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2017 Pascha Letter From Bishop Basil

Bas-relief above the Tomb of ChristBas-relief above the Tomb of ChristPascha 2017

Beloved and Christ-loving Clergy, Monastics and Laity of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Resurrected Theanthropos Jesus Christ, and, together with you and Orthodox Christians throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim that Christ is risen! Christos anesti! Al-Maseeh qaam! Christos Voskresse! Hristos a înviat!

As we prepare to celebrate the most glorious Feast of feasts in our beautifully adorned church temples across the Heartland of America, let us recall and be inspired by another glorious Pascha  − this one celebrated in stark Block 26 at Dachau Concentration Camp in 1945:

His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph Convenes Second Gathering of Archdiocesan Department Leaders

His Eminence leads the meeting of department and organization heads.His Eminence leads the meeting of department and organization heads.

Following on the success of last year's first-ever exclusive gathering, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph again convened the leaders of the Archdiocesan departments and organizations at the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center in Bolivar, PA, April 5–6, 2017. Together, they examined their ministries and set immediate and long-term goals aimed at building up their ministries, in order to bring the clergy and faithful closer to our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, and His Orthodox Church.

Joining His Eminence were His Grace Bishop Thomas of Oakland, Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic; His Grace Bishop John of Worcester and New England; His Grace Bishop Anthony of Toledo and the Midwest; members of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees; and more than twenty-five department chairpersons and leaders. Each leader reported on his or her current mission and vision for the next several years, accomplishments of the previous year, and any issues that were particular to the specific department in question. Each department head also fielded questions, addressed the audience's concerns, and welcomed new ideas to enhance the work.

Separate one-on-one meetings in which financial projections for the next three years were reviewed were also held between each department head and the Archdiocese finance team, headed by Mr. Salim Abboud, CFO.

The hierarchs, clergy, and lay leaders started each day in Ss. Peter and Paul Chapel with Lenten Daily Orthros, and they partook of Holy Communion on Wednesday night at the Presanctified Divine Liturgy. His Eminence expressed his gratitude to all of the attendees for sacrificing their time to attend this gathering, and he thanked them for all of the good work they do throughout the year.

Receiving the Holy Fire in Taybeh

Christians in Taybeh, Palestine celebrate the religious Tradition of the Holy Fire. (Photo c/o Maria C. Khoury)Christians in Taybeh, Palestine celebrate the religious Tradition of the Holy Fire. (Photo c/o Maria C. Khoury)"O Gladsome Light, of the Holy glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly Holy, blessed Jesus Christ!" (Holy Saturday Morning Prayers)

Everyone should have a favorite day in the Church calendar and as an Orthodox Christian living in the land of Christ's Holy Resurrection (in the only all-Christian village still left in Palestine), mine happens to be Holy Saturday. 

We usually celebrate receiving the Miracle of the Holy Fire at the outskirts of our village approximately after 5 pm in the late afternoon on Great and Holy Saturday while waiting usually from 1pm local time when this great miracle occurs annually in Jerusalem. Palestinian Christians and Muslims cannot freely enter the Holy City of Jerusalem unless they have special permission granted by Israel. Thus, on this very sacred day, for those who do not have the freedom to get into Jerusalem we celebrate in the location which God has granted us good health to witness.

The local priests, Fr. Daoud (Orthodox), Fr. Jack (Melkite) and Fr. Johnny (Roman Catholic), of all three churches with the choir chanting, and the Taybeh Scouts beating the drums march in a solemn procession to meet our cousin Ibrahim with his sixteen-year-old son Philip, who go to the city of Ramallah, where the faithful bring the flame from Jerusalem for the Palestinian Christian communities that cannot reach the Holy City.  

Lent, 2017: Bishop Anthony's Talks at St. George Orthodox Christian Church

Recently, His Grace Bishop Anthony gave two talks at St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers, Indiana, pastored by Fr. Nabil Hanna. The two talks are titled, "The Second Coming of Christ," and "We are made in the image of Christ."

Fidelity in the Life of Christ: A Lenten Reflection by Bishop Thomas

by Bishop Thomas (Joseph) and Peter Schweitzer
April 5, 2017

In my last article, I wrote about the notion of the Orthodox Church as the Ark of Salvation whose mission concerns the salvation of its members. In so doing, I dismissed the notion that the Church functions as a corporation concerned with the smooth administration of an institution. The corporate mentality has no place in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. This affirmation leads to the next issue--what does it mean to be a member of the Church?

