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OCF Announces Board Expansion, Ministry Growth, Search for New Director

The V. Rev. Anthony Yazge, Chair of the Department of Young Adult Ministry, reports:

BROOKLINE, MA — Following its annual meeting, the Board of Directors of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced that it will begin its search for an Executive Director. The process for identifying and screening potential candidates is projected to begin in early February 2017, and details regarding the process and its progress will be made available through OCF's website. The full report from the annual meeting is available in PDF format.

OCF is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and serves as the official campus ministry for the twelve (12) Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that the Assembly represents. Its mission is to transform the lives of college students in the United States 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.

Department of Missions and Evangelism Launches New Podcast on AFR

The Department of Missions and Evangelism of the Antiochian Archdiocese has launched a new podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, titled "The 153: In the Boat and on the Shore with the Antiochian Department of Missions and Evangelism." In the podcast, Fathers John Finley and Joseph Huneycutt, the chairman and vice-chairman of the Department, offer audio glimpses of Antiochian parish life and the American mission field. "We want to shed some light on the often unseen world of American Orthodox evangelism," notes Fr. Joseph.

Listen to the podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

Memory Eternal! + Matushka Juliana Schmemann

Memory eternal! + Matushka Juliana Schmemann, 93, wife of the late Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, reposed in the Lord at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York, on Sunday evening, January 29, 2017. Alongside her husband Fr. Alexander—eminent theologian, author, and Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary—Matushka Juliana played a key role in the founding of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). She and Fr. Alexander, who fell asleep in the Lord in 1983, ministered to numerous Antiochian seminarians throughout the years they were associated with St. Vladimir's.

Matushka enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher and headmistress. In later years she traveled widely to speak to women's groups and authored two books:  My Journey With Father Alexander and The Joy to Serve.

Antiochian Clergy and Faithful Participate in 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Antiochian seminarians join Bishop John at the 2017 March for Life (photo: The V. Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield)Antiochian seminarians join Bishop John at the 2017 March for Life (photo: The V. Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield)His Grace Bishop John, Diocese of Worcester and New England, reports:

The Orthodox Church was well represented at the 44th annual March for Life in the nation's capital on Friday, January 27, 2017. The theme of this year's March was "The Power of One." Included in the March were Orthodox Christian hierarchs and a large number of clergy, seminarians, and faithful at the annual gathering, during which they witnessed to God's gift of life and the need to speak out on behalf of the unborn.

On Thursday evening, January 26, His Grace, Bishop John of Worcester for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America assisted by Fr. Nicholas Alford, OCA Metropolitan Tikhon, His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Grace, Bishop Dimitrios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago; and Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Church, attended the Vigil celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which was filled to capacity. Representatives of the Oriental Orthodox Church also were present.

Recording of Original Orthodox Liturgical Hymns Released by Archdiocese Composer-in-Residence

The Archdiocese Department of Sacred Music's Composer-in-Residence nazo zakkak has released his premiere CD of liturgical music, titled LUXARI. A collection of original hymns for the Orthodox Church, LUXARI draws on the influences of traditional Byzantine, Russian, and Romanian music, and lovingly crafts them into a new and enticing American sound. The CD also features works commissioned by churches and monasteries across the US.

As a composer, nazo zakkak is one of Orthodox America’s next generation of liturgical musicians seeking to develop an authentic musical expression of the Church’s prayer in this time and place. The fruit of his labor can be heard on this, his first liturgical music CD. All the hymns on this album are appropriate for liturgical use within the Orthodox faith, yet shine in a concert setting. The Adelfos Ensemble from Santa Barbara, CA performs the works.

Archdiocese's New Feature Film Speaks to Spiritual Seekers

North America, along with the rest of the world, loves a good feature film. The American movie industry, based in Hollywood, California, is a force to be reckoned with. The global box office revenue from the film industry is about $38 billion dollars a year, and it’s expected to break $50 billion in the next three years. 

