Diocese of Worcester News
The start of February, 2014 in New England came with a reprieve from the cold weather and storms which had punished the northeast this winter. The climate instead was perfect for the newly organized innovative program, "Diocesan Family Day." The tagline on the flyers for the event read "bringing together our finest...our people and our traditions" and it certainly came true. For many years in the Diocese of Worcester and New England, the Antiochian Women have sponsored the pre-Lenten retreat, and for five years running young people from the parishes have gathered for Youth Day. So the thought this year was, why not combine them, and why not add more events so everyone in the diocesan family can participate? The Family Day, held at the church of St. John of Damascus in Dedham, was, in a word, "fabulous!"
It's time to plan to register for your diocese's regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)! As always, this year's theme, love for God and neighbor, will be the focus of the Creative Festivals, a highlight of the conferences. Youth and organizational meetings, spiritually edifying speakers and services, and social events for kids and adults alike, all make the PLCs one of the Archdiocese's most established and popular traditions.
To facilitate your parish participation in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals, all resources are available in the Festivals 2014 section of Antiochian.org. Additionally, ads for the souvenir journals can be purchased and registrations can be submitted through the Department of Conventions and Conference Planning's Antiochian Events pages.
The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology will host the Boston Byzantine Music Festival at the Maliotis Center on the Holy Cross Brookline, MA campus on February 24–25, 2014. The festival will feature concerts by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir and by the ensemble En Chordais, with lectures by Dr. Emmanouil Giannopoulos, assistant professor at the Higher Ecclesiastical Academy in Ioannina, Greece, and Dr. Kyriakos Kalaitzidis, Faculty of Music Studies, University of Athens.
The festival coincides with the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the New Method of Analytical Notation, a major landmark in the history of Byzantine music.
Individual concert tickets are available for $40.00, or $70 for both concerts. Student tickets can be purchsed for $15.00 per concert. Visit the Festival Website for more information and to order tickets.
Since its inception in 1993 by Charles R. Marge, the Boston Byzantine Choir has endeavored to make Byzantine chant and the Orthodox Christian faith accessible to the English-speaking world. The choir grew out of the rich chanting tradition of St. Mary Orthodox Church with The Very Rev. Antony Hughes, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The choir has sung at universities, parishes and music festivals throughout New England.
In 2007, The Boston Byzantine Choir was honored to participate in "The Ascending Voice," a symposium of sacred a cappella music held at Pepperdine University. The choir has also sung multiple times for Orthodox Education Day at St. Vladimir's Seminary and the Sacred Music Institute of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Boston Byzantine Choir is best known for its five recordings of Byzantine Chant in English, available from Ancient Faith Publishing.
Orthodox Christians from around the U.S. and Canada traveled to Washington D.C. on January 22, 2014 for the 41st March for Life, marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in all fifty states. His Grace Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England represented His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and the Antiochian Archdiocese at the March. After the peaceful march and rally, he wrote:
Only our fingers and toes were chilled; yet our hearts were warmed by the fervor of the crowds, which were not frightened away by the extreme cold and snow. It was an honor to stand and march for life with Orthodox hierarchs including Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Archbishop Nathaniel, and Bishops Michael, Melchisedek, and Mark, and Bishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. It was also a joy to walk with the banners and students from St. Vladimir's and St. Tikhon's Seminaries, and many Orthodox faithful who chanted hymns to the Theotokos as we marched.
Bishop John met with clergy and Parish Council members of ten of the eleven parishes of the Diocese of Worcester and New England on January 11, 2013 at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lowell. After a beautiful liturgy led by the bishop surrounded by all of the presbyters and deacons, Bishop John offered some remarks about the role and mission of the Parish Council. This was followed by a workshop led by Fr. Timothy Ferguson about Orthodox Christian Leadership, oriented to who we are as persons and Christians. The group then brainstormed a list of parish council etiquette for better and more productive parish council meetings.
After a short break to serve lunch, our workshop continued with an open discussion with the bishop concerning the challenges facing our councils today as we minister to a post-Christian world. The group asked for more regular gatherings of the councils of the Diocese and future workshops about stewardship, outreach, evangelism and parishioner commitment.
Download some highlights and notes of the day or select "Read More" to view more photos.
On Monday, November 4, 2013, His Grace Bishop John hosted a retreat given by Archbishop Joseph, Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, for the clergy of the Diocese of Worcester and New England. His Eminence shared his view of the role of bishop, priest and deacon, and explained how the orders interact with each other during his first session.
