Diocese of Toledo News


Reflections Book Examines the Spiritual Life

Fr. Joseph Antypas, the Archpriest of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Troy, Michigan, has released Reflections on the Field of a Local Parish. In his book, Fr. Antypas speaks not only from a deep theological knowledge of the Church, but also from a lifetime of pastoral experience of over 35 years of ministry. The book tackles various theological, liturgical, pastoral and contemporary topics of interest for every clergy and laity. Fr. Antypas examines such topics, not only in a theologically profound approach, but also in pastoral and practical manners.

Says His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, "The topics which the V. Rev. Father Joseph Antypas discusses in his book...are of utmost importance. St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his letter to the Ephesians, speaks about the harmony and perfect Christian relationship among the members of the Church. As a matter of fact, the congregation must work together, like a symphony, in order to ascend harmoniously to the Throne of God and bask in His Eternal Light. It is not enough to be baptized in the Church. Your baptism is a process of renewal which must permeate your soul all your life."

Go here to order a copy of Reflections on the Field of a Local Parish.

Read a review of the book here.

Metropolitan Philip Consecrates Church of the Virgin Mary, Alsip, IL

By Rev. Deacon Saed Rihani

May 27-29 was a weekend like no other! For months we prepared for this holy consecration event…not knowing what to expect. But we knew we had to be ready! We built a new iconostasis! We had new icons written for the occasion! We re-constructed the altar area to be suitable for Orthodox worship! And we built a new altar table! And now the weekend was upon us. Sayidna Philip was to consecrate the Church of the Virgin Mary in Alsip, Illinois!

Words cannot express the extent of our happiness at having His Eminence, Sayidna Philip consecrate our Holy Church. It was the wishes of our Pastor, the Rev. Father Mousa Haddad, and the entire congregation that he visit us. Also, since this would be his first visit to our community, it was befitting that he would consecrate our house of worship. Committees worked hard to prepare for this holy and historic visit. We welcomed Sayidna Philip and we were honored to have Sayidna Antoun also join us for this historic weekend. Also, we were grateful for the presence and assistance of Archdeacon Hans El-Hayek.

Creative Festival 2010: Diocese of Toledo

Take a moment for an audio visual meditation on the theme, "The earth is the Lord's and its fullness, the world and all who dwell therein," Psalm 23. This presentation of the photos, artwork, and words of the children in the Diocese of Toledo from the Creative Festivals 2010 is brought to you by the Department of Christian Education, and the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.

The Pascha Homily of St. John Chrysostom

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast.
If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

 

If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in no wise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

Paschal Greetings from Bishop Thomas

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2011

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

We are again drawn to contemplate and stand in awe at the holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God-man and our Savior. This year, I pray that we will not mark Pascha as a mere remembrance on the calendar, a happy annual festival that is anticipated and enjoyed but whose power does not provoke us to a radical change in ourselves, a challenge toward holiness and perfection in the Holy Trinity. Indeed, I think many times we enjoy these delightful feasts but have so “institutionalized” them within ourselves that we do not actually let them touch us.

Fundamentally, Christ’s Resurrection is a cataclysmic event. It marks not merely the beginning of a religious movement, but truly the utter reversal of history, the moment that death itself was turned back, when the ultimate catastrophe befell the powers of darkness and bright hope came again into the world. When the God-man died, as St. Basil tells us, “the Author of life could not be held by corruption.” And so He rose again! And so we can be saved from death and from all corruption.

May we ourselves be not simply emotionally moved or cheered by this Gospel; may we never be the same! If even time and history could not stand to remain as they were, how can we ever be content with a mere recollection of past events? Let us once again shout out in victory to the Conqueror of death, casting aside all of our earthly entanglements and entering with Him into that glory that will never fade.

Yours in Christ,

Midwest Antiochian Women's Retreat + May 13-15, 2011

The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest invite women to their sixth annual retreat Friday-Sunday, May 13-15, 2011 at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery, located at 3389 Rives Eaton Road in Rives Junction, Michigan.  On Saturday, Kh. Maggie Hock will present the retreat program on the Holy Myrrhbearing Women.  She will talk about who the Myrrhbearing Women are, what they did in the early Church and how we can be “Myrrhbearing Women” today.  Kh. Maggie is North American Director of the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries.

For more information, including schedule and registration form, please download the retreat flyer (PDF).

