Diocese of Toledo News


2014 Michigan Deanery Teen SOYO Retreat

From Michigan, Kari Farah reports:

"April 4–5, 2014, we welcomed 55 teens from the Antiochian Michigan Deanery as well as the Flint Pan Orthodox Churches to a Lenten Retreat at Saint George Orthodox Church in Flint, MI, focused on the topic of Holy Communion. We were thrilled to have teens from seven different churches in attendance, and pray that future retreats will continue to grow in size as we grow together in Christ.

"With Fr. Michael Nasser from Holy Apostles Mission in Bowling Green, KY as our amazing speaker, our teens learned about what it means to be in communion with God, with the Church, and with each other. Father Michael discussed how preparing for communion has changed over time, and how we must work to be prepared to partake today."

Read the full report with photos.

Register Now: Fellowship of St. John's Spring Retreat, May 2-4

Registration is officially opened for the Fellowship of St. John the Divine's Spring Young Adult Retreat! Registration includes meals, lodging at the Cenacle Retreat Center, activities, and a service project. Please register before April 15!

Download the retreat flyer

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Alexander Atty

As we continue to mourn the loss of Metropolitan Philip, your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of the newly-departed servant of God, the beloved Archpriest Alexander Atty. The V. Rev. Fr. Alexander, former Dean of St. Tikhon's Seminary and before that priest at St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Louisville, KY, fell asleep in the Lord early Sunday morning March 23. May his memory be eternal! Read this tribute to Fr. Alexander.

Services for Fr. Alexander are listed below.

Arab American National Museum Hosts "Sacred Scenes" Exhibit

Listen to an interview with Dr. Matthew Stiffler, researcher at the Arab American National Museum

In cooperation with The Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, the Arab American National Museum of Dearborn is presenting works by the world-renowned artist Vlasios Tsotsonis from March 1-June 1, 2014. Tsotsonis' artwork is found in churches around the globe, including one of Christianity's preeminent pilgrimage sites, Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This special exhibit is titled "Sacred Scenes: Icons of the Orthodox Church" and is available for viewing in the Main Floor Gallery of the Michigan museum.

In addition to original, large-scale pieces by the artist, the exhibition explores the establishment and growth of Arab American Orthodox communities. Also included are studies for work Tsotsonis is completing during the run of the exhibition at St. Mary in Livonia, home to the artist's first U.S. pieces.

Visit the Museum's Website for gallery hours and details. 

James Akin Ordained to Holy Deaconate

On February 2, 2014, His Grace Bishop Anthony ordained James Akin to the Holy Diaconate at All Saints Church in Bloomington, Indiana. Deacon James is assigned to St. Ananias Mission in Evansville, Indiana.

 

2014 PLC Theme is Love the Lord - Love Your Neighbor

It's time to plan to register for your diocese's regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)! As always, this year's theme, love for God and neighbor, will be the focus of the Creative Festivals, a highlight of the conferences. Youth and organizational meetings, spiritually edifying speakers and services, and social events for kids and adults alike, all make the PLCs one of the Archdiocese's most established and popular traditions.

To facilitate your parish participation in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals, all resources are available in the Festivals 2014 section of Antiochian.org. Additionally, ads for the souvenir journals can be purchased and registrations can be submitted through the Department of Conventions and Conference Planning's Antiochian Events pages.

Memory Eternal! + Abe Abraham

Abe Abraham, age 101, fell peacefully asleep in the Lord at his home on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. He is preceded in death by his parents, Sleyman and Zahia Abraham, brother, James and wife, Georgette, sister-in-law, Margaret, and brother-in-law, Dr. Thomas Bander.

Abe was an officer in the United States Army serving as a lieutenant in India during World War II. He was an active member of the Variety Club of Grand Rapids and a life member of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, Grand Rapids, MI, serving in several leadership roles. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America since 1955, its longest serving member. Metropolitan Philip presented him with the Antonian Gold Medal for this dedication and leadership to the church. He is also a life member of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

Blessed Name's Days to Bishops Antoun and Anthony!