Following the lunch prepared by Bishop John, His Eminence spoke candidly and personally about the current situation in Syria, it's effect on the Church of Antioch, and the background and history of our Mother Church. The day was beneficial and edifying for the clergy, and provided an opportunity for fellowship and a strengthening of relationships.
Featuring performances by:
- St. Romanos the Melodist Byzantine Choir
- Antiochian Diocese of New England Choir
- Holy Resurrection Bulgarian Orthodox Church Choir, Allston St. Kassia Byzantine Choir
- Hellenic College Holy Cross Chorus
Maliotis Cultural Center Auditorium
Hellenic College Holy Cross
50 Goddard Avenue
For more information, please contact Constantine Limberakis at 617.731.3500 or email@example.com.
On November 7, 2013, His Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita and Mid-America addressed the 430 guests gathered for St. Vladimir's Seminary's 75th Anniversary Gala, a black tie dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees at Glen Island Harbour Club, New Rochelle, NY. A 1973 alumnus of the Seminary, Bishop Basil noted that in speaking for the event, he had come home to "the place that made me all that I am."
The Seminary, he continued, has had a "sustained impact in Orthodoxy throughout the world." Most of the Archdiocese's hierarchs are alumni of St. Vladimir's Seminary, and the current student body numbers many Antiochian students as well.
St. Vladimir's launched the "Bishop Basil Program in Byzantine Liturgical Music" in 2010, when the Board of Trustees presented His Grace with an honorary doctorate and announced the creation of the program in his name. The Seminary's Alumni Association Board Chair Gregory Abdalah (Class of '08) has noted that, "Bishop Basil has had a great influence on the development of Byzantine Music in English.
A conference titled "Divine Compassion: Orthodox Christians in Service of 'Perfect Love'" is being held next month at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology on Thursday November 14 through Saturday November 16, 2013. The conference is being co-sponsored by Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, and Saint Catherine's Vision, a pan-Orthodox association of women theologians and other lay-leaders.
The gathering will provide the opportunity for Orthodox Christians to understand more deeply the reality of Divine Compassion, the eleos of God, and how we are called to bear witness to it within the Church and society.
The Conference will bring together persons who relate a theocentric and philanthropic theology with the real needs of persons. These include clergy, theologians, philanthropists, educators, pastoral care-givers, counselors, first-responders, chaplains, Philoptochos members, health care providers, and students.
By Bishop John Abdalah, Diocese of Worcester and New England, and Editor of The Word
The theme for the Conferences this new Church Year is from the Gospel of Luke: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). God calls us to give all, but only after He has given all! He gives all for us. After God created all, He sent His only begotten Son to redeem the world and share His own love with us. He has joined us to Himself. He calls us to do likewise, sharing His word and Spirit and His love. In so doing, we are joined to be one with Him and one with each other. What our neighbors need most is what we need most: Jesus Christ. What a pity that most of the world still doesn't understand what God has done for the world and what He calls us to be! Calling us to love, with all of our heart, soul and strength, ultimately requires us to be love, as He is love. Loving in God's way allows us to be joined to God in the love of the Holy Trinity. Loving our neighbor means sharing ourselves, sharing God's love, sharing His Oneness. This love leads us to share God with our neighbors. Rather, this love allows us to share God who is in us with each other. Ministering to one another allows us to share in God's own ministry. This ministry is loving with all our heart, soul and strength.
Hellenic College Holy Cross celebrated its 75th Anniversary name day feast with a four-day Jubilee September 12–15, 2013. The event focused on celebrating the history of the community while continuing to highlight the School's significance as, in the words of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, "the heart and the mind of our Church in America." Over the course of the 75 years of the school's existence, many Antiochian students have prepared for the priesthood or lay ministry in the Church through their studies at Holy Cross.
His Eminence presided over festal services as crowds overflowing from the Holy Cross Chapel watched on high-definition video screens under a tent. In the Vespers service on Friday evening, second-year seminarians received their crosses and Masters of Divinity candidates entering their final year of studies received their rasso [cassocks] as families, trustees, and Jubilee visitors came together in prayer, thanksgiving, and celebration.
September 26th is the celebration of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian and the name's day of His Grace Bishop John. May God grant him many years!
Apolytikion of St. John, Tone 2
O Apostle John, speaker of divinity, the beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose bosom thou didst lean accepteth thee as an intercessor. Beseech Him, therefore, to disperse the cloud of the stubborn nations, asking for us safety and the Great Mercy.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip was interviewed this week by Boston's NPR radio station for their Here and Now program concerning the plight of the ancient Orthodox Christian communities of Syria. The interview is available for listening, and as a written transcript, both available here.
