Diocese of Toledo News
St. James Church in Loveland, Ohio is composed of several Arabic nationalities. The majority of its congregation are Jordanians. Prior to 1993 the Arabic Christian Orthodox community in Greater Cincinnati attended services at different churches in the area. Following the urge to found their own church, the community sought the aid of the Antiochian Archdiocese. In turn the Archdiocese provided Fr. George Shaheen as a temporary priest. Thanks to the commitment and dedication of the parishioners, the former Branch Hill elementary school was bought in 1995. The school's gym was converted to house the new church and Father Shaheen performed the dedication service in the presence of the parishioners and the media.
Iowa City, IA – August 11, 2009 – On Saturday, August 22, at St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Mission is hosting an open house in their new location at 722 East College Street, Iowa City. Since purchasing the historic building, St. Raphael Orthodox Mission has been working diligently to renovate this historic building and convert it into and Orthodox Christian house of worship. The open house is an event for the whole community, including food, a bouncy castle for the kids, and short choral performances of exquisite Byzantine, Russian and Georgian sacred melodies from the St. Raphael Choir and other local musicians. All attending are invited to attend Vespers, an Orthodox evening prayer service, beginning at 6 PM.
Founded by a Saint
The parish of St. George of Cedar Rapids, Iowa has a long and rich history. Started in 1914 by a group of 25 Syrian and Lebanese immigrant families, St. George has evolved over the years into a multi-ethnic parish serving close to 200 families. The founding families had gathered in Cedar Rapids from several nearby farms and small towns and sought to build a church in order to help them raise their children in the Faith. Under the spiritual guidance of our Father among the Saints, RAPHAEL of Brooklyn, who presided at the first Divine Liturgy, those founding families managed to collect $4,000 in donations and borrow an additional $6,000 to finance the construction of their beloved St. George Church. Today, a shrine housing the icon of St. RAPHAEL, along with his Holy relic, stands along the north wall of the church sanctuary in recognition of his role in the founding of our parish.
St. Luke the Evangelist Mission began in 2002 under the guidance of Archpriest Elias Meena to provide an Orthodox Christian witness to the East side of the greater Cleveland metropolitan area. There are over two dozen Orthodox parishes in the region, but most of them are located either in central Cleveland or on the West side. The mission’s initial efforts under Fr. Meena included founding a community in the greater Solon area, the purchase of property for a permanent location, and the preparation of architectural plans for a church temple and hall.
Sadly, Fr. Meena’s untimely death in the summer of 2005 significantly curtailed the momentum of St. Luke’s. After Fr. Meena’s repose, the mission was served by two more priests on a part-time basis.
St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Mission in Peoria, Illinois began in 2005 under the guidance of Fr. Peter Gillquist, Mission Director of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, and Fr. Nicholas Dahdal, pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in Cicero, Illinois to spread the word of God’s truth through the teachings of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, with an invitation for all to become followers of the Orthodox Christian faith and members of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Mission.
In June 2005, His Grace Bishop Mark ordained Fr. Habib Ghantous into the priesthood during the Parish Life Conference hosted by St. George Orthodox Church, Cicero, Illinois where he was serving as a Deacon.
On July 16, 2005, His Grace, Bishop Mark came to Peoria, IL to bless the newly renovated building where we currently hold our worship services.
In 1993 a group of Episcopalians lead by Reverend Father Antony Bell were chrismated in Toledo and soon formed St. Mary’s of the Dormition in Goshen, Indiana. For years the young group of Orthodox converts met in various places, including homes, the upper room of a local funeral home, and store-front rental facilities. The parish grew with their beloved priest Father Antony. Eventually they were able to purchase property in Topeka, Indiana, where they stayed for several years. Many of the faithful drove many miles to attend services out in the country area surrounding the small town of Topeka. The beloved people remained faithful and believed.
Unfortunately, their beloved leader and priest became ill with an aggressive form of cancer. After a long but gracious battle with cancer, the beloved Father Antony reposed in June of 2006. His wife Kh. Melanie moved on to Pennsylvania and settled there with family. Soon after, Father George Smith and his wife Kh. Anna (Charlotte) faithfully pastored the church until His Grace Bishop MARK would appoint another priest.