January 17th is the celebration of St. Anthony the Great and the name's days 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.

St. Matthew in North Royalton, OH, Celebrates 25 Years

By Ralph and Elle Parker, Anniversary Weekend Committee Co-chairs 

Prayers, memories, and laughter echoed throughout St. Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church and its social hall during a wonderful celebration of its 25th anniversary. Father Andrew Harmon and the parish welcomed Bishop Anthony to town to preside over the weekend celebration November 15-17, 2013. It was a doubly important weekend as November 16 is both St. Matthew's Day and the actual founding date of the parish as a mission 25 years ago.

St. Matthew traces its history back to its founding as a mission extension of St. George Church in Akron, Ohio back in 1988. With the blessing of Metropolitan Philip and the leadership and guidance of Fr. Lou Mahshie, Fr. James Meena (Memory Eternal), Father Fr. Gillquist (Memory Eternal), and the work of the mission founders and many friends, the first Divine Liturgy was on December 17, 1988. Our beloved pastor, Fr. Andrew Harmon, was assigned to St. Matthew's in January, 1990, arriving with his wife Bonnie and their four sons (one more son and a daughter have come along since then!).

On Friday November 15, Bishop Anthony began the celebration weekend by having a dinner and discussion with our deacons and sub-deacons, Parish Council, members of the Order of St. Ignatius, heads of our various ministries, and the 25th Anniversary Committee. The bishop answered many questions and focused particularly on our special responsibility as Orthodox believers to share the words and promises of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to serve those in need, and to demonstrate good will to all.

Memory Eternal! + The Very Rev. Anis Elias

The Very Rev. Anis Elias fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at the age of 92.  He was born in Saain, Syria in 1921 to Michael Elias and Jamileh Yousif Makhoul, the only son of four children. Father Anis was ordained to the priesthood in 1948 in Syria. In November of 1961, Fr. Anis immigrated to Detroit, Michigan and on June 9, 1962 was assigned to St. Michael Orthodox Church in Monessen, PA.  He served as the priest of St. Michael’s for 25 years before retiring.

After his retirement, Fr. Anis moved back to Michigan to be near his family.  In February of 1988, he came out of retirement to serve ten years at St. Mary Orthodox Church in Berkley, MI and in Windsor, Canada before his final retirement in July of 1999.  However, he continued to serve at the request of Very Rev. George Shalhoub of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, as well as assisting with Fr. George Baalbaki in St. Mary, Berkley.

Met. Philip Presides at Cicero Parish Anniversary Celebration

by Archdeacon Saed Rihani

View the photo gallery of the celebration

It was a weekend like no other! For months we prepared for this special event, the highlight of this year, and our entire existence as a parish. Between September 27-29th, 2013, we were about to celebrate our 50th Anniversary as St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero!

Excitement built up when we knew that our beloved Metropolitan, His Eminence Sayidna Philip, would be presiding over the weekend's activities. We were also blessed with the presence of His Grace Bishop Antoun, Bishop of Miami and the Southwest, as well as His Grace Bishop Anthony of our diocese. We were also honored to have Subdeacon Rassem Massih, who accompanied the Metropolitan on this visit. Everyone from all ages were thrilled to be part of this historic celebration; a celebration of a parish that has faced obstacles in its history, but overcame them with faith and hard work!

Centennial Celebration at St. George Church + Troy, MI

Gallery of photos from the St. George Centennial celebration

St. George Church in Troy, Michigan recently celebrated both its 100th anniversary and the burning of its mortgage. The weekend began at the Troy Marriott on Friday, October 18th, 2013 with meetings of the Antiochian Archdiocese Board and the Governing Council of the Order of St. Ignatius, which continued through Saturday morning.

