News and Articles
Bishops and clergy from across the Archdiocese have gathered this week at Antiochian Village for the 17th Biennial Clergy Symposium, a time of reflection, fellowship, and learning. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and the Antiochian House of Studies are the hosts for a full week of speakers, sessions and events. The Archdiocese is honored also to have in attendance His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan of Argentina.
The theme of this year's gathering is Ministry to the Youth: "Let no one despise your youth" (1 Timothy 4:14). Highlights include keynote addresses on such topics as "Issues of Spiritual Development and Youth", "Issues of Sexuality", and "Issues of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse"; an evening Camp Program presented by Village Camp youth; a grand dinner with Metropolitan Philip; and more.
Ancient Faith Radio will be providing recordings of selected presentations and sessions. See AFR's special section on the Symposium here.
A wonderful event that will be taking place at Antiochian Village this autumn! As you may know, Antiochian Village is the burial place of St. Raphael of Brooklyn. Many people each year come to visit his burial place as they also attend the St. Thekla Pilgrimage. The 2012 pilgrimage will take place during the weekend of September 21-23. This pilgrimage is sponsored by our Convent of St. Thekla, with the assistance of the Convent's abbess Mother Alexandra, and will be overseen by His Grace Bishop Thomas.
In addition to the usual events of the pilgrimage, this year we will also have a deacon's retreat in conjunction with the pilgrimage. For information about this retreat, please contact Dn. Gregory Roeber (email@example.com).
As Orthodox Christians, our lives are a type of pilgrimage, so why set time aside to attend the St Thekla Pilgrimage? The key is in "setting aside." We invite you "to set aside all earthly cares" and to join us in refocusing and refreshing ourselves in our Orthodox life. Like St Thekla, Protomartyr and Equal to the Apostles, together we will pray at the Divine Liturgy and services, obtain guidance and direction from the Gospels for our lives at home, and enjoy fellowship with other pilgrims.
Through the intercession of Saint Thekla, may this Pilgrimage be blessed!
Questions? Please call 724-238-3677 x425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Finley, the Executive Director of Antiochian Village, recently spoke with Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) about an icon workshop that will be held at the Village from August 4th through the 12th, 2012. The course is "Icons: Creation Through Prayer," and the instructor will be Cheryl Ann Pituch, an iconographer who previously taught at the Department of Christian Education's 2010 Orthodox Institute.
Participants will stay at the Village the week of the class, and by its conclusion will have completed an icon of the Archangel Michael.
In the AFR interview, Paul Finley explained the background for the workshop. "We're reinstituting this program after years of not having this at the Village," he noted.
Fourth Annual Deacons' Retreat
September 21-23, 2012 + Antiochian Village
His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop Thomas Joseph of The Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic announces The Fourth Annual Deacons’ Retreat at the Conference Center, Antiochian Village, Friday to Sunday, September 21-23. (The retreat will be held simultaneously with the St. Thekla Pilgrimage and priests and laity are invited and urged to attend those sessions.)
“For the Son of man also came not to be served, but to serve. . . .” (Mark: 10:45)
The featured speaker and retreat master will be the Reverend Dn. Paul Zaharas, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Metropolis of Denver (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America).
Amy Stiffler, Director of Event Services and Inside Sales for Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, announces that the information about the Seventeenth Biennial Clergy Symposium is available for download.
The Symposium is being held at the Village's Heritage and Learning Center from July 16-20, and is sponsored by the Department of Theological and Pastoral Education. Registration begins at 2:00 PM on Monday afternoon, July 16, 2012.
This year's theme is "Let No One Despise Your Youth," from I Timothy 4:14. The morning addresses will focus on youth related topics and concerns, and will be offered by noted speakers. Fr. Meletios Webber, a monastery abbot, family therapist and author, will address the issues of alcoholism and substance abuse. Bishop Anthony will speak on youth and sexuality, and Metropolitan Savas will speak on spiritual development in youth.
The Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black recently held their Annual Ancient Christianity Conference at Antiochian Village, from May 25-May 27. His Grace Bishop Thomas was a featured guest; audio of the Opening Addresses and Sessions is available on Ancient Faith Radio.
The Brotherhood posted the following letter of thanks from Vice-President Carla Thomas:
Greetings in Christ,
Dear Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Thomas,
How refreshing it is to have the Lord's shepherds to be so supportive of the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black.
The 2012 BSMB Annual Ancient Christianity Conference was held at the Antiochian Village 5/25-5/27. The conference is supported by a grant from Christ the Saviour Brotherhood. 75 men, women and children attended the conference. The lectures are available on Ancient Faith Radio.
The staff at Antiochian Village writes:
You may have heard that a tornado hit the Antiochian Village Camp and St Thekla Monastery on Friday, June 1st at approximately 5:20 PM. Thanks to our gracious and loving God, the members of our staff were in St Ignatius Church at the time praying the Paraklesis to the Mother of God when the tornado struck. No one was hurt. However there is extensive damage at the camp. We have hundreds of trees down and eighteen of our buildings were impacted by the tornado and tree debris. We have already started the clean up process. We have much work to do to get the camp back in shape. Please keep us in your prayers. We will provide updates as we have more information.
The staff update from June 3 reads:
Thank you for your love and support as we bounce back from the tornado. We have received many offers of help in the clean-up process. Under the advice of our insurance company, at the present time we are NOT accepting volunteer help. We are using professional services as much of the initial work can be quite hazardous. If we get to a point where we can use volunteer help, we will put a call for your assistance. Thank you again for your outpouring of love. We are so thankful to God for our safety and all of the wonderful people who are ready to pitch in.
The staff update from June 10 reads:
Antiochian Village's annual St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschool Conference began on Thursday evening, March 8th with an Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children. The next two and half days offered a very full schedule which included Lenten liturgical services, delicious Lenten meals prepared by our kitchen, lots of fun and fellowship, over 15 workshops for parents to choose from, and enriching workshops for children ages 3-18.
Generally, the people who attend the conference bring their children with them, so we work hard at trying to make this a very family-friendly experience. This year's attendance was approximately 85 adults and children (over the age of 3 yrs. - we don't count all the babies/toddlers!). Not only did we offer the workshops for children during the day, we also provided evening programming for children so that parents could attend the keynote sessions together.
Antiochian Village's website reports, "Unbelievable! We are quickly closing in on 1,000 campers and CITs registered for this summer's camping season! That's unheard of, or at least surprising this early in the spring. You must have heard about the terrific staff we are hiring.
In a few weeks, we will be introducing our staff to the world. In the meantime, if you have not registered, you might be able to find a space or two in a few sessions--check availability here. Also in the works is a brand new cabin 11 & 12 located between cabins 5 & 6 and the Health Center. If all goes well it should be ready by the first session and possibly even in time for Family Camp. This summer is going to be unbelievable."
Don't miss out, register today!
Fr. Anthony Yazge is going to be honored as the Al Senavitis Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient for the service that he has offered to Special Olympics athletes through the Special Olympics training camp which he oversees at Antiochian Village every summer.
The Hall of Fame Dinner and Auction is set for May 16 in Philadelphia, and is one of the Olympics' largest and most formal fundraising events of the year.
The Special Olympics of Pennsylvania website explains that the Hall of Fame program "honors athletes and volunteers who have made outstanding contributions both on and off the field of competition. The dual purpose of this prestigious event is to raise public awareness about the talents of our athletes and raise the funds necessary to sustain the incredible growth of the Special Olympics movement....We have thousands of success stories of individuals who have benefited from participating in SOPA. But each year we choose only four athletes and two volunteers who have demonstrated positive integrity and continued loyalty to the Special Olympics program, thereby upholding the honor of the organization."