Roberta Royhab writes:
Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery, in Rives Junction, MI, is “a place that serves the spiritual needs of the Orthodox Christian community in the United States,” their website reads.
Dormition was a perfect place—a holy place, a “retreat” from the stress of the secular world—for the Midwest Antiochian Women’s retreat that was held there the weekend of May 15-17. The monastery for women is located on 120 acres in a rural area of south central Michigan.
His Grace Bishop MARK of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest joined us on Friday and for a half day on Saturday. Fr. John Abdalah of Pittsburgh, PA, Spiritual Advisor for Antiochian Women-North American Board, served as Retreat Master.
For more information, please visit www.allsaintsbloomington.org.
When a group of Orthodox Christians began meeting once a month in 1999 to celebrate the Divine Liturgy mostly in Arabic, little did they imagine they would grow into a dynamic, all-English-speaking mission comprised of people from all ethnic backgrounds. Located between two large universities, St. Catherine of Alexandria Mission in Ann Arbor, Michigan has become a spiritual home for students and faculty, young and old, “cradle” and “convert.” St. Catherine’s is dedicated to participatory worship, spiritual growth, education, evangelism, and service – but it is best defined by its members’ warmth and hospitality.
From humble beginnings in 1999, this mission grew with fits and starts. For much of its history, it did not have a resident priest and the times and places of worship varied from month-to-month, or even week-to-week. But a core group of dedicated Orthodox faithfully tended to the seedling of the Church that God had planted. Bp. MARK appointed Fr. Benjamin Johnson as its resident priest in 2008.
In the summer of 2003, due to the large number of faithful living in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago, Metropolitan PHILIP blessed the faithful in this area to move forward and establish the mission of the Church of the Virgin Mary. In December 2004, we purchased the property where we currently worship, in Alsip, Ilinois. In the spring of 2007, His Grace Bishop MARK assigned Fr. Mousa Haddad as the first full-time pastor of the Church of the Virgin Mary in May.
At the Church of the Virgin Mary, our mission is to serve God in all that we do, and to make Jesus Christ a real presence in the hearts of the faithful in Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs. The Virgin Mary is our protector, and she intercedes on our behalf to her Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She stands as our example of faith and commitment to serve the Lord. As she received the calling of the angel Gabriel to bear the Son of God, and to commit her life to the Lord, so we too must receive the word of God, accept His Will, and serve Him to the best of our ability. As we pray in the Divine Liturgy, “Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us!”
April 19, 2009
Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
We celebrate the abolition of death, the destruction of Hades and the first fruit of everlasting life. And as we leap with joy, we praise the Cause of these good gifts, the God of our fathers who is alone blessed and mostly gloried.
Beloved of God,
Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen! El Messieh kahm! Hakken kahm! Khristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese! Let us embrace one another and forgive all things for the sake of Christ’s Holy Resurrection. May Christ’s Holy Resurrection strengthen us for a life of purity and Holiness. Let us say with St. Paul “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2: 20) Let us guard this gift of eternal life so freely bestowed! Forgiving as Christ forgives. Let us love as Christ loves. Christos anesti! Alithos anesti! Cristos vaskres! Vaistinu vaskres! Cristos a inviat! Adevarat a inviat!
Yours in Christ,
Bishop of Toledo and the Diocese of the Midwest
Anthony J. "Tony" Thomas Sr. THOMAS, ANTHONY J. "TONY" SR., 92, passed away Thursday, April 9, 2009. He was born in Hamat, Lebanon and immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1923. He and his wife, Jean, founded A. Thomas Meat Market on the Haymarket. He was a charter member of St. Michael Orthodox Church where he served on its parish council as president for many years. He also served as a member of the Archdiocese board of trustees and was a member of the Order of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. He was a founding member of the Lebanese American Country Club and also served on its board as president. For decades Tony greeted his customers at the Haymarket with a smile, a joke or a song and children sought him out because they knew he had a piece of candy for them. You knew he was the kind of person we all strive to become when you heard countless stories from people telling you what he had done to help them or what he meant to them. Tony was preceded in death by his loving wife of 61 years, Jean George Thomas; his parents, John and Mary Thomas; brothers, Nicholas and Louis Thomas; sisters, Henrietta Thomas, Carrie George, Sue Gabriel and Emerald Coleman. Left behind to cherish his memory are his children, Phyllis Miller, A.J. Thomas Jr. (Sarah), Dennis Thomas (Kim) and Gayle Hobbs (Ken); 11 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and sisters, Martha Asseff (Jim) and Nancy Owen (John), of Nashville, TN. Expressions of sympathy may be made to either St. Michael Orthodox Church, 3701 Saint Michael Church Dr., Louisville, KY 40220 or to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN 38105.
Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois began in 1988 through the mission work of Fr. William Caldaroni, who during his seminary years became committed to the fullness of the Faith in the Orthodox Church. Under the guidance of Fr. Peter Gillquist, Mission Director of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, and Fr. Nicholas Dahdal, pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in Cicero, Illinois, the work of establishing a parish in the Wheaton, Illinois area began. From the first location rented on the campus of Wheaton College to our present location in Warrenville, Holy Transfiguration has offered the vision of the salvation through Jesus Christ to hundreds of people: some who came without faith, some who were Orthodox from infancy and some who came to Orthodoxy from Evangelical, Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions.
“Oh Lord, save thy people ….”
In July 2005, thirty three people made a life-changing pilgrimage from Wittenberg (birthplace of Lutheranism) to Antioch. We spent our first year at St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids, Michigan under the tutelage of Fr. Daniel Daly, aided by Fr. John Winfrey from St. George. Our priest, Fr. Gregory Hogg, was ordained to the holy priesthood in March, 2006 at St. James/Williamston (see picture at left) and a few months later we began services as Holy Cross Mission in Dorr, Michigan.
By the blessing of God and the prayers of his people, we purchased our first building in the summer of 2007. Several months’ hard work, guided by the wise counsel of Bishop MARK, has given us a home of our own in which to worship God, love each other, and serve our community. We want to be an active and living witness for Orthodoxy in a region of West Michigan that is presently not served by an Orthodox church: to bring the fullness of the faith to people who need to know the life-changing power of the cross of Christ.
Holy Cross is served by Fr. Gregory Hogg, who works as an Affiliate Professor in the Philosophy department of Grand Valley State University. In addition, Fr. Steven Van Bronkhorst is attached to our mission as a priest. Fr. Steven works with the Grand Rapids Area Transit Authority. Both Frs. Gregory and Steven are active in campus ministry, having founded chapters of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship on the campuses of Grand Valley State, Hope College in Holland, and Calvin College in Grand Rapids.
|The Board of Directors of OCPM with new director Chaplain Patrick Tutella|
February 10, 2009
Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), the official prison ministry of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) announces the appointment by the Board of Directors of its first full-time Executive Director, Chaplain Patrick Tutella. Chaplain Tutella, who has been in prison ministry for thirty years, is a member of the St. Matthew parish (GOA) in Blandon, Pennsylvania. For the past twelve years, he has been the Supervisory Chaplain for the Berks County Prison in Leesport, Pennsylvania.
At a board meeting which took place in Wichita, Kansas February 6 and 7, Chaplain Tutella and the Directors charted a strategic plan for the next twelve months that includes the following key components: 1) development of a training program for parishes that would like to be involved in prison ministry, 2) the expansion of OCPM’s correspondence ministry, and 3) a convocation for Orthodox prison workers and volunteers to be held in the summer of 2009. Also present at the board meeting was His Grace, Bishop Mark of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest of the Antiochian Archdiocese, who provided his spiritual guidance and support.
St. Nicholas Church in Urbana, Illinois began in 1995 with the chrismation of two families who wanted to be Orthodox Christians, share the faith with others, worship in English, and not have to uproot their families to do it. We began meeting in a living room with priests visiting us, initially for catechism and later for Sunday evening liturgies. We moved first to a rented chapel on the University of Illinois campus, and three years later to our present location, a remodeled existing church building.
An astute observer of church growth once noted that planting a church is a lot like life as a pioneer in the American West. First the explorers come, the individuals who are venturing out into areas where no one has been before. Then the pioneers who move into unsettled territory and have to establish the initial structures that support those who will hopefully follow. And then the settlers come, the ones who turn a wide place in the road into a place to live and work for generations to come. Our experience was not unlike this. Two families who wanted to be Orthodox because they believed it to be the fullness of the faith but really didn’t know what they were getting into came first. Then a few others joined them who could see the outline of liturgical life because of the priests that traveled through and who could tolerate the conditions of inconsistent pastoral care, no choir music, no one to teach church school, or bake the bread except them. They did the work of setting up and tearing down while we met in temporary space. They dealt with dance music blaring in the next room while we sat in the dark, hoping the secular party would end, so we could start the Paschal Nocturnes. And now those who are more like settlers, with the gift of a place to meet, teach, and worship are being added to our number. There are those who are drawn by the ancient worship and centuries-old doctrine, who are working to establish a more complete witness to the kingdom of God. There are those who come from traditionally Orthodox lands, yet because of conditions there have had little opportunity to know why they believe and worship the way they do. God-willing these will become our teachers and singers and servants as God entrusts with even more good work which He has prepared for us.
Saint Mary of Egypt Mission is located in Greenwood, Indiana, a city south of Indianapolis. The mission is supported by our offerings and the prayers and assistance of our sister church, St. George of Indianapolis and the guidance of their pastor, the V. Rev. Fr. Nabil Hanna. Our pastor is the V. Rev. Fr. Athanasius Wilson, formerly of All Saints Orthodox Church in Bloomington, Indiana. We are presently worshiping in a rented facility at the Knights of Columbus in Greenwood.
The Saint Mary of Egypt mission began on April 22nd, 2007 with seven souls. Since the early nineteen-seventies, when Fr. Athanasius was a member of St. George, he had always dreamed of an Orthodox parish on the south side of Indianapolis. All of the area's five other parishes were on the north side of Indianapolis. After his retirement the Lord afforded Fr. Athanasius the opportunity, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Mark, to begin a mission there. There has never been an Orthodox parish in this area, and the opportunities for witness to the Holy Faith are unlimited.
Come Spend the 4th of July weekend with us in the Greater Cincinnati area for the 2009 Midwest Parish Life Conference. Activities include Fellowship, Christian Education, workshops, and many fun activities for everyone to bond with family, friends, and loved ones.
For complete details, please visit St. James' Parish Life Conference web site by clicking on the links below:
Enjoy your stay at Sheraton Cincinnati North ($99 per night including free parking). Sheraton Hotel has one of the newest indoor water resorts in Ohio: CocCo Key Indoor Water Resort (Resort rates: $15 per day conference guest special).
Spend fun times at Paramount Kings Island, The Beach Water Park, Newport aquarium (Sharks), Cincinnati Zoo, OmniMax, Museums (Creation, Natural, Children's, Art), and Theaters. Restaurants, shopping centers are within walking distance.
Please offer prayers and help for the Aramouni family in their present crisis. Their 16-year-old son Andrew recently suffered severe brain damage in an accident, and the family is in great financial need.
Donations of any size would be greatly appreciated.
Update from fr. Andrew Harmon (Dec. 6th, 2008):
Andrew continues to improve, thanks to everyone’s prayers. He is now home and is 100% physically recovered. He will have to be readmitted to the hospital in January for a follow-up surgery to insert a steel plate in his head. He is continuing to go back to the hospital very frequently for speech therapy. The doctors have said full speech recovery may be as long as 6 months to two years, but we hope it will be quicker as there is good progress. He is now beginning to use some simple sentences and it seems to be continually improving.
The doctors have recently told Andrew’s parents, Roger and Lisa, that no one thought Andrew would survive and that it is nothing short of a miracle. Thanks be to God for his miraculous healing power. Please keep praying for a full and quick recovery of his speech. And it looks like Andrew won’t be able to play in the Diocese basketball tournament in Canton this winter, but he plans being back on the St. Matthew team in 2010---he’s eager for another trophy!
----Father Andrew Harmon
Bishop MARK writes:
Dear to God:
Our Spring Gathering is rapidly approaching. We look forward to seeing you all as we prepare to enter the Lenten Season of Repentance, Forgiveness, Prayer and Fasting. In anticipation of this wonderful journey, let us gather as a Diocesan Family to be reconciled one with another so that we might draw ever nearer to Christ.
Please publish the flyer in your weekly bulletin and on your parish web sites.
