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Diocese of Toledo News

St. Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church Hosts Bishop Anthony

From November 10–14, 2016, St. Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church in North Royalton, Ohio was blessed to share in the teaching, preaching, leading, and fellowship of His Grace Bishop Anthony. Sayedna travels to St. Matthew annually about this time of year to visit and help the parish celebrate St. Matthew’s day. This year parishioners were grateful to be able to spend nearly five days enjoying the sweet aroma that always accompanies his godly counsel. 

In previous years Bishop Anthony has enlightened the faithful of St. Matthew with retreats on the Holy Spirit, current issues facing the Church, and on the liturgical year. This year members and visitors were treated to the endearing teaching style and scholarly wisdom that embodies Bishop Anthony as he conducted a three-session teaching entitled The Second Coming of Christ.

Important Updates: Read the December 2016 Midwest SOYO Newsletter

Christ is in Our Midst! He is and Ever Shall Be!

Our December newsletter is now available for your information and encouragement. The Midwest Board hopes that you are having a fulling first semester of school! If you couldn't already tell, the year is flying by! Unfortunately, Midwest SOYO did not meet this fall for our annual gathering. We do hope that you were able to attend the Fall Gathering in Madison for the other organizations. To keep up with what we're doing on the Midwest level, we encourage you all to stay connected through our social media pages! We post weekly on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Additionally, this year Midwest SOYO is trying out having videos to discuss items coming up in the Diocese. Be sure to look out for our December video and future ones to come!

St. Ananias Orthodox Church Takes Root in Evansville, IN

Father Nabil Hanna, pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in Fishers, Indiana, and Fr. Peter Gillquist, the late Director of Missions for the Antiochian Archdiocese, had long wanted to plant a mission in Evansville, Indiana. After years of labor by them, as well as many others including the priests of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Louisville, the decision was made to send Fr. Daniel Hackney and his family as mission planters for the St. Ananias Orthodox Church. At this time, Evansville was the largest metropolitan area in the country without an Orthodox parish. The nearest church was two hours away.  

Now, seven years later this mission has taken root through the prayers of St. Ananias, the first bishop of Damascus. Growing into a diverse congregation of people from many different backgrounds, the Lord has seen fit to provide his people with facilities that include both a church and an annex that includes a fellowship hall, office space and educational rooms. This past April with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Anthony, the property was purchased with funds received almost exclusively from a stewardship drive within the congregation itself.

St. George Church in Canton, OH to Host Annual Basketball Tournament

 

 

 


The Midwest Teen SOYO Basketball Tournament will take place in Canton, Ohio on January 13–15, 2017. Please see the flier below for a full schedule, and the liability form, which every teen must submit in order to participate. Sign up ASAP!

Bishop Anthony Visits University of Michigan's OCF

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
by Mark Sultani, President of University of Michigan OCF
November, 2016
 
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor was recently blessed to be visited by His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest.  A group of approximately 30 college students attended the event where His Grace, a University alumnus, spoke on the topic, "God's Plan of Action for My Purpose in Life."
 
His Grace presented his talk in his usual joyous and intelligent manner. The topic was especially pertinent to us as college students, since our schedules have little routine and our futures seem both impossibly distant and frighteningly close. The words of His Grace brought peace to our minds as he spoke of the relationship we can have with a Creator who cares more that we are people of mercy, compassion, and love, than He cares whether we are lawyers, engineers, or doctors.  We learned our vocation is to recognize and experience that relationship with God, reflecting His glory on the earth. 
 
The impact His Grace left on our OCF has had us talking about his visit for weeks! We were grateful to be visited by His Grace and looks forward to his next visit.

AFR Posts Audio of Bishop Anthony Series on Second Coming

Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest spoke on November 11–12, 2016 at St. Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church in North Royalton, OH. Thank you, Fr. Andrew Harmon, for allowing Ancient Faith Radio to record this enlightening series by His Grace!

Listen now

Memory Eternal! + Sadie Shaheen

Sadie Shaheen passed away November 14, 2016 at the age of 86, from pancreatic cancer.

