Diocese of Los Angeles News
On behalf of the Orthodox Oblates of St. Benedict from St. Michael Orthodox Church in Whittier, we cordially invite you to attend our annual Lenten Retreat on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the church property - 3333 Workman Mill Rd. Whittier, CA. 90601. The Retreat Conductor will be Rev. Fr. Paul Olson from St. Nicholas Cathedral in L.A. Fr. Paul will speak on the topic: "COMMUNION DEVOTIONS - What Do They Teach Us."
The retreat will be held from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., and it will include the Office of Oblates, Western Rite Liturgy, several sessions with our speaker, time for question and answers, quiet time to reflect and read, and time to meet with clergy if you so desire. In keeping with the Western Rite, this retreat will be in silence, so please be prepared for that. Snacks and lunch will be served, and there is no charge for the day.
In order to be properly prepared for the day, please RSVP to the church, (562) 692-6121. Please spread the word and invite your friends and family to join us for this special day. Fliers will be mailed this week to the local parishes. We encourage everyone to take time away from their busy lives so that this Lenten Season will bring you much peace and joy.
The Oblates support the Whittier Pregnancy Crisis Center, which assists mothers in crisis pregnancies and helps them to either keep their babies or find adoptive families for them. We are collecting newborn diapers, and if you would like to contribute some, that would be most appreciated.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, February 1-2, 2011, His Grace Bishop Joseph visited the newly-constructed temple of Holy Resurrection Church in Tucson, Arizona. Following the service for the opening of the doors of the temple, His Grace celebrated a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation. His Grace remained in Tucson on Wednesday to meet with the faithful and the parish council of Holy Resurrection.
Click here to view more photos of Bishop Joseph's visit and of Holy Resurrection's new church building on the Diocese of Los Angeles web site.
Below are the deadlines and contact information for the 2011 Creative Arts Festivals, Oratorical Festival and Bible Bowl for the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Eagle River. For more information and resources pertaining to the Creative Festivals, please visit www.antiochian.org/festivals.
On December 7-9, clergy from all over the west gathered for their second annual retreat at the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos, the Life Giving Spring, in Dunlap, California. Led by four bishops, His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos [Greek Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Joseph [Antiochian Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin [OCA]; and His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Patriarchate], clergy of all jurisdictions enjoyed the beautiful facilities of the St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center, listened to speakers, and worshipped together. Clergy came back to their parishes refreshed and edified by the teaching on the topic "Physician Heal Thyself--Orthodox steps of spiritual transformation" with Retreat Master Archimandrite Meletios (Webber), Abbot of the St. John the Wonderworker Monastery in Manton, CA.
Fr. Josiah Trenham, priest at St. Andrew Orthodox Church of Riverside, California, recently launched a website "dedicated to sharing the sweet teachings and timeless traditions of the early Christian writers." States the site' introduction, "Patristic Nectar Publications is a non-profit California business created to advance the cause of the Orthodox Christian faith by the publication of materials for catechesis designed both for the edification of Orthodox believers and the illumination of a wide array of non-Orthodox inquirers. Our publications are marked by zealous fidelity to the mind of the Orthodox Church as expressed in the writings of the Holy Fathers and produces a wide range of patristic audio books in order to bring the wealth of Sacred Tradition to a generation attuned to listening rather than reading."
At Patristic Nectar Publications, browsers can listen to audio presentations of timely topics such as "An Address on Vainglory and the Proper Upbringing of Children" by St. John Chrysostom, and "The Soul After Death," by St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco. The site also hosts sacred music selections, Fr. Josiah's Arena blog, the Arena podcasts, and information about St. Andrew parish.
On December 4, an article in the esteemed Los Angeles Times featured St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral, see of His Grace Bishop Joseph. The piece, titled "At 60, a church blends Arabic, English and Spanish," described the Cathedral's outreach into the community of Latino families that live in the parish's neighborhood, and the adaptive liturgical schedule that includes an 8 a.m. Spanish liturgy, followed by the 10 a.m. Arabic and English liturgy.
"We are in this neighborhood, we want to do outreach to our neighbors," Father Michel Najim, Cathedral Dean, explained to the Times reporter. "When you live in a community that has a cultural background, [we] need to open up to other cultures and other denominations."
