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Diocese of Charleston News

Remembrance and Ordination at St. Philip Church + Souderton, PA

Fr. Noah Bushelli writes:

And of His fullness we have all receive, and grace for grace. (John 1:16)

We are always overflowing with God's grace, but sometimes we don't realize it. Recently, though, at St. Philip Church (Souderton, Pennsylvania), God's generosity has been too much for even my hard heart to ignore. 

First, we recently said goodbye to our beloved founding pastor, Fr. Boniface Black. He was a great man with a big heart and many years of pastoral and missionary success.

Episcopal Visit and Elevation at St. Paul Church + Emmaus, PA

The parishioners of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania had the supreme joy of combining their annual visit from their beloved father and chief-pastor His Grace Bishop Thomas with the elevation of their pastor Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick to the rank of Archpriest over the weekend of October 1st and 2nd, 2016 in recognition of his service to the parish and the Church as a whole. The pastoral visit began with Bishop Thomas' meeting with the men of the parish for breakfast on Saturday morning, and then with the women for lunch at midday. That evening, Fr. Andrew celebrated Great Vespers as Bishop Thomas presided from the throne.

The next morning Orthros was chanted and Bishop Thomas served Hierarchical Liturgy. Concelebrating were Fr. Andrew; the V. Rev. Archpriest Olof Scott, dean emeritus of St. George Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia, where Fr. Andrew served his first two years as a priest; as well as Rev. Dn. David Keim of All Saints Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Fr. Andrew was received as a convert to Orthodoxy in 1998. Also assisting were seminarians Marshall Goodge and Joseph Clark. Shortly before the final dismissal, Bishop Thomas prayed over Fr. Andrew before giving him a pectoral cross, accompanied by shouts of "Axios! Mustahiq! He is worthy!" from the assembled congregation and visiting family. In his address following, Bishop Thomas stressed that archpriests are meant to serve as exemplars to other clergy, and their parishes as exemplars to other parishioners throughout the archdiocese.

Refugee Charity Dinner to be Hosted by Holy Trinity in Pottstown, PA

A charity dinner to benefit refugees is being hosted by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Pottstown, PA.

"Refugee Aid: How the Orthodox Church Can Help"
Holy Trinity Orthodox Church
Pottstown, PA
Saturday, November 12, 2016 
3:45 p.m.

Presentation and Vespers to follow


Fr. Andrew Damick Elevated to Archpriest

AXIOS! On October 2, 2016 His Grace Bishop Thomas elevated Fr. Andrew Damick to the dignity of Archpriest at Fr. Andrew's home parish of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. May God grant him many years!

Blessed Namesday to Bishop Thomas!

His Grace Bishop Thomas' namesday is October 6, Thomas the Apostle of the Twelve. Many years, Master!
Readings and Inspiration from the Diocese of Charleston
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 Visits St. Mary in Wilkes-Barre, PA

Over the weekend of August 19–21 2016, Sayidna Thomas visited St. Mary in Wilkes-Barre. He arrived on Thursday afternoon so that he would be present on Friday for the parish's annual golf tournment. After bringing all of his liturgical supplies to the church on Friday morning, Sayidna came to the golf tournment which was held at Sands Springs Golf Club. There were thirteen foursome teams golfing and in addition, twenty five people who came to help with the organization of the tournment and to watch the golfers. Sayidna rode with Fr. David Hester, pastor of St. Mary, to watch the golfers and to be asked for his prayers for divine help as they played. Sayidna enjoyed the day and was able to visit with many of the parishioners during the day.

Register Now! 2016 Clergy Wives Weekend at Antiochian Village, October 21-23

The 2016 Clergy Wives Weekend will be held at Antiochian Village the weekend of October 21–23. This year's speaker at the pan-Orthodox event will be Catherine Hopko Mandell, daughter of Fr. Tom and Mat. Anne Hopko, and granddaughter of Fr. Alexander and Mat. Juliana Schmemann. She is well qualified to speak from her understanding of life in the clergy family, and will reflect not only on her life as a daughter and granddaughter, but as mother and aunt. 
The info and registration form can be downloaded. Scholarship funding is available. To make a request for that, or if you have questions, contact Kh. Stefanie Yazge:

2016 Feastday Vigil at St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery, Glenville, PA

Celebrate the feast of St. Thekla at her monastery in Glenville, Pennsylvania, on 23-24 September, 2016!