This past September a group was blessed to meet with His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to screen the first Orthodox feature film produced in America. The documentary was created as an outgrowth of the Becoming Truly Human ministry, a new effort of the Archdiocese that is focused on reaching the large numbers of unchurched people in North America. Commissioned by the Archdiocese, the film was directed by Nathan Jacobs. (View the first four minutes of Becoming Truly Human.)

Metropolitan Joseph Hosts Lunch Honoring His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan

On Monday, January 23, 2017, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph hosted a lunch for thirty people honoring His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ. Orthodox and Catholic hierarchs, clergymen, and laymen from the greater New York area were present, including: Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Maronite Catholic Bishop Gregory Mansour, Syriac Orthodox Bishop Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Syriac Catholic Bishop Yousif Habash, Archbishop Mor Titus Yeldo Pathickal of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the USA, and Bishop Nicholas of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Prominent laymen including Mr. Fawaz El Khoury, Vice-Chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, Mr. Adib Kassis, Managing Director of Middle East Airlines, and Mr. John Abi-Habib, owner of MSI Net, Inc. in Brooklyn, NY, were also present along with greater New York area members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees. (View more photos.)

Register for the 53rd Biennial Antiochian Archdiocese Convention Now!

 

 

 



His Grace Bishop Antoun of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, Fr. Fouad Saba, and all the clergy and faithful at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Coral Gables, Florida, welcome you to South Florida for the 53rd Biennial Antiochian Archdiocese Convention. You will not want to miss all the exciting events in store for you July 23–30, 2017. It's time to register and make your plans now!

The AC2017 Convention Committee has designed wave after wave of family fellowship events including spiritual growth, educational workshops, and wonderful family fun events and activities.

Please note the following with regard to Ticket Book pricing:

2021 Convention Deadline Approaching

The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning (DCCP) would like to inform parishes that the deadline for submitting bids to host the 2021 Archdiocese Convention is February 1, 2017. Parishes interested in bidding or obtaining information about the bidding process can contact the DCCP Co-Chairs, Carol Jazzar or Raed O. Sweiss. The DCCP email is DCCP@Antiochian.org. Please visit The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning for contact and bid information.

It is recommended that no contact be made with the hotels until you contact the DCCP Co-Chairs. No contract or any form of commitment should be made without the approval of the DCCP.

Presentation Features the Manuscript Heritage of Endangered Syriac Christianity in the Middle East

A lecture titled "Out of the Flames: Preserving the Manuscript Heritage of Endangered Syriac Christianity in the Middle East," will be offered on Monday, February 6, 2017, at 6 p.m., at Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus. The speaker is Columba Stewart, O.S.B., professor of theology and executive director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

Register Now

Syriac Christians have a manuscript heritage that is among the richest in the Christian world. But they are also one of the most vulnerable minorities in the Middle East. This lecture will cover the significance of Syriac Christianity as a counterpoint to historically dominant Greek and Latin Christian cultures, as well as current efforts to prevent Syriac Christian manuscripts from being destroyed.

Winter 2017 Sacred Music Institute in Houston Has Lenten Theme

St. George, HoustonSt. George, HoustonUpdate: The registration deadline has been extended to February 9th.

It's not too late to sign up for the Winter 2017 Sacred Music Institute (SMI), with the theme of "Great Lent: A Church Singer's Guide." This SMI will be held on February 17–19, 2017, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, TX. At the same time, teens will have their very own sessions in the Youth Music Ministry (YMM) track, studying Byzantine chant with Rassem El-Massih and choral music with Paul Jabara. Presentations on the Akathist Service and Presanctified Liturgy will be offered and God-willing, the teens will lead one of the services.

Don't miss this opportunity to gain a better understanding of Lenten services, their history and structure, and to learn new music, both Byzantine chant and Western choral. Instructors include Chairman Paul Jabara, Diocesan Directors Mareena Boosamra Ball and Chris Farha, and chanters Rassem El-Massih and Emily Lowe. The Institute will offer instruction in Byzantine chant, vocal and choral technique, conducting, and theology. Private and small group vocal lessons will be available throughout the weekend. Scholarships are available for both teens and adults: contact Chris Farha for more information.

