News About His Eminence Metropolitan Philip
On Thursday October 18, 2012, an historic meeting of educators from Lebanon and the United States was held under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Ignatius IV at the Antiochian Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. The following people attended and participated in this meeting:
His Beatitude Ignatius IV Patriarch of Antioch and all The East
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America
His Grace Bishop Nicholas, Bishop of Brooklyn and Assistant To the Metropolitan
His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East presided at the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY on October 21, 2012. This was the highlight of his short visit to the United States. The Patriarch, accompanied by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP and His Grace, Bishop NICHOLAS (who celebrated the liturgy), arrived about 10 am on a warm autumn day as the church bells filled the streets around the Cathedral. The Cathedral Dean and Vicar-General of the Archdiocese, Archpriest Thomas Zain, greeted the Patriarch at the door of the vestibule and presented the Patriarch with the Gospel book to venerate. As His Beatitude made his way down the center aisle of the Cathedral, scores of people reached out to him for his blessing as the chanters, led by seminarian Rassem El-Massih, chanted the 9th ode of the Palm Sunday Canon, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord . . . . " After blessing the faithful, the Patriarch ascended the throne, the priests took his blessing and vested for the liturgy as Orthros continued with the Patriarch leading the chanting of the Katavasias.
On Oct. 12-14th, 2012, the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan celebrated a historic weekend commemorating 40 years of dedicated ministry and service to the greater southeastern Michigan area. The theme for this Ruby Jubilee celebration was “Dare to Dream.” The weekend was filled with moments of joy, reflection, and fellowship, as the community remembered the milestones that had been reached throughout the church’s history. However, it was also a time dedicated to the anticipation of what the future holds for the parish, as we heard from the youth, regarding their hopes and dreams for what lies ahead for this blessed community. Presiding over the event was His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, as well as His Grace Bishop Anthony (Michaels), Bishop of Toledo and the Midwest.
His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV arrived safely today, October 16, at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport at approximately 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, for his scheduled visit. After a joyous greeting at the airport, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip welcomed His Beatitude at the Archdiocese headquarters, where they prayed together in the Chapel of St. John Chrysostom.
As the autumn sets in each year, one annually thinks of a new ecclesiastical and school year, football season and changing leaves. For our Antiochian seminarians, another staple of the fall every year is their annual dinner with His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP. Each year Sayidna welcomes his spiritual children to the archdiocese where they pray, eat and talk together. Seminarians and their wives from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, St. Tikhon’s Seminary and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary were in attendance along with the archdiocesan clergy who teach them at the various seminaries.
On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the community of St. George Antiochian Church of Montreal, Quebec, hosted a celebration of 50 years of holy priesthood for their pastor, Economos Antony Gabriel. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presided over an entire weekend of festivities which culminated in the banquet held at Le Westin in Montreal on Saturday evening.
The weekend began with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip’s arrival to the Montreal airport on Friday, September 14, 2012. Joining His Eminence were His Grace Bishop Antoun, His Grace Bishop Nicholas, and Archdeacon Hans Elhayek. His Grace Bishop Alexander and the priests of Montreal and Ottawa greeted the bishops upon their arrival in a special VIP room at the airport. After we sat, relaxed and enjoyed good conversation with our beloved bishops, the hierarchs were taken to the Westin Hotel via limousine, where they would stay while in Montreal.
The St. Romanos the Melodist Choir from the Archdiocese of Beirut completed their two week tour at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY before a capacity crowd of over 450, on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Six hierarchs, numerous priests and deacons, and two counsels general from Lebanon and Cyprus, filled the cathedral for a night to remember.
To begin the concert, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP offered words of welcome, and then the choir of twelve men, led by Father Romanos Joubran, mesmerized the crowd with their beautiful music for a hour. After a short break, Part Two began with a special guest appearance by the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Then, to top the evening off, both choirs performed several hymns—first antiphonally, and then in unison.
Following the program, His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America presented Fr. Romanos and the group with a beautiful icon of St. Romanos the Melodist on a large polished stone. Metropolitan PHILIP then thanked both choirs, and all present gave the choirs a standing ovation.