2011 Midwest Diocese Clergy Retreat

Bishop Thomas and the clergy pose for a commemorative photo in the Monastery refectoryBishop Thomas and the clergy pose for a commemorative photo in the Monastery refectory

Twenty-six presbyters and three deacons from the Midwest Diocese enjoyed three stimulating days of prayer, reflection and rejuvenation March 1-3 at the Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan.

As we kept with the nuns—and their heavenly, harmonious Byzantine chant—the full monastic cycle of offices, His Grace, Bishop Thomas, led the gathered clergy with his wit and words of encouragement. We also drew inspiration from the nuns as they radiated their joy in the Lord. They also gave us a tour of the new temple, presently under construction, standing at the center of the Monastery quadrangle. The nuns astounded us as they related how they have been doing much of the work themselves, including making forms and pouring concrete.

Diocese of the Midwest Teen SOYO Launches New Website

Teen SOYO of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest proudly announces the launch of its newly designed Website: www.midwestSOYO.org.

Faithful Attend Third Annual Pan-Orthodox Sanctity of Life Prayer Service and Presentation

Burr Ridge, IL – The Third Annual Pan-Orthodox Sanctity of Life Prayer Service and Presentation was attended by Orthodox Clergy and faithful from the Chicago area.  The event was held on Sunday, January 30th, 2011, at Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church and was organized by the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago (OCCA).

After the prayer service, the Church community hosted a fellowship for all those in attendance which was highlighted by a presentation, given by Linda Couri, a former employee of Planned Parenthood, who has both professional and personal experience with abortion issues, who presented an inside perspective on the Pro Choice mindset.

She eloquently spoke about this approach which more often than not has become the manner in which society is run.  What are the values, goals and motivations behind those who are Pro-Choice and what can we do to best address this complex and often hostile audience?

Diversity Comes to the Basilica of St. Mary in February 2011

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware at St. Mary BasilicaMetropolitan Kallistos Ware at St. Mary BasilicaThe Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan was blessed in the month of February 2011 to have several world renowned influential Christian leaders visit its community.  Over the course of two weeks, the parish hosted Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a world-renowned Orthodox bishop and theologian from Cambridge, England, Bishop Augustin Ahimana, an Anglican bishop from Rwanda, and Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglia, a Catholic priest from Syria.

The first event took place on February 18th, 2011.  Fr. George Shalhoub hosted a lecture luncheon for world renowned scholar, professor, and contemporary Eastern Orthodox academic author, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware during his visit to the Detroit area.  Joining Metropolitan Kallistos was Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Diocese of Detroit, and Bishop Irineu, Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, along with close to fifty clergy from various Orthodox jurisdictions from throughout Michigan and the entire Midwest.  Metropolitan Kallistos spoke to the clergy about the necessity of Orthodox Christian unity and cooperation here in America, and on diversity in general, and how we as Christian leaders in America, need to recognize not only the diverse nature of our country regarding the Christian faith, but we need to work towards creating ways to help open the doors of communication between all Christians.  In addition to visiting the Basilica, Metropolitan Kallistos visited several other Orthodox churches in the Detroit area and addressed the body of Sacred Heart Catholic Major Seminary, on the topic of current and future Orthodox/Catholic dialogue.

13th Annual Midwest Diocese Basketball Tournament

Tournament Photo Gallery

Canton Recap Flyer (PDF)

This year’s Midwest Basketball Tournament was by far the largest ever with over 400 teens and young adults from across the Midwest gathering together in Canton, Ohio. 16 churches sent a total of 30 teams that competed in 3 divisions: junior (12-15), senior (15-18) and young adult (19-26). On Friday night, the participants gathered for the Midwest Teen SOYO delegates meeting and for a lively discussion led by guest speaker Alex Younes from Toronto, Canada. The topic of his discussion was ‘A New Commandment.’

After Morning Prayers on Saturday morning the teams embarked from the hotel to 4 different basketball gyms where they competed throughout the morning and afternoon. Following Great Vespers, the Awards Banquet and Hafli was held with over 500 in attendance. A Farewell Brunch was held after Sunday Divine Liturgy and the participants departed for their homes with no doubt a few more friends than they had when they arrived. A special thank you to all the volunteers from St. George in Canton who take pride in hosting this annual tournament and to all the participants who journeyed from 7 different states to be with us on this special weekend.

Don’t forget about the upcoming Midwest Parish Life Conference from June 15-19 in Cleveland, Ohio! Visit www.stgeorgecleveland.com for more information. We hope to see everyone in attendance!