Register now!

2017 Special Olympics Volunteer and Coaching Applications Available

Special Olympics campers and staff at the VillageSpecial Olympics campers and staff at the VillageThe 2017 Special Olympics Sports Camp is scheduled to be held at the Antiochian Village August 11–20, 2017. This ministry is sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO, and is the second longest running program of Special Olympics Pennsylvania, serving over 340 Special Olympics athletes, coaches, and staff each season. It is the premier SOYO outreach program, now in its 36th year of service. Each year SOYO teens raise the funds on Special Olympics Awareness Day.

In addition to the funds raised, SOYO teens provide at least half the coaching staff, and many adult volunteers participate as well. The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, chair of the Department of Youth Ministry, has announced that the 2017 Special Olympic Coaches Application is now available for those youth who are interested in working at the Sports Camp. Additionally, for adults over twenty years of age, the Special Olympics Volunteer application is posted as well.

Bishop Nicholas Leads Full and Festive Weekend at St. Ignatius in Twin Falls, ID

Christmas came about a week early for St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Twin Falls, Idaho as it celebrated four historic events in less than 48 hours: the opening of the new church temple, the baptism of the baby daughter of the pastor and his wife, the celebration of the patron saint, and the ordination of a deacon. The weekend of December 16-18, 2016 will surely not be forgotten. (View the Facebook album: "Festive Weekend with His Grace Bishop Nicholas")

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph had asked His Grace Bishop Nicholas to fly from the Archdiocesan Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey to preside over the festivities. He landed in the bitter cold (20°F) of the Gem State, and it was outside where everything began on Friday night. Sayidna Nicholas, along with Fr. Michael Habib, pastor of St. Ignatius Church, Fr. John Mahfouz and Dn. Christopher Payne of Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Salt Lake City, Utah and the dozens of faithful stood in the snow for the “Service of the Opening of the Doors.” Incense filled the air, as did the frozen breaths of everyone participating in the service.

Memory Eternal! + Martha Bethancourt

Martha Bethancourt, the mother of Fr. John Bethancourt of Holy Trinity in Santa Fe, NM and the paternal grandmother of Fr. Daniel Bethancourt of St. Nicholas in Shreveport, LA reposed on December 31, 2016. Father James Coles of St. Ignatius in Mesa, AZ was with her, saying prayers. She lived with strength and died at peace with all at the age of 97. For this, and every aspect of her life, the family gives thanks to God. May her memory be eternal!

The Climacus Conference 2017: Encountering God

The sixth biennial Climacus Conference, a pan-Orthodox spiritual/academic event, is scheduled for February 24–25, 2017 and will be hosted by an Antiochian parish, St. Michael Orthodox Church, in Louisville, KY. The 2017 theme has been chosen to remind us that our reason for existence and our purpose as human beings is to encounter (and experience) God. The conference will give primacy to Theology; moreover, it will explore ways to encounter God through patristics, philosophy, beauty, liturgical arts, saints and miracles, poetry, et al. The conference will feature more priests speaking, along with more spiritually-focused speakers. After all, the website says, we are all going to die soon, and there we will encounter God. Imagine such an encounter after having actively sought Him in this life. Perhaps such encounters here are already encounters there? Perhaps these encounters prepare us for that encounter? Perhaps they influence or shape the Great Encounter? With this desire and purpose in mind, attendees will convene from near and far for another weekend of enrichment and fellowship, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

View the Climacus Conference website.
Visit the Conference Facebook page.
Contact David Wright, Conference Founder and Director at climacusconference@gmail.com or call (502) 296-2095.

Youth Music Ministry Teen Scholarships Available

Great Opportunity for Teens who love Music!

The Department of Sacred Music is thrilled to announce the upcoming Youth Music Ministry, in conjunction with the 2017 Winter Sacred Music Institute, to be held from February 17, 2017 at 7 p.m. until February 19, 5 p.m. Hosted by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, this weekend promises to be informative, inspirational and a lot of fun, Texas style! REGISTER HERE!!

