Diocese of Charleston News
Brian Cavalier reports:
In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965: “The Congress hereby finds and declares that the Appalachian region of the United States, while abundant in natural resources and rich in potential, lags behind the rest of the nation in its economic growth and its people have not shared in the nation’s prosperity.” More than 22 million people live in the 406 counties that comprise Appalachia, embracing 13 states. West Virginia is the only state entirely contained in that region. The most distinctive trait that was and still is thought of when referring to the Appalachian people is their poverty.
His Grace, Bishop THOMAS made his visitation to Holy Trinity Mission on our Patronal Feast of the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity, June 22, 2008. At Vespers on Saturday and at the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, His Grace charged our mission to reach out more effectively to our community, especially by developing a ministry of inquiry and hospitality to the downtown area. In response, we have secured a prime location to meet at 715 Main Street downtown, and will soon begin holding services and informational events there for the community, and hopefully soon developing an outreach to Liberty University with the help of Fr. Peter Gillquist. Our children presented His Grace with a "Dangerous Book for Bishops" (patterned on the popular "Dangerous Book for Boys") with their photos and icons of their patron Saints, and drawings of the many ministries of the Bishop as Shepherd, Administrator, etc. We thank God for His Grace's vision and love and for giving us a much-needed exhortation to service.
The blessings of the Feast of Saints Peter & Paul were indeed many as the weekend was graced by the visit of Bishop THOMAS. He arrived on Friday with Subdeacon Simeon, a seminarian at St. Tikhon’s. Over dinner with the Parish Council, Sayidna spoke of serious matters with wisdom and also entertained the members with his wealth of delightful stories.
His Grace had a busy Saturday beginning with a luncheon in his honor hosted by the Ladies Society. The delicious food fed our bodies while our souls were nourished and uplifted by the Bishop’s inspirational talk before lunch and his laughter-producing tales during dessert.
At Great Vespers Sayidna spoke of the miracles that were happening at our parish. Growth has taken place in many areas since our Pastor, Fr. Theodoros Daoud, came to shepherd us less than three years ago. The Sunday School, Teen Soyo, and the Choir are all flourishing. Most importantly, the weekly services of the Paraklesis, Great Vespers, Orthros, and the Divine Liturgy are securely in place. Fr. Theodoros is a spiritual father who encourages his children to come regularly to Confession and Communion.
On the weekend of June 14-15, Bishop THOMAS visited the Church of Holy Spirit in Huntington, West Virginia, to celebrate the parish’s patron feast of Pentecost. The weekend began with the celebration of the Soul Saturday Divine Liturgy. Following the service, Sayedna met with parishioners over brunch. During the evening, following Great Vespers, the Parish Council hosted the bishop at Rocco’s Ristorante.
The staff at Antiochian Village report that the beginning of summer has been a blessed one at the Village, where Bishop THOMAS much of mid-June with the staff and campers. Not only has he served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Wednesday, June 18, along with daily Orthros and Vespers, but he has been active among the youth. While walking the grounds of the camp, he has spent much of his time speaking with the young boys and girls about their experiences. On occasion, Bishop THOMAS will also jump into one of the activities with the campers. His sermons have not only been inspiring, but well received; as campers have already put to use his teachings. The campers have truly responded to Bishop THOMAS in the most loving way, and God willing, he will be visiting the Village as often as possible for the remainder of the summer.
Bishop THOMAS made his annual visit to St. Anthony Antiochian Church in Butler, PA on May 3-4.
A cake was given to him in honor of his Name Day, Thomas Sunday.
Sayedna had many encouraging things to say during the sermon of the Hierarchical Liturgy as well as when he met with parishioners during a covered-dish luncheon held in his honor.
Here are photos from Holy Week and Pascha at the Cathedral in Charleston, WV.
His Grace, Bishop THOMAS, spent Cheesefare weekend and the beginning of the Fast with the congregation of St. Mary Church in Chambersburg, PA. Arriving on Friday, March 7, he was greeted by Fr. Ted Pulcini, who met with him to inform him of developments in the parish since his visit last spring. On Saturday, March 8, His Grace participated in the Chant Class conducted by St. Mary’s Pastoral Assistant, David Jacobs, before presiding over Great Vespers, after which he met with the Parish Council over dinner at the Copper Kettle Restaurant in Chambersburg. On Sunday, March 9, after Orthros and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Bishop THOMAS greeted parishioners during a special coffee hour prepared in his honor. That evening, he presided over Forgiveness Vespers and led the rite of forgiveness at the conclusion of the service. On Monday evening, he presided over Great Compline, which just this year has been added to the parish’s cycle of Great Lenten services. The next day, Bishop THOMAS visited Carlisle, completing a walking tour of Dickinson College, where Fr. Ted teaches. Completing his visit to Chambersburg on Wednesday, March 12, Sayyidna moved on to Westminster, MD, to begin his visit to St. James Mission.
On Sunday, March 16, 2008, 20 priests, 3 deacons, and more than 250 worshipers from 18 parishes in at least five jurisdictions gathered at St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, Pa., to celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
The chanting and responses were led by the Pan-Orthodox Mixed A Capella Choir, comprised of choir members and singers of various participating parishes. This year the choir director was Khouria Pam Pier of St. John's. The guest speaker was Dr. Tristan Engelhardt, Jr., a professor at Rice University. George Vafeas, an 11th grade student of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Lancaster, Pa., spoke on "Bearing Witness to the Light of God." Three members of St. John's were inducted into the Order of St. Ignatius. After Vespers, an offering was received to support Orthodox ministries and a meal was served.
The parishes comprise the Orthodox Council of Churches of South Central Pennsylvania. In addition to yearly Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers (this was the 43rd), the group also meets for a yearly summer picnic in the area.
Bishop THOMAS joined the parish of St. John Chrysostom in York, Pa., for Divine Liturgy on Sunday, March 16, the Sunday of Orthodoxy. The children of the parish joined in the procession with icons.
Later in the afternoon, the parish hosted the Orthodox Council of Churches of South Central Pennsylvania for vespers (see separate article, to be posted on Tuesday).
|Bishop THOMAS with Father Nicholas Sorenson, Deacon Philip, Fathers Gordon Walker, Gregory MacGregor, and Thomas Zain.|
On the weekend of January 12-13, 2008, the Mission of St. Basil the Great, York County, Virginia, hosted numerous guests and clergy along with His Grace, Bishop THOMAS of the Diocese of Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Tidewater Mission, now known as St. Basil the Great. The southeastern portion of Virginia is known locally as the Tidewater Region, or more popularly, as Hampton Roads.
The region has many military bases, and is known as a summertime vacation haven; therefore, over the past twenty years, there have been several failed attempts at starting and sustaining an Antiochian mission that would be pan-orthodox in nature, with an all English Liturgy.
In 1997, approximately five local families planted the seeds of the mission, along with the help of the Very Reverend Fathers Boniface Black, Gordon Walker, and Nicholas Sorensen. The mission now has thirty-six pledging families. St. Basil the Great is located in Poquoson, Virginia, a mere twenty minute drive from historic colonial Williamsburg.
During the weekend of February 8 to 10, St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, celebrated the final payment of their mortgage with a mortgage burning ceremony. His Grace, Bishop THOMAS was present with the community and shared with the faithful in the weekend’s festivities.
Congratulations and many years to the parishioners of St. Paul's!
Following are pictures from Sunday, January 20, 2008: