News and Articles
Antiochian clergy and parishioners should be reminded that camper scholarships are again available to each parish and mission in the Antiochian Archdiocese through the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Applications were mailed to all parish priests on January 16, 2014. If you are a priest and have not received that mailing, please be in immediate contact with Fr. Anthony Yazge of Antiochian Village, at email@example.com. Please note that applications to receive your scholarships ($700 per parish) must be received by Fr. Anthony no later than Saturday, March 1, 2014. More camping information is available from the Department of Camping.
The 12th Annual Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Workers Conference took place at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA from January 23-25, 2014. Over 80 youth workers from across the United States and Canada gathered together for this year's conference, sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Camps Association and youth departments from different jurisdictions. This year's conference was co-hosted by the Youth and Camping Ministries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. The theme of the Conference was "Writing Icons of the Kingdom: Understanding our Youth as Icons we are Helping to Write."
Ruling Hierarch of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese His Grace Bishop Gregory of Nyssa was the keynote speaker. In his first address, Bishop Gregory spoke about the unity required of us in youth ministry in order to effectively "write" icons for the kingdom. For his second address His Grace stepped aside for a very special presenter, Protopresbyter Mark Leasure, his priest from St. George Church in Taylor, PA, who brought the myrrh-streaming icons of the Mother of God that reside in his parish.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, the 2014 Mid-Winter Meetings will be hosted by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, and will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 7-9, 2014. The Archdiocese and Diocese officers of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, the Fellowship of St. John Divine, and Teen SOYO will gather to conduct the business of our Archdiocese organizations. Please contact each individual organization's president for specific questions.
Travel, lodging, and registration information:
- Group rate of $129.00/night at the Holiday Inn Express Scottsdale North
- Conveniently located just 4 miles (10 minute drive) from the church
February 14-17, 2014
With Fr. Demetrios Makoul, dean of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Cathedral of St. George in Pittsburgh and licensed professional counselor
- Enjoy time with each other during this special weekend designed to give healthy married couples assistance in becoming "one"
- Attend to your marriage away from the distractions and "busy-ness" of daily life
Registration is open for the annual St. Herman Middle School Retreat, convening at Antiochian Village on the feast day of St. Herman of Alaska.
- Who: Students in grades 5-8
- Where: Antiochian Village Conference Center, December 13-15, 2013
- What: interactive presentations and discussions, weekend liturgical services (with an outdoor supplication service to St. Herman), games, crafts, meals and snacks, sledding, geocaching, stargazing, guided night hike, a campfire
- Why: The distraction-free environment of the Village and the spiritual emphasis of the retreat offer a wonderful opportunity for middle schoolers to focus on their faith
- How much: $96/person for lodging and meals
- Download the registration form or visit the Antiochian Village's list of upcoming events for more information.
Antiochian Village reports that in an effort to stay connected to campers and introduce young people to the camp experience, the Village at Home program is running several programs this fall. In Village at Home, camp staff visit a church at the invitation of the priest, and run a modified day of camp in the parish. Hosting parishes often extend invitations to neighboring churches with hope of exposing as many young people to the Antiochian Village camping program. Former staff members to join in for the day to assist with the program, which replicates as much as possible the typical camper's day at the Village.
The following Village at Home days are scheduled:
- September 28 - St. Michael Orthodox Church - Louisville, KY
- October 5 - St. Raphael Orthodox Church - Chantilly, VA
- November 16 - St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church - West Roxbury, MA
- December 7 - Basilica of St .Mary - Livonia, MI
- March 22 - St. Philip Orthodox Church - Souderton, PA
Additionally, camp dates for the 2014 season have been posted. The season's earliest camp is Winter Camp in February, and the last camp to wrap up is the Special Olympics Sports Camp during the second week of August.