Affectionately known as "Dooda," Sadie was the daughter of Fr. George and Khouria Mary Shaheen. Born in Canton, Ohio, she spent the early years of her life growing up in Katana, Syria. She returned to Canton at the age of 16 and graduated from Lehman High School, barely speaking English. She married Carl Shaheen on September 4, 1949 and a new chapter began. Sadie was a warm and welcoming hostess and a wonderful cook, especially of mid-eastern food – her home and her heart always open to family, friends and soon-to-be friends from near and far. Her Sunday brunches, Monday girls' nights, and Thursday morning breakfasts were regular weekly features! She especially loved children and was passionate about supporting three orphanages in Syria through the Crusaders Organization, inspired by her brother, Archbishop Michael Shaheen, 50 years ago. On October 23, 2016, she was awarded the Antiochian Archdiocese Meritorious Service Award for her charitable works. Besides the Crusaders, she was a member of the Ladies of St. George and the Phoenician Auxiliary.

Diocesan News: Fellowship of St. John the Divine is Restructured

As you have probably heard, the Fellowship has been dissolved and the work reorganized to best suit the growing needs of our Archdiocese. This was done after an extensive goal setting process by the leadership of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph. While this structure is new to our Diocese, it has been used by both the Wichita and Los Angeles Dioceses for years. The goal of the reorganization is to more efficiently run the programs of the Archdiocese, provide new focus to young adults, and support the priorities of our hierarchs as they minister to our faithful. (View a diagram of the new structure.)

Here are few highlights of how this is playing out in our Midwest Diocese:

  • Bishop Anthony has appointed a Midwest Diocesan Council which was introduced at the 2016 Parish Life Conference in Livonia, Michigan. The Diocesan Council is a small group of faithful who will oversee and assist with the administrative business of the Diocese. In addition to supporting the work of our Bishop, the Diocesan Council will run the General Assembly at the Parish Life Conference and bring together leaders of other Diocesan organizations as needed.
  • The management of programs historically run by the Fellowship will be transferred to Archdiocese Departments like Christian Education, Department of Youth, Convention and Conference Planning.
  • A new Young Adult Ministry has been established to better serve our young adults, ages 19-35. This group will work toward active young adult groups in each of our parishes. In the future, the plan is to develop ministries to serve other groups in our parishes (young families, senior citizens, etc.).

Diocese of Toledo Fall Meeting Hosted by St. Ignatius

From October 20–23, 2016, St. Ignatius Orthodox Church in Madison, Wisconsin hosted the Diocese of Toledo’s 2016 Fall Meeting. 

Sayedna Anthony opened the weekend with a two-day clergy retreat, where he offered a beautiful and well-researched history and meaning of the Sacrament of Confession.  Sayedna taught through the early church era, when the practice of confession was less formalized but Christians sought out for counsel and guidance those holy men and women who had suffered for the faith as confessors.  Later on, the Church developed a distinction between “spiritual fatherhood” (holy monastic elders) and the ordained priesthood.  Sayedna based much of his teaching on St. Cyprian’s Treatise to the Lapsed, and especially urged the gathered clergy to keep in mind that the sacramental grace of God comes first and foremost through the ordained priesthood: “You are essential for the Second Coming… We are the agents preparing for the Advent of Christ!”  He continued to advise the clergy of the Diocese on specific and practical issues that arise in ministry.

Memory Eternal! + The Reverend Deacon Benjamin Mann, Jr.

The Reverend Deacon Benjamin Mann, Jr., 72, husband of Karen Gabriel Mann, fell asleep in the Lord Sunday, October 23, 2016 at his home.

Born June 9, 1944 in Boston, MA, Deacon Ben served in the U. S. Coast Guard from 1966-70 with two tours of duty in Antarctica with Operation Deep Freeze. He received his B.S. and Master's degrees from the University of KY. Deacon Ben and Karen were one of the founding members of St. Andrew Orthodox Church where he was ordained a deacon after completing the St. Stephen's House of Studies in 1995. His love for the Church was evident in the mentoring of the youth as well as caring for the Church grounds.

Struggling with health issues he was unable to continue to serve but with his thirst for knowledge he was always found with a book open.

Besides his wife, survivors include a son, Sean Mann; a daughter, Nicole Mann (Joseph) Highland; two grandchildren, Gabrielle and Sylvey Highland Visitation will be from 4-7:30pm Tuesday at St. Andrew Orthodox Church with the Trisagion Prayers at 7:30pm. Funeral services will be 10am Wednesday, Oct 26, by the V. Rev. Thomas Gallaway with burial to follow in the Lexington Cemetery.

"Beyond the Image" Sacred Art Conference Hosted by St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids

St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids, MISt. Nicholas in Grand Rapids, MIIcons in the Orthodox Church are called "windows to Heaven." Saint Nicholas Church, Grand Rapids, MI, is opening those windows to the public in a special iconography conference on Saturday, October 15th, from 1–6 p.m. Admission is free, all are welcome!

"Beyond the Image" is an afternoon that will explore sacred art as a means of drawing near to God. Doors open at 1 p.m. A number of exhibits will be on display all afternoon, and Iconographer Brian Whirledge will demonstrate the ancient art of iconography.

A wide variety of icons from all over the world representing numerous artistic approaches have been loaned to the exhibit from the private collections of St Nicholas parishioners. In addition, there is a great line up of speakers: Mother Gabriella, the Abbess of Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan will speak at 1:30 on the role art plays in worship. After a break, Mother Olympia, the iconographer at Holy Dormition Monastery, will talk about what is involved in creating sacred art, from choosing subjects to portray: events, saints or groups of saints, to the step by step process and materials used. Mother Olympia will share how she created an indescribable masterpiece of sacred art at the monastery. Finally at 4:30 p.m., Dr. Charles Makhoul, an instructor of religious education at St. Nicholas Church, will explain the icons chosen for inclusion in St. Nicholas Church and the religious symbolism contained in those works of art.

Refreshments will be available.

Diocese of Toledo Announces Fall Meeting Schedule

Father Basil Koory and the members of St. Ignatius Church in Madison, Wisconsin are pleased to announce that our diocese's Fall Meeting will take place October 20-23, 2016. Please see the schedule, registration form, and flyer for more information!

Memory Eternal! + Dn. Bassam Alsweis

Fr. Joseph Abouid of St. George Church in Cicero, Illinois writes:

Dear Brethren in Christ,

It is with a deepened heart that we must inform you of the falling asleep into the Lord of our dear Rev. Dn. Bassam Alsweis. Deacon was an integral cog of our St. George community in Cicero and throughout.

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cicero offers her sincerest condolences to the Alsweis/Sweis family on the falling asleep of the servant of God, Rev. Dn. Bassam Mikhael Alsweis, who passed into eternal life on Friday afternoon. Dn. Bassam was ordained into the Holy Diaconate in 2004 and has ever since served faithfully at our St. George Cicero parish.

Our sincerest condolences are extended to his wife, Sana, and their children, Natalie and Nicholas. Also, condolences are offered to his mother, Fadwa Sweis, brothers Basil and Khaled (in Jordan) and their families, sisters Manal Sweis and Nawal Sweis (also in Jordan). He is preceded in Christ by his father, Mikhael Sweis(†).

Funeral arrangement information is below:

His Grace Bishop Anthony Michaels will be presiding over the services on Tuesday and Wednesday (9/27 - 9/28).

A Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday the 27th at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Trisagion Service, and a mercy meal that will be offered by and held at St. George as well.

The Funeral Service will take place the next day, Wednesday the 28th, at 11:00 a.m. at St. George, followed by the burial at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleum (6001 W 111th St, Alsip, IL, 60803), and a mercy meal at St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church (6330 W 127th St, Palos Heights, IL, 60463) offered by the Fuheis Club.

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Loretta Mae (née Francis) Wilson

Loretta Mae (née Francis) Wilson, born June 29, 1933, in Beech Grove, Indiana, departed to eternal rest August 25, 2016. She was a resident of Greenwood. She attended Manual High School in Indianapolis and was a homemaker, wife, mother and grandmother.

Loretta was a loving and faithful companion to her husband of over 65 years, the Very Reverend Athanasius Wilson, who survives her and who will miss her for a "little while" but is confident they will be one, together for eternity.

Loretta is also survived by son Dan Wilson, daughter Deborah Fisher (Thomas Fisher), sister Kathleen Stallings, sister Shirley Caldwell, 6 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren.

Father George Shalhoub Offers Homily at Ecumenical Vigil Service

Feast of St. Anne
Ecumenical Vigil Service
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Monday, July 25, 2016
"Community in Communion": Homily offered by Fr. George H. Shalhoub 

Your Eminence Archbishop Vigneron, Your Graces, Brother Clergy and my beloved neighbors,

I wish to thank you on behalf of our Metropolitan Joseph and our local bishop, Bishop Anthony.

What an awesome moment as we come together at this Holy Cathedral, celebrating Vespers in honor of a special grandmother, wife, mother and aunt, St. Anne on the occasion when the Holy Church honors her memory.

Basilica of St. Mary Hosts Diocese of Toledo PLC

By Fr. Joseph Abud and Fr. Andrew Kishler

The Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan, hosted the Diocese of Toledo’s annual Parish Life Conference, June 22–26, 2016.  We had an edifying, successful, and enjoyable conference this year, with over 800 registered attendees!  Our beloved Bishop Anthony continued to inspire us with his teaching, encouragement, and words of wisdom.  Many of our priests preached homilies and taught Bible studies, and of course our youth gave us much hope for the future of our church at the Bible Bowl, Oratorical Festival, and other events. 

Special thanks to the host priests Fr. George Shalhoub and Fr. Jim King, to the conference co-chairs Mr. Walid Matta and Mrs. Arwa Ansara, and their committee, whose tireless efforts, along with the loving and hospitable community of the Basilica of St. Mary, helped make this year’s Parish Life Conference a blessing for all who attended.

Bishop Anthony Celebrates Hierarchical Liturgy at Parish Life Conference

At the conclusion of a wonderful and successful Parish Life Conference, on Saturday, June 25, 2016, His Grace Bishop Anthony celebrated a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the priests and deacons of the Toledo Diocese.

See the photo album at the Facebook page of the host parish, St. Mary's Basilica in Livonia, Michigan.

Axios! Deacon Joseph Abouid is Ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop Anthony

Deacon Joseph (Hector) Abouid was ordained by His Grace Bishop Anthony at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero, IL, on June 12, 2016. He has been appointed as the Youth Priest at St. George, serving under Archpriest Nicholas Dahdal.

Bishop Anthony's Annual Mission Appeal

June 19, 2016
Great Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost

Beloved Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest,

Today we celebrate the Great Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, which the hymnography of our Church describes as the "fulfillment of the promise and the completion of hope." Prior to our Lord's Glorious Ascension into Heaven on the 40th day after His Resurrection, He promised the disciples He would send them His all-Holy Spirit. He also instructed them that, after receiving the Holy Spirit, they should be His witnesses "in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8).

Important Updates: Read the June 2016 Midwest SOYO Newsletter!

Download the newsletter

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! The Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest would like to wish everyone a most joyous and blessed period after Pascha! As June has now arrived, most of us are preparing for an amazing summer! With summer’s arrival, this also brings the 2016 Parish Life Conference, our summer camps, SOYO Special Olympics, but most importantly, a relaxed and blessed time to devote to God.

In less than 15 days, we will all be gathered for the 2016 Parish Life Conference! With this coming up, be sure to make sure you are registered for the convention! St. Mary of Livonia, Michigan has planned an amazing conference, so be sure to get a taste of as much as you can! If you are interested in running for a position on the Midwest SOYO Board, be sure to attend the meeting. You must notify Amal or Father Mousa if you are interested in running by June 15th. Your nomination forms, however, may be turned in at the meeting. Additionally, to be eligible for our Chapter awards, make sure you fill out the chapter reports and submit them to Amal Michael by June 15th. Nomination forms as well as Chapter Report forms can be found online at MidwestSOYO.org.

