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Diocese of Charleston News

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Theodore Mikovich

On May 5th, 2016 the Very Rev. Archpriest Theodore J. Mikovich, formerly of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, reposed in the Lord. May his memory be eternal!

From the St. Paul Church website:

The Very Rev. Archpriest Theodore J. Mikovich (affectionately known as “Fr. Ted”) was born on September 18, 1945, to Orthodox parents, John and Anna (Goida) Mikovich in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania, with two sisters, Helen (Berezniak) and Dorothy (Macenka). He was baptized by the Rev. John Zeliniak in St. John’s American Russian Orthodox Church (American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese) in Nesquehoning. It was in this church that as a young boy he served as an acolyte. It was also at St. John’s that he began a life long career in teaching when he became a student religious education teacher. There he received the Boy Scouts of America “God and Country” Award, known in the Orthodox Church as the Alpha Omega Award.

2016 Paschal Letter From Bishop Thomas

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2016

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us— you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world. Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honor our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died. (St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 1.4)

The great sacrifice that Christ our High Priest has made for us on the Cross, the sacrifice which enables our sanctification when we partake of it worthily, has been fulfilled for us in the resurrection of Jesus, the first-born from the dead (Col. 1:18).

What has been offered is shown to be a perfect Offering well-pleasing to God, as Jesus Christ is both Offerer and Offering, the One Who both distributes and is distributed in this sacrifice given for us.

Upcoming BeeTreat for Youth: From YouTube to You!

BeeTreat: From YouTube to You!

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Youth & Parents / Youth Workers start time: 9:30 a.m. 
Young Adults start @ 7:00 p.m.

Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral
24 W. Preston St.
Baltimore, MD  21201

Register here
Visit us on Facebook

 

Syrian Relief Gathering to Benefit IOCC's Middle East Outreach

On Sunday, April 17, 2016 the IOCC Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee plans to hold a prayer service and fund raising dinner that will benefit our Syrian brothers and sisters. This "Syrian Relief" gathering will be held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. We would like to cordially invite your Parish to attend, and support IOCC's aid efforts in Syria. The recent conflict has been devastating. It has resulted in the displacement of a substantial percentage of the population which is now hungry, homeless, and lacking essential items. (Please see below)

Last year Archbishop Melchisedek, Metropolitan Savas, Bishop Thomas, Bishop Dr. Mitrophan, Bishop Daniel and Metropolitan Theodosius (retired) lead our Syrian Relief gathering. This year we are hoping to more fully engage all of the Orthodox jurisdictions and faithful in this Orthodox offering of love, prayer, and mercy. Please join us!

Purchase a Spot in the 2016 PLC Souvenir Journal

Greetings Antiochian Orthodox Family!

The deadline for purchasing a spot in the 2016 Parish Life Conference Souvenir Journal is April 15th.

https://www.antiochianeve...

Please take a look at pricing options and choose what you'd like to create. We have a team to assist you in design and layout of your church ad, your business or a family photo. We'd also love to see personalized writings of how the church has changed you in a positive way; a shout-out to someone who has inspired you. Get creative!! The journals are a great fundraiser for our archdiocese and read by over 500 people! Only 2 more weeks to get your ad in our popular souvenir journal!

Orthodox Center at Eastern University Announces New Summer Program

Advanced High School students and recent graduates can earn college credit while studying Orthodox literature
July 7-14, 2016
Application deadline: May 2, 2016
Program website
Download Brochure (PDF)

March 14, 2016 (St. Davids, Pa.) — What do Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, and Alexandros Papadiamantis all have in common?

They are some of the celebrated Orthodox Christian authors whose works students will read and discuss during a new honors program offered this July at Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia.

The Summer Program for Young Orthodox Scholars, sponsored by the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture, will provide promising High School and transfer students the opportunity to earn college credit while challenging themselves intellectually and spiritually. Participants will live in residence on the university's campus from July 7th to the 14th with a select group of peers, engaged in rigorous coursework and discussion of Great Books by Orthodox Christian literary figures.

St. Emmelia Homeschooling Conference at Antiochian Village + April 7-10, 2016

Does your family homeschool? Are you considering homeschooling? If so, plan now to attend the St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference, scheduled for April 7-10, 2016 at the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center outside Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

This year, keynote addresses will be delivered by Fr. Noah Bushelli, Pastor of St. Philip Orthodox Church in Souderton, PA, homeschooling dad, and Director of the Department of Homeschooling for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. Fr. Noah will present the topic of Homeschooling and the Marriage Relationship.