The article describes how at the Cathedral's Mediterranean festival in June, tacos are sold alongside the traditional Middle Eastern foods of falafel, shawarma and kebabs. About 1,500 families are members at St. Nicholas.
"O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever." (Psalm 107:1)
Beloved in the Lord:
Greetings and blessings in the Name of our Lord.
I wanted to wish all of you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. I thank God for all of you, and for your commitment to His Holy Church. May our time together this week with family and friends give us the opportunity to thank God for all that we have.
Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving, I remain,
In His Service,
+ Bishop JOSEPH
St. Mark Church, Irvine & St. Barnabas Church, Costa Mesa
June 29 – July 3, 2011
Schedule of Upcoming Parish Life Conferences
By the grace of God, a pilgrimage led by His Grace Bishop Joseph, has arrived safely in Damascus, Syria, where it will begin a journey spanning three countries over the next two weeks. Upon arriving in Damascus, the delegation was received in the VIP reception room at the airport and then proceeded to St. Christophoros Monastery in Saydnaya. The group had dinner and celebrated Sayidna's 60th Birthday.
The sixteen delegates will first visit Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East and the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition (“al-Mariamiyeh”) and Headquarters in the “old city.” Over the course of the trip, the group will travel throughout Syria, Lebanon and southern Turkey. The delegates will visit various monasteries, churches, and historic sites in these countries, including Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Antioch (present-day Antakya in Turkey), where “the Disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26). This pilgrimage will be documented daily with text and photos, HERE.
Orthodox Christian Laity's website reports that the Antiochian parish in Salt Lake City hosted OCL's 23rd Annual Meeting on October 15-16. Notes the site, "Following Friday 6:00 pm Vespers at Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church hosted by Father Justin and his community, a joyous and informative fellowship and pot luck discussion followed. The topic was: 'The Impressions of His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah and His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel concerning the completion of the gathering of all Canonical Orthodox Bishops in May 2010 in New York to begin the process of developing a unifed Orthodox Church in the United States.'
Friday night program speakers included His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah and His Eminence Archbishop, providing their impressions of the May meeting of Bishops and the work that needs to be done...(towards) a unified Orthodox Church in the United States. The audience was attentive and asked good questions. Many were amazed on how difficult it is to become Orthodox Christians."
Orthodox Christians living in what was known then as the Western Region of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America witnessed a new dawn in 1995. For the first time in its existence, the Western Region had a permanent auxiliary bishop to pastor the immediate needs of the clergy and laity in a closer, more personal proximity. This bishop took up residence in the Los Angeles Chancery to make regular visits to then 40-some (now nearly 60) parishes and missions in eight American states and three Canadian provinces, covering the largest geographic and diverse territory of the Archdiocese. When he was asked to come to North America, and eventually the West Coast, His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH (Al-Zehlaoui) did not question it for two reasons: his obedience to the Holy Orthodox Church; and because, he says, his new assignment came about so quickly there was no time for inquiry.
Click here to read more, and to visit the Diocese's extensive photo galleries of His Grace.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
St. Michael Church + Van Nuys, CA
Carole Buleza, Archdiocese Director of Christian Education, writes:
Dear Pastor and Church School Director,
I am writing to give you early notice of a not-to-miss opportunity! The parish of St. Michael’s in Van Nuys will be hosting an educational day very soon after the new Church School year begins--the Orthodox Institute Southern California. The Institute is a pan-Orthodox continuing-education event sponsored by the Antiochian Department of Christian Education, and the Orthodox Christian Education Commission. “Sharing Our Faith,” the theme of the upcoming event, will be presented by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick who originates the Ancient Faith Radio podcasts, “Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy,” and “Roads From Emmaus.” Fr. Andrew is a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic. We are inviting all who are interested in the faith, and especially those involved in church school ministry to join us for the day--
Saturday, September 18, 2010, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
A selection of more than 30 recorded homilies by V. Rev. Fr. Jon Braun have been made available on the website Prudence True. Fr. Braun is Pastor Emeritus of St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church of La Jolla, CA. He also serves as dean of the Southern California Deanery of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.