Episcopal Visit and Ordination at Basilica of St. Mary + Livonia, MI

On the weekend of December 17-19, 2010, His Grace Bishop Thomas made a pastoral visit to the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan.  On Friday evening the Bishop's dear friends, Ken and Kathy Harb, hosted a gathering at their home to officially welcome His Grace to the Detroit area.  On Saturday morning, Fr. George Shalhoub hosted a brunch for the area clergy in the St. Mary Cultural Center, and Fr. James King and his family hosted a dinner for the Bishop prior to Great Vespers. 

The highlight of the weekend was the Divine Liturgy on Sunday Morning, where Bishop Thomas, on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, ordained Fr. James King to the Holy Priesthood.  This was the first time in the forty year history of the Basilica that anyone had ever been ordained to the priesthood, and the community came out in full force to witness the event.  At the conclusion of the Liturgy, His Grace inducted twelve new members into the Order of St. Ignatius.  Following the Liturgy, a special banquet was held in the St. Mary Cultural Center in honor of the newly ordained Fr. James, his wife Audrey, and their children. The banquet was generously attended by the entire Basilica of St. Mary community.

We wish to thank all those who helped to make the weekend such a special occasion for the community, and especially Bishop Thomas for his love, spiritual guidance, and for blessing us with his presence.

Theologian Dr. Nassif Hosts February Lectures with Met. Kallistos Ware

Metropolitan KalistosMetropolitan KalistosClick here to download flyer (PDF)

Antiochian professor Dr. Brad Nassif is encouraging the Orthodox faithful in the Chicago area to attend North Park University’s Zarley Lectures on February 22-23, 2011. This year's lectures will feature Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Professor Emeritus in Eastern Orthodox Studies, Oxford University, and Bishop of Diokleia. Metropolitan Kallistos is highly regarded as a world renowned theologian of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Topics will include: "Word and Silence in the Philokalia" and "Orthodox and Evangelicals: What Do We Have to Learn From Each Other?" The lectures are free to the public and will begin at 7:00 pm both nights in Anderson Chapel, on the campus of North Park.

The Bible and Theology Department at North Park hosts the annual lecture series. Notes Dr. Nassif, "It was my turn to invite a speaker. The choice was obvious. The occasion of Metropolitan Kallistos' coming dovetails nicely with the release of a book that will be published next year sometime. It's titled The Philokalia: Exploring a Classic Text in Orthodox Spirituality, edited by Brock Bingaman and myself, and published by Oxford University Press. We have a stellar cast of contributors including Metropolitan Kallistos, Fathers John McGuckin, Andrew Louth and John Chrysavghis, among others."

Ancient Faith Radio has interviewed Dr. Nassif about the event here. For more information, please click here to download the event flyer, including times and location.

February Conferences Focus on Family and Culture

February is a season for conferences, as Orthodox Christians go indoors to escape the cold while enjoying fellowship and spiritual enrichment. 

In a cyberspace gathering on February 11 and 12, the organization Illumination Learning ("Bringing Together Orthodox Christian Resources to Share with Each Other") will be hosting "Orthodoxy in the Home" in the first annual Orthodox Christian Online Education Conference. The line-up of speakers includes Fr. Luke Veronis, who will talk about how to teach children about missions; the sister singers of Eikona, who will discuss "Teaching Our Families the Hymns of Our Church"; and Antiochian priest Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, who will expound on how humor and the funny moments of family life are teachable moments too. Go here to register virtually, for this virtual conference! 

The following weekend, February 18 and 19, The Climacus Conference will tackle great themes in philosophy, theology and literature in their series of lectures held at St. Michael Orthodox Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Clothing, food, Plato, marriage, Dostoevsky, a movie screening and more, will be discussed by academic notables such as Vigen Guroian and by popular authors such as Conciliar Press writer Molly Sabourin.

That same weekend, the pan-Orthodox coalition North Texas Orthodox Missions, is sponsoring the 2011 Festival of Orthodoxy Conference in two Texas cities, Fort Worth and Dallas. Featured guests Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green and Dr. H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr. will speak to the theme, “From Conception to Dying: Orthodox Christian Views in Today’s World.” Go here for information and registration.

FOCUS North America, Polamalus Join Together to Celebrate New Pittsburgh Center

Click here to view many more photos from the event

PITTSBURGH, PA (Jan. 25, 2011)—Speaking to over 450 people at the Jan. 25 FOCUS Pittsburgh fundraising dinner, Theodora Polamalu challenged those present to put their hope and desire to help those in need into action.

