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Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday Message from Paul Jabara

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

This Sunday marks a very special day for us. It is Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday. Anyone who attends an Orthodox service is immediately lifted by the sheer beauty of the music. If it weren’t for the tireless efforts of our chanters, choir members and conductors, congregations would not be elevated by the stunning hymnography of the Church, but by words alone. 

Dedicating one’s musical gift to God is truly a labor of love. Not only are singers needed at just about every service, each of those services comes with prior rehearsal and planning. Church singers devote many hours each week learning new music and reviewing old, working on their technique so they can sound better for those in prayerful attendance. The more beautiful the music, after all, the more beautiful the prayer.

New Music CD Released by SOYO and the Department of Sacred Music: Digital Download Available

A beautiful new music CD, Grace Shining Forth, has just been released in time for holiday gift giving! The CD is a collaborative effort of SOYO, the Department of Sacred Music, and the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries. Discounts are available for quantities of five or more. Shop now, and receive your order in time for Christmas. More information is available on the Teen SOYO website.

 
Download digital version
Order your Grace Shining Forth Music CD

 

Vendor Registration for 2017 Archdiocese Convention Now Open

 

 

The 2017 Archdiocese Convention Committee announces with excitement that Vendor Registration is NOW OPEN! The commitment to raise Convention standards is proven once again with the efforts to make vendors proud of being a part of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Convention to be held in July 2017 in Miami, Florida. Vendors will have the opportunity to choose the space of their liking from a convenient layout published alongside the Vendor Registration Form on the 2017 Archdiocese Convention Website. In addition, online Registration also available.

Great exposure awaits all vendors, who will be signed up on a "First come, first serve" basis. With over 2000 attendees expected, this Convention promises to help all the faithful benefit from the great work of the Orthodox vendors in this country and abroad. See you in July 2017, God willing!

Metropolitan Joseph Presents Posthumous Award to Trustee Sondra Murr Love

On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presented Marcia Terry, sister of the late Archdiocesan Trustee Sondra Murr Love, and Sondra's sister-in-law Charlotte Murr, with the Cross of the Gold Order of St. Raphael. The Cross was given as a posthumous honor in recognition of Sondra's "distinguished service of exceptional merit, rendered with generous and unselfish dedication" on behalf of and to the Archdiocese. Sondra reposed in the Lord in September of this year. 

The Cross commemorates the 100th year of the repose of St. Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn (1915–2015), whose life exemplified tireless labor for the Church's mission in North America. While presenting the award, Metropolitan Joseph also visited with Marcia and Charlotte at the West Coast Chancery. The two sisers were accompanied by their pastor, the Very Rev. Timothy Baclig of St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church of Van Nuys, California. Marcia, Charlotte, and Fr. Timothy were grateful for Sayidna Joseph's tribute to their beloved sister.

Metropolitan Joseph Honored at NYC Ecumenical Gathering

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On November 29, 2016, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph was honored along with the recently appointed Syriac Archbishop John Kawak, in an ecumenical gathering at the St. Vartan Armenian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City. The gathering, hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), celebrated the occasion of the enthronements of Metropolitan Joseph and Archbishop John; due to scheduling issues, the event had been postponed several times.

Hierarchs and clergy from throughout the New York area were present, including: His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America; Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Papal Nuncio to the United Nations; Maronite Bishop Gregory Mansour, and many others from various Christian faith communities.

St. George Church in Canton, OH to Host Annual Basketball Tournament

 

 

 


The Midwest Teen SOYO Basketball Tournament will take place in Canton, Ohio on January 13–15, 2017. Please see the flier below for a full schedule, and the liability form, which every teen must submit in order to participate. Sign up ASAP!

Bishop Anthony Visits University of Michigan's OCF

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
by Mark Sultani, President of University of Michigan OCF
November, 2016
 
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor was recently blessed to be visited by His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest.  A group of approximately 30 college students attended the event where His Grace, a University alumnus, spoke on the topic, "God's Plan of Action for My Purpose in Life."
 
His Grace presented his talk in his usual joyous and intelligent manner. The topic was especially pertinent to us as college students, since our schedules have little routine and our futures seem both impossibly distant and frighteningly close. The words of His Grace brought peace to our minds as he spoke of the relationship we can have with a Creator who cares more that we are people of mercy, compassion, and love, than He cares whether we are lawyers, engineers, or doctors.  We learned our vocation is to recognize and experience that relationship with God, reflecting His glory on the earth. 
 
The impact His Grace left on our OCF has had us talking about his visit for weeks! We were grateful to be visited by His Grace and looks forward to his next visit.

December Liturgical Texts Now Available

St. Barbara of Heliopolis in Syria (left), and St. John of DamascusSt. Barbara of Heliopolis in Syria (left), and St. John of DamascusTwo saints with a strong following and devotion in the Patriarchate of Antioch, as well as the prophets and ancestors of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ Himself, are celebrated in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The Liturgical Texts for December, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

We celebrate two Syrian saints on December 4. Saint Barbara of Heliopolis left the protection of her father's tower and learned of the true Christian faