Diocese of Toledo News
Feast of the Nativity 2009
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Rev. Fathers, esteemed members of the parish council and faithful of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest,
Come, let us rejoice in the Lord, proclaiming the present mystery; for He hath broken the middle wall of partition, and the flaming spear shall turn about, and the cherubim shall admit all to the tree of life. As for me, I shall return to enjoy the bliss of paradise from which I was driven away before, by reason of iniquity; for the likeness of the Father, and the Person of His eternity, which it is impossible to change hath taken the likeness of a Servant, coming from a Mother who has not known wedlock; free from transubstantiation, since He remained as He was, true God, and took what had not been, having become Man for His love of mankind. Wherefore, let us lift our voices unto Him crying, O Thou Who wast born of the Virgin, O God, have mercy upon us.
Have a blessed Feast of the Nativity and a joyous New Year! May our Lord bless you with good health, length of days! I ask your God-pleasing prayers that we continue to grow closer to Christ Jesus, our Incarnate God and to one another.
Yours in Christ,
+ Mark, Bishop of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest
His Grace Bishop MARK has recently provided a collection of articles and resources pertaining to proper governance and financial procedures in Orthodox parishes. These PDF, Word and Excel files are available for download at www.antiochian.org/toledo/parish_council_guidelines.
Early Registration: $40 by January 20 Registration: $45
Please earmark checks ‘Spring Gathering’ and send to:
St. George Orthodox Church
Call or e-mail with any questions…
Download event flyer (PDF) (Updated 1.07.10)
Father Peter Gillquist
author of The Physical Side of Being Spiritual, Designed for Holiness, and Becoming Orthodox
November 9 + 7:00 P.M.
Bettendorf Public Library
2950 Learning Campus Drive
at 18th Street, Bettendorf, Iowa
Hear Fr. Peter recount how he and 2,000 evangelical Protestant Christians discovered early Christianity in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Fr. Peter is an internationally sought after speaker on the Orthodox Christian Faith. Engagements have included an address before the World Council of Churches in Ethiopia and an evangelistic tour of Romania, during which Fr. Peter spoke to crowds numbering in the tens of thousands.
For more information, call 563-514-1931 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please click the links below to download registration material for the 2010 Diocese of Toledo Parish Life Conference.
Adobe Reader is required to view these PDFs. Download Adobe Reader here.
Using an informal and informative format, Fr. John Winfrey and Fr. John Fenton will lead four structured discussions on how the Christian Faith is lived in the Orthodox Western Tradition.
St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Lexington, KY had its beginnings with 5 pioneering families meeting at a members home on the Feast of St. Andrew Nov. 30, 1979. Later the community asked the Archdiocese for the patronage of St. Andrew due its founding significance. From the beginning St. Andrew has been a Pan Orthodox, multi ethnic, English speaking, and mission minded community desiring to share the Orthodox faith with the greater Lexington area. From its humble origins of 5 families it has grown to serve a community of more than 100 familles with origins in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Greece, and converts from many Western European roots. Its diversity in ethnicity's are united by its Christ centered allegiance and the mission to both live out and spread the teachings of the Gospel.
On Saturday, October 17, the Chicago area Orthodox organization SYNERGY is hosting a seminar entitled, “The Future of Orthodoxy in America.” Speakers include the Rev. Dr. Stanley Harakas, Professor Emeritus and renowned author, and the Rev. Dn. Nicholas Belcher, Dean of Students at Holy Cross Seminary.
SYNERGY consists of lay and clergy members from Chicago-area parishes who seek to make Orthodoxy known to the broader community. Working together with its parent organization, the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago, SYNERGY operates with the blessings of the Chicago hierarchs.
The conference is going to be held at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 1220 S. 60th Court in Cicero. Prior to October 9, 2009, individuals may register for $35.00, and married couples for $50.00; afterwards, the fee is $40.00. High school and college students are discounted at $20.00. Registration includes coffee service and lunch, and attendees may register at the door.
For more information go to: chicagosynergy.org/symposium.html or call: (847) 647-8889 or (630) 230-0079.
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.