Costs are as follows:

Early Bird - Before March 15th
Single Adult/Married couple - $82
Each child 3 and over - $32

Regular Pricing - March 16 to 28
Single Adult/Married Couple - $92
Each child 3 and over - $37

Conference schedule
Registration

Rooms and meals are separate - click here for pricing.

The conference offers workshops for both experienced and beginning homeschoolers alike, with simultaneous activity sessions for children ages 3 and up.

Our weekend is both educational and retreat-like, with many opportunities for worship and fellowship with other Orthodox homeschooling families. Workshops cover topics of interest to inquiring, beginning, veteran homeschoolers and supporting spouses. If your entire family cannot attend, we welcome solo attendees, as well!

Winter 2016 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Winter 2016 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of New York, the Archdiocesan District and the Diocese of Charleston! The issue contains:

  • The Sanctification of Our Parish Life by His Grace Bishop Thomas
  • A message from St. Barbara's Monastery
  • Profiles of diocesan officers

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Bishop Thomas Visits Saint Andrew the Apostle in Lewes, DE

His Grace Bishop Thomas was welcomed to the mission community of Saint Andrew the Apostle in Lewes, Delaware by Fr. Boniface Black and enthusiastic parishioners on the beautiful fall weekend of October 17-18, 2015.

Saturday Vespers, Sunday Orthros and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy were well attended and the choir was outstanding. The Antiochian Women provided hospitality to parishioners and visitors after Vespers and again after the Sunday Divine Services. Among those visiting were Deacon Herman Acker and family from Saint Philip Church in Souderton, PA; and Subdeacon Jason Flowers and family from Saint John Chrysostom Church in York, PA. On Sunday morning, three new members were inducted into the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

On January 1, 2016, Saint Andrew the Apostle moved forward from its "mission status" to a fully recognized church in the Archdiocese. A building expansion program is currently under way to provide more worship and classroom space, and a new kitchen and fellowship hall.

St. Tikhon's Announces New Scholarships for Antiochian Seminarians

February 11, 2016 (South Canaan, PA) — St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary has announced the creation of three new scholarships for students who attend the seminary with the blessing of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

“It is a great joy to announce the creation of these three new full scholarships,” His Eminence Archbishop Michael, Seminary Rector, said. “The scholarships will cover tuition, room, and board, allowing these seminarians to focus on their priestly formation and enter ministry in the Holy Orthodox Church without any debt.”

The scholarships, named in honor of three current hierarchs in the Antiochian church, are: The Patriarch John X Scholarship, The Metropolitan Joseph Scholarship, and The Bishop Thomas Scholarship.

14th Annual Orthodox Camp and Youth Workers' Conference Meets in Dallas

Over 80 clergy and lay youth and camp workers gathered in Dallas, TX for this year's Orthodox Camp and Youth Workers' Conference. This annual conference is sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Camp Association and the leaders of all the different jurisdiction's youth departments. The Orthodox Church in America hosted at their Saint Seraphim's Cathedral here in Dallas. There was a large delegation representing camping and youth ministry from the Antiochian Archdiocese led by His Grace Bishop Thomas.

New Inspirational Resources Available from the Diocese of Charleston

Thanks to His Grace Bishop Thomas and the clergy of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, a new collection of inspirational readings is now available at www.antiochian.org/charleston/readings. The series "Spiritual Notes from the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic" (formerly "Notes from Bishop Thomas"), complied by Fr. Daniel Meyer, offers teachings selected from Sayedna Thomas' treasured collection of essays, articles, homilies and more, including many rare pieces from earlier decades of The Word. "Diocese of Charleston Bible Study" is a study of scripture from Fr. Stephen DeYoung and includes weekly scripture texts, reflections on the readings, and questions for further contemplation. In "Spiritual Nuggets from the Diocese of Charleston," Fr. Noah Bushelli provides brief reflections and quotations from Church fathers as a source of concise spiritual edification.

All three series are updated weekly, and Spiritual Notes and Bible Study pieces are also available in PDF format for easy download and printing. May God reward the efforts of Bishop Thomas and his dedicated priests in providing spiritual nourishment to the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese and all those who seek to hear the Word of God!

2015 Nativity Greetings from Bishop Thomas

NATIVITY OF CHRIST 2015

Our Saviour, dearly-beloved, was born today: let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord, the destroyer of sin and death, finds none free from the charge, so He comes to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to being pardoned. Let the Gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fullness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on Him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered.
– St. Leo the Great, Sermon 21 on the Nativity of Christ

The universality of what is begun in Christ's coming to our earth should give us all hope. He did not come only as the Messiah of the Jews, but also as the Christ Who invites all of us to life. He did not come only to give salvation and victory to the saint but also pardon and gladness to the sinner, transforming him into a saint.

Diocese of Charleston Holds Clergy Synaxis at Antiochian Village

Fr. Noah Bushelli writes:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 134:1)

The priests of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic enjoyed a few days of "Indian Summer" at Antiochian Village. This came at the perfect time for me, after the crown of Church's New Year and re-energizing the ministry programs after the summer.

I especially appreciated the time in discussion and fellowship with our beloved Bishop Thomas, and all our brother clergy. The Village is a perfect setting for this, with serene and scenic trails, comfortable gathering spaces, and the grounds hallowed by the relics of saints, the resting place of our beloved hierarchs, and prayers of campers. If all of this free exchange of ideas weren't enough, we "the shirts" came back to beat "the cassocks" in bocce on the back lawn!

The services were beautifully celebrated with hearty singing and punctuated with very profound sermons. I especially am grateful that in the sunset service we had in the cemetery a memorial for Metropolitan Philip and a supplication to St. Raphael.

We had our pastoral vision refocused by a presentation of Dn. Paul Abernathy about his ministry in inner city Pittsburgh's FOCUS Center. He related that all of Christian life, especially ministry, requires a step of faith. He told stories demonstrating how we must listen to people before we can help them. He reminded us that we can't be afraid to preach the truth, even in the face of our national crises, social ills, and the need to raise money.

Paul Abernathy Ordained to Holy Diaconate

His Grace Bishop Thomas writes:

Beloved in Christ, May God bless you always. May God grant many years to the newly ordained Deacon Paul Abernathy and his wife Kristina. Deacon Paul was ordained this morning at the church of Ss. Peter and Paul at the Antiochian Village. He is attached currently to St. George Church in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.

Blessed Namesday to Bishop Thomas!

His Grace Bishop Thomas' namesday is October 6, Thomas the Apostle of the Twelve. Many years, Master!

Read Notes from Bishop Thomas

Read about St. Thomas the Apostle

Thomas, the faithful servant and disciple of Christ, filled with divine grace, cried out from the depth of his love: "You are my Lord and my God!"
Kontakion — Tone 4

Bishop Thomas Celebrates Feast Day with St. Mary, Hunt Valley, MD

September 8 is always a very special and blessed day for our parish, St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Hunt Valley, MD, in which we celebrate the Nativity of our Mother and the Mother of the Lord.  This year, 2015, we were even more blessed by the visit of our beloved Bishop Thomas. Together, we moved to our new church building.  

Moreover, together we shared the joy of our newly purchased nineteen-acre lot surrounding our current six-acre lot, which was graciously donated by four of our friends: Mr. Nick and Jeanne Tsakalos, and Dr. George and Anna Lazar.  This lot will open the door for a new era in the life of St. Mary.  
All the glory be to the Lord, our dear Archdiocese, and our beloved parish.

Registration is Open for OCF Winter College Conferences

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conferences 2015 will be held from December 28-31st at both the Antiochian Village in PA, and St. Nicholas Ranch in CA. The Keynote Speakers are Rev. Fr. Apostolos Hill (West) and Sr. Vassa Larin (East). Registration is now open for the conferences. In 2015, $100.00 scholarships are being offered to those students in need.


LINKS
College Conference
College Conference East 2015
College Conference West 2015
Scholarship Application

Invitation to Attend Vigil at St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery, Glenville, PA

September 10, 2015

Beloved and most Reverend Fathers, Mothers, and Friends of St. Thekla's Monastery,

God be with you all.

The Lord is Wondrous in His Saints.
St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery in, Glenville, Pa, will be celebrating an all night vigil for, St. Thekla, on the 25th of September, at 8:00pm. We would be greatly blessed by your attendance and prayers.

Please, refer to the following contact information, so that we have an idea of how many may be coming:

Email: protomartyrthekla@hotmailcom
Land line: 717-630-8298
Cell: 443-244-0207

Keep us in your prayers.

Your unworthy servant in Christ,
Mother Justina

Bishop Thomas Visits St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church

Bishop Thomas visited St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA, over the weekend of August 22 and 23, 2015. During his visit he presided over Great Vespers which was followed by a covered dish dinner provided by the parishioners. On Sunday he served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy which was followed by the annual Parish Picnic.

During the visit, His Grace connected with many of his cousins from Wilkes-Barre. He dined at Abe's Restaurant, where he enjoyed hot dogs served by his cousin, as he and his family had done many times from the time that he was a young man. During his visit Sayidna had the opportunity to think about many of the good times that he spent in Wilkes-Barre.

Village to Host Annual Clergy Wives Weekend: October 23-25, 2015

Mother Christophora, speaking at a previous Clergy Wives RetreatMother Christophora, speaking at a previous Clergy Wives RetreatThe 2015 Clergy Wives Weekend will take place October 23-25, 2015 at Antiochian Village. This pan-Orthodox gathering was established in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah, who was concerned about the well-being of women married to clergy. A balanced life was how she envisioned the best way to live in God's grace through all that life brings to clergy wives and their families. In that spirit, the Weekend seeks to provide time for fellowship, time for prayer, time for leaning, and time to just relax.

We are very happy to be welcoming back this year's speaker: Mother Christophora, the Abbess of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA.

The information sheet and Registration Form can be downloaded here. Questions can be directed to Kh. Stefanie Yazge, by sending email to ClergyWivesWeekend@gmail.com.

Pastoral Greetings from Bishop Thomas at the Start of the Ecclesiastical New Year

Blessings be upon you all.

Tuesday, September 1, marks the beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year, when the cycle of liturgical commemorations begins anew. The existence of this separate New Year’s commemoration, distinct from the civil New Year on January 1, serves as a reminder both to Christians and to the World. The Church, it proclaims, is not bound to the institutions of this world, but rather stands apart from them. The Church, existing in the world but never being of the World, celebrates according to its own calendar and its own traditions, and not according to the World’s schedule. It is, thus, fitting, that on this same day the Church commemorates Saint Symeon the Stylite, a fifth-century ascetic who confounded the World by setting up his hermitage on top of a pillar in the middle of the market in Aleppo. By publicly living a vigorously Christian life, separate from the worldly conception of success and prosperity, Saint Symeon gave powerful witness to the Gospel, especially of the command “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”(Matt. 16:24)

May this coming year bring boundless opportunities to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel in our increasingly anti-Christian and worldly society. Let us also resolve, with God’s aid, to increase our personal spiritual striving, in prayer, fasting, and repentance.

Yours in Christ,

Rt. Rev. Bishop THOMAS (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic

Khouria Gigi Shadid Leads Retreat at St. George Cathedral

Retreatants at St. George: Kh. Gigi, Bishop Thomas, and Fr. Christopher are seatedRetreatants at St. George: Kh. Gigi, Bishop Thomas, and Fr. Christopher are seatedOn Saturday August 8, 2015, Khouria Gigi Shadid led a Sunday school retreat at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral. The retreat was directed towards new horizon for new generation of teachers and Sunday school children. Khouria Gigi is the wife of Fr. James Shadid of St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX. She is a mother of three, a school teacher, and former youth director. Her passion is teaching with music, and she has produced five educational music CDs to date. Khouria Gigi enlightened the members of St George Cathedral with her gifts and many decades of experience of youth work and teaching. She shared her music with us, and the hand moves that she had used to teach the Orthodox faith to children. She also instructed our teachers in successful and proven tools and methods to equip and strength the Sunday school staff.

Assembly of Bishops to Host September Youth Gathering in Conjunction with Chicago Meeting

His Grace Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland & the Mid-Atlantic, writes:

A Youth Gathering will take place on Tuesday September 15, 2015, during the Assembly of Bishops Meeting in Chicago. Please pass the word – All young people are invited.

When: Tuesday evening, September 15, 2015
Where: Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral - 5701 North Redwood Drive - Chicago, IL 60631
Who:  High school and college students from the Greater Chicago area with the bishops of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox bishops of the United States
What:  A dialogue between our Orthodox youth and the bishops of the Assembly

As of now I believe there will be:

1. A service – led by the Assembly of Bishops
2. Perhaps a discussion with the youth prior to the service to gather questions and prepare them for the event and help them to get to know each other
3. A Question and Answer period with a panel of bishops and the high school and college students
4. Food to follow

Please get this news out, and bring your young people to this event.