions. The world calls this delusion wisdom, but we know it to be foolishness.
The House of Studies is one of many ways to learn of the early church and better prepare ourselves to meet the needs of our families in our time. Let’s Work with our priests to bring high powered programs and speakers to our parishes and towns.
|Clockwise from top left: Bishop Thomas thanks Fr. Joseph Allen and Sherri Mullins for their years of service to the House of Studies; Frs. Joseph Allen and George Shalhoub serve Artoklasia; Fr. Joseph Allen addresses the crowd during the House of Studies’ Closing Program; Cindy George speaks on behalf of the graduating class of the St. Stephen’s Program; Bishops Thomas and John with the faculty and students of the House of Studies; Graduation Banquet; Bishops Thomas and John bless the Artoklasia.|