Latest News and Articles


Memory Eternal! + Esther Samara

September 8, 1921 - September 5, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Esther Massad Samara fell asleep in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on September 5, 2011. She was born on September 8, 1921 in Drumright, Oklahoma to the Very Reverend George R. Massad and Khouria Bediyah (Hamra) Massad. The family then moved to Oklahoma City in 1937. She attended Classen High School and graduated in 1939. From 1939 to 1941 she attended Hills Business College, earning an Associate's Degree. Concurrently with school, she worked at the "Indian Post," a local mercantile store. On July 29, 1951 she married George R. Samara and together raised 3 children.

Updated and Improved Taste & See Cookbook Released

The authors of the Taste & See Cookbook, parishioners at St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church, have announced that the newly improved version is complete and ready for purchase and shipment.

This cookbook contains 500 all new recipes and is 66% larger than the original Taste & See Cookbook. 85% of the recipes conform to traditional Orthodox fasting guidelines.

The Taste and See website explains that  "a minimum of 10% of the funds raised will be donated to the Antiochian Women and their various charity efforts."

For more information about the project including ordering information, visit the Taste & See website.

Village's Clergy Couples Retreat Featured on AFR

Ancient Faith Radio's newly released podcast in their series "Ancient Faith Presents" features Bobby Maddex interviewing Fr. Charles Joanides and Pres. Kerry Pappas about the upcoming Orthodox Clergy Couples Retreat. Hosted by Antiochian Village, the retreat will take place May 22-24 in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

In the interview, Fr. Charles and Pres. Kerry provide a brief overview of the retreat, titled "Protecting and Growing Our Marriages," with a  description of the sessions and how clergy couples can benefit from the workshops. Couples may still register here.

Mother Alexandra Teaches Children about St. Thekla on AFR

"Let the Children Come Unto Me," a regular podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, is featuring guest homilist Mother Alexandra, the Abbess of the St. Thekla Convent at Antiochian Village. In the podcast, Mother Alexandra speaks to a group of young children about the life and icon of Saint Thekla. Listen to the talk here.

Midwest Antiochian Women's Retreat + May 13-15, 2011

The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest invite women to their sixth annual retreat Friday-Sunday, May 13-15, 2011 at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery, located at 3389 Rives Eaton Road in Rives Junction, Michigan.  On Saturday, Kh. Maggie Hock will present the retreat program on the Holy Myrrhbearing Women.  She will talk about who the Myrrhbearing Women are, what they did in the early Church and how we can be “Myrrhbearing Women” today.  Kh. Maggie is North American Director of the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries.

For more information, including schedule and registration form, please download the retreat flyer (PDF).

Interviewing Antiochian Women President Cindy Nimey

Cindy NimeyCindy NimeyThe editors at antiochian.org recently interviewed Antiochian Women President Cindy Nimey about the active archdiocesan organization and the critical role they play in carrying out the Church's gospel mission. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip has designated every March as Antiochian Women's Month, saying of the charitable group, "Through their hard work, dedication and commitment, they have continued to find many ways to strengthen their ministry." Or as President Nimey expresses it, "Alone we can only do so much, but as a group much work can be done."

1. Cindy, what does your role entail?

As the current president of the NAB (North American Board) Antiochian Women, finishing my second two year term, my role entails many tasks over the course of the year. The president presides over the two annual meetings held each year. Our mid winter meeting is usually held the first weekend of February at the Antiochian Village, our summer meeting is held mid July during the Archdiocese Convention and on the off year at the Antiochian Village. Our meetings are held coinciding with the St. John the Divine and Teen SOYO meetings.

During the year there are numerous tasks to perform, such as writing letters to the married seminarians at Christmas time-this includes a monetary gift of $500 which is gifted from a special account which was set up from funds raised through one of our many Antiochian Women projects.

2011 Antiochian Women's Scholarship

The North American Board of The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America is offering its annual scholarships, usually in the amount of $500 each, to help women continue their education in order to improve their circumstances and those of their families. Applications, which must be submitted by May 27, 2011, are available from your parish priest.

The qualifications for the scholarship are as follows:

  1. The applicant must be a female over 25 years of age;
  2. The applicant must be a member in good standing of a parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese;
  3. The applicant must be actively involved in her parish;
  4. The applicant must be applying for or registered in an academic or trade program of study; and
  5. The applicant must demonstrate financial need.

The names of scholarship recipients will be announced in July by the North American Board at the Summer Meeting during the Archdiocese Convention in Chicago.

For more information, please call Khouria Helene Hajal at (613) 738-0476 (Canada) or Cindy Nimey at (315) 796- 7910 (USA).

Winter 2010-2011 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Winter 2010-2011 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue features the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, and contains:

  • A Message from Fr. Daniel Daly, Spiritual Advisor for Midwest Antiochian Women
  • Midwest women sell baby bibs to raise funds for Convent of St. Thekla
  • Mother Abbess Alexandra spoke at Midwest Antiochian Women’s annual retreat
  • Rejoice in Theophany from Orthodox Way of Life blog

Click here to download (PDF)!

The Mission of the Church

by Fr. Daniel Daly, Spiritual Advisor for Midwest Antiochian Women

(Editor’s note: Fr. Daniel took excerpts from the following sermon in a talk he gave to Midwest women in fall 2010. Published in DIAKONIA Winter 2010-2011)

"Going therefore teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you...”

The Church is in the world to carry out the mission given to it by the Lord Himself. The church must carry out the ministries of : 1. evangelization and witness, 2. the sacramental mission of worship and sacrament, 3. the ministry of fellowship, 4. the ministry of charity.

Our ministry of evangelization is carried out in various ways in the church. In addition to the Sunday sermon we have our church school programs and our adult education series. We have bookstores, which can be very popular with our visitors. We are very blessed in Orthodoxy that our building and our icons proclaim the message of the Gospel. In addition to all these things we have the individual witness of each of you. We have a duty to witness both to the people within this faith community and to those outside. In all that we do here in our church we do so with the realization that our church does not only exist for those within this parish, but it also has a mission to those outside it as well.

Antiochian Women Project 2011-2012: The Convent of St. Thekla

NAB 2011-2012 Project Poster: Click to download PDFNAB 2011-2012 Project Poster: Click to download PDFYour Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy and Dear Sisters in Christ:

Christ is in our midst!

I am honored and humbled to introduce myself as the newly-elected Vice-President & Project Coordinator of the North American Board of the Antiochian Women. It is with a great deal of excitement that we journey together over the next two years, and I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you.

Having served as the Recording Secretary and Religious Coordinator for the North American Board, many of you already know me. However, for those that I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, a brief introduction is in order. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, part of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, and am a member of St. Michael the Archangel Church. I am a convert to the faith, having been raised as a Roman Catholic, and came to Orthodoxy over 16 years ago.

Those who were able to attend the Antiochian Women’s luncheon at the Archdiocese Convention in Chicago last July were able to witness the presentation of a check in the amount of $104,830.79 from the Antiochian Women to His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP towards the 2010-2011 NAB Project of “The Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village.” The women of our beloved Archdiocese – through their hard work and abundant blessings – have raised $217,659.33 since 2009 when Metropolitan PHILIP first asked us to raise funds to assist with the building of a monastic community.

On Knowing God

His Grace Bishop Alexander recently addressed the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York. His remarks were published in the journal, "Diakonia," and are reprinted here for our edification.

In the Gospel we read on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council (John17:1-13), Jesus says in what is commonly known as His High Priestly prayer: And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. The letters of St. Paul are replete with references to knowing God. For example in his letter to the Ephesians 1:17, St. Paul says: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. In Philippians 3:8 he says: Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…and in verse 10, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.

When we think "knowing," we think about head knowledge and data. People of old conceived of "knowing" as an experience or an encounter. Many years ago I was on a bus tour in France and happened to sit next to an evangelical lady from the US. We started talking about Christ and after a long discussion the lady declared to me, "You have met Him (Christ)."

Fall 2010 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Fall 2010 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue features the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate NY, and contains:

  • A Message from His Grace Bishop Alexander
  • Messages from Susanne Zeidan and Janice Saba, President and Immediate Past President of Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate NY
  • A letter from NAB President Cindy Nimey
  • The Spirit of Thankfulness, reprinted from Life Transfigured: A Journal of Orthodox Nuns

Click here to download (PDF)!