Friday, 23 September 2016
6:30 pm - 9th Hour
6:40 pm - Vespers with Litya & Artoklasia...
7:40 pm - Small Compline with Akathist
8:15 pm - Fellowship & Refreshments

Saturday, 24 September 2016
8:00 am - Nocturnes
8:15 am - Matins
10:00 am - Divine Liturgy
11:30 am - Fellowship Brunch
1:00 pm - St Thekla Supplication Service

Please, let me know if you are coming so we have enough food. Please, email or call for further info. Also, in preparation for our Feast Day Celebration on 23-24 September, if you're available, come help clean, cut, fix, cook and generally prepare on both Saturdays of September 10 and 17 anytime between 9 am til 3 pm. If here around noontime, please bring something to eat. If able, bring brooms, cloths, buckets, cleaners, gloves, weed trimmers, axes for splitting logs, creativity, muscles and enthusiasm.

May our Lord Bless you,

Fr. Mark Sahady, Convent Chaplain

Spiritual Talks From His Grace Bishop Thomas

Beloved in Christ,

God bless you.
Attached are several presentations I have given recently. One is on instructing  your spiritual children for salvation, given at the St. Tikhon’s Seminary 2016 Continuing Education Program, and the others are a series on Orthodox Christian Witness, given at the Antiochian House of Studies in September of 2016. I pray you will find them edifying.
Yours in Christ,
+Bp. Thomas

(Acknowledgements to Marshall Goodge and Peter Schweitzer for their assistance in preparing this material.)

Department of Christian Education to Host Fall Conferences

Where might you find teacher training, support for your church school director, and continuing education on topics of Orthodox interest? At the Regional Pan-Orthodox Education Conferences! Beginning in September, 2016, the Department of Christian Education will host several pan-Orthodox conferences. Each conference will feature a guest presenter, in addition to church school training, all in an enjoyable atmosphere of fellowship and sharing.

The schedule is as follows:

  1. Ottawa, ON, Friday & Saturday, September 23 & 24 – Matushka Jennifer Mosher's topic will be "Christian Education: Forming the Whole Person." Contact: Leslie Atherholt,
  2. Brier, WA, Saturday, October 8 – Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick will discuss "Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy." Contact: Anne Beach,
  3. York, PA, Friday & Saturday, October 14 & 15 – Melissa Tsongranis will speak on "Living the Faith in an Orthodox Home." Contact: Rebekah Yergo, orthodoxyorkedu@outlookcom.

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest Fr. Boniface Black

His Grace Bishop Thomas writes:

Earlier today (August 7, 2016) the Archpriest Fr. Boniface Black reposed in the Lord. Father Boniface was the founding pastor of St. Philip Church in Souderton, PA, the Missions Coordinator for the Diocese of Charleston, pastor of St Andrew Church in Lewes, DE, and of the Eastern Shore Mission in Easton, MD.

Please pray for the repose of his soul and for the comfort of his family.

For more information, visit


At St. Andrew Church, 33384 Mackenzie Way, Lewes, DE 19958

Bishop Thomas Shares Schedule of Upcoming "Be the Bee" Retreats

Bishop Thomas writes: "Be the Bee is a pan-Orthodox endeavor, reaching out to young people with videos on living the Christian Life. Here is the list of planned Be the Bee Retreats. Please promote the one in your area. Thank you."

BeeTreats are open to all area Orthodox parishes, regardless of jurisdiction. As a pan-Orthodox project, it's a chance for us all to come together in fellowship, service, and worship for a great day in Christ!

· August 27th, 2016
Saint Michael's Orthodox Church - Binghamton, NY
Click here to register!

· September 17th, 2016
Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral - Richmond, VA
Click here to register!

West Virginia Flood Victims Express Gratitude to Metropolitan Joseph for Support During June Disaster

Flood victims in West Virginia have expressed their gratitude to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for offering prayers and support in relief of wide-spread devastation to the state on June 23, 2016.

The V. Rev. Samuel Haddad of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Beckley addressed those assembled at the Archdiocesan Clergy Symposium this week to offer to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, His Grace Bishop Thomas, all of the hierarchs, and our clergy for their support for the suffering people in West Virginia who were devastated by the recent flood. Twenty six lives were lost and as many as 4,000 homes were catastrophically damaged; 2,000 homes were completely destroyed. The storm has been called a "once in 1,000 year meteorological event."

Bishop Thomas Ordains Dn. David Jacobs to Holy Priesthood

Deacon Evangelos Prieston writes:

In 2016, the parish community of St. Mary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, did not have the usual amount of time to prepare for the annual visit of our shepherd, Bishop Thomas. It has become somewhat of a tradition that Bishop Thomas conduct his visit with us over the weekend before Thanksgiving. However, in late May our pastor Fr. Theodore Pulcini received word from the Archdiocese that one of our deacons, Dn. David Jacobs, had been approved for ordination to the Holy Priesthood to fill a pastoral vacancy in our diocese. It just so happened that because Bishop Thomas was not scheduled for a parish visit over the weekend of June 25-26, he arranged to come to Chambersburg then to ordain the new priest.

Accompanied by Subdeacon Todd Mokhiber , the manager of the AV Bookstore, Bishop Thomas arrived at the church on Saturday afternoon, where he was met by Fr. Ted, who helped him and the subdeacon to set up for the next day's hierarchical liturgy.

The Sanctification of Our Parish Life

by His Grace Bishop Thomas

From the very beginning of Our Lord's ministry, when he called the first disciples, Peter and Andrew, the Church has existed both as a community and within a community. In these roles, there are a variety of activities that the parish Church undertakes, both in terms of liturgical services and in charitable work and outreach, both within the parish and out in the larger community as a whole. If any of these are lacking, then the parish has not lived up to the calling of Christ. If there is liturgy without outreach, then we fail, since "faith without works is dead," but if we have outreach without liturgy, we also fail, since "man is not justified by works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ." Therefore, it is necessary for a healthy parish to effectively balance both liturgy and community outreach in order to properly work towards the salvation of each of its members. This requires careful planning and scheduling, as well as the proper delegation of tasks throughout the parish community.

Need for Charity after West Virginia Flooding

Fr. Christopher Eid, Dean of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia, writes:

Your Eminence, Yours Graces, Reverend Clergy and Esteemed faithful,

Master bless,

Greetings to you all and your families in the name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ; I pray you all had a blessed feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

The entire state of West Virginia has undergone, recently, heavy rain which caused a deadly and devastating flood. Most of the counties in the State of West Virginia were severely affected by this flood disaster. At least eight counties are eligible to receive federal assistance by FEMA. Roads, houses, farms, businesses, malls and schools were, if not destroyed, at least damaged by water, sewage or mud. Many of the infrastructure is no longer qualified to be reoccupied or repairs will cost more than clean up and rebuild. Many of these areas lost power and drinking water. In addition to that sad situation, it was reported that in some areas there were looting incidents. To say the least it is an extremely sad and difficult situation.

Some newscasts report that the state is back in business after the rain has seceded. That is far from the truth. Large numbers of lives have not gone back to anything close to normal and may never go back to what was normal. Roads are not passable. Houses are not on even ground anymore. Cars destroyed. Trees have been uprooted and electrical wires destroyed. Supermarkets are no more. Water is not available for drinking or washing.

Dn. David Jacobs Ordained to Priesthood

On Sunday, June 26, 2016, His Grace Bishop Thomas ordained Deacon David Jacobs to the Holy Priesthood at St. Mary Church in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

May God Grant him many years!

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


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.


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

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.