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Diocese of Toledo News

A Reflection On Our 45th Thanksgiving in America November 2017: What Are You Grateful For?

Father George and Nouhad Shalhoub of the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan, offer this 2017 Thanksgiving reflection.

Beloved,

This Thanksgiving season marks our 45th anniversary of being part of the most wonderful community and family in a church that houses us all. Over these last 45 years, we have done what our faith calls us to do—have a conversation about Thanksgiving, not just the holiday, but truly giving thanks. Those many years ago, we drove from Toledo to Detroit, one week married and one day a priest on February 6, 1972? For what? To be a parish priest. But how? I didn’t know. Was there a community? I wasn’t sure. Was there a building? No. Was there a place for us to sleep or hold church services? No. How many people were there? About a dozen families all with the same desire—to do what God wants us to do— build a church. For 45 years, we expressed loyalty, for it is the core of love, to be lived in season and out of season. Loyalty stands by prayer and prayer strengthens and invites us to live and trust in God, unconditionally.

Fire Tears Through St. Matthew Church in Ohio

Just days before the celebration of its patron, a fire tore through the nave and vestry of St. Matthew Church of North Royalton, Ohio. Damage was so extensive that the pastor, Fr. Andrew Harmon, said repairs could take one year. As a result, the community held divine services for the feast of St. Matthew at a nearby funeral home.

In a letter to the community, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph wrote: "I learned with shock and sadness of the fire that broke out in your sanctuary this past weekend. My shock and sadness were followed by my paternal pride in learning of the faith and resilience shown by all of you in the wake of this tragedy. Befitting your calling as Orthodox Christians, you have not ceased your rich liturgical life and have made plans to celebrate your patronal feast this evening with joy and hope in Our Lord. May the Grace of God received through your commitment to life of the Church bring your sacred community together to meet the challenges that have been set forth for you!"

Register Now! 20th Annual Midwest Diocese Basketball Tournament

The 20th Annual Midwest Diocese Basketball Tournament will be held in Canton, Ohio, on January 19–21, 2018. The host is St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, and accommodations are available via the Courtyard by Marriott in Canton, via a group rate of $89.00 per night. View and download the attached PDFs for more details and the required forms.

​Bishop ANTHONY Keynote Speaker for Reformation Conference at St. Nicholas, Grand Rapids

Christians around the world are​ poised to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation​ on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 It was on that day in the year 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany, beginning what now know as Protestant Christianity.

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, MI ​is ​set to host a conference reflecting on ​this occasion, on Monday, October 30 and Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The gathering is entitled, "That They May be One: A Time of Remembrance & Reflection on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation​.​​"​ While we Orthodox were not involved in the​ Reformation, it has influenced the world we live in to a great extent,​ and we have definite views on the issues that both led to and came out of the Reformation. We are inviting the Christian community in our area to hear our perspectives and to hear theirs. Following opening remarks by host pastor Fr. Michael Nasser, and the mayor of Kentwood (where St. Nicholas is located) Stephen Kepley, His Grace Bishop​ ​ANTHONY will be offering the ​k​eynote ​a​ddress at 7 PM at October 30​. ​We have employed a variety of means to invite the Christian community ​of our area, including a direct mailing to almost 1,000 churches in a three county area.​ The goal of this conference will be to engage in dialogue within our Christian community with a view toward greater interaction and development of respectful relationships.​

Two Antiochian Scholars to Participate in Public Forum on Religious Freedom

Livestream Link: tune in Friday night, 7:30 Central Standard Time

Leading religious scholars will explore how Christian identity is shaped by the current culture in a free and public forum, "Religious Freedom in the Culture War," on Friday, October 20, 2017. The event is sponsored by North Park University in Chicago, IL, and is the second such forum in the University’s "Engaging Orthodoxy" Series, being made possible by the John C. Kulis Foundation.

Offering the main address is Princeton’s Dr. Robert P. George; Dr. George holds the Princeton McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence and is former Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Prominent Antiochian Orthodox New Testament scholar Dr. Edith M. Humphrey of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will offer the reply.

The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Bradley Nassif, an Antiochian Orthodox theologian and professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University.

Nativity Fast Retreat to Feature Noted Author and Vestment Tailor, Kh. Krista West

DOWNLOAD FLYER

Nativity Fast Retreat
November 17–19, 2017
"The Birth of Beauty in the Universe: Reflections on the Incarnation of Christ"
Speaker: Khouria Krista West
Saint Ignatius Orthodox Christian Church
Madison, Wisconsin

There is no charge for the Retreat. Freewill donations will be accepted. Please register by emailing the church at goodnews@saintignatiuschurch.org or 608-273-0133 We are located at 2124 Shafer Dr. Fitchburg, WI.

125 Years of Orthodox Christianity in Chicago: A Jubilee Celebration

Seven Orthodox hierarchs and clergy led by church school children wearing national costumes of many Orthodox jurisdictions, processed into Lane Tech Auditorium in Chicago, on Saturday, September 30, 2017, to celebrate a pan-Orthodox Hierarchical Divine Liturgy commemorating 125 years of the Orthodox Christian presence in Metropolitan Chicago. Sponsored by Greater Chicago’s Orthodox Christian Clergy Association [OCCA], who represent nearly eighty parishes across the metropolitan area, this anniversary honored the pioneers of Orthodoxy in Chicago and remembered in prayer the founders who built our communities with great faith and personal sacrifice.

Midwest Clergy and Laity Fall Gathering + October 12-15, 2017

Download the flyer

Bishop Anthony proudly announces the Diocese of Toledo's upcoming Clergy Retreat and Fall Gathering, hosted by Fr. John Winfrey and the faithful of St. George Church in Grand Rapids, MI.

This event is for all of our clergy, and members of our Antiochian Women, Teen SOYO, and Young Adult ministries.

Please see the flyer for details.

 

Fr. George Shalhoub Addresses Suicide Prevention Awareness in University of Michigan Panel

In August 2017, Fr. George Shalhoub, pastor of The Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI participated in a panel discussion at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, on the pastoral issue of suicide prevention. After his presentation at the University, "Preventing Suicide in Middle Eastern Communities," Fr. George answered questions and said there is "the need to speak of this spiritual darkness that can affect all of us."


Q: Father George, what were you doing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn today?

A: The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association invited me, along with religious leaders Rabbi Daniel Syme of Bethel Temple and Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni of the Islamic Center of America, for an interfaith perspective panel which addressed addiction and suicide in our communities. A panel discussion discussed the topic of suicide prevention and substance abuse in the Arab American community.

Q: How did you contribute to this discussion?

A: The Arab American community in this country suffers from drug abuse and faces cases of suicide and suicide attempts, just as many other communities do. The number one difficulty is to break the stigma or taboo associated with suicide. Most immigrants in the Arab American community do not realize that these crises do exist within one’s own church, mosque, or temple. This goes beyond ethnicity, economic status and religious background. Families, in particular, do not want to hear that they have children who are less than perfect or that their children are capable of taking drugs or contemplating suicide.

Annual Clergy Wives Weekend to be Held at Antiochian Village, October 20-22, 2017

Byzantine wedding ringByzantine wedding ringDownload the Registration Form

Come to this pan-Orthodox gathering and be refreshed and restored! As always, this weekend offers an opportunity for clergy wives to rededicate ourselves to our own personal spiritual journeys as we participate with our husbands and families in the various vineyards where God has led us. We are reminded of the efforts and the memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah, for whom care and nurturing of clergy wives was always a priority. Likewise this year we will celebrate and remember Kh. Stefanie Yazge, whose dedication to clergy wives and their families will be remembered on Friday evening specifically by her children—Matt, Mark, and Alexis—as we open our session.

Details

Speaker: Mother Christophora, Abbess Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA

Group Facilitator: Deacon Seraphim Moslener: Gifts for the Journey: Faith, Hope and Love

Bishop Anthony Represents Patriarchate at the Glorification of Saint Mardarije of Libertyville

On the weekend of July 15–16, 2017, Orthodox faithful from across the country and around the world gathered at two Serbian monasteries: New Gracanica in Third Lake, IL and St. Sava’s in Libertyville, IL to offer glory to God’s new saint, Mardarije. His Grace Bishop Anthony of Toledo attended as the representative of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

Libertyville, Illinois is a small village located outside of Chicago. But this small place has long been a deeply important and historical site for the Serbian Orthodox faithful.

As the home of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery, Libertyville has served as the burial site for kings, bishops, prime ministers and Serbs from all walks of life. Most prominently, Libertyville is the home of St. Mardarije, the first Serbian Orthodox Bishop in America.

Celebration of 125 years of Orthodox Christianity in Greater Chicago

Proclaiming 2017 as the 125th year of Orthodox Christianity in Greater Chicago, the ruling bishops of Chicago have endorsed a historic celebration to take place Saturday, September 30, 2017. Sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association [OCCA] of Greater Chicago, the commemoration will include the celebration of a Pan Orthodox Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Lane Tech Auditorium, 2501 W. Addison @ Western Sts, in Chicago, followed by a celebration banquet at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare, 8535 W. Higgins Rd, Chicago.

Chairing the event is Archpriest Nicholas Dahdal, rector of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero. Chicago area hierarchs along with all area clergy will gather to concelebrate the historic liturgy. His Grace, Bishop Irinej (Dobrijevic), Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America, former Director of Education at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, will deliver the homily. Responses will be sung by the Pan Orthodox Choir of Greater Chicago, under the direction of Gordana Trbuhovich.

A Reflection for Father’s Day: Who Else Will Raise the Second Generation of Orthodox Christians?

By Fr. George Shalhoub

On June 18th, we will celebrate and honor every father again on Father’s Day.

In the Holy Orthodox Church, no man is defined without a woman, no woman is defined without a man, and no man or woman is defined without God. A mother is not more important than the father and neither is the father more important than the mother. The two cannot be separated. They are like railroad tracks; one cannot exist without the other. They become one flesh in marriage (Ephesians 5:31) and share the responsibility for their future.

I recall that even when my mother took me to church, my father was no less important. On many occasions, I tagged along with my father as he was one of the builders of St. George Cathedral in my hometown of Hama, Syria. It took ten years to build this church which was next to our old church, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

Calling all teens: The Oratorical Festival is just around the corner!

Christ is Risen! Anyone who plans to participate in the Oratorical Festival at this summer's Parish Life Conference must submit an application via this link. The Oratorical Festival will take place on Friday, June 23rd at the Parish Life Conference in Oak Brook, IL hosted by Fr. Nicholas Dahdal and the faithful of St. George-Cicero, IL.

REMEMBER:
- The form and completed oration needs to be submitted by June 7, 2017.
- There is a meeting for the participants on Thursday, June 22nd currently set for 4:30pm.
- Attached to this email you will also find a PDF document that contains more information regarding the contest and the topic. You can also visit the Oratorical website for more details.
-Please have the teens email their orations to me (due June 7th): fabiolasweis@gmail.com
-Oratorical Registration Form (due June 7th)
-Complete Rules and Information

In His work,

Fabiola Sweis, fabiolasweis@gmail.com
Midwest Diocesan Oratorical Coordinator

Who Else Will Raise the Next Generation of Orthodox Christians? A Reflection for Mother’s Day

By Fr. George H. Shalhoub

This Sunday, people throughout the United States and many places around the world will gather to honor their mothers. Many mothers will receive flowers, breakfast in bed, dinners and other acts of affection. For those who may be away from their children, they will have to be content with a phone call or a card in the mail. But, no matter how admirable this day has become for us in today’s society, honoring one’s mother should not be reduced to a one day activity, because mothers provide the foundation upon which we build our lives.

God gives every created human being a mother here on earth because He loves us. And even after our earthy mother precede us to Heaven, we still have our eternal mother (the Virgin Mary) who always keeps us in the shelter of her wings. As the late Mikhail Naimy stated, “Love is the law of God. You live that you may learn to love. You love that you may learn to live. No other lesson is required of Man.”

Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Parish Anniversary of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Canton, Ohio

The community of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Canton, Ohio welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to preside over the 95th Anniversary of the parish from April 21–23, 2017. On Friday, April 21, a benefactors' reception was held in honor of Sayedna Joseph at the residence of Dr. Kaleel and Rhonia Shaheen, who also faithfully and elegantly served as the 95th Anniversary Chairs. The reception recognized the fundraising efforts of the benefactors who sponsored the weekend festivities. After Sayedna gathered and thanked them all for their ministry to the church, everyone listened to beautiful paschal hymns chanted by the Metropolitan's newly ordained deacon, Dn. John Al-Massih. On Saturday morning, Sayedna was greeted by over fifty beautiful children and teenagers of the church to the sounds of church bells and the chanting of the Paschal Troparion. After delivering his message to the youth and answering their questions, all were invited to a special breakfast chaired by Nina Shaheen, Malakh Bechara, Laura Kibler, and Nahi Kaed. (View the photo gallery)

It's time to register for this summer's Parish Life Conference!

His Grace Bishop Anthony is pleased to announce this summer's Parish Life Conference for the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, scheduled for June 21–25, 2017. The host church is St. George of Cicero, Illinois, and the place is the Oak Brook Marriott Hotel in Oak Brook, IL, just west of Chicago.

Everything you need to know for this once-a-year gathering of our Diocesan Family is available here. Please note that the deadline for placing an ad in the souvenir journal is Monday, May 1, and the hotel reservation deadline is May 31.

A full schedule of events is also available here.

Bishop Anthony is requesting that all of our parishes and missions place an ad in the souvenir journal, and that all clergy attend the conference from Wednesday evening through Saturday.

We look forward to seeing all of you in Chicago!

Assembly Releases National Study on Evangelization and Outreach in U.S. Orthodox Parishes

Map of participating parishes in 2017 Assembly of Bishops study on evangelization (click on image for larger view)Map of participating parishes in 2017 Assembly of Bishops study on evangelization (click on image for larger view)The first national study on evangelization and outreach in Orthodox parishes in the United States has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. The report can be downloaded in various formats, as an executive summary, or as a full report.

The report, "Go and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in U.S. Orthodox Parishes," explores the practices and strategies developed by some Orthodox parishes that can be viewed as "exemplary" in their missionary and outreach efforts. Examples of what the readers will find in the report include:

Memory Eternal! + Nabiha (Iqal) Rayan

Father Nicholas Dahdal writes:

Memory Eternal! Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cicero, IL, offers her sincerest condolences to the Rayan Family on the loss of the handmaid of God Nabiha (Iqal) Rayan, who passed into eternal life on Bright Monday April 17, 2017. Condolences are extended to her children Yacoub (Baha), Rayan (Fayrouz), Saliba (Janan), Archdiocese Board Member Mansour (Wafa), Jad (Pam), Ida (†Jiries) Mufarreh, Ghada Rayan, and their families.

Likewise, we extend condolences to her siblings Issa, Boutros, Nasr, Kamel, Widad, Huda, Julia, Offa, and Suad.

Nabiha now joins in eternal life her beloved husband †Oudeh Rayan, and her siblings †Daoud and †Saeed. The Paschal Funeral Service and Burial was held on Bright Thursday, April 20.

Lent, 2017: Bishop Anthony's Talks at St. George Orthodox Christian Church

Recently, His Grace Bishop Anthony gave two talks at St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers, Indiana, pastored by Fr. Nabil Hanna. The two talks are titled, "The Second Coming of Christ," and "We are made in the image of Christ."

Modern Christian Martyrs Video Features Clergy and Parishioners of St. George, Cicero, IL


April 4, 2017

The new documentary "Modern Christian Martyrs" is part of an ongoing series titled Sanctuary, created by an award-winning ecumenical television producer, Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries, Chicago, IL. It features Fr. Nicholas Dahdal, along with a refugee family from Syria who attends his church, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cicero, IL.

Indiana Deanery Parishes Welcome Bishop Anthony for Pastoral Visits

His Grace Bishop Anthony has been visiting in the parishes of the Indiana Deanery during the 2017 Lenten season. Stops along the way have included St. Mary of Egypt Church in Greenwood, IN; St. Ananias Church in Evansville, IN; and St. Nicholas Church in Urbana, IL.Bishop Anthony with the community of St. Mary of Egypt in Greenwood, INBishop Anthony with the community of St. Mary of Egypt in Greenwood, IN

 

Bishop Anthony's Pastoral Letter for Great Lent 2017

Great Lent 2017
Beloved Clergy and Faithful of the Midwest Diocese,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

As we move into the Lenten Spring (God has given us springtime weather already), we should remember this season of discipline for body, mind, and soul as a gracious opportunity, and not a grueling obligation!

This is a time to get ready for redemption. Great Lent is essentially two things: Repentance through prayer and Bodily Discipline through fasting. St. John Chrysostom has written, "Repentance is the medicine which destroys sin; it is a heavenly gift, a force of grace that transforms all. It does not reject the immoral and is not dismissive of the alcoholic and does not reject the idolater, the slanderer, or the arrogant. It regenerates everybody because it is a furnace for the purification of sin. The wound and the medicine; these are sin and repentance."

St. George Church in Cleveland Hosts 2017 Spring Gathering

The Diocese of Toledo is pleased to announce our Spring Gathering, which will be hosted this year by St. George Church in Cleveland, Ohio, March 17–19, 2017. Bishop Anthony will be our keynote speaker.

Please see the attached flier, registration form, parental consent form, and schedule.

The Torch Newsletter Winter 2016-17 Now Available

The Winter 2016-17 edition of The Torch, the official publication of the Midwest Antiochian Women, is now available online. Click here to download (PDF).