This is the first time a Youth Music Ministry, or YMM, has been organized outside of the Summer Sacred Music Institute at the Antiochian Village. We invite all teens, especially those from the host parish Diocese of Wichita and Mid America, to participate.

Come learn more about Lenten services, their history, theology and of course their music. Think of it as kind of a tune-up before Great Lent begins!

A New Civil Year: January Liturgical Texts Now Available

A double icon St. Basil the Great and the Circumcision of our LordA double icon St. Basil the Great and the Circumcision of our LordThe first day of the civil new year begins with the celebration of an important event in the life of our newborn Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, which leads to another celebration later in the week of His manifestation to the world. The liturgical texts for the month of January, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.
 
On January 1, eight days after His nativity (Christmas), our Lord consented to be circumcised in the flesh in order to become the only human to fulfill the Law of Moses. This act of humility and servitude shows that our Lord identifies with the low estate of His people in order to deliver them from sin and death by introducing God's grace that supersedes the ancient Law.

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + December 28, 2016

Titus 2:11–15; 3:4–7
Mark 11:23–26

Titus 2:11–15; 3:4–7 (NKJV) 
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Seek First the Kingdom of God: A Reflection for the Nativity Season

St. JohnSt. JohnSt. SeraphimSt. SeraphimOn December 6, 2016, His Grace Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Charleston, presented this Nativity reflection to a group of parish council members. His timely words are equally applicable to any and all of the faithful during this holy season of the year.

It is my pleasure to be speaking here this evening.  I want to commend you all for your hard work and dedication to your parish. The spiritual health of any parish is a reflection of the spiritual health of its leadership, especially that which is provided by the parish council. 

As I begin my reflection, I thought I would offer a short story concerning St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco. On the evening before St. John was going to commemorate the solemn canonization of Fr. John of Kronstadt, he was celebrating the All Night Vigil in preparation for the Divine Liturgy the next day. It so happened that a group of parishioners had organized a Halloween Ball on the very same night of this vigil. Thus, when the All Night Vigil began many people were absent, to the great sorrow of St. John.

After the vigil service, St. John went to the place where the ball was being held. He entered the hall and the music stopped; in absolute silence, he glanced sorrowfully at the revelers. With his staff in hand, he slowly walked around the entire hall. He didn't speak, but the sight of the holy bishop brought general consternation to the party. Saint John then left the hall, but the next day in church he issued a call to all present, to seek the devout Christian life.

Memory Eternal! + Joseph F. Ferguson

Memory Eternal! Joseph F. Ferguson, the father of the Very Rev. Timothy J. Ferguson (Protosyngellos of the Archdiocese and Pastor of St. George Church in Boston, MA), reposed in the Lord on December 10, 2016. Joseph was a beloved husband for 71 years of Agnes M. (Shaffer) Ferguson; devoted father of Rev. Timothy (Louise) Ferguson, Joseph Ferguson, Jr. (the late Noot), Daniel (Christine) Ferguson and Nancy (Michael) Kelly; brother of Maureen Scanlon, James (Loretta) Ferguson, the late John, Edward, Harry, and Patrick Ferguson; loving grandfather of Christina, Brendan, Shane, Jillian, Devin, Douglas, Meghan, Kevin, and Erik; great grandfather of Luke.

Joe was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland, immigrated to Pittsburgh in 1925 and was raised on the North Side. He worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps. prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1941, serving in North Africa, France and Germany. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserves as a Master Sergeant. Joe was a Past Commander of American Legion Post # 0156 - Mt. Lebanon, PA; he was a member of the Knights of Columbus; and was retired from Mellon Bank as a Real Estate Trust Officer. Joe was very involved at Saint Bernard Church serving in many capacities.

Friends will be welcomed at Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, PA, on Thursday, December 14 from 2:00 until 8:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Saint Bernard Church, Friday morning, December 15, at 11:30 a.m. Interment is at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

2016 Nativity Message from Bishop Anthony

Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ 
December 25, 2016

Dear Midwest Clergy and Faithful,

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
المسيح ُوِلد!َ فمجدوه! 