The event raises about $200,000 each year for the Special Olympics.
The retreat is billed as a way for couples to attend to their marriages through small group discussions, marital assessment instruments, and inspiring lectures all set within the context of the liturgical life of the Church. In addition to participating in these more serious activities, couples will also enjoy a wine and cheese night, a candlelight dinner and dance, and a movie night.
This year’s speakers are: Drs. David and Mary Ford, Associate Professors at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and co-authors of the book, Marriage as a Path to Holiness: Lives of Married Saints; Fr. John Mefridge, a marriage and family therapist and founding priest of St. Ephraim the Syrian Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Antonio, TX; and Dr. David Weaver-Zercher, professor at Messiah College in Grantham, PA.
A historic January 2012 Orthodox Christian Youth Worker Conference, endorsed by the Committee for Youth of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, is planned for all Youth Workers, Camp Directors and Staff, and OCF Chaplains. The conference runs from Wednesday January 25 to Saturday January 28, 2012 at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and will be hosted by the Departments of Youth Ministry and of Camping of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
This 3rd Annual Fellowship Spiritual Retreat to the Antiochian Village was another memorable weekend for its 54 participants, a new Retreat record. The coach rides to and from, informative sessions led by Dn. Saed, and the Antiochian Village as the backdrop, provided the opportunity for renewed and heightened fellowship in Christ. This year marked the joining together of two Fellowships, from St. George, Cicero and St. Mary's, Alsip. It was uplifting and inspiring to see different parishes share in fellowship in one faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All in attendance were filled with such positivity, a feeling of togetherness and renewed awareness of their faith.
We thank the Retreat committee (Rammy Zanayed, Eddy Shaheen, Angela Sweis, Elaine Riadi, Nicole Dahdal, Khalil Haddad, Laura Mraibie, Dn. Saed Rihani and Fr. Fouad Saba) for their tireless efforts in planning and ensuring this retreat's success. We thank our generous sponsors, volunteers, any well-wishers, and especially all 54 registered participants. We were honored and blessed to have the amazing Dn. Saed Rihani serve as our main speaker. A debt of gratitude goes as always to Fr. Fouad Saba for his unrecognized efforts. From worship services, sessions, nature walks, travels, bonfires, singing, team building exercises and meals, the Fellowship worked, ate, bonded, grew, laughed, learned, celebrated, and worshipped together.
The weekend of November 4-6, 2011 was indeed a very special weekend at the Antiochian Village. Coming together with old and new friends and reminiscing about our memories of camp would have been quite enough to make it a full weekend, but there was even more. Alumni Weekend coincided with St. Raphael of Brooklyn’s feast day, so we were able to celebrate the Great Vespers, Matins and Divine Liturgy at St. Ignatius Church, praying at the site of his holy relics. November 5, 2011 marked the 10 year memorial of our first Camp Director, the Rt. Rev. Archmandrite John Namie of blessed memory. Campers and staff that have been influenced by Fr. John’s guidance and love, both directly and indirectly, came together for Alumni Weekend to remember his ministry at the Village, to pray for him, and to still learn from him through videos of him.
“Clergy Wife: Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend” was the theme of the third annual Clergy Wives Weekend, held at Antiochian Village, from October 28-30. This year’s Weekend was not only successful, but will probably go down in history as unique, thanks to Saturday’s snow storm! (See a snow photo in the photo gallery here.) Fifty one wives of priests, deacons and seminarians, from as far away as Texas and Colorado, came together for this pan-Orthodox weekend of prayer, reflection and informal fellowship. However, five of our “commuters” did not make it because of the unseasonal storm that dumped 6-8 inches of snow at the Village.
Saturday morning’s speaker was Mother Christophora, abbess of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City. Her encouraging words began with reminding us that we are first and foremost daughters of God our father and the Church our mother. In that relationship we find our true selves, and our salvation.
Under the direction of His Grace Bishop Thomas, twenty-four priests from the Antiochian Dioceses of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic and of New York and Washington gathered together for their annual clergy retreat at the Antiochian Village from September 20th to 23rd, 2011. The priests from last year's retreat selected the V. Rev. Fr. Alexander Atty, Dean of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, as the guest keynote speaker for the week.
Fr. Alexander gave a series of lectures pertaining to “The Priestly Life.” He spoke of the priest as as a spiritual architect, a good shepherd, a confessor, and a husband and father. The priests were very edified by his words that come from many years of experience as a pastor laboring in the vineyard to the glory of God.
In addition to these lectures, several priests gave intimate reflections on their personal experiences in the life in Christ as pastors. Kicking off the retreat, Fr. John Nosal, led a discussion on selected portions of the biography of Fr. Seraphim Rose. Fr. John Dixon, spoke of the priest's rule of prayer as a foundation for his ministry. Fr. Gregory Long, spoke of how to get through the priest's terror of being speechless when he is needed. Fr. Joel Gillam, noted how humbling and edifying it is to meet with fellow priests, while observing how the Lord has manifested Himself in their lives. Fr. Charles Baz, gave a beautiful word on St. Joseph of Damascus, the patron saint of this annual clergy retreat.
Come home to the Village for Alumni Weekend 2011 - November 4-6, 2011! Alumni Weekend is a time for all Village alumni (any former campers, CITs, counselors, staff, volunteers) to come back to the Village for a weekend of renewing old friendships and remembering old camp memories. This Alumni Weekend is very special for two reasons. Each year, the first Saturday in November is when we celebrate the feast of St. Raphael of Brooklyn who is buried at the Village. Secondly, we will celebrate the 10 year memorial of our first Camp Director, Fr. John Namie, of blessed memory (+November 5, 2001). Fr. John was the guiding force behind the development and guidance of the Village program, which is the foundation of the program still used today.
The Antiochian Village Camp is now much more than a summer camp! In the fall of 2010, an Environmental and Outdoor Education Program was founded. The Antiochian Village Camp has continually been improving facilities and practices in order to incorporate “green” practices and sustainability. The Environmental and Outdoor Education Program is another step that we are blessed to take in our commitment to stewardship. The mission of the Environmental and Outdoor Education Program is to increase understanding and awareness of our environment, stimulate critical and creative thinking, develop the ability to make informed decisions on environmental issues, and instill the confidence and the commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment. The program is available from September through May for any interested group.
The primary focus of the Environmental and Outdoor Education Program is, as our mission statement states, to ultimately increase participants’ knowledge and awareness surrounding our environment.
All men, single, married, and of all ages are welcome to join us for an Orthodox Men’s Retreat led by Fr. Meletios Webber. Antiochian Village will host this popular event, on the weekend of June 17-19.
Participants will enjoy a weekend of fellowship, learning, worship and relaxation (not to mention Chef Tim’s Fabulous Grilled Salmon cookout on Saturday evening!) with a schedule that is intentionally designed to provide a balance of all of these elements.
The atmosphere is casual and there will be free time to explore the woods, shoot some hoops, or even take in a round of golf at nearby Champion Lakes Golf Course.
Here’s what one of our guests had to say, “These retreats are a perfect mix of structure, content, connection, support, and enjoyment. They have a profound effect on participants; my personal experience included. Thank you for producing this and other retreats. They are life changing!!”
~ John, attendee at Men’s Retreat
Consider bringing your parish men’s group! Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.
Contact Barli Ross at Antiochian Village:
Phone: 724.238.3677 x425
You wouldn’t think it would be possible to make the Antiochian Village even more beautiful than it already is, but the NAC Special Projects Committee is trying. Nestled just off of the main track visitors will now find a newly installed Prayer Garden, designed around a simple theme. A stone pathway encircling the central area leads to an icon shrine dedicated to St. John the Divine, patron saint of the NAC Fellowship. Inside the mulch-covered central area, a single dogwood tree stands. In the large mulch area outside the pathway are stone benches, a few plants, and room to expand!