Click here for Fr. Braun's homilies. We particularly recommend the sermon, "Today's Meaning of Antioch," which highlights the Church of Antioch's roots as a mission-minded, multicultural Church born from persecution.
Diocese of Los Angeles and the West
2010 Fall Gathering + October 8th-10th, 2010
The Right Reverend Bishop JOSEPH, presiding
Hosted by Holy Virgin Mary Church, West Sacramento, CA
Registration/Dinner Reservation Deadlines: September 25th, 2010
Fr. Paul Baba of Holy Virgin Mary Church writes:
This year, we have been granted the honor by His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH, to host for the first time in West Sacramento, the Fall Gathering: October 8-10, 2010. In conjunction with the Gathering, our parish will be hosting a dinner Saturday following Great Vespers, in honor of His Grace, open to everyone.
Enclosed with this memo is everything you will need to register and reserve your rooms at the Courtyard by Marriott. Please remember that the dinner is an open event, and so you can invite friends and family to come. However, we must stress that seating is limited, so book your tickets right away. All information is available online at www.antiochianladiocese.org.
The Diocese of Los Angeles and the West has made a set of audio CD's featuring the sessions from the 2010 Clergy Seminar available here. Web browsers may download the CD's for free of charge using the links provided, or the series is available for purchase here. The series features the special guest speaker, His Grace, the Right Reverend Ilia, the Titular Bishop of Philomelion, of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America. The theme, "'...but make us worthy to approach Thee by mouth and heart…':The Priest, Pastor and Spiritual Father" emphasized the high calling of the priesthood; one CD also features a talk on Albania's Church, titled "From Oppression to Renewal The Orthodox Church in Albania."
For the Dioceses of Toledo, Ottawa, Charleston and New York, and Los Angeles and Eagle River, the Fourth of July holiday weekend ushered in the long-planned for Parish Life Conferences. With the Creative Festivals, liturgical worship, fellowship, and special speakers as the reward, the faithful of each diocese traveled long distances to convene over the holiday weekend. In Tucson, Arizona, the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West met at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, thanks to the hard working parishioners of Fr. Philip Nixon's parish, Holy Resurrection. Attendees were also able to sign up for day tours to two sacred Arizona sites, St. Anthony's and St. Paisius' Monasteries.
Recently, Bishop Basil spoke with AFR correspondent Matthew Namee about the historic assembly of bishops which took place in the week following Pentecost. His Grace was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Below are excerpts from the interview, which can be found here in full:
"The bishops delighted in being together and doing the work of the Church."
"The ultimate task was to prepare the Orthodox (Church) of this region...to constitute itself as a canonical, single Church.…It is a huge task, one that a vast majority of Orthodox Christians in America have been praying for, hoping for, talking about, for a long, long time."
"It’s as if the Mother Churches have said to us, ‘Look, you have been asking for this. Before we give it to you, we would like to know, what is your plan?’"
"We were blessed by the work of SCOBA….the work of the Episcopal Assembly was made quite easy by the 50 years of preparation."
"The Episcopal Assembly is comprised of every Orthodox bishop, not just the primates. We had 55 in attendance, (in New York) where the maximum of SCOBA members would have been 8."
Ancient Faith Radio has also posted an extensive interview with Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA, titled Unraveling the Episcopal Assembly. Additionally, Antiochian.org has compiled a summary of online Assembly articles.
Much to the surprise of His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH, the faculty, trustees and students of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary bestowed on Sayidna the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa. In a gesture of brotherly love in Jesus Christ, His Grace, Bishop MICHAEL (outgoing seminary dean and now Bishop of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, Orthodox Church in America) personally announced the award, recognizing Sayidna’s lifelong efforts to spread the Holy Gospel everywhere he has lived and shepherded. The honorary doctorate described Sayidna as a “loyal son of Antioch and devoted father in North America, illumined educator and patient shepherd, inspiring churchman and loving archpastor.” You can read the entire citation here.