His Eminence in particular highlighted his concern for the Monastery of St. Thekla in Maloula, Syria. (Read an appeal for the monastery from the Patriarchate of Antioch here.) Metropolitan Philip said in part:
"My concern is about St. Thecla's Convent and other holy places in Syria, which are threatened. The people of Ma'loula still speak the language of Christ, the Aramaic language, and this is the uniqueness of this town, and we are worried about its destruction. Already 400 families have left from Ma'loula. They fled to Damascus."
The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology & Religion (OCAMPR) has announced the theme of its 2013 Conference in Falls Church, VA at St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church on November 1-2, 2013: "The Clinical and Pastoral Care of the Aging Patient."
Speakers include The Right Rev. Bishop John, Diocese of Worcester and New England, Dr. Helen Kales, geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan, Dr. Brenda O'Reilly, a clinical psychologist in private practice, and The Rev. Dr. Anthony Ugolnik, Emeritus Professor of Ethics and Humanities at Franklin and Marshall College.
The 75th Parish Life Conference will be held from June 27-30, 2013, at the Wyndham Hotel in Andover, MA. Buy your tickets early and book your hotel rooms by May 30. Go HERE to register
Online Registration available for Event Registration, Sponsorship or General Donations by clicking Here: www.antiochianevents.org/96
**Note the Parent Consent and Teen’s Code of Conduct forms are required regardless if the minors’ parent(s) is at the conference or not! These forms must be completed, signed and turned in at registration in order to receive their Conference Badge, which is required to participate in any Conference activity. Forms are available on the Saint George Lowell website: http://www.SaintGeorgeLow...
Also, get your tickets for New England's Got Taste and Talent by May 10. Tickets will NOT be sold at the door. They are $20 for Adults and $10 for Children under 12. Please send in the ticket purchase form along with your checks; download the form HERE.
There is still time for you to register for your diocese's "family reunion" this summer, your regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)! The theme for this year, "The End of History...The Last Judgment," will be the focus of the Creative Festivals, a highlight of the conferences. Youth and organizational meetings, spiritually edifying speakers and services, and social events for kids and adults alike, all make the PLCs one of the Archdiocese's most established and popular traditions. Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page for full information.
First up is the Diocese of Wichita PLC, kicking off on June 5 in Kansas City. St. Basil Orthodox Church hosts the PLC at the Westin Kansas City Hotel in downtown Kansas City, "one of America's Best downtowns" according to Forbes magazine.
[Yonkers, NY/ SVOTS Communications] From May 26 to June 26, 2013, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will be offering six continuing education programs, of varied and unique interest, including a class for academic credit. Register before May 15, 2013, to have the $50 registration fee waived!
Sunday, May 26–Sunday, June 2, 2013
“A Journey in the Sacred Arts: Iconography Workshop for College-Age Youth,” designed for college-age students and endorsed by Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), — Khouria Erin Kimmet, Annunciation Press Icons, iconographer and workshop leader
Friday, May 31–Saturday June 1, 2013
“Conference on Poverty” — The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, SVOTS chancellor/CEO and conference coordinator’ and participants Jay Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and Susan R. Holman, adjunct lecturer at Episcopal Divinity School and senior writer at Harvard Global Health Institute
April 16, 2013
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Within hours of the deadly series of explosions that left three people dead and more than 100 injured at yesterday's Boston Marathon, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston called upon International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Frontliners – the emergency response network of IOCC – to be dispatched to several Boston crisis counseling centers set up overnight. Four Frontliners, Orthodox clergy experienced and trained in emergency response, will take on the task of assessing the needs of those affected by the tragedy and providing crisis counseling at local emergency care centers set up throughout the city.
Bishop John Abdalah, Diocese of Worcester and New England, expressed his thanks to Metropolitan Philip and all of the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese for their support and love. "Many of our faithful were running and participating in the marathon while others watched the events develop through the media," he noted. "All of us in New England are grateful for the love and support of our Archdiocese."
"Let us not be deterred by this cowardly act of hatred," said Metropolitan Methodios, "but stand united in the exercise of freedom and justice, as we pray for peace and love to reign in our society."
IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou will continue to coordinate the emergency response; all the Orthodox faithful have been asked to assist in the emergency response by donating blood at the local Red Cross donation centers throughout the region.
On February 7-9, 2013, Orthodox Christian mental health professionals, clergy, professors, lay ministers and seminarians gathered on the campus of Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology for a conference entitled "Pastoral Challenges in Marriage: O God, Replenish Their Life with All Good Things." Sponsored by the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the conference tackled some of the most serious pastoral challenges in marriage facing the Church today. The Right Rev. Bishop John Abdalah, auxiliary for the Antiochian Diocese of Worcester and New England, offered this first keynote address on Thursday morning entitled "Marriage: An Opportunity for Spiritual Growth and Discovering the Living God." His Grace holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care and has worked as pastoral counselor and therapist for 30 years.
Friday evening May 17, 2013 will be a night to remember! As part of the program for the 2013 Parish Life Conference, Saint George of Lowell will be hosting the event “New England’s Got Taste – New England’s Got Talent”. The event will take place in the hall of our sister parish, St. John of Damascus Antiochian Orthodox Church in Dedham, starting at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Only advanced purchased tickets will be allowed to enter; we will not be selling any tickets at the door. All event proceeds will be used to help keep conference prices affordable for all.
On Saturday evening of the Conference (June 29th), we are planning a take-off on the popular TV show "America’s Got Talent" with a twist - it will be a showcase of the best talent in our Diocese! The May 17 event will serve as the elimination round for the June 29th Conference event. Each church in our diocese may submit up to three acts to participate in the elimination round, from which the final participants in the June 29 event will be selected. Acts can be anything from singing to dancing to comedy to magic…the only limit is your imagination! A panel of impartial judges and you, the audience, will decide who goes on to the finals at the Conference. Please see the attached rules for the event. There will be prizes for the TOP 5 winners at the Conference!
In addition to this elimination talent round, there will be a food challenge on May 17, called “New England’s Got Taste”. Before the show, everyone will be able to sample appetizers prepared by our parishes. Everyone who attends will be given five votes to use to vote for the appetizers that they enjoy the most.
Theophany School is hosting its next Open House on March 11-14, from 9:30-11:30 am! Come and see how our teachers create a lifetime love of learning through our engaging thematic curriculum in a nurturing Orthodox Christian environment right in Needham, MA. We offer a multi-age learning experience with small class sizes and engaging curriculum for children ages 2.9 through 6 years old. Current programs include: a 2-day, 3-day and 5-day Preschool option, and a full day Pre-K/Kindergarten.
Visit our website or call us at 781-444-3058 for more information.
"Glory be to Thee Who hast shown us the light!" On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, the booming voice of His Grace The Right Rev. John Abdalah, bishop for the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England and the longtime editor of The Word magazine, announced the Feast of the Three Great Hierarchs. Saints Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom are the patrons of the St. Vladmir's Seminary (SVOTS) Three Hierarchs Chapel in Yonkers, New York.
The three hierarchs presiding over the Divine Liturgy included Bishop John (SVOTS Class of '84), His Grace The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn for the Archdiocese, and His Grace The Right Rev. Maxim, bishop of the Western Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.
"Come Receive the Light," the flagship program for the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), is featuring an interview with The Right Rev. Bishop John (Abdalah), Diocese of Worcester and New England. In the podcast "Christmas and Loss," Fr. Chris Metropulos, Executive Director of OCN, asks Bishops John to offer thoughts out of his own personal experience, to those who have suffered a great loss in the past year and are dealing with the holidays while still in grief. "We need time to adjust," notes Bishop John. "It is normal and healthy to experience depression, anger and frustration, because we've experienced something we don't like, and we didn't want."
Bishop John emphasizes that people are unique in the way they process loss. "Each of us is different and should be given the respect to figure out what really does work out best for us." He also notes that as Christians, we aren't alone, even when it feels that way. "When you suffer a loss, you feel alone, and isolated. Christ comes to us, to join us in our misery, showing us that our misery is temporary, that He cares about us and loves us—the light at the end of the tunnel is the empty tomb."
On the first Sunday in December, Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) is inviting all parishes to participate in YES Awareness Day. A ministry of The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS), YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in cities around the United States. An upcoming YES weekend, sponsored by St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Pawtucket, RI, is scheduled for Friday, December 14, through Sunday, December 16, in Providence.
Notes Director Katrina Bitar, "We would be so grateful if you took the time to share our ministry with your community and helped to raise funds that will enable us to meet the needs of the people we serve." A letter which can be read in parishes during the YES Sunday observance, reads in part:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we approach the Nativity of our Lord, I am blessed today to have the opportunity to share with you, the YES Program—Youth Equipped to Serve—of FOCUS North America.