2016 Metropolitan Anthony Bashir Memorial Scholarship Applications are Available

Metropolitan Anthony BashirMetropolitan Anthony BashirThe Diocese of Toledo announces that the 2016 Fellowship of St. John Divine Metropolitan Anthony Bashir Memorial Scholarship is now available. Scholarships are awarded to worthy and needy Orthodox youth of the Antiochian Archdiocese who have resided within the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest for at least one year prior to awarding of the scholarship. Scholarships will be awarded to students of outstanding excellence in any field of study toward a baccalaureate degree in an accredited college or university.

A board of judges has the duty of selecting scholarship recipients on the basis of scholastic achievement, participation in religious life, need, character and worthiness. Two scholarships will be awarded based on academics and two will be awarded based on academics and need.

Download the scholarship application form

2016 Paschal Letter From Bishop Anthony

Pascha 2016

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! !قام حقا !قام المسيح

Our Church has given us the sacred sacrament of Holy Baptism to guarantee our personal resurrection from the dead. St. Paul clearly taught this when he writes: We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life. (Romans 6:4) Just as Jesus rose bodily from the dead and stayed with His Apostles for forty days to teach and deliver them the practices of our faith, we will rise bodily with the same recognizable features and personality traits which now and forever will identify, distinguish, and define us: only in a most purified and perfected way: I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ‘For no eye has seen, nor ear heard, no heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.’ (Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4) Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)

We realize the Great Lent and Holy Week purifying discipline of prayer and fasting is to tame the flesh and give power to the soul in preparation to become the beautified body of the resurrection, all in anticipation of the glory to come when Christ returns at the end of time. But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (at the Second Coming), who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20) We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

New Guide to Holy Week and Pascha Services Available

A new booklet by the Very Reverend Ayman Kfouf, pastor of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Sylvania, Ohio, has been released in time for this year's observances of Holy Week and Pascha, 2016. The booklet, Journey to Pascha: An Explanation of the Holy Week Services, also includes introductions by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Anthony.

Noted a reviewer, "Understanding the true meaning of the liturgical and theological themes of the Holy Week and Pascha allows us to participate in these services more fruitfully and profoundly....The simplified language of this guide is intended to speak to the average faithful and to help them understand the true meaning of the Holy Week services. In spite of this simplicity, however, this guide offers a complete interpretation of the vast majority of the theological and liturgical themes and practices of the Holy Week with Pascha."

Order a copy of Journey to Pascha from Amazon

Orthodox Men's Retreat in Palos Heights, Illinois

St. Mary Orthodox Church of Palos Heights, Illinois, is hosting a men's retreat on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The topic is an important one: "Retrieving the Sacramental Worldview: Moving Beyond Lust and Pornography," led by guest speaker Fr. Thomas Loya.

Father Loya is well versed on the subject of pornography. He has lectured extensively on the negative impact of this addiction, and how it destroys marriages, families, our society, and ultimately our relationship with God. Thanks to the internet and today's culture, pornography is legal and readily accessible by adults and children of all ages.

All are invited to join us to learn how to prepare our children – and ourselves - to avoid the temptations, and to address the addictive behavior of this "silent killer." More information, including registration, is available here. 

St. Mary of Palos Heights, Illinois, Hosts Spring Gathering

“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Mt 18:20

And in His name we were gathered, as His Grace Bishop Anthony presided over two major events in the life of our beloved Midwest Diocese: the annual Clergy Retreat and Spring Gathering. From Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, March 14, 2016, St. Mary Church of Palos Heights welcomed His Grace and the clergy and laity of the Midwest, representing 50 parishes and missions.

On Thursday and Friday 36 priests and deacons participated in a Clergy Retreat led by His Grace, who outlined for us the many ways the passions of this world can disrupt our calling and our holy ministry. There was ample time for clergy to spend time together to discuss and share their success stories and encourage one another in a spirit of love and brotherhood.