His Grace Bishop Thomas writes:
There are few places in the United States where you can visit the grave and shrine of a saint of the Church. Did you know that the Antiochian Village is one of those places? Saint Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn, the Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep of America, is buried on the grounds of the Antiochian Village. This year we are expanding the focus of our Annual Pilgrimage to not only include our prayers for the intercession of St. Thekla, but also we will pray the Service of Supplication to St. Raphael that he may intercede on our behalf before the throne of God.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, and educated in Damascus Syria, Halki, Turkey, and Kiev, Russia, Raphael Hawaweeny found himself virtually exiled in Kazan, Russia. He was making himself of use on the faculty of a school, when he was summoned to the New World by the Syrian Orthodox Benevolent Committee in New York City.
Immigrating in 1895 and serving under the aegis of the Russian Orthodox Mission—then the only established Orthodox hierarchy—he was technically pastor of St. Nicholas Church (later Cathedral) in Brooklyn, NY, but was, in fact, the roving pastor of several dozen tiny, isolated communities spread thinly across the continent.
In the second weekend of November 2013, Antiochian Village will host the Annual Clergy Wives Weekend which is held in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah. Explains organizer Kh. Stefanie Yazge, "As always, the retreat schedule reflects Kh. Joanne's holy and holistic approach to life – we need to pray; we need to play. We need to enjoy the fellowship for this short time without parish responsibilities, family responsibilities or other cares of this world. We simply need a little time to breathe. The weekend has always been a tremendous success!"
This year's speakers include Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England, speaking on "Balancing My Life, Family Life and Parish Life," and Kh. Laila Ellias and her father Dr. John Dalack, speaking about "The Holy Family: Are We There Yet?"
Antiochian Village announces that "Session One of camp is underway and the campers are loving it...all thanks to God. This year we are using a new website for our photography and we are excited to provide the campers and parents, per request, with many more photos from every day this summer! At present we have our 2013 Family Camp album and our Staff Training Week album full uploaded. The Session One Album is up and running and we are keeping it updated with hundreds of pictues every day!"
The Antiochian Heritage Museum welcomes two new exhibits this summer! Gracing the center wall of our museum is "Sacred Illuminations," a colorful exhibit inspired by Byzantine and Slavic manuscript design and the Bulgarian heritage of the artist, Tatiana Nikolova-Houston. Inspired by the elaborate and colorful designs of Slavic and Byzantine illuminated manuscripts, as well as the folk art of her native Bulgaria, Nikolova-Houston's artwork is rich in spiritual and cultural tradition. A scholar of religious studies and library science, Tatiana earned both a Master's degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her husband and daughter. After discovering little-known fourteenth-century manuscripts deteriorating under poor conditions in a monastery in Sophia, Bulgaria, and thanks to a generous grant from the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Tatiana was able to spend a year there, working to preserve these rare treasures.
Calling all parents! June is just around the corner, and for schoolchildren, the long awaited season of summer is about to begin. Throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese, the counselors, cooks, and clergy of our church camps are preparing for another busy season. You are urged to sign up your child now since some of the camps fill up quickly, and Antiochian Village sessions are nearly full. If sending a child off to camp is new to you, refer to these Resources for Parents from Antiochian Village's website. More details are also available from the Department of Camping.
From Thursday to Sunday, April 4-7th, Orthodox homeschooling families from across the country traveled to Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA for the fifth annual Saint Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference. The conference kicked off Thursday evening with the Akathist "Service to the Mother of God Nurturer of Children," then dinner followed along with a group photo and ice-breaker games. Workshops for both parents and children (ages 3-18) filled both Friday and Saturday, and the four days ended with Sunday's Hierarchical Divine Liturgy served by His Grace Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday.
Some of the workshop sessions offered were: a series of iconography workshops for the teens with iconographer, Michael Kapeluck; "The Poetic Way of Teaching Classics" for parents by Dr. James Taylor, from St. Raphael Orthodox Online Homeschool; "Saint Brigid and Secret Giving" for the 5-6 year olds with Jane G Meyer, Orthodox children's author; and "Illustrating the New Testament" by author and publisher of the History Portfolio series, Barbara Shukin.