Theodora and her Super Bowl-bound Pittsburgh Steelers husband, Troy Polamalu, are committed to caring for those in need. Theodora, FOCUS North America Advisory Board Member, said during her address to the crowd, “to treat every person as an icon of Christ is the foremost principle of FOCUS, the heart of its mission.”

Seeing that mission realized is what brought such a large crowd to the event, which was hosted by Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church’s Philoptochos Chapter and sponsored by the Pittsburgh Clergy Brotherhood. Through tickets sales, auction items, sponsorships and general donations, the event raised nearly $65,000 to further the good work of serving those in need.

Fr. Moses Berry to Speak in Iowa City + February 5, 2011

DESCENDENT OF DANIEL BOONE SPEAKS AT THIRD ANNUAL EVENING IN THE EAST

Click here for more information

Iowa City, IA – January 19, 2011 – On Saturday, February 5, St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Mission is hosting their third annual Evening in the East at Old Brick, 26 Market Street, Iowa City. The benefit runs begins at 5:30 PM, includes authentic cuisine from Greece, the Middle East, Romania, Georgia, and Russia, prizes, silent auctions, a performance by St. Raphael Church Choir, and this year will feature speaker Fr. Moses Berry presenting “Linking Ancient African Christianity to the African American Experience.”

Fr. Moses Berry is President of the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black and founder of the Ozarks Afro-American Heritage Museum. Fr. Moses is a descendent of frontier legend Daniel Boone through his son Nathan Boone and Nathan's slave Marie Boone. At a moment of crisis as a young man, Fr. Moses began a search for his religious heritage that took him from the church of his youth to the Orthodox Christianity found throughout northern Africa.

Blessing of the Waters Featured in Bowling Green Daily News

The Theophany celebrations of Holy Apostles Mission in Bowling Green, Kentucky were recently featured in the local newspaper, the Bowling Green Daily News:

A centuries-old ceremony was performed in Bowling Green on Thursday as members of the Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission gathered on the banks of the Barren River to participate in the Blessing of the Waters.

“We come here today to celebrate the Blessing of the Waters and in so doing, we join with our brothers and sisters around the world,” said the Rev. Michael Nasser, pastor of Holy Apostles....

“What we’re celebrating is the baptism of Jesus,” Nasser said. “For us, it’s not just an event that happened 2,000 years ago. It still affects us.”....

“This beautiful service reminds us that as Christ was a blessing to the waters of the Jordan and to the whole world, we should also be a blessing to our planet and not a curse, and especially to that part of the world right around us,” Nasser said.

Click here to read more on the Bowling Green Daily News web site.

Featured Parish: St. Mary Church + Berkley, MI

A new command I give you:  Love one another.   As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (John 13: 34-35.)

St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church is located in Berkley, MI.  We are a small community known for welcoming others.  We are a family, and as a family care about each other, and are very supportive of one another.  For the past fifteen years St. Mary's has been blessed with the ministry of Father George Baalbaki and his wonderful wife, Khouriye Iman. During their ministry the church has grown and been energized.

Nativity Greetings from Bishop Thomas

Beloved in Christ,

Greetings in the name of our incarnate God and Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ!

As we turn our thoughts once more to the birth into this world of the God-man Jesus, let us consider what God has given us to witness. While His conception at the Annunciation to the Virgin was in secret, His birth reveals Him openly. And what is revealed?

It is that our God, the Maker of all things, eternal, invisible, untouchable and incomprehensible to mortal man has now become one of us, a member of the human race. He retains His eternality while stepping into time. He remains the invisible God while becoming visible. He is beyond touching yet is now touchable. And though His essence as God is forever incomprehensible to us, in His incarnation as man, He has become truly knowable.

Saint George Church of Troy, MI, Hosts Pan-Orthodox IOCC Fundraiser

OCA.org Report

St. George of TroySt. George of TroyDETROIT, MI [COCC] -- A fall benefit concert sponsored by the Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of Metropolitan Detroit [COCC] raised more than $5,000.00 for International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC].

The concert of "Music from the Twelve Great Feasts” was presented by the Orthodox Choir of Metropolitan Detroit on Sunday, October 17, 2010 at Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Troy, MI.

The choir was conducted by Artistic Director Vickie Kopistiansky, who also conducts the choir at Holy Trinity Church [OCA], Detroit. Archpriest Paul Jannakos of Saint Mary Magdalene Church [OCA], Fenton, MI, provided commentary.