Blessed be that Child, who gladdened Bethlehem today! Blessed be that Babe who made us young again today! Blessed be the Good One, who enriched our lives! Blessed is He whose tender mercies heal our many infirmities!
                            St. Ephraim the Syrian (c.306-373) from Hymns on the Nativity #2

When we see the Baby Jesus, our Lord and Savior, a powerful presence of His youthfulness stares us in the face. Outside of Christ we grow old. In the world we are always getting older, but in the church we are spiritually always growing younger. By looking at, being with, and hearing from Jesus Christ, our souls grow youthful, refreshed by the Holy Spirit. From the womb of the morning like dew, your youth will come to you. Psalm 110:3

As we worship this Little Lord Jesus, let His Birth give birth to a spiritual direction in us that keeps getting stronger and younger every day!

May He who was born in a cave and lay in a manger for our salvation bless you always. 

+Bishop Anthony

Bishop of Toledo
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America 

St. Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church Hosts Bishop Anthony

From November 10–14, 2016, St. Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church in North Royalton, Ohio was blessed to share in the teaching, preaching, leading, and fellowship of His Grace Bishop Anthony. Sayedna travels to St. Matthew annually about this time of year to visit and help the parish celebrate St. Matthew’s day. This year parishioners were grateful to be able to spend nearly five days enjoying the sweet aroma that always accompanies his godly counsel. 

In previous years Bishop Anthony has enlightened the faithful of St. Matthew with retreats on the Holy Spirit, current issues facing the Church, and on the liturgical year. This year members and visitors were treated to the endearing teaching style and scholarly wisdom that embodies Bishop Anthony as he conducted a three-session teaching entitled The Second Coming of Christ.

Important Updates: Read the December 2016 Midwest SOYO Newsletter

Christ is in Our Midst! He is and Ever Shall Be!

Our December newsletter is now available for your information and encouragement. The Midwest Board hopes that you are having a fulling first semester of school! If you couldn't already tell, the year is flying by! Unfortunately, Midwest SOYO did not meet this fall for our annual gathering. We do hope that you were able to attend the Fall Gathering in Madison for the other organizations. To keep up with what we're doing on the Midwest level, we encourage you all to stay connected through our social media pages! We post weekly on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Additionally, this year Midwest SOYO is trying out having videos to discuss items coming up in the Diocese. Be sure to look out for our December video and future ones to come!

Antiochian Village Bookstore Christmas Flyer Available

Here’s the AV Bookstore 2016 Christmas flyer, to help you in your holiday shopping! Find gifts for the people on your list – from kids to grandparents, and friends of all ages!  There are new books this year, including a newly released revised edition of Helen Corey’s classic cookbook Foods from Biblical Lands. And there is a selection of beautiful ornaments featuring the Nativity scene, as well as St. Nicholas and St. Basil.  

The images in the flyer are linked to the Bookstore, so click and shop!  Major credit cards accepted.

St. Ananias Orthodox Church Takes Root in Evansville, IN

Father Nabil Hanna, pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in Fishers, Indiana, and Fr. Peter Gillquist, the late Director of Missions for the Antiochian Archdiocese, had long wanted to plant a mission in Evansville, Indiana. After years of labor by them, as well as many others including the priests of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Louisville, the decision was made to send Fr. Daniel Hackney and his family as mission planters for the St. Ananias Orthodox Church. At this time, Evansville was the largest metropolitan area in the country without an Orthodox parish. The nearest church was two hours away.  

Now, seven years later this mission has taken root through the prayers of St. Ananias, the first bishop of Damascus. Growing into a diverse congregation of people from many different backgrounds, the Lord has seen fit to provide his people with facilities that include both a church and an annex that includes a fellowship hall, office space and educational rooms. This past April with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Anthony, the property was purchased with funds received almost exclusively from a stewardship drive within the congregation itself.

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