Spring Delegates Meeting and Clergy Gathering
Featured Speaker Dr. Harry Boosalis
"Knowing God, Suffering for Him and Loving His People: The Personal
Experience of the Parish Priest"
Friday, February 6—Sunday, February 8
- Basketball Tournament
- Dinner and Hafli
- Divine Liturgy
We look forward to seeing you for this weekend of spiritual growth, worship, athletic fun and fellowship!
Come and help make this our best one yet!
IMPORTANT - CHANGE IN HOTELS
PLEASE NOTE: Because of circumstances beyond our control we had to change hotels.
Courtyard by Marriott
4375 Metro Circle NW
N. Canton, Ohio 44720
Phone: (330) 494-6494
The Cape Girardeau Orthodox Mission is a new eastern-rite mission of the North American Antiochian Archdiocese, under the direction of Bishop MARK in the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. The endeavor to establish a mission in southern Missouri began in the spring of 2008 when Father Steven Salaris of All Saint of North America began developing contacts.
The effort took a big step forward in June 2008 when Jim Mackoul (now Deacon) began traveling to Cape Girardeau to investigate the possibility. Contacts were made with several Orthodox Christians living in the surrounding area. It was easy to see that there was high level of interest among the faithful. We hit the ground running. By early July 2008 we offered daily Vespers on Wednesday evenings. By late July, we had found a location in which we could hold services and began scheduling Great Vespers, Orthros, and Divine Liturgy. The mission consists of American, Syrian, Greek, and Bulgarian Orthodox. Everyone is welcome, inquirers and non-Orthodox alike. We’re here to serve. With God’s help we’ve planted our little mission. By the grace of God, we’ll nurture it and make it grow. By spring of 2009, we hope to make the next step and move into a semi-permanent location near the downtown in Cape Girardeau, somewhere close to the university.
From the Holy Resurrection web site:
The faithful of Holy Resurrection Antiochian Orthodox Church now worship at the corner of 6th and Water in Hobart, Indiana, under the loving care of Fr. Gregory Owen. In this story, our former pastor, Fr. Gregory Rogers (St. Catherine Mission) recounts a time when we worshipped at 45th and Harrison in Gary, Indiana. We thank God for those early years and the love and dedication that Fr. Gregory displayed for his parish.
On the outside the building wasn't beautiful. It looked like an old brick warehouse, having gone through numerous incarnations and transformations. Originally built as an auto repair garage, it became a printing business, a hot dog stand and video arcade, a warehouse for storage, and finally, an empty and vacant monument to a more prosperous era. The brick didn't match, old with new, white with red, in spite of the tuck pointing and repair that had been done. The neighborhood itself was dreary, across the street to the north, a cemetery, to the east, a convenience store with its transient clientele, to the south, an eighty year old house long past its prime. Like most early spring days in Gary, IN, this one, March 21, 1987, was chilly and overcast, and a trifle gloomy.
Inside, though, was a different story. The building had been stripped to the walls and redone...new studs, new wiring, new drywall, painted, carpet on the floor, new furnishings, redone windows. The accoutrements of worship had been added - a wooden altar, a cross suspended on the wall behind it, huge icons of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God. In the rear of the church an old Russian icon of the Resurrection of Christ hung, candles burning before it, calling down the grace of God upon the people gathered there.
As an honored guest of the OCA Hierarchs I was blessed to be with my brother Hierarchs of the OCA and witness the Lord moving in their midst! Thank God our brother and sisters in Christ have remained unified through their struggles and emerged, strong, steadfast and full of hope. May our Lord grant unto His Beatitude JONAH, Many, Many, Many Years. May He also grant unto each of their beloved Hierarchs many years!
Dearly beloved by the Lord,
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever! The community of St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Mission in Iowa City, IA has a very urgent opportunity that we would like to share with you. As you will see in the accompanying pamphlet, we have a wonderful chance to purchase a building that would allow us to continue to grow and serve God in our Midwestern college town. I cannot speak highly enough regarding the generosity and sacrificial giving that has characterized our own members, but I rejoice that we are not in this alone. We are, perhaps, a little toe on the Body of Christ. You are part of that Body as well. We are all connected to the Head through our common baptism and the reception of the same Eucharist.
Simply put, we have 75 days to raise $275,000. This will allow us to complete the purchase and renovate the interior so that it is a fitting place for Orthodox worship.