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Akron, Ohio, celebrated 95 years and dedicated its new Family/Youth Center the weekend of April 27. Presiding over the busy schedule of events, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip joined parishioners at the hafli on April 27, at a banquet on April 28, and also celebrated liturgy with the community on Sunday, April 29.
Reporter Kathleen Folkerth of Akron Leader Publications, noted that "Mimi Hicks, president of the Ladies Society, gave Mahashie (Fr. Louis Mahshie) a $25,000 check for the Family/Youth Center building fund, bringing its total donation to $100,000." The Center was built to accomodate the growing and active youth group of St. George, recently named the Teen Club of the Year during a recent youth convention.
TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT AND PRINTED IN THE BULLETIN
Beloved Hierarchs, esteemed members of the Board of Trustees, members of our Archdiocesan Organizations and all faithful of our God Protected Archdiocese,
Greetings and blessings to you in the spirit of this Holy and Great Lent. I am certain that you have been following the tragic events in Syria from where many of us have originated. Besides our cultural and historical roots which are planted in Syria, Syria has a great spiritual significance to all of us and all Christians. Damascus is considered the most ancient city in the world. Syria and the entire Fertile Crescent gave the world its first known civilization.
Damascus is a holy city for us. It has been the center of our Patriarchate since the Patriarchate moved from Antioch. Our venerable Patriarch lives on the Straight Street where St. Paul walked to be baptized after his conversion to Christianity. (Acts 9:11)
March 22, 2012
A Message from Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate
Metropolitan of New York and All North America
With much sadness and sorrow, we have received the news of the falling asleep of His Holiness Patriarch and Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria, and Patriarch of the Seat of St. Mark.
His passing on to eternal life is an enormous loss not only for the Coptic Church, but also for the Church as a whole, especially since he believed in dialogue and held relentless and unwavering positions with regard to sensitive issues.
The Egyptian news agency called him “Pope of the Arabs”. When the former Egyptian president, Mr. Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, visited Jerusalem to sign a non-Arab Egyptian peace treaty with the Hebrew nation, he asked Pope Shenouda to accompany him. However, Pope Shenouda turned down the visit to Jerusalem and issued a statement to all Copts not to go to Palestine, and especially Jerusalem, while it is under the Israeli occupation.
The Copts could never forget his sermons, which entered the hearts and kindled the spirits. He spent part of his life in the monastery of St. Pishoy, at El Natroun valley, and he requested that the monastery’s cemetery be his final resting place.
On behalf of myself, the Bishops, priests and parishioners of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, I offer my deep condolences to the Coptic Orthodox Church and her people worldwide, asking God to rest his soul, and may his memory be eternal.
The Archdiocese has another department?
How much does it cost?
What is it for?
What’s in it for me?
Even before these questions, maybe you asked, “Why do we need an Archdiocese? Our church is doing just fine on its own.” This is the very reason and purpose for this Department – to “re-energize” the Laity of our Archdiocese regarding the Hierarchal nature of our faith and its relevance to our future viability in this country.
V. Reverend Economos Antony Gabriel, Chair of the Department offers the following:
“What is so unique about the Antiochian Archdiocese is that it was established by the Laity. In 1885 St. Raphael came to the United States, consecrated in 1904 in Brooklyn, and then proceeded to establish 30 parishes. He died young as did other Bishops that succeeded him. Metropolitan Philip is the longest serving Bishop in the history of the Archdiocese. The legacy of this Archdiocese will be that we have embraced the spirit of going forward; standing still is death. We must continue to do everything in our power which comes from God to continue our forward progress not for our own glory or the glory of the Metropolitan, but for the glory of God and in honor of our founders who came to this country penniless. When Metropolitan Anthony died in 1966 the Archdiocese consisted of 66 parishes. Now we have 265 parishes. If the Church is not a missionary Church then it is dead. The ministry of the Laity is more important than that of the Priests. The Priests are confined to the parish, but the Laity has the whole world as its parish.”
On October 6, 2011 members of the Department of Planning and Development met with Metropolitan Philip at the Archdiocese to discuss the strategy behind the Department’s exciting plans to re-energize the visions and legacy of the Metropolitan Philip and our God-protected Archdiocese.
On Saturday October 22nd, 2011, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, hosted a dinner in honor of His Beatitude Mar Bechara Al-Raa’i, Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey.
Among the guests who were in attendance were the following dignitaries:
Dr. Bashar Ja’afari, Ambassador for Syria to the UN
His Excellency Antoine Chedid, Ambassador for Lebanon
His Excellency Antoine Azzam, Consul General for Lebanon
During the weekend of October 14th through 16th, the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees held their Spring meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham, Massachusetts, hosted by St. George Cathedral of Worcester. In addition, the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch held their meeting during that same weekend.
The Archdiocesan Board of Trustees dealt with many important issues, including a review of the financial report as of September 30, 2011. By the grace of God, and through the most careful fiscal management, the financial report shows a surplus on a year-to-date basis; however, the budget anticipates that there will be a small deficit for the entire year.
Brother Hierarchs, Beloved Clergy, Esteemed Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees and Faithful Laity of our God-Protected Archdiocese:
Greetings to you and your families in the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ!
As you are all aware, there has been a lot of turmoil throughout many of the countries of the Middle East since the beginning of the year. Many of these uprisings coined “the Arab-spring” have resulted in changes of governments in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and unrest in other Gulf and North African nations. Since the spring, this phenomenon has supposedly spread to Syria, the country of the seat of our Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. The reports we receive on an almost daily basis from our Patriarch and various Metropolitans of the See of Antioch, together with our many contacts in Syria do not agree with the reports we see and hear in Western media such as CNN, Fox News, and others. Likewise, many of the gulf sponsored Arabic news channels like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya seem to portray a dire situation in Syria when the reality based on our many contacts there appears to be something quite the contrary.
Because of this contradiction, and because our office has been inundated with letters, emails and phone calls about the situation in Syria, we felt it necessary to send a delegation made up of a group of some of our convert priests, other religious leaders from non-Orthodox communities, and an international lawyer to see first-hand the situation and report back to me and to all of you, the faithful of our God-protected Archdiocese.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip asks that every parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese hold a Trisagion service at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy this Sunday, September 11th, 2011 to remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks on this, the 10th anniversary of that horrific occasion in the life of our country. Please also remember the families of the departed and those brave people who aided in the rescue, many of whom are suffering serious health problems to this day as a result, in your prayers for the living this Sunday.
The following video salute to Metropolitan Philip was presented at the 2011 Archdiocese Convention in Chicago, IL, to honor him for his 45 years of episcopal leadership and his 80th birthday. These introductory remarks were made by Fr. Anthony Gabriel:
Your Eminence Metropolitan Philip, Metropolitan Paul, Metropolitan Silouan, the hierarchs of this God protected Archdiocese, Reverend Clergy, esteemed members of the Board of Trustees, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:
I have been honored by Economos Nicholas Dahdal with a request, for which I thank him from the bottom of my heart, as one who journeyed for 45 years with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, to share a few reflections on the life of our Chief Shepherd and Father in Christ. With the business of this convention now completed, it is time to celebrate at this concluding banquet. This evening we joyously commemorate two milestones in the life of our beloved Primate: Saidna Philip’s 45th anniversary to the Holy Episcopacy and his 80th birthday.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip writes:
August 8th, 2011
To the beloved hierarchs, clergy, esteemed members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and faithful of this Archdiocese:
Greetings to all of you in the Name of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ! As you all know, the nomination and election of three new Auxiliary Bishops for this Archdiocese took place at our recently concluded Archdiocese Convention which was held in Chicago, IL. The three priests who are now bishops-elect are:
Rt. Rev. John Abdalah - Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Worcester and New England
Rt. Rev. Anthony Michaels - Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Toledo and The Midwest
Rt. Rev. Nicholas lyad Ozone - Auxiliary Bishop for Brooklyn to assist the Metropolitan at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey
On Sunday August 7th, 2011, we spoke by telephone with His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. His Beatitude has been very busy with the consecration of the twelve new Auxiliary Bishops who will serve in various locations within the See of Antioch. He was very pleased with the nomination and election of our three new Auxiliary Bishops, and he expressed the desire that they be consecrated at one of the Patriarchal locations in either Lebanon or Syria in December of 2011. The exact date and location will be determined by His Beatitude, and communicated to us.