This Prayer Garden sprang to life through a combination of Fellowship planning, a Boy Scout working hard to give something back to a place he loves through his Eagle Scout Project, a team of volunteers who offered up sweat and hard work, and the Grace of God.
A planting in this prayer garden is a lovely way to honor, remember, or pray for someone you care about. For a donation that will just cover the cost of materials, the NAC Fellowship will take care of all the details.
Zach Simons, Director of Marketing and Sales, reports, "Thursday night the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center experienced a small fire in the first floor level industrial laundry room. Everyone was evacuated from the building, and the Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department came swiftly, followed by several other area fire departments.
There is no structural or water damage to the facility, and there were no injuries.
The fire started in a commercial dryer and remained contained to that room thanks to our safety systems operating properly and, by all accounts, the quick thinking and bravery of our Executive Director Paul Finley, who reportedly thrice entered the room with a fire extinguisher to deal with the problem.
All guests, residents, and employees were back in the building shortly after the incident, and business continues to operate normally.
The Village would like to thank the Fairfield VFD for their leadership and bravery in dealing with this incident... kudos to them!"
An important alert for prospective Antiochian Village Campers:
"Camp is filling up. If you haven't registered for Summer Camp and our Sacred Arts Camps don't wait because it may be too late (see this chart for space availability). Take a minute to check out the AV Video above. Watch it now! Then register for camp. Keep in mind that it is very important that you read the directions on our Registration page. Please note that a registration is not complete unless you complete a $100 deposit and you receive a confirmation email stating that your child is registered for camp."
The Mission Statement of the Antiochian Village states: “The mission of the Antiochian Village is to present to young people a living experience of the Holy Orthodox Faith, in their relationship with God and other campers in an uncluttered, natural environment.”
For those of you who were blessed to have known Fr. John Namie, of blessed memory, you can’t help but remember him as that “living experience.” If you didn’t know Fr. John personally, but you are a “Villager” undoubtedly your Village experience was rooted in the lessons of love of God & each other that Fr. John’s leadership taught and exemplified.
At its inception, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip saw the Village as “a new spiritual dimension to our lives.” Certainly this is true! From our time together at the Village, we have been blessed with a more personal experience of God’s love through unforgettable memories & lifelong friendships and also with indelible life lessons.
Fr. John imparted to us all, through his own actions, valuable tools to aid us in our quest to live the Christian life. We learned about unconditional love, sense of community and how our actions impact others. We learned the value of humility and to be well aware of the dangers of vain glory.
Antiochian Village Museum Curator Julia Ritter invites you to glimpse the architectural beauty of ancient Christian Syria through the latest exhibit at the Antiochian Heritage Museum.
From the lofty arches of a fifth-century church, to an elaborately carved palace doorway, the stone churches and homes of ancient Christian Syria were built from large, hand-carved blocks of stone, with often graceful results. Remarkably preserved for over a thousand years, these buildings of early Christian life and worship are presented in a series of photographs from the Princeton University archives, taken during American archaeological expeditions to Syria between 1899 and 1909.
The goal of the Syrian expeditions was to study, measure, draw, and photograph the ancient buildings, inscriptions and monuments of Syria, many of which had been abandoned for over a thousand years. Expedition leader Howard Crosby Butler was a Professor of Art and Archaeology, and founder of the School of Architecture, at Princeton University. Braving extreme desert conditions, travelling on horseback, and accompanied by a donkey caravan carrying limited supplies, Butler and his team eventually documented over two hundred ancient sites. Butler recognized the rare and extraordinary opportunity that lay before him: though in a state of partial ruin, these were original buildings, dating to the first centuries after Christ (and earlier), many of them untouched by the renovations of subsequent generations.