Dept. of Ancient Faith Ministries News
Archpriest Gregory Hallam, Dean of the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and blogger at Antioch Abouna, recently launched a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. Titled A Voice From the Isles, the podcast features Fr. Gregory's sermons and lectures, delivered to Orthodox Christians and inquirers in the United Kingdom. Recently, antiochian.org caught up with him in cyberspace, where he graciously answered our questions.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Father. How does a Christian clergyman in the United Kingdom end up as a priest and Dean in the Antiochian Archdiocese?
I wasn't raised in the Anglican Church but I served it for 12 years as a priest after coming to faith in my early 20s. My journey to Orthodoxy is a long story so I will just give you a reasonably detailed but short summary.
My first encounter with the Orthodox Church was at Anglican seminary 30 years ago when I attended a liturgy in English at a parish in the Greek Archdiocese in Southampton. This was in the context of an ecumenical visit from our college to the church there. I was blown away by the worship much in the same way that the emissaries of Kiev reacted after experiencing the Liturgy at the Great Church in Constantinople. I then began a theological exploration of Orthodoxy while still at Anglican seminary and found that it rang true in every aspect of Christian life.
The Psalms have been called the “Hymn Book of the Church” and contain rich and prophetic references to Christ. In this new Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Let My Prayer Arise," Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth, priest at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois, will be taking listeners through the Psalter to help them make the Psalms the prayer of their hearts. "The Lord's Prayer is the flower and the fruit, of the roots, stalk and stem of the Psalms," says Fr. Ellsworth. "When we pray, we are not alone," he adds. The Psalms, he explains, have three important aspects. First, they are a historical connection to the prayers of God's people. Secondly, the Psalms are Christological--Jesus Himself pointed out that the Psalms spoke of Himself. "They are nothing less than the prayers of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He would have been immersed in these prayers from infancy." Third, the Psalms are liturgical. "In this podcast, we will often reflect on where and how these Psalms are used in the Orthodox liturgy," promises Fr. Wilbur.
"I encourage you to listen with the Psalm text before you. Begin to read, and then, to memorize."
This month, in keeping with the theme of our new release, Letters to Saint Lydia, our Conciliar Media newsletter Messenger is focusing on saints and icons. We have an interview with Melinda Johnson, the author of Letters to Saint Lydia; a feature about Paul Hibberd, who mounts icons for Conciliar Press; an icon-related announcement from AFR; a look at some children’s books that focus on saints and icons; and an excerpt from Fr. Patrick Reardon’s book on the saints of the Bible, Christ in His Saints.
From the Conciliar Media Messenger: We are delighted to introduce to you the newest member of our Conciliar Press community: our customer service manager, Nancy Colakovic. Nancy comes to us from Narrow Path Bookstore in Lansing, Illinois, where she served for 15 years. She has a deep love for God and the Orthodox faith, a broad familiarity with Orthodox literature, a passion for customer service, and a long-standing affection for Conciliar Press.
Nancy says, “It was a mere 15 years ago that Conciliar Press helped to spark the beginnings of a small church bookstore of which God allowed me to be a part; I will never forget the help and support which I received at that time and throughout the ensuing years from the gracious staff of Conciliar Press. By His providence, the Lord has opened a new door for me and the opportunity to grow, I pray, from those learning experiences—to be there for you when you call Conciliar Press with your inquiries. I thank God and all those who have made it possible for me to join the Conciliar Press team; and I pray for His guidance and strength as we, our entire team, strive to serve all of you and meet or exceed your expectations for the glory of God.”
Conciliar Press recently released a new title, A Book of Hours: Meditations on the Traditional Christian Hours of Prayer. The website description reads: "Eastern and Western Christians share a rich spiritual heritage in the Hours of Prayer—the brief services of praise and psalmody that mark the progress of each day, sanctifying the hours of our lives. In this gem of a book, Patricia Egan digs deeply into the meaning of each of the Hours, drawing on poetry, nature, experience, and theology to show how the services reflect the different aspects of our salvation and our lives. A Book of Hours is an excellent companion for anyone who wants to experience the blessing of praying through the Hours of each day." To order, go to Conciliar Press' website here. The book's retail price is $21.95.
Ancient Faith Radio has released the completed "Foundations" series recorded by Antiochian priest Fr. Andrew Damick for his podcast, "Roads From Emmaus." "This series represents an attempt at a sort of catechism—approaching the faith from four foundational angles: the revelation of God to man, authority in the spiritual life, worship, and morality," explains Fr. Andrew. "As with most of my work, I attempted to keep these talks fairly free of religious jargon, approaching the subjects with only a minimum of assumptions shared with the listeners. My hope is that these will be digestible not only to Orthodox Christians, but to other Christians, members of other religions, those who are 'spiritual but not religious,' and even unbelievers."
Fr. Damick begins the series with a conversation about the person of Christ, then builds on that with subsequent talks about Scripture and Tradition, and Worship. He concludes the four part discussion with a two part presentation, "Christian Life in the World."
Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of St. John the Forerunner Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cedar Park, TX, was interviewed recently by the Austin Statesman newspaper. The occasion was the publication of his reflection on Orthodox parish life, Aidan's Song: A Year in the Life of a Parish Priest, available from Conciliar Press.
What gave you the idea to write this book?
While there are a lot of spiritual memoirs being written these days, most of them are by people who are either dissatisfied with their particular spiritual tradition and on their way out the door, or they are sampling a number of different spiritual traditions to try and find out what’s right for them, or they are just maintaining an ironic distance from any and all spiritual traditions. I thought that a memoir written by someone who has fully embraced a particular tradition and is finding joy in it would be unique.
Chesterton, IN — “The Miracle in Zone One” is the name of a new Ancient Faith Radio audio documentary, in which Bobby Maddex reports on his recent trip to Hogar Raphael Ayau Orthodox Orphanage in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
From its founding more than 150 years ago, through its seizure by the government of Guatemala and its return to a descendant of the founder, Orthodox Christian nun Madre Inés Ayau García, in the 1990s, the story of “The Hogar” and its impact on the life of children and adults involves one miracle after another.
The miraculous happens frequently at Hogar Rafael Ayau (HRA). But, like so many miracles in Scripture, humans sometimes play a role. So when Catherine Fuller was looking for a way to record the wonderful singing of the children at Hogar Rafael Ayau and needed equipment, she contacted Ancient Faith Radio. She’d already tried recording the children herself, but the equipment available just wasn’t up to the job. She was hoping AFR would have better equipment.
Conciliar Press recently released Bearing the Saint, a story by author Matushka Donna Farley. The descriptive text reads: "Edmund is just an ordinary fisherman’s son from the island of Lindisfarne, whose one great talent and joy is running as a messenger for his bishop. But when Viking invaders threaten the holy island and its great treasure, the relics of St. Cuthbert, Edmund’s life changes forever. Along with his whole village, he must accompany their beloved saint on a perilous pilgrimage that will carry him across England, through adventure, heartbreak, miraculous deliverance, and budding love, all the way to manhood."
The paperback book is appropriate for older children, but adults will enjoy Farley's engrossing narrative as well. To order the book, go to the Conciliar Press website.
Beginning July 5, Orthodox Christians can access "real life," a series of free multimedia studies from Jason Barker and Ancient Faith Radio. The audio and written series examines the way in which life can be transformed through one's relationship with God and others.
The first study is "Joy," focusing on what joy is and how it can be developed. There will be three new podcasts associated with "real life:" "real life" and "real life for teens," which provide podcast versions of the material covered in the units for each study; and "real life minute," a daily one-minute podcast with advice from a saint or Orthodox teacher on daily life. All of the studies will be available in two versions: one for adults, another for teens. The series is similar in concept to the studies, Worship & You.
Jason Barker creates resources for AFR, the Department of Youth Ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese, OCN and other Orthodox groups. His emphasis is on how we can live and grow as Orthodox Christians in the modern world. Jason has an M.A. in Applied Orthodox Theology from the University of Balamand / Antiochian House of Studies, and a B.A. in Communication from Washington State University.
Conciliar Press has released a new book written by Antiochian priest Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of Cedar Park, Texas. Titled Aidan's Song, the book recounts the many moments of a parish priest's life, large and small, all experienced within the rhythm of the Church year. The journal entries delight, encourage and inspire. As Bishop BASIL writes on the jacket, "After a few pages priests will find themselves singing along and lay readers will be humming this really great tune. Enjoy! I did!"
From Aidan's Song:
Sunday, November 19: Prophet Obadiah
This morning I’m out among the trees behind the building. The sun hasn’t come up yet, and it’s pretty cold—even with a T-shirt, my clergy shirt, my cassock, and a sweater. I’m going through my sermon, and the sky starts to glow orange like a fire on a crisp morning. Out in the tall grass, a deer breaks cover and bounds off into the trees. But after a few minutes, the deer walks back out towards me. It’s a doe, and she’s got her neck stretched out, and she’s looking straight at me. I can see her brown eyes. I go through the sermon again, and she stays right there, listening. After I’m done, she wheels, her white tail flashes, and she leaps—once, twice, three times—back into the trees.
In conjunction with Conciliar Press, the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family MInistries has released two much-requested brochures for Orthodox Christians. "Crowned with Glory and Honor," a free, downloadable brochure, presents readers with a set of helpful guidelines for Orthodox marriage preparation, including such concepts as the meaning of crowning, and the purpose of the Betrothal Service. Readers will even learn about the wedding almonds: "The white coating symbolizes purity; the egg shape represents fertility and new life that begins in marriage. The hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage, and the sweetness of the sugar encourages the hope of the sweetness of future life together. Giving of three almonds signifies the union is indivisible, just as the bride and groom will remain undivided in their union with each other and with Christ."
The second brochure, "A Guide to Parish Etiquette," lists everything parishioners need to know about respectful and reverent behavior while in liturgy. Department Director Khouria Maggie Hock encourages all parishes, couples and families to make use of these valuable, free resources.
Conciliar Press has announced a new release of their most popular book, Becoming Orthodox, by Fr. Peter Gillquist. This edition of the best-seller includes an epilogue, "Coming Up on Twenty-Five Years," and will be featured soon as Conciliar's first audio book, read by the author himself. Additionally, the Press is moving into the world of digital publishing and has released their first Kindle book, Dimitri's Cross, the story of Fr. Dimitri Klepinin, an Orthodox priest serving in Nazi-occupied Paris.
Additionally, the two journals, The Handmaiden and AGAIN, will gain a second life in the new Conciliar reading room currently under construction. The Press also plans to provide online periodicals in the future, as CEO John Maddex explained in a recent interview.
1. Recently Conciliar held its annual editorial board meeting. How does your leadership plan to navigate all the changes taking place in the greater publishing world?
This is both an exciting and challenging time for all publishers including Conciliar Press. Exciting in terms of opportunities to harness new technologies to disseminate the life giving message of the Orthodox Faith.
WORSHIP & YOU, the new multimedia study for Orthodox Christian adults and teens from Jason Barker and Ancient Faith Radio, aims to help Christians deepen their worship of God, and take the transforming power of that experience into their daily lives.
Focusing on the main services of the Orthodox Church and personal prayer, Worship & You looks at the meaning of what takes place during liturgical worship, and how this applies outside of the church in the everyday world.
After over three productive decades in Ben Lomond, California, Conciliar Press is expanding its operations by moving to a new operations center and warehouse in the Chicago area. The Chicago facility began taking orders in early January, and with this centralized location, shipping will be more efficient. In addition, extended hours will allow for more cost-effective customer service and will keep operating costs to a minimum.
The toll-free number, 1-800-967-7377, remains the same, and at www.conciliarpress.com, customers can shop online. Conciliar Press operates under the Conciliar Media Ministries (CMM) umbrella, along with sister company Ancient Faith Radio, and is a department of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.
Recently, Antiochian.org caught up with busy Conciliar Media Ministries CEO John Maddex, to get his perspective on the recent Conciliar warehouse move to the Chicago area.
1. Over the holidays, Conciliar Press moved to a new warehouse location. Tell us first of all, where you are now, and how things are coming along as you resettle your books into a new space.
Maddex: We have relocated to the Chicago area using the services of a professional fulfillment center which serves dozens of publishers. We began filling orders from the new location on January 4 and officially shut down operations in Ben Lomond, CA on January 15. I want to add here that our faithful staff in Ben Lomond worked valiantly with wonderful attitudes to help prepare for the transition all the way to the last day when the truck left for Illinois. They are a wonderful group of people.
2. Can you give us a little background as to why Conciliar decided to relocate?
Maddex: As part of our long term strategy for streamlining and efficiency, it made sense to get out of the fulfillment business and allow a service who does nothing but fulfillment to better serve our customers. This translates into longer hours, savings from the economy of scale on things like packaging materials, picking and packing, large scale relationships with the major shipping companies and a more centralized part of the country to ship to and from.