Chicago Orthodox Clergy to Host Prayer Service to Defend Sanctity of Life

Download event flyer (PDF)

Burr Ridge, Illinois – A Prayer Service marking National Sanctity of Life Day will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at the Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Burr Ridge, Illinois. Believing that all human life is sacred, the worship service will include prayers addressing issues such as capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion, and will emphasize forgiveness and the tragedy of 50 million abortions since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The Service will be sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago, on behalf of the 80 Orthodox Christian Churches in the Greater Chicago area.

13th Annual Canton Basketball Tournament + January 28-30, 2011

13th Annual Canton Basketball Tournament
January 28-30, 2011
Download Event Flyer (PDF)

Division I: Ages 12-15 / Division II: Ages 15-18 / Division III: Ages 19-26

Retreat Leader: Alex Younes
“A New Commandment”

"Flip Flops For Haiti" Project Delivers Thousands of Shoes

Josephine Katzbach ("Josie"), a parishioner at St. Matthew Orthodox Church in North Royalton, Ohio, has returned from Haiti, where she successfully delivered 2200 flip flops for those in need.  

An experience in Haiti was the source for Josie’s idea. Months ago while she worked there in a clinic building project, several aid workers had to escort an ill woman from a clinic in town back up the mountain. Struck by her lack of material possessions, Josie literally gave the woman the clothes off her back, with the exception of her flip-flops, the only shoes that would fit Josie's swollen feet. So when she and her friend returned to Chicago, inspiration struck and Josie said, “Hey, I have an idea. Let’s do ‘flip-flops for Haiti.’”

Josie is no stranger to helping others. She takes food and water to the homeless in Cleveland twice a month with parishioners from St. Matthew’s or St. George of Cleveland. A “life-changing experience”– that’s how Josie describes her first trip to Haiti. Although the city’s poverty and devastation are great, the poverty is even more extreme in the mountains. “They are the poorest of the poor,” says Katzbach. The earthquake did not have as much of an effect on them; instead, poverty is a way of life.

On October 26, 2010, St. Matthew's held a fund raiser: "Flip Flops For Haiti All You Can Eat Italian Dinner." All proceeds went to benefit shipping and the distribution of flip flops. Josie's husband Mark and her sister Antonette chaired the affair, and the people of St. Matthew came forward and ate and gave, enabling Josephine to return to Haiti with several thousand shoes. Josie was able to distribute several hundred, while a Catholic priest and nun offered to deliver the remaining shoes to those in need.

Featured Parish: St. George Church + West St. Paul, MN

The History of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of West St. Paul, Minnesota

Adapted from our history compiled by Dr. George Droubie

The first Syrian and Lebanese immigrants arrived in Minnesota in the 1890's. In the St. Paul area they settled primarily on St. Paul's West Side. Dating from the arrival of the first Orthodox immigrants in St. Paul, they were informally organized as a religious group. Visiting priests held services in private homes. St. George Syrian Orthodox Church was formally organized and founded in 1913 on St. Paul's West Side. An Episcopal Church located at Clinton and Isabel streets was purchased and adapted for Orthodox liturgical needs. The church was officially dedicated in 1915 by Metropolitan Germanos Shehadi, at which time our first parish priest was ordained. Since then eighteen priests have served our parish, among them, V. Rev. Essa Kanavati and V. Rev. John G. Khoury. As the church building on the West Side began to deteriorate and parishioners moved out of the area surrounding the church, five acres of land in our current location were purchased in 1968 for a future complex. A multi-purpose hall was constructed during 1973 and our first service was held in February 1974.

Urgent Communication from His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Regarding the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest

Click here to download this letter in PDF format

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT AND PUBLISHED IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN

October 27, 2010
To: The Clergy of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest
From: His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP
Re: Appointment of His Grace, Bishop THOMAS as Locum-Tenens of the Diocese

Beloved in the Lord:

Greetings in the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray you are in good health. As you are no doubt aware, our Local Synod of the Archdiocese met on Friday, October 22, 2010 in Jacksonville, FL. Among the things we discussed was the deteriorating situation in the diocese. As such, it was determined that the best thing was to transfer His Grace, Bishop MARK to the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest. A majority of the bishops of the synod agreed with the decision that this was in the best interest of the Archdiocese so that both the Diocese of Toledo and His Grace, Bishop MARK could have a fresh start. Citing health reasons, Bishop MARK said he could not live in that part of the country and subsequently requested to be released to the Orthodox Church in America. The synod agreed to his request and, at present, he is working out the details of his release with His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH. During this interim period, Bishop MARK asked to remain in the Toledo chancery until the end of the year. I agreed to this request and we will continue to pay Bishop MARK his stipend until the end of December.