Saturday Evening Great Vespers took place at St. George's at 6:00p.m. followed by a Grand Banquet and the Burning of the Mortgage. The parish was honored to have six hierarchs present: His Eminence Metropolitan Philip; Archbishop Joseph of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West; Bishop Antoun of the Diocese of Miami and the Southwest; Bishop Nicholas, Bishop of Brooklyn and assistant to the Metropolitan; Bishop Anthony Michael, Bishop of Toledo and the Midwest; and Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Diocese of North America. All of these hierarchs' presence was welcomed with great joy.

San Diego and Cleveland Videos Describe FOCUS Outreach

FOCUS St. Herman House of Hospitality, ClevelandFOCUS St. Herman House of Hospitality, ClevelandIn September 2013, the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) North America launched an extensive back-to-school program  in 28 cities across the country, providing new shoes, backpacks, and school supplies to 193,000 children from homeless and working poor families. One aspect of this program, "Operation Lace Up," provides shoes for needy kids, and recently San Diego's Channel 6 reported on the NFL San Diego Charger players as they participated in the FOCUS-sponsored program at a local distribution center. 

"We are equipping and preparing the poorest children in the country at a time when they are the most vulnerable—on their first day of school," says program manager and FOCUS Orange County Center Director Jacob Lee. "FOCUS' distributions will insure that children have the basic provisions they need to attend and participate in school."

In the meantime, St. Herman's Orthodox House of Hospitality (FOCUS, Cleveland) hosted "An Evening with Fr. Thomas Hopko" on November 4, 2013. One of the highlights of the evening was a video introducing the ministry, featuring Director Paul Finley and several of the men served by the House of Hospitality.

Cicero, IL: St. George Hosts Symposium on Book of Revelation

On October 19, 2013, the 19th Annual Synergy Symposium titled "The Book of Revelation" was hosted by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero, Illinois and its rector, Archpriest Nicholas Dahdal, Economos. Orthodox Christian Synergy sponsored the event, which featured speaker Fr. George Dragas, Professor of Patristics at Holy Cross Orthodox Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

Orthodox Christian Synergy is a pan-Orthodox organization of clergy and lay representatives from greater Chicago's Orthodox Christian parishes seeking to spread the Orthodox Christian faith. Synergy works together with its parent organization, the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago, with the blessings of the Chicago-area Orthodox hierarchs. The audio of the Symposium is available on Ancient Faith Radio.

 

Antiochian Scholar Offers Keynote Address at Conference

Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative, September 2013 (Photo: loimission.net)Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative, September 2013 (Photo: loimission.net)Antiochian scholar and author Dr. Bradley Nassif, professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University, recently participated in an international meeting between Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Evangelical church leaders held in Albania during the first week in September, 2013. Convened at the invitation of Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania, the conference gathered 46 Eastern and Oriental Orthodox and Evangelical leaders from 20 different countries at St. Vlash Monastery in Albania for the first international consultation of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative

Addressing the topic "Tradition, Catholicity and the Mind of the Church," Dr. Nassif reminded his audience that when Orthodox Christians say one thing, evangelical Christians often hear something completely different. In frank discussion and a spirit of respect and hospitality, participants wrestled with the challenging issues of proselytism, canonical territory, salvation, justification, and theosis, resolving to continue to journey together with a second international gathering already being planned for the early autumn of 2014.

Speaking to the theme "The Mission of God," Archbishop Anastasios noted that “The Spirit ceaselessly gives life to the Church and to each of the Church’s members, transforming them into living cells of the mystical body of Christ, enabling it to partake in His continuing mission for the salvation of the entire cosmos.” Speakers reviewed recent developments in Evangelical missiology and mission practice and pointed out areas of difference and similarity between Orthodox and Evangelical understandings of "The Mission of God." 