1. What was the genesis for this book?
I've had a love for St. Lucia ever since I moved to California in 1992 and was invited to participate in a St. Lucia festival hosted by my friends, Nektarios and Anna Burkett. When the Conciliar Press editorial board (on which I serve) decided they wanted more picture books about women saints, I knew I wanted to write one, and St. Lucia immediately came to mind.
2. Who are the children you had in mind, during the writing process?
Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2004, John and Tonya Maddex quietly began a revolution on the back porch of their Chicago-area home. Ancient Faith Radio, an internet-based streaming radio station, began broadcasting Eastern Orthodox Christian liturgical music and readings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It soon became an outreach of their Antiochian Chicago parish, All Saints Orthodox Church, and later a department of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese.
Today, five years later, the station provides two streaming radio stations, about 50 podcasts, and audio recordings from conferences all across the country. Ancient Faith Radio has become an important resource for Orthodox Christians and many people interested in Christianity worldwide. What began as a few hundred listeners has grown substantially, with visitors to the website from 127 countries and an average of 250,000 downloads of podcasts each month.
John Maddex now serves full-time as the President and CEO of the parent company, Conciliar Media Ministries, overseeing operations of both Ancient Faith Radio and Conciliar Press, an Orthodox Christian publishing house. Currently, AFR is in the midst of their annual appeal. Supportive listeners have offered matching funds, so that end of the year gifts will be doubled, in order to increase the internet radio ministry's reach. Donate funds at: www.ancientfaith.com.
When asked what the future holds for Conciliar Media, Maddex said, “As technology develops and more and more people consume digital media in the form of internet radio and e-books, Conciliar Media and Ancient Faith Radio are positioned to provide high-quality audio and reading materials for Orthodox as well as other liturgically minded Christians worldwide.”
Conciliar Press announces an outstanding sale on all available back issues of AGAIN Magazine and The Handmaiden Magazine. The publications are arranged in groups and are sold as Library Packs at 75% off the original cover price. Both magazines are a great and timeless resource of Orthodox spirituality, and contain content by some of the best Orthodox writers and editors over the last 25 years. It is the hope of Conciliar Press, that this sale will help get the magazines into the hands of all those who loved and enjoyed them over the years and will help to preserve the rich heritage and legacy of the publications.
Ancient Faith Radio is proud to announce the launch of its new web site. The improved site features better organized content with a new top navigation, better search capability and a simplified site design. AFR hopes that users will find the new site easier to use and a daily resource for the very best in Orthodox Christian music, talk readings and teaching.
Additional new features include:
- Convenient updates showing recent podcasts and daily resources
- Podcasts and Specials displayed side by side, with convenient sliders for navigation
From Ancient Faith Radio: Our canons call for there to be one bishop in one place but here in America as well as other countries of the so called “diaspora” immigration and pastoral concerns have served to violate those canons. To address this issue, the leaders and representatives of all of the autocephalous Mother Churches were convened by HIs All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew first in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and later in Chambesy, Geneva, Switzerland to commission certain Episcopal Assemblies who will in turn develop regional plans to correct this anomaly.
by Chrissi Hart
I never dreamed that Conciliar Press would be interested in another book after accepting Under the Grapevine for publication, but I optimistically set out to write The Hermit, The Icon and The Emperor: The Holy Virgin Comes to Cyprus.
When I traveled to London, England in May 2005, my mother handed me a framed paper icon of the Eleousa of Kykkos and said, “Would you like to take this back with you?” Would I? Of course I would! This planted the seed for my story.
She didn’t know that I was already planning my second picture book about this sacred icon that is housed at the Holy Monastery of Kykkos, one of the most significant spiritual centers in Cyprus. I felt that God was sending me an affirmation to write this story.
When I returned to the US, I plucked the Handbook of Kykkos Monastery from my bookshelf that I had purchased on my pilgrimage in 2000, and began my research on this thousand-year-old legend of The Royal and Holy Stavropegic Monastery of Kykkos. The Byzantine Emperor, Alexios I Komnenos founded the monastery in the eleventh century when Cyprus was part of the East Roman Empire.
As the ministry of beloved Saint Patrick came to an end, another unlikely hero heard God’s call and ran full force the Christian race, bringing Christ to Ireland. Young Brigid, an eager and charming girl, forsook her noble birth and followed the windy road Christ had called her to. From dairymaid, to shepherdess, to the Abbess of Kildare, Saint Brigid’s story teaches us to be generous in spirit, to be tireless in our charity, and above all to seek God’s calling for our own lives.