April 4-7, 2013
Make plans now to bring your family and join us for 3 days and nights of:
- Inspiring Speakers
- Enlightening Workshops
- Lenten Liturgical Services
- Curriculum Vendors
- Comfortable Lodging
- Delicious Lenten Meals
- Family Fun and Fellowship
with other Orthodox Homeschoolers.
Check our website www.antiochianvillage.org for the conference schedule and registration information:
In time for the 2013-2014 academic year, the Scholarships page on Antiochian.org has been updated to include all archdiocesan forms and deadlines, as well as information from other institutions offering scholarships to Antiochian students at both the college or graduate school level.
Students can browse through various options, including a scholarship for a student in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, a scholarship from Antiochian Women, several scholarships from the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, scholarships available from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and scholarships for former Scouts. By way of reminder, camp scholarships are also available through the Order of St. Ignatius.
On June 1, 2012, a tornado traveled eight miles down Highway 711 through the townships of Ligonier and Bolivar in Western Pennsylvania. At 5:20 p.m., the tornado stuck the Antiochian Village with winds of 110 miles per hour. In a matter of seconds, the tornado damaged or destroyed 50 acres at the Village, including 22 buildings and hundreds of trees. Of these buildings, six were girls’ cabins which were completely destroyed. The remaining buildings have required varying degrees of repair – from new roofs to collapsed walls.
The appraisers have determined the monetary cost of the damage to the Antiochian Village at well over one million dollars. While insurance paid for a portion, the Archdiocese has been required to cover the remainder. There were also many areas that were not covered by insurance, including the removal of downed trees and replacement of these trees for privacy purposes that surround the girls’ cabins.
Summer camp registration: Summer Camp registration is open! Register online or by printing out registration forms. Please don't wait to register - camp fills up quickly. Please note that you are not registered until you have placed the $100 deposit and your receive a confirmation email that indicates you have completed the registration process. Also note that to take advantage of the early-bird discount you must have your camper tuition fees paid in full by March 1st. Register your child today!
St. Herman Middle School Retreat at Antiochian Village
- For students in grades 5 – 8
- "Reading the Holy Scriptures: Weaving Ourselves into the History of God's Love," with Fr. Noah Bushelli
- Retreat package: $90.00 per student, including lodging and meals at the Conference Center
We wish to announce that, effective October 31, 2012, Mr. Paul Finley completed his term as the Director of the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center. Paul and his wife Deborah have resided at the Village since 2006, and are both well known and loved by all who have made their acquaintance.
The Heritage Center evolved in many positive ways during Paul’s tenure as director, and we pray that it will continue to be a beacon of spiritual renewal for all who visit.
We express our heartfelt thanks to Paul for his tireless efforts and to Deborah for her support and encouragement, and we pray that the Lord will bless them and their family abundantly as they embark on the next leg of their journey.
Despite the appearance of Hurricane Sandy on the eastern seaboard days earlier, the Orthodox Institute 2012, themed "Culture, Morality, Spirituality," successfully convened at Antiochian Village from November 1-4, 2012. The Institute, a project of the Archdiocese Department of Christian Education, focused on surveying current cultural viewpoints, beliefs of the Church, and the moral challenges facing today's youth.
One hundred people attended the conference, which hosted eleven courses related to the theme. Dr. Peter Bouteneff, associate professor of Systematic Theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary, offered the keynote address, "Postmodernism," in which he emphasized that modern man is touched and changed by beauty, rather than by polemics. "It was a a great introduction to postmodernism and religious relativism," noted one attendee. "I feel like I can explain these now."
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip has tasked the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America (AOWNA) with a new fundraising project for 2012-2013, “The Antiochian Village Tornado Relief Fund.” Between 2010 and 2012, the AOWNA women in chapters across the U.S. and Canada raised over $315,000 for the Convent of St. Thekla at the Village, and will now turn their attention towards another project to benefit the Archdiocese's "Holy Mountain."