Family Ministry Conference Hosted by Center for Family Care


  • Family Ministry Conference: Rooting and Grounding Our Families in Christ and His Church
  • September 25-28, 2013 
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Hosted by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Center for Family Care

Make sure your parish has someone coming to this groundbreaking conference! 
Registration is ONLY $100 and includes the following:
* Keynote Speakers: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Fr. Anthony Coniaris, Fr. Constantine L. Sitaras, and Fr. Harry Pappas
* Special Intensive Session with renowned youth and family expert Jim Burns of Homeword Center for Youth and Family
* Workshops with: Fr. Lou Christopulos, Georgette Constantinou, Paul and Cindy Karos, Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon, Fr. Jim Kordaris, Fr. Jason Roll, Anton Vrame, & Jamil Samara
* Interactive Sessions that give you the tools and resources you need to build family ministry when you return to your parish
* Meals are included in the registration rate (with the exception of Wednesday dinner and Saturday lunch)

For more details about the speakers and conference or to register, visit the conference web page.

Antiochian Views on Syria Featured in Indianapolis News

Fr. Nabil HannaFr. Nabil HannaFr. Nabil Hanna of St. George Church in Indianapolis, Indiana was recently interviewed by local news station WTHR, in which Fr. Hanna shared his perspective as an Antiochian Christian regarding recent events in Syria. Read the full story at WTHR.com. Excerpt:

INDIANAPOLIS - Conflict in Syria has been raging for a couple of years forcing thousands of Syrians to seek refuge in other countries, including the United States and right here in Indianapolis. For them, this isn't an issue of force, but of faith and peace. We talked with a local priest who shares a unique perspective from his Syrian church members.

For several months, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church has offered a temporary home to the St. George Orthodox Christian Church family. They're in the process of finishing a new church.

In their own transition, Father Nabil Hanna and his members, some of Syrian decent, are intensely focused on the violence back home.

"It's devastating, the country's wrecked," said Father Nabil.

Father Nabil says several of his members are recent refugees from Syria. The conversations about solutions are many. He's speaks on their behalf because even in the United States some still live in fear of persecution.

"They have a very heavy heart because they leave behind other relatives," said Father Nabil.

Fr. George Shalhoub Releases Book on Love and Marriage

Founding pastor of the Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, The Very Rev. George Shalhoub, has released a book titled The Mystery of Love and Marriage. An associate professor at Madonna University as well as a priest of many years, Fr. George draws from more than 40 years of experience in counseling, teaching and educating the community on the foundations of a healthy relationship. His book provides practical advice about healthy living in a complicated and fast paced world, and about how to live a balanced way of life.

"This book is a roadmap for anyone looking to be in a relationship,' said Fr. George Shalhoub. "The Mystery of Love and Marriage exposes the truths to communication, forgiveness and unconditional love, all the scariest and most important pieces of being in a partnership."

Assembly of Bishops to Convene September 17-19

Assembly of Bishops, September 2012, Chicago, ILAssembly of Bishops, September 2012, Chicago, ILThe Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America announced on August 15 that the Assembly will hold its annual meeting September 17-19, 2013 at the Chicago Marriott in Schaumburg, Illinois. This is the fourth Annual Meeting of the Assembly, which is comprised of all 65 active Orthodox hierarchs serving the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  

The agenda, available here, includes discussion of the Assembly’s vision, proposals for canonical restructuring, and an Assembly-sponsored national youth conference. The Assembly requests the prayers of all clergy, monastics, and laity. 

In related news, the Executive Committee of the Assembly met at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan headquarters in New York on Tuesday, August 13.

51st Archdiocese Convention Kicks Off in Houston

The city of Houston, and Fr. James Shadid and the parish of St. George Orthodox Christian Church, are hosting the Antiochian Archdiocese Convention this week at the Hilton Americas hotel. The largest legislative body of the Archdiocese, the General Assembly meets in convention biennially. In addition to the business meetings, liturgical celebrations, exhibits, youth activities, and department meetings  are central to each convention as well.

There will also be special events that emphasize the uniquely Southern character of this year's gathering. Families will enjoy the Country Western Dinner and Dance on Thursday evening, while on Friday evening convention goers can attend the Mardi Gras Masquerade Dinner/Dance; visits to several of Houston's tourist venues are planned. The culmination of the week is the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday with Metropolitan Philip and all eight Auxiliary Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese presiding. 