Praying that the Lord will continue to bless you all, I remain
Your father in Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, July 30, at the 50th Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip announced that the Synod had elected three archimandrites of the Archdiocese for elevation to the episcopacy.
They are: the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite John Abdalah, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Worcester and New England; the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Anthony Michaels, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest; and the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Nicholas Ozone, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and assist His Eminence at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ.
Please remember these servants of our Lord in your prayers, and may God grant them many years!
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its 2011 meeting 25-27 May in Chicago, IL, with forty-five of its current fifty-two members present (of the seven members who were absent, five were attending meetings of their respective Holy Synods overseas, one was incapacitated due to serious illness, and another was unable to attend because of a death in his immediate family). At the closing session His Eminence Archbishop Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A., who serves as treasurer of the Assembly of Bishops, offered the following comments and resolution:
“Our esteemed first vice-chair Metropolitan Philip was born in 1931 which means His Eminence will be celebrating his 80th birthday next month - on June 10th. He entered into the Balamand Orthodox Theological Seminary at the age of fourteen. At the age of eighteen he was ordained to the holy diaconate. By the age of twenty-one, he was already a lecturer and a student advisor at the Balamand Orthodox Theological Seminary. He came to the United States in the 1950s and continued his education at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in Brookline, MA, at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and continued on to receive his M.Div from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary Seminary in Crestwood, NY. In 1966 he was consecrated to the episcopacy and thus will be marking the 45th anniversary of his episcopal consecration this coming August.
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.
On Thursday, May 5, 2011, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip met with Mother Alexandra and Douglas Shoop of DSA Architects at the Archdiocese office in Englewood, New Jersey. They presented to His Eminence the schematics and renderings for the new Convent on which they had been collaborating since October.
A video walkthrough is available below:
"Christ is Risen!" "Indeed He is Risen!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn New York, in the early morning hours of April 24. After a long and cold winter in the Northeast this year, the dark and short days of the season gave way to the day that knows no night and the celebration of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. Once again, our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, returned home to celebrate the Feast of Feasts and the season of seasons in his cathedral, the mother church of the North American Archdiocese. The Cathedral was filled to capacity on the beautiful New York evening.
Following the Paschal services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children and adults in celebration of the Feast.
Video of portions of the service is also available, provided by Fr. Thomas. Click here to view the Pascha video on YouTube.
It has been become a tradition and a blessing that Metropolitan Philip celebrates Palm Sunday with the parish of St. George, Little Falls, NJ. This year, like the others in recent memory, the rainy April skies cleared for beautiful Sunday, perfect for a procession with palms. Celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence was host pastor The Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Fr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary. As always on Palm Sunday, the St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd of an additional 250 viewing the Liturgy from the Church Hall via a large video screen.
Following the Gospel reading, Saidna addressed the congregation briefly then invited Fr. John Behr to deliver the homily for the day. Following the Eucharist, His Eminence and the gathered clergy led a procession of 500+ parishioners around the church, ending with the reading of the Gospel while the young children of St. George sat at the altar steps. Finally, Saidna gave the blessing and expressed his fondness for our parish, Christine Lynch and the St. George Choir, and thanked all those who chanted, served and participated in this Feast Day.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip writes:
March 16, 2011
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)
Once again we are confronted with the images of destruction, death and human tragedy in the wake of the severe earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday, March 11th, 2011. More than 3,000 are confirmed to have died, with the toll expected to be higher. Countless people are homeless or without shelter, and the damage to the nuclear power plant is threatening to cause additional harm to the people and environment for many years to come. We have many Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ in Japan. Many of the churches have suffered damage from the earthquake, and the status of many of the faithful is still to be determined. As the quote above from the Book of Acts reminds us, it has always been the tradition of the Church to help all of those who are in need. As such, we are asking all of our parishes and missions to appeal for prayers and donations in order to assist the victims of this tragedy in Japan.
We encourage all of our faithful and parishes to channel their donations through the IOCC which has already mobilized resources to assist the people of Japan. You may go to www.iocc.org in order to obtain information about the IOCC’s relief effort in Japan and information on how to make a donation.
May our Lord bless the remainder of your Lenten journey.
Your father in Christ,
Metropolitan Philip, Primate
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America