In the late afternoon of June 1, 2012, a tornado with winds of 110 mph cut a wide swath through the Village grounds in Bolivar, PA, damaging over fifty acres. Thankfully, no camp counselors or staff received injuries, and no outside groups were using the Village at the time. However, the tornado damaged 600 trees and twenty-two buildings; four of the buildings were completely new cabins set to house sixteen girls each.
It’s a place we call home, a place where our youth gather every summer, a place where relationships are formed and strengthened, a place that is so difficult to leave, and a place where Christ is truly present. This special place is the Antiochian Village Camp, a family that has influenced our Archdiocese for many years in inexplicable ways. I have been involved with the Village for the past fifteen summers— nine as a camper and CIT, and the past six as a staff member. Every year I fall more in love with the Village, the ministry, and the Orthodox Church.
The influence the Camp has had on our youth is incredible! I have grown up at St. Mary’s Church in Johnstown, a small town in Western Pennsylvania. I have seen the effect the Village has had on our youth in my home parish, our diocese, as well as the youth from around the country.
The Antiochian Heritage Museum, housed in the Heritage and Learning Center on the grounds of Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA, is currently showcasing an exhibit marking the 100th anniversary of the luxury cruise ship Titanic's tragic maiden voyage. The display honors the memory of those who perished in the disaster, as well as the faith and perseverance of those who survived. Through the stories of a few lesser known passengers and one famous one, the exhibit explores several unusual "Titanic connections."
Museum Curator and Librarian Julia Ritter chose the featured stories because they connect both to the history and lives of earlier Americans, and also to the heritage and roots of Antiochian Christians, thus offering an particularly unique perspective on one of the most dramatic tragedies of the modern era.
"Oh your mark, get set, go!" Antiochian Village's annual 5K Trail Run will benefit the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, and many runners have registered to participate in the event, slated for Saturday, October 6, 2012. Special Olympics PA provides year-round training and competition in 23 Olympic-type sports, to more than 20,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. One hundred percent of the AV5K Trail Run registration fee goes to Special Olympics.
Antiochian Village is an ideal setting for this event. At this time of year, spectacular fall color will welcome runners and walkers of all ages on a moderately challenging wooded course. Prizes and refreshments will be awarded at the finish line.
The run comes just two weeks before Special Olympics Awareness Day, which is sponsored by SOYO and aimed at raising funds to underwrite the Village's summer Special Olympics program.
Registration will be open the day of the Run at 9 a.m. in the Village Conference Center.
Pilgrims gathered for the annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage at the Antiochian Village from September 21-23, 2012, joined by presiding hierarch His Grace Bishop Thomas, and the Abbess of the Convent of St. Thekla, Mother Alexandra. The Pilgrimage began on Friday evening with Great Vespers, followed by dinner, a showing of the Oscar nominated movie "The Help," and a discussion led by Fr. Anthony Yazge, Antiochian chair of the Department of Camping.
On Saturday, the Pilgrimage continued with a Hierarchical Liturgy at St. Ignatius Chapel at the Camp, followed by fellowship at brunch and an afternoon of activities which included workshops and discussion on "The Family and the Media" and "The Sacraments." Pilgrims also attended the Supplication Service to St. Thekla with anointing with oil from the Shrine in Maíaloula, Syria, and enjoyed a Chapel tour with Village Director Paul Finley. Afterwards, there was time for prayer, rest and reflection, and an opportunity to tour the Antiochian Heritage Museum.
The deacons of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic met with His Grace Bishop Thomas Joseph for their fourth annual retreat. This year, the retreat was held jointly with the annual Saint Thekla’s Pilgrimage at the Antiochian Village, September 21-23. For the first time, deacons from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America and the Orthodox Church of America also participated in response to Sayedna Thomas’ invitation to deacons from all canonical Orthodox jurisdictions who had received a blessing from their hierarchs to attend.