Sayidna then had the honor and distinct pleasure of addressing the graduating class of 2010, their families and friends at the 68th Commencement exercises at St. Tikhon’s. At this institute of spiritual learning and refinement, Sayidna’s message centered on knowledge, but not the secular type that traps us in this world and deprives us from the life to come. Sayidna reminded the gathering that “the Theologian is one who prays.” His Grace’s message often cited that pillar of spiritual knowledge, the ecumenical teacher St. Basil the Great. Though this archbishop of Caesarea did not abhor secular learning, Sayidna quoted him as saying “the arrogance of philosophy has nothing in common with humility.”
I’ve just come home from the FOCUS North America YES trip to the Fred Jordan Mission on skid row in Los Angeles and am still so excited I want to capture part of what happened, for the benefit of Orthodox Christians.
Our group of 23, included Katrina, five older “counselors” or leaders, the young adults (7th graders through high school students), and myself. We started Friday, February 4 at noon with a two hour briefing and training session at a local Orthodox Church by our truly spiritual, truly uplifting and inspiring YES! Director, Katrina Bitar. What rapport she has with the teens and counselors, what humility, what love for the poor, what a model for our young people. God willing, she is in the process of replicating herself .
We are not only more than doubling the YES program this year but, God willing, will multiple it many times over in the near future. Preparation had been made by the staff the day and week before the YES weekend. The trip was well-planned.
At the initiative of the canonical Orthodox Bishops of the West, 106 priests and deacons gathered at Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in Dunlap, California, December 1-3, 2009 for a retreat.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos [Greek Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Joseph [Antiochian Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin [OCA]; and His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Patriarchate] encouraged their clergy to participate in this historic gathering. Each hierarch addressed a reflection to the group during one of the services.
“Today is born of the Virgin Him Who holdest all creation in the hollow of His hand. He Whose essence is untouchable is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a babe. The God Who from of old established the heavens lieth in a manger. He Who showered the people with manna in the wilderness feedeth on milk from the breasts. And the bridegroom of the Church calleth the Magi. And the Son of the Virgin accepteth gifts from them. We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ. Show us also Thy divine Theophany!” (The Idiomela for the Ninth Royal Hour of Nativity)
Beloved in Christ:
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Just as our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary after she heard the proclamation of the Archangel, let each of us heed God’s word with joy and bear the fruits of the Spirit. Let us become partakers of the New Adam and the new humanity He offers us through His Incarnation, Death and Resurrection. Let us be transformed so that we may not just know about God, but know Him through the experience of His dwelling within us.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop of Los Angeles and the West
On September 24, 2009, His Grace Bishop THOMAS, led the Convent and many clergy, present at the Village for a clergy retreat, in celebration of Festal Vespers the evening prior, and Orthos and Divine Liturgy on the Feast at the Saint Peter and Paul Chapel. His Grace was also able to be with us for the beginning of Pilgrimage. We thank him for presiding at the Liturgy and for being with us. Many years, Master!
During the September 25-27 weekend, the Convent celebrated the Saint Thekla Pilgrimage. His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH, arrived on Friday for the Pilgrimage celebration which included daily Vespers, Orthros, and Divine Liturgy. We thank all of the clergy and chanters who served. After the Liturgy on Saturday morning, all processed to the Shrine of Saint Thekla where His Grace led us in a Supplication Service to Saint Thekla. Later in the day, His Grace presided at an Unction Service. Over the course of the Pilgrimage, His Grace presented three spiritually uplifting homilies on our theme, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” and led an “Ask Sayedna” panel.
From the Diocese of Los Angeles web site:
Update Sep. 7: Containment efforts are moving slowly at the Station fire in the Angeles National Forest, due to unfavorable weather conditions over Labor Day weekend. A scheduled controlled burn to build more fire lines on Monday was scrapped. The blaze is almost two weeks old and has scorched 157,200 acres (246 square miles) and approximately 75 homes, but it is 56% contained. Full containment is still expected on September 15. No further deaths or injuries have been reported. Not all evacuations have been lifted, though some members of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles who live near the fire have been able to return home. Fire officials are continuing their arson investigation.
Please continue to pray to the Lord God for the souls of the firefighters who lost their lives last week, for all those who have been harmed or impacted by the Station fire and for the inferno’s speedy extinguishment. For the latest fire information, log onto the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website.