At first glance, one could reasonably assume that membership requires a fidelity to the Church’s teachings and, on the local level, participation in the life of the parish. Of course, this is true and a necessary first step but it doesn’t capture entirely what membership in the Orthodox Church implies. Just as a child who is initiated into the Church through the mysteries of baptism, chrismation, and Holy Eucharist must continue to be nourished throughout life by the regular and consistent participation in the Mysteries and the services of the Church, adult members can’t claim fidelity to Christ and His Church without the same.

Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Fifth Annual Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service

Read the article in the Post-Gazette.

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided at the fifth annual Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service, held this year at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. His Grace Bishop Thomas was in attendance, along with other Antiochian clergy and hierarchs and clergy from other jurisdictions. The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee organized the service and dinner. 

The money will be distributed to programs that aid displaced Syrians internally, as well as to relief efforts that assist refugees in Lebanon, Greece and Jordan, said IOCC spokeswoman Kristen Fianni.

Modern Christian Martyrs Video Features Clergy and Parishioners of St. George, Cicero, IL


April 4, 2017

The new documentary "Modern Christian Martyrs" is part of an ongoing series titled Sanctuary, created by an award-winning ecumenical television producer, Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries, Chicago, IL. It features Fr. Nicholas Dahdal, along with a refugee family from Syria who attends his church, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cicero, IL.

April 2017 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

                            All things were made through Him, and without Him, there was nothing made
                                                that was made. In Him was Life, and the Life, was the Light of man.
(Gospel of John 1:3-4)

Within the mystery of Great Lent, let’s continue our review of the Word and how through His Incarnation, our restored relationship with Jesus – our Father – is once again, whole and complete.

In particular, let’s focus on: All things were made through Him. Let’s do so with a relational, almost family-like view, not merely an analytical / academic manner, based in Greek philosophy.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

The Christopher Elias Memorial Scholarship Now Available to High School Seniors

Applications for a new Antiochian scholarship, The Christopher Elias Memorial Scholarship, are now available to qualified applicants. To qualify for consideration, the applicant must:
1) be a graduating high school senior
2) a member of an Antiochian Orthodox parish in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America  
3) accepted by an accredited institution of higher learning and
4) entering as a freshman in the fall of 2017.

To request an application, email Dr. Anthony Bashir at: anthony_bashir@emerson.edu, and an electronic copy of the application will be sent. The completed application is due by June 15, 2017 in hard copy, and sent by regular post. Recipients will be announced and awards made during the 53rd Antiochian Archdiocesan Convention in Miami, Florida, on July 23–30, 2017.

Memory Eternal! His Eminence Metropolitan Elia Saliba

With sadness, and with hope in the Resurrection, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph conveys the news from the Patriarchate of Antioch of the falling asleep in the Lord of His Eminence Metropolitan Elia (Saliba) of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Hama (or Afamia) in central Syria, which he faithfully shepherded since 1984. Metropolitan Elia reposed on Saturday morning, April 1, 2017, at the age of 95.

Sayidna Joseph recalls Sayidna Elia as a dynamic man of God, a gifted theologian, and highly educated. He was a canonist in both civil law and church law who understood the spirit and the depth of the Orthodox Church's canons. He also fondly remembers Metropolitan Elia as his principal in the Orthodox Christian schools of Damascus in the 1950s and 1960s.

Metropolitan Elia served as secretary to His Beatitude Patriarch Theodosius VI before coming to North America. Many of our clergy and congregations will remember Sayidna Elia from the 1970s when, as Titular Bishop of Salamia, he lived in the Archdiocesan Headquarters and assisted His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory in the administration of this Archdiocese.

2017 Paschal Greetings from Bishop Thomas

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2017

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

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

We celebrate the slaying of death, the destroying of hell, the beginning of another way of life that is eternal. And leaping for joy, we sing a hymn to the Cause, the only blessed and most glorious God of our fathers. 

On the Holy Mountain of Athos, this troparion from the Paschal Canon is repeated seven times on the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha. In repeating these holy words composed by Saint John of Damascus, we enter into the joy of Pascha. This prayer brings joy to the world for it proclaims the Resurrection in all its radiance and splendor, as Elder Porphyrios so clearly explains:

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Officially Begins National Search for Executive Director

BROOKLINE, MA — Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is officially accepting resumes from interested candidates for the position of Executive Director.

OCF is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and is the official campus ministry for the twelve Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that the Assembly represents. Its mission is to transform the lives of college students in the U.S. and Canada by guiding them along the path to Jesus Christ through His Church, cultivating a campus community of worship, witness, service, fellowship, and education.

Save the Date! 2017 Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry are July 12-16




 

 

 

SAVE THE DATE!

  • Summer Sacred Music Institute  (SMI) and Youth Music Ministry, ages 14-18 (YMM)
  • July 12-16, 2017
  • Antiochian Village

For more information, please contact Paul Jabara for the SMI, at sacredmusic@antiochian.org; or Chris Farha for the YMM, at chrisfarha@cox.netLook for preliminary schedules and registration forms after Pascha.

Read about the 2016 SMI and YMM at Antiochian Village

Keeping the Vigil at the Tomb of Christ on Holy Friday

The Archdiocese's Department of Youth Ministry announces that resources are available for the beloved tradition of keeping vigil at Christ's tomb from the end of Holy Friday Vespers until the Rush Liturgy of Pascha. This year's dates will be April 14 and 15, 2017, and teens and the faithful from our parishes from across North America will be signing up for times of meditation and Scripture reading. Participants will read from the book of Psalms in front of the tomb of Christ after Great Friday Vespers until the Liturgy of Holy Saturday morning, after which service they will read from the Book of Acts until the start of the Rush Service held on Saturday night for Pascha.

Great Friday Vigil Pamphlet as well as one sheet flyer, can be downloaded for use in parish communities. Please encourage your teens and faithful members to host and attend the Great Friday Vigil!

Indiana Deanery Parishes Welcome Bishop Anthony for Pastoral Visits

His Grace Bishop Anthony has been visiting in the parishes of the Indiana Deanery during the 2017 Lenten season. Stops along the way have included St. Mary of Egypt Church in Greenwood, IN; St. Ananias Church in Evansville, IN; and St. Nicholas Church in Urbana, IL.Bishop Anthony with the community of St. Mary of Egypt in Greenwood, INBishop Anthony with the community of St. Mary of Egypt in Greenwood, IN

 

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + March 22, 2017

Gen 9:18-10:1
Isaiah 26:21-27:9
Proverbs 12:23-13:9

Genesis 9:18-10:1 (NKJV)
Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.” And he said: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem; and may Canaan be his servant.” And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died. Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after the flood.

IOCC and Patriarchate of Antioch Minister to Syrian Children at Risk

Photo: iocc.orgPhoto: iocc.org(Baltimore, Md.) – After six years of conflict, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is urging continued support for programs to meet the needs of Syrian children and adolescents who face food insecurity, lack access to education, and bear deep psychological scars. Children displaced by the conflict in Syria as well as those who are now refugees outside of the country require support to address all aspects of their health and wellbeing.

The situation of more than 5.6 million children inside Syria, where IOCC has maintained an active presence since 2012 in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch's Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (GOPA-DERD), remains the most desperate.

Letter from Metropolitan Joseph Regarding the Third Anniversary of Metropolitan Philip's Repose

March 14, 2017

Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy of this God-protected Archdiocese:

Greetings and blessings in the Name of our Lord during this third week of the Great Fast.

Sunday, March 19, 2017 will mark the third anniversary of the repose of our beloved Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory. As such, all of the parishes and missions of this Archdiocese are directed to do the following on that day, the Third Sunday of Great Lent:

1. During the Proskomedia, the priest shall commemorate “His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory and eternal repose” as the first among the departed.

2. During the Great Entrance, the priest shall commemorate “His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory and eternal repose” as the first among the departed.

May his memory be eternal and may your ongoing journey through the Great Fast be spiritually rewarding.

Your Father in Christ,

+JOSEPH
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Moses the Black Mission Station: Pittsburgh, PA

The Diocese of Charleston is nurturing a new mission outreach effort, the Mission of St. Moses the Black in Pittsburgh, PA. The mission station is located in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, the same neighborhood that was the setting and topic of the movie Fences with Denzel Washington. It was also the setting for the old TV show Hill Street Blues.

View a video slideshow of the March 12, 2017 Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers at St. Moses the Black 
Read more about this unique mission station

Bishop Nicholas Visits Ss. Peter & Paul, Presides at Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers

The parish of Saints Peter & Paul in Potomac, MD celebrated the first weekend of Lent with a pastoral visit by the Diocesan Bishop, His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn, who also presided over the Pan-Orthodox Vespers for the Sunday of Orthodoxy of the greater Washington, D.C. area. His Grace was accompanied by Deacon Andrew Honoré, who is a seminarian at St. Vladimir’s Seminary.

Sayyidna began his visit by presiding over the Akathist, or Madayeh, service. Sayyidna’s remarks following the service reminded the faithful of the significance of the Sundays that led to the beginning of Lent, and of the purpose of Lent. The service was followed by a potluck dinner during which the faithful greeted His Grace.

On Saturday morning, His Grace met with the Church School children. He engaged the children in a fun and thoughtful discussion about the purpose of coming to church, as well as the Bible’s teaching on the life of Christ. A Lenten lunch was served for His Grace, the Sunday School children, the Parish’s teen SOYO members, and several visiting teen SOYO members from St. George’s Church in Washington, D.C. and St. Mary’s Church in Hunt Valley, MD.

March 15, 2017 + Part 2: Letter for Lenten Encouragement

From St. Athanasius the Great, written 333 AD

3. Wherefore then, my beloved, do we not acknowledge the grace as becomes the feast? Wherefore do we not make a return to our Benefactor? It is indeed impossible to make an adequate return to God; still, it is a wicked thing for us who receive the gracious gift, not to acknowledge it. Nature itself manifests our inability; but our own will reproves our unthankfulness. Therefore the blessed Paul, when admiring the greatness of the gift of God, said, 'And who is sufficient for these things 2 Corinthians 2:17?' For He made the world free by the blood of the Saviour; then, again, He has caused the grave to be trodden down by the Saviour's death, and furnished a way to the heavenly gates free from obstacles to those who are going up. Wherefore, one of the saints, while he acknowledged the grace, but was insufficient to repay it, said, 'What shall I render unto the Lord for all He has done unto me ?' For instead of death he had received life, instead of bondage , freedom, and instead of the grave, the kingdom of heaven. For of old time, 'death reigned from Adam to Moses;' but now the divine voice has said, 'Today shall you be with Me in Paradise.' And the saints, being sensible of this, said, 'Except the Lord had helped me, my soul had almost dwelt in hell.. ' Besides all this, being powerless to make a return, he yet acknowledged the gift, and wrote finally, saying, 'I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord; precious in His sight is the death of His saints. '

Summer Will Be Here Soon: Sign Up Your Kids for Camp!

Calling all parents! Summer will be here before we know it. For schoolchildren, that means summer camp! 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. 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. Note: Antiochian Village sessions are closed, as they are full and have waiting lists.

Metropolitan Joseph, Bishop Thomas to Attend IOCC Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee will hold a prayer service and fund raising dinner that will benefit our suffering Syrian brothers and sisters. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Thomas will be in attendance, along with other Antiochian clergy, as well as hierarchs and clergy from other jurisdictions. The Syrian Relief gathering will be held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. All Orthodox Christians are cordially invited to attend in support of IOCC's aid efforts in Syria. The recent conflict has been devastating, resulting in the displacement of a substantial percentage of the population which is now hungry, homeless, and lacking essential items. 

During the past four years, four similar Syrian Relief gatherings have been held; approximately 600 people attended last year. These gatherings have been efficient and productive, because the community prepared and donated much of the food and supplies for the events. Over the past four years, $210,000 has been raised, and a net amount of $201,000 has been sent to IOCC. 

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SOYO Day of Service is Saturday, March 18

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Department of Youth will observe the annual SOYO Day of Service. SOYO Day of Service is a day when teens across the Archdiocese will come together with their Teen SOYO group to serve in their parishes and communities. Even though this is a Lenten emphasis for the entire month of March, SOYO groups are especially encouraged to do their service projects on March 18 in solidarity with one another.

Teens are encouraged to take pictures of each service effort and tag the SOYO leadership on instagram (@nacsoyo) with the hashtag #SOYOdayofservice. All instagram contributions will be entered in a drawing, and the winning SOYO will receive $100 for a pizza party and an opportunity to be featured in The Word magazine!

SOYO Day of Service Flyer

Ancient Faith Publishing Releases New Edition of Bestselling Book, Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

Ancient Faith Publishing is re-releasing Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Finding the Way to Christ in a Complicated Religious Landscape in a new, fully revised and significantly expanded edition. Authored by The Very Rev. Archpriest Andrew Stephen Damick, pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, the bestselling book now includes several new features: a full chapter on Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movements, and two new appendices, "Relations with the Non-Orthodox" and "How and Why I Became an Orthodox Christian." More detail and more religions and movements have been included, and the book is now addressed broadly to both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, making it even more sharable than before. 
 

Preorder the book

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