Memory Eternal! + Helen Thomas

It is with saddened hearts that we inform you of the passing of our sister and aunt, Helen Thomas. Surrounded by family and friends, she died peacefully in her Washington, D.C. home Saturday morning, July 20, 2013.

Helen Thomas devoted her nearly 70-year career in journalism to the pursuit of the public's right to know. She was a champion of the First Amendment, fervently advocating for the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. For years, she proudly occupied her front row seat in the Press Briefing Room at the White House, considering it the people's chair in the people's house. She always acknowledged the privilege of being the eyes and ears of the public, and she boldly and unabashedly asked the hard questions to hold our leaders accountable.

Michigan Parish Administers Successful Summer Programs

Richard Ajalat, Assistant Youth Director, Basilica of St. Mary, reports:

The Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of Saint Mary in Livonia, MI, praises God for all His blessings, as the Lord provides us with multiple opportunities to serve our beloved children—God's inheritance. They are our greatest gift from the Lord.

Every summer, the Basilica of St. Mary hosts both a weekly "Camp St. Mary" ministry program for our children 13-17 years of age, and a one- week Vacation Bible School ministry program for children 3-12 years of age. The goal of the summer programs is to teach the children the meaning of Christ's two greatest commandments: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. All the activities are designed to instill these spiritual truths into the lives of our children by teaching them how to be strong in their faith, and how to represent Christ to the world. 

Parish Life Conference Season Begins June 5

There is still time for you to register for your diocese's "family reunion" this summer, your regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)! The theme for this year, "The End of History...The Last Judgment," will be the focus of the Creative Festivals, a highlight of the conferences. Youth and organizational meetings, spiritually edifying speakers and services, and social events for kids and adults alike, all make the PLCs one of the Archdiocese's most established and popular traditions. Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page for full information.

First up is the Diocese of Wichita PLC, kicking off on June 5 in Kansas City. St. Basil Orthodox Church hosts the PLC at the Westin Kansas City Hotel in downtown Kansas City, "one of America's Best downtowns" according to Forbes magazine.

OCN Interviews Kh. Maggie Hock, Director of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries

This week on Come Receive The Light, the flagship program for the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), Executive Director The Very Rev. Chris Metropulos speaks with Khouria Maggie Hock, director of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries for the Antiochian Archdiocese. The June 2013 theme, "Being Heard," deals with the art of listening, and learning to listen to the right voices.

With that as the emphasis, Kh. Maggie Hock offers her thoughts in the first podcast in the series, "Talking without Gossiping," about how to discuss difficult situations without gossiping. "St. Theophan writes about curiosity as a sin—having to know everything without it being useful," notes Kh. Maggie. "Gossip is a form of inappropriate curiosity....This happens so often on the telephone, in emails, in social media—very much!—and just in general in social situations. Wherever a person is tempted to do this, or feels drawn into this passion, it's important that they recognize that, and they find a way to practically stop it."

Listen to the podcast on OCN

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Soad K. Estefan

Khouria Soad K. Estefan, January 29, 1925 - May 26, 2013

Khouria Soad K. Estefan, widow of Archpriest John (Juan) Estefan, passed away peacefully in the comfort of her daughter's home with her family at her side. Now she rests in the everlasting arms of her faithful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Soad Estefan is survived by sons, Salam J. (Sue) and Elias; daughters, Salwa Crosby (Jim), Sanaa Wells (Rick) and Soad Clark (Steve); 14 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and many loving nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Thursday, May 30 from 7-9 p.m. and a Trisagion service will be held at 8:00 p.m. at the Ofield Funeral Home, 4500 Kalamazoo SE, . Services will be held at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 334 LaGrave Ave. SE, on Friday, May 31st at 11am. Interment Kent Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in memory of Soad K. Estefan. A special thank you is offered to Spectrum Hospice, Fr. John Winfrey of Grand Rapids and Fr. George Shalhoub of Livonia, MI. An online registry book is available at the Ofield Funeral Home's website.

Originally published in the Grand Rapids Press on May 28, 2013