Antiochian Women Membership Handbook Available Online

The Antiochian Women Membership Handbook is now available online!

NAB President Cindy Nimey writes:

"This publication, produced by Khourieh Suzanne Murphy and her husband, Fr. Gregory Murphy, is a wonderful booklet that consists of many works from past membership coordinators, with some new additions that they felt would be helpful to our Antiochian Women groups. It is attractive, easy to read, and has valuable information that will surely aid our chapters in the growth of their ministry as Antiochian Women. Our hope is that you will use it and pass it along to your successors over the next years, remembering that we are always here for one another."

NAB Membership Coordinator Kh. Suzanne Murphy writes:

"My goal in undertaking this project was to make the information contained in the Handbook available to every woman in our Archdiocese. Some of the information may seem quite basic, but part of the purpose of this Handbook is to help those women who may be new to our Archdiocese -- and to our Antiochian Women organization -- to gain a basic understanding of who we are and what we do. This basic introduction is a way of assisting them to build a level of familiarity and comfort with us. There are also some sections like the Constitution, By-laws, and reimbursement policy that are more technical and intended for use by our chapter officers. In short, we want this Handbook to have a little something for everyone, to be interesting and appealing, and to help us in our goal of building a faithful, active, and caring sisterhood-in-Christ."

Click here to download the Handbook

Summer 2010 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Summer 2010 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue features the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, and contains:

A Message from His Grace Bishop Antoun
A Message from Lisa Phillips, President of Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast
A Report from the July NAB Meeting
Did Someone Send a Card? by Khouria Dannie Moore

Click here to download (PDF)!

Diocese of the Midwest Antiochian Women's Retreat + May 14-16, 2010

The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest invite women to the fifth annual retreat Friday-Sunday, May 14-16, 2010 at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery located at 3389 Rives Eaton Road in Rives Junction, Michigan. 

Download retreat flyer (PDF)

Mother Abbess Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village will present the retreat, “Create in Me a New Heart,” focusing on the Holy Spirit in our lives.  She will bring together reflections on the actions of the Holy Spirit through salvation history from the Scriptures and the Fathers with emphasis on our practical, daily synergy with the Holy Spirit.

Antiochian Village Hosts Homeschoolers and Antiochian Women

The past several weekends, Antiochian Village has been a beehive of activity. From March 11-14, over 160 participants from several states traveled to the Village for the Homeschooling Conference. Attendees enjoyed workshops, crafts and creative activities for the kids, corporate worship, and visits by His Grace Bishop Thomas with both the youth and adults. Thanks to the hard work of the Teen SOYO Chapters of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Johnstown, PA, and St. Michael Orthodox Church in Greensburg, PA, children attending the conference participated in a lively carnival complete with activities such as a hula hoop contest, a butterfly hunt, and most memorable of all, visits with "The Bible Guy." 

The following weekend, March 19-21, four Christian groups used the conference center; one of these groups was the Antiochian Women of the East, who came for their annual Lenten retreat and Spring delegates meeting.

Antiochian Women Project 2010: The Convent of St. Thekla

The primary areas of focus of the Antiochian Women on all levels are religious programs, humanitarian work and the annual project.  The North American Board (NAB) project committee has the responsibility of coordinating the raising of funds from women throughout the Archdiocese to benefit one specific project adopted each year by the Antiochian Women.

Since 1975 Antiochian Women have raised over $2.3 million dollars towards the support of many worthwhile endeavors, including the Antiochian Village, Married Seminarians, Missions, Project Orphanages, the Retired Clergy Housing Fund, and most recently, Al Kafaat in Lebanon. 

This year the project is the Convent of St. Thekla which was founded on the property of the Antiochian Village in July, 2009, by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP.  The Archbishop had long foreseen the establishment of a community of traditional nuns involved with pastoral ministry, withdrawing to pray and then returning to share their monastic life with the faithful. 

Antiochian Women's Board Meets February 5-7 at Antiochian Village

Antiochian Women With Completed Haiti KitsAntiochian Women With Completed Haiti KitsNearly everyone had arrived at Antiochian Village by Friday Feb. 5 for Antiochian Women’s mid-winter meetings before the fourth largest snowstorm ever in western Pennsylvania began.

The North American Board (NAB), made up of five elected officers, immediate past president and six coordinators, met Friday afternoon. They began meetings with officers and delegates of the seven diocesan Antiochian Women’s organizations on Friday evening, which continued on Saturday after Soul Saturday Divine Liturgy.

Prior to the first meeting Mother Alexandra, abbess of the Convent of St. Thekla that established at the Village in July, led a mini-retreat for the women. Most everyone, including monastics, deal with temptations and distractions in their spiritual lives, Mother Alexandra said. She talked with the women about the things that distract us, including church-related ones. “We need to stay focused."

His Grace Bishop THOMAS spoke to the women about preparations for Great Lent and for the Kingdom of God. “You have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the presence of God."  He later added that “you bring great joy to this place."

Conciliar Press Offers Unique Icon Calendar for 2010

At the start of the new year, Conciliar Press is offering a unique 2010 Icon Calendar featuring women saints. Written by three contemporary iconographers from North America--Michael Kapeluck, Matthew Garret, and Cheryl Ann Pituch, the full-color calendar measures 11" X 12" and features large calendar boxes for recording important date reminders. It also lists major saint and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world, with dates according to the new calendar. Popular and beloved saints such as St. Xenia and St. Brigid are featured, as well as less familiar saints such as Holy Martyr Natalia of Nicomedia.

To order, go to www.conciliarpress.com.

Board Announces 2009-2010 Project: Convent of St. Thekla

Mother Alexandra and Cindy NimeyMother Alexandra and Cindy Nimey"We are all very excited about our new North American Board project—contributing to the building of St. Thekla Convent—and the arrival of Mother Alexandra to the Antiochian Village," NAB President Cindy Nimey said. “Mother Alexandra is a dynamic person and we will all learn very much from her.”

Five elected officers, the immediate past president, and six appointed coordinators comprise the NAB. “We have all been elected or appointed to positions to be leaders and provide programs and information about our projects to the seven Dioceses of our Archdiocese,” Cindy wrote in a encouraging letter to the board and to officers and coordinators of the Dioceses.

“We had a wonderful meeting this summer (at Archdiocese convention in Palm Desert, CA); thanks to the hard work and love from all the Antiochian Women chapters we were able to give Metropolitan PHILIP a check in the amount of $112,800.00 for the support of the Al K'afaat Foundation in Lebanon.

Antiochian Women Scholarship Winners

The Winners of the Antiochian Women Scholarships are as follows:

Kh. Kathryn Rogers
Holly Anne Brees
Aksana Kunkle
Anne Emmons
Margaret Emsais
Chris Holland
Roula Hasbani
Theodosia O'Hara

A Report from the Antiochian Women Annual Meeting

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America held their annual meeting at the 49th Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, California, on Wednesday, July 22, 2009. The meeting was well attended by the Diocesan Presidents, their Spiritual Advisors, and their delegates, along with the Officers and Coordinators of the North American Board of the Antiochian Women. The meeting was presided over by NAB President, Cindy Nimey. The Antiochian Women’s Hierarchical Overseer, Bishop JOSEPH, was also present. The meeting opened with a message from Bishop JOSEPH which revolved around the work of the Antiochian Women and that they must always stay the course of service and spirituality. The Antiochian Women not only worked through their business agenda, but networked and shared their successes at the Diocesan and Local levels.

Click here to listen to audio from the assembly on Ancient Faith Radio.

Audio Available of Antiochian Women Presentation at Archdiocese Convention

Click here to listen to Dept. Chair Mrs. Cindy Nimey's presentation at the general assembly of the 2009 Archdiocese Convention.

More audio from the 2009 Convention is available from Ancient Faith Radio.

Antiochian Women General Assembly Audio Available

Audio from Wednesday's general assembly of the Antiochian Women at the 2009 Archdiocese Convention is now available on Ancient Faith Radio.

Click here to listen to the morning session.

Click here to listen to the afternoon session.