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Diocese of Toledo News

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).

Winter 2017 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Winter 2017 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. The issue contains:

  • Using our Prayer Books by His Grace Bishop Anthony
  • Information about the 2017 NAB Common Act of Mercy
  • A message from the Diocesan President Cynthia Beckes O'Connor
  • Profiles of diocesan officers
  • Chapter reports, photos and happenings

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Milestones and Memories: Fr. George Shalhoub Reflects on a Lifetime of Service

In 2017, Fr. George Shalhoub, pastor of The Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan, will be celebrating his 45th anniversary of the ordination to the holy priesthood, as well as his 45th wedding anniversary. Throughout these years, he and Khouria Nouhad have served this community, tirelessly and faithfully. His parish recently released this interview with Fr. George.


Q: What are your thoughts as you celebrate your 45th anniversary in our community?

A: We thank God for His guidance that made us grow older, wiser and more patient. Forty five years is almost half a century. Did we know where we were going to be 45 years ago? No, and even though we started out homeless with no church, no family and no community, we never felt hopeless.

Blessed Namesdays to Bishops Antoun and Anthony!

January 17th is the celebration of St. Anthony the Great and the namesdays of His Grace Bishop Antoun of the Diocese of Miami and of His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo. May God grant them many years!

Apolytikion of St. Anthony the Great, Tone 4 

Thou didst become like the zealous Elijah in his condition, and followed John the Baptist in his upright ways, becoming a dweller in the wilderness and an establisher of the universe by thy prayer, O Father Anthony. Wherefore, intercede thou with Christ God to save our souls.

The Climacus Conference 2017: Encountering God

The sixth biennial Climacus Conference, a pan-Orthodox spiritual/academic event, is scheduled for February 24–25, 2017 and will be hosted by an Antiochian parish, St. Michael Orthodox Church, in Louisville, KY. The 2017 theme has been chosen to remind us that our reason for existence and our purpose as human beings is to encounter (and experience) God. The conference will give primacy to Theology; moreover, it will explore ways to encounter God through patristics, philosophy, beauty, liturgical arts, saints and miracles, poetry, et al. The conference will feature more priests speaking, along with more spiritually-focused speakers. After all, the website says, we are all going to die soon, and there we will encounter God. Imagine such an encounter after having actively sought Him in this life. Perhaps such encounters here are already encounters there? Perhaps these encounters prepare us for that encounter? Perhaps they influence or shape the Great Encounter? With this desire and purpose in mind, attendees will convene from near and far for another weekend of enrichment and fellowship, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

View the Climacus Conference website.
Visit the Conference Facebook page.
Contact David Wright, Conference Founder and Director at climacusconference@gmail.com or call (502) 296-2095.

2016 Nativity Message from Bishop Anthony

Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ 
December 25, 2016

Dear Midwest Clergy and Faithful,

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
المسيح ُوِلد!َ فمجدوه! 

Blessed be that Child, who gladdened Bethlehem today! Blessed be that Babe who made us young again today! Blessed be the Good One, who enriched our lives! Blessed is He whose tender mercies heal our many infirmities!
                            St. Ephraim the Syrian (c.306-373) from Hymns on the Nativity #2

When we see the Baby Jesus, our Lord and Savior, a powerful presence of His youthfulness stares us in the face. Outside of Christ we grow old. In the world we are always getting older, but in the church we are spiritually always growing younger. By looking at, being with, and hearing from Jesus Christ, our souls grow youthful, refreshed by the Holy Spirit. From the womb of the morning like dew, your youth will come to you. Psalm 110:3

As we worship this Little Lord Jesus, let His Birth give birth to a spiritual direction in us that keeps getting stronger and younger every day!

May He who was born in a cave and lay in a manger for our salvation bless you always. 

+Bishop Anthony

Bishop of Toledo
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America 

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.