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Original Christmas Pageant for 2017, Available for Download

Now available for download! An original Christmas pageant entitled Light of the World written by Rebekah Yergo (Church School Director at St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in York, PA) and Bonnie Flowers, is available for use in your parish. The writing, stage preparations, and costumes will be a hit with your children, who will feel like they are in a real production!

Additionally, attached is the sheet music that is used in the production.

View the photos of the Light of the World production.

Phronema the Lifeblood of Orthodoxy

By Bishop Thomas Joseph and Peter Schweitzer

The Greek word φρόνημα, transliterated in English as phronema is difficult to capture in a single word since it is more of a way of being in the world or a way of looking at the world.  Often, it is rendered in English as mindset or ethos.  For the purposes of this paper, we will employ the understanding of phronema as ethos.

In no Western religion is the concept of phronema present.  The concept truly has meaning only for the Orthodox Christian.  Perhaps this is because most Western religions understand themselves intellectually.  They adopt a so-called theology and employ philosophical categories to make it intelligible to their adherents and the world around them.  This is not the case for Orthodoxy.  Indeed, it would be hard to experience Orthodoxy apart from this ethos.  Since Orthodoxy is not about the intellectual pursuit of knowledge, it is thoroughly consistent that phronema can’t be grasped or recognized in a purely rationalistic pursuit.  One has to live Orthodoxy, experience it deeply, to perceive its ethos.

Axios! Holy Synod of Antioch Elects New Metropolitan of Archdiocese of Hama, Syria

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Synod of Antioch, under the presidency of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, elected His Grace Bishop Nicholas Baalbaki as the new metropolitan archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hama and Dependencies in Syria. Sayidna Nicholas succeeds His Eminence Metropolitan Elia Saliba of thrice-blessed memory who reposed in the Lord on April 1, 2017.
 
His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph took part in the election at the Patriarchal Monastery and Seminary in Balamand, Lebanon earlier this week, following the great feast of Pentecost. Sayidna Joseph congratulated his new brother Metropolitan Nicholas on behalf of the hierarchs, clergy, board of trustees and laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.
 
Metropolitan Nicholas was born to a pious Orthodox Christian family in 1957. His brother is V. Rev. George Baalbaki, the pastor of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California. In addition to serving as clergyman since 1985, His Eminence was a surgeon and director of the Patriarchal Hospital of St. George in Hosn, Syria.

Register Now for October Iconology and Iconography Workshop at Antiochian Village

Vladislav Andrejev, IconographerVladislav Andrejev, IconographerThe Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center will be hosting an intensive 6-day icon workshop on October 1–7, 2017. Students will learn both the theory and practice of icon writing in the Prosopon School, using methods dating to 16th century Russia. The materials used in the workshop will all be natural and will include: egg tempera, pure gold leaf, earth and mineral pigments, and carved wooden boards prepared with gesso.

This workshop will be conducted by master iconographer and founder of the Prosopon School, Vladislav Andrejev and/or his son Nikita. Beginners will be given step-by-step instructions to complete their own icon of Archangel Michael. Students who have attended previous Prosopon workshops will be assigned an icon appropriate to their experience and skill level. All materials are included in the registration fee for beginners. Previous artistic experience is not necessary, as icon writing is as much a spiritual discipline as it is an artistic expression.

For further information, contact workshop coordinator Donna Smith: presbyteradonna@stsophias.org (preferred contact method) or (315) 723-5128.

Keeping the Empty Tomb in our Hearts and Turning our Crosses into Victory

By Fr. Joshua Makoul

Having completed Holy Week and Pascha, we were able to experience the transition from the long, darker services of Holy Thursday and Holy Friday to the brighter and joyful services of Holy Saturday, Pascha, and Bright Week. For many, having labored through Lent and Holy Week, this transition to joy, hope, and relief is an emotional occasion and reminder of many things. Indeed, this transition that the Church has given us to experience has far more meaning for our own life than we might realize. It is a reminder that in the end, God is always triumphant and victorious. It means that in the end everything will be okay. It means that this world will never have the final say. It means that behind every cross is a potential new life waiting to be had, behind every struggle is God’s promise to wipe every tear from our eye, that behind every moment of despair or struggle is hope and joy waiting to break forth, that behind every hurt there is healing, and that behind every crucifixion we endure there is a resurrection waiting to occur.

June 7, 2017 + Part II: Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature

From St. Basil the Great

Outline of Sections 3-4

III. Profane learning should ornament the mind, as foliage graces the fruit-bearing tree.

IV. In studying pagan lore one must discriminate between the helpful and the injurious, accepting the one, but closing one's ears to the siren song of the other.

Sections 3-4

III. If, then, there is any affinity between the two literatures, a knowledge of them should be useful to us in our search for truth; if not, the comparison, by emphasizing the contrast, will be of no small service in strengthening our regard for the better one. With what now may we compare these two kinds of education to obtain a simile? Just as it is the chief mission of the tree to bear its fruit in its season, |104 though at the same time it puts forth for ornament the leaves which quiver on its boughs, even so the real fruit of the soul is truth, yet it is not without advantage for it to embrace the pagan wisdom, as also leaves offer shelter to the fruit, and an appearance not untimely. That Moses, whose name is a synonym for wisdom, severely trained his mind in the learning of the Egyptians,7 and thus became able to appreciate their deity.8 Similarly, in later days, the wise Daniel is said to have studied the lore of the Chaldaeans while in Babylon,9 and after that to have taken up the sacred teachings.

Lest We Forget: Economos Antony Gabriel Introduces The Honor Wall

An Open Letter to the Archdiocese
By Economos Antony Gabriel

To The Archdiocese Board of Trustees, Pastors , Parish Council Members and Faithful of our God Protected Archdiocese:

AL MASSIH. QAM!

May you be blessed during this Season of Pascha and Pentecost.

I am appealing to you through the vehicle of The Word magazine, to raise your awareness of one of an important projects of the Foundation: An Honor Wall is to be placed in the Antiochian Village Heritage Center commemorating the blessed hierarchs, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and faithful clergy since the inception of the Antiochian Church in North America. Having authored Ancient Church on New Shores: Antioch in North America, it was a blessing to study the lives of the pioneers, commencing with St. Raphael and so many others who literally gave their lives together with their wives to plant the seeds of Antiochian Orthodoxy on this continent.

An Open Letter from the Heritage Foundation Chairman, Economos Antony Gabriel

Dear fellow Antiochian,

Saint John Chrysostom once exclaimed: Glory to Thee, O God, For all things!

"Lest, we forget."

Yes, we give thanks to Almighty God for all of our beloved pioneers who knitted the fabric of our God Protected Archdiocese.

Throughout the years we have witnessed greatness in some of the most simple moments as well as clergy. It is almost unimaginable today how the early clergymen carved out their lives with some of the most difficult of circumstances, both financially as well as spiritually. From the earliest days in North America, our clergy, their wives and families played a pivotal role in the development and maturation of the Antiochian Church on New Shores. They have inspired us by their strenuous sacrifices and their sweet liturgical services which formed us and to this day, and their wisdom enlightened our paths towards the priesthood.

On Evaluating the Sunday Church School Year

The school year is wrapping up in North America. For many of us, this means that Sunday Church School will also be taking a summer break. A change from the usual routine is a good time for us to think and evaluate what we do and take steps toward making improvements. Let us take advantage of this time to review our classroom and lessons this year, thinking about what worked and what did not work, and then figure out steps to take to improve for next year.

Evaluating all of this at once can feel overwhelming. We recommend blocking out a few evaluation sessions in our summer schedule, concentrating on one aspect at each session. Suggested review sessions could include: classroom setup; curriculum; interactions with students; teaching style; etc. Each of us knows which areas of our Sunday Church School class experience need the most consideration, and we should schedule a self-appointed review session for each of those specific areas.

It’s time for Vacation Church School!

 

 

 

 
Do you already have your Parish’s Vacation Church School scheduled? Are you trying to find the right program? If you’re still searching, visit The Orthodox Marketplace online! The Twelve Great Feasts VCS Curriculum from the Greek Archdiocese has everything you need to host a robust, interactive summer program for the youth in your Parish.

Another resource for planning and implementing a summer Vacation Church School, from our friends at the OCA, is the article "New Life in the Summer: Summer Church School." Here you’ll find an article helpful in building a program, with suggested themes.

Miraculous Holy Fire Comes from Jerusalem to Salt Lake City

Photo: Nicole Boliaux, Deseret NewsPhoto: Nicole Boliaux, Deseret NewsEvery year, on the eve of Great and All-holy Pascha, the Holy Fire miraculously lights inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for the Greek Orthodox Christian Patriarch to distribute to the clergy and faithful anxiously waiting outside the tomb of our risen Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Some of them take this light by candle to distribute that very day throughout the Middle East, Greece and even Russia.

But this year, for the first time ever, the miraculous Holy Fire traveled via charted airplane from Moscow to New York, and faithful Orthodox Christians have shared it throughout North America, driving from parish to parish. Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church received this blessing with great joy, and the event received local media coverage. (Flame from Jerusalem lights faith in the hearts of S.L.'s Antiochian Orthodox worshipers) The clergy and faithful purchased lanterns to take the Holy Fire home with them. 

"The reality is, this holy fire means nothing if a fire doesn't kindle within your hearts," Fr. John Mahfouz, Assistant Pastor, said. “May we have the light, the holy light, burning within us. May we have the light of Christ within us and repent.”

Salt Lake City Welcomes 25 New Orthodox Christians on Holy Saturday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had examined the history books, but more importantly their own souls, and after a year of intense preparation and purification, twenty-five catechumens were baptized and chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church. They all joined the Body of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ at Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. (View the Facebook gallery)

Bishop Thomas Offers Commencement Address, Receives Honorary Doctorate at St. Tikhon's Seminary

By Joseph Clark

During the weekend of May 26–29, 2017, the Monastery of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, America’s oldest Orthodox monastic community, held its 113th Annual Pilgrimage, and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary celebrated its 75th Annual Commencement Exercises. Five saints of the Church: St. Tikhon of Moscow, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre, St. Alexander Hotovitzky, and St. Nicholai of Zhicha, have walked the hallowed grounds of these communities, and all who visit this holy mountain are touched by the prayers of these saints.

The festivities began with the arrival of the “Hawaiian” Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. Many miracles are attributed to her intercessions, and the mere presence of the holy icon brought joy to the faithful. The miraculous myrrh was so plentiful that upon entering the altar, after processing with her, His Grace Bishop Thomas’ hands were thoroughly covered, and this occurred in spite of the wooden case and velvet cover in which she is kept.

The 2017 May PhD Residency - A Resounding Success!

By Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Assistant Director
The Antiochian Orthodox Institute (TAOI)

Something special is happening in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

The 2017 May Residency of the Antiochian House of Studies PhD program proved to be a resounding success. It was hard to see how it could be otherwise, given the world-class calibre of its faculty, including Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos and Renos K. Papadopoulos. But even so, the second Intensive (Residency) of the first-ever AHOS PhD cohort managed to surpass all expectations.

No stranger to the Antiochian Archdiocese, Metropolitan Hierotheos—speaker at the Archdiocese's 2016 Clergy Symposium—immediately recognized the importance of Metropolitan Joseph's invitation to contribute to the spiritual and intellectual life of the Church in North America.

2017 Pentecost Message from Bishop Thomas

June 4, 2017
Pentecost

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (that is, the Holy Spirit), will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. (Jn. 16:7, 13).

On this feast of Pentecost, I greet you in the name of the thrice-holy Trinity, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Our Creator and our Savior now also becomes our Comforter! In the words of Saint Theodore the Studite:

Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. George Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, the community of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA, with Fr. Joshua Makoul, was honored to host His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

Virtuous Year-End Awards

For many of us in North America, the Sunday Church School year is coming to an end. The end of a year offers the opportunity to note growth and accomplishment in all of us, but especially in our students. This a good time to review their growth and celebrate with them the positive ways we have seen them change.

Perhaps your Sunday Church School offers awards at the end of the year, such as certificates celebrating perfect attendance, most improved, best at ____, etc. Those achievements are important, and should be noted. But there are even more important ways for a child to improve than curriculum and attendance. As Orthodox Christians, we should constantly be evaluating and celebrating our spiritual growth and that of our students. The end of a school year is a great time to do so! Let us take a little time to think about each of our students and note their growth in the virtues. Growth in virtue is one way to measure their growth in The Faith. Perhaps this year would be a good time to begin giving our students virtues awards as well!

Not sure where to start? Check out our recent blog posts on the virtues, which offered suggestions of ways to teach our students about each of the virtues. Each of these blog posts can offer us helpful information about the virtue on which it focuses, which we can then apply as we think about each child. How have they grown in humility, liberality, chastity, mildness, temperance, happiness, and diligence? Which of these virtues do they best exemplify in their life? In which virtue have they grown the most?

St. Vladimir's Seminary President to be Keynote Speaker at Sacred Music Institute in July

Photo: svots.eduPhoto: svots.eduThe Department of Sacred Music is happy to announce that The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, President of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker at this summer's Sacred Music Institute (SMI) and Youth Music Ministry (YMM), July 12–16, 2017 at the Antiochian Village. Father Chad will be addressing the theme for the week: "Music as Ministry: Looking Outward Through Orthodox Hymnography."

For more information, please contact Paul Jabara or visit the Department of Sacred Music homepage.

Watch a Preview: Western Orthodoxy, The Lost Daughter

The following video is the first two minutes of a new film being made about the Western Rite, also known as Western Orthodoxy. It features three of our own Antiochian priests who lead Western Rite parishes: Fr. Patrick Cardine, Fr. Alban Waggener, and Fr. James Hamrick. The full film will be made available this summer, 2017. (View the directory of Western Rite parishes in the Antiochian Archdiocese.)

May 24, 2017 + Part I: Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature

From St. Basil the Great

Outline of Sections 1-2

I. Introduction: Out of the abundance of his experience the author will advise young men as to the pagan literature, showing them what to accept, and what to reject.

II. To the Christian the life eternal is the supreme goal, and the guide to this life is the Holy Scriptures; but since young men cannot appreciate the deep thoughts contained therein, they are to study the profane writings, in which truth appears as in a mirror.

Sections 1-2

I. Many considerations, young men, prompt me to recommend to you the principles which I deem most desirable, and which I believe will be of use to you if you will adopt them. For my time of life, my many-sided training, yea, my adequate experience in those vicissitudes of life which teach their lessons at every turn,1 have so familiarized me with human affairs, that I am able to map out the safest course for those just starting upon their careers. By nature's common bond I stand in the same relationship to you as your parents, so that I am no whit behind them in my concern for you. Indeed, if I do not misinterpret your feelings, you no longer crave your parents when you come to me. Now if you should receive my words with gladness, you would be in the second class of those who, according to Hesiod, merit praise; if not, I should say nothing disparaging, but no doubt you yourselves would remember the passage in which that poet says: 'He is best who, of himself, recognizes what is his duty, and he also is good who follows the course marked out by others, but he who does neither of these things is of no use under the sun,' 2

Memory Eternal! + Youssif (Joseph) Hanna

Memory Eternal! Youssif (Joseph) Hanna + 1932–2017

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather at the age of 85. Beloved husband of Najwa (Sawaya) for 55 years. Loving father and father-in-law: to George and Sophie, Andrew, and Dannie, Gina, and Tasso. Most cherished Jiddo to his pride and joys: Nicholas, Philip, Joseph, William, and Gabriel. His nieces and nephews will remember their 'ammo' with fondness. He is pre-deceased by his parents, Ferris and Galia and his siblings Hasibee, Khaylek, Theo, George and Mary.

He will be most remembered for his generosity, kindness, devotion to his community and church, and his passion for his magnificent gardens.

2017 Ascension Message from Bishop Thomas

May 25, 2017
Holy Ascension

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics,
               and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

I greet you on this most joyous feast, the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ! As human life has been restored by the Resurrection, our true homeland on high has been established by the Lord Christ’s Ascension. As Saint Gregory Palamas writes, “Neither an angel nor a man, but the Incarnate Lord Himself came and saved us, being made like us for our sake while remaining unchanged as God. In the same way as He came down, without changing place but condescending to us, so He returns once more, without moving as God, but enthroning on high our human nature which He had assumed. It was truly right that the first begotten human nature from the dead (Rev. 1:5) should be presented there to God, as firstfruits from the first crop offered for the whole race of men.”

Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday is May 21

The Assembly of Bishops has announced that Sunday, May 21, 2017, is Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday. "We who do not live in the darkness of a prison or jail cannot truly comprehend the incredible distress men and women prisoners live with each and every day," notes Fr. Stephen Powley, Antiochian priest and Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM). "OCPM needs all our help to bring the love and light of Christ to these precious souls. The Orthodox Church, through OCPM, offers both hope and healing to those living in such distress."

Read the announcement on the Assembly website.

Calling all teens: The Oratorical Festival is just around the corner!

Christ is Risen! Anyone who plans to participate in the Oratorical Festival at this summer's Parish Life Conference must submit an application via this link. The Oratorical Festival will take place on Friday, June 23rd at the Parish Life Conference in Oak Brook, IL hosted by Fr. Nicholas Dahdal and the faithful of St. George-Cicero, IL.

REMEMBER:
- The form and completed oration needs to be submitted by June 7, 2017.
- There is a meeting for the participants on Thursday, June 22nd currently set for 4:30pm.
- Attached to this email you will also find a PDF document that contains more information regarding the contest and the topic. You can also visit the Oratorical website for more details.
-Please have the teens email their orations to me (due June 7th): fabiolasweis@gmail.com
-Oratorical Registration Form (due June 7th)
-Complete Rules and Information

In His work,

Fabiola Sweis, fabiolasweis@gmail.com
Midwest Diocesan Oratorical Coordinator

Who Else Will Raise the Next Generation of Orthodox Christians? A Reflection for Mother’s Day

By Fr. George H. Shalhoub

This Sunday, people throughout the United States and many places around the world will gather to honor their mothers. Many mothers will receive flowers, breakfast in bed, dinners and other acts of affection. For those who may be away from their children, they will have to be content with a phone call or a card in the mail. But, no matter how admirable this day has become for us in today’s society, honoring one’s mother should not be reduced to a one day activity, because mothers provide the foundation upon which we build our lives.

God gives every created human being a mother here on earth because He loves us. And even after our earthy mother precede us to Heaven, we still have our eternal mother (the Virgin Mary) who always keeps us in the shelter of her wings. As the late Mikhail Naimy stated, “Love is the law of God. You live that you may learn to love. You love that you may learn to live. No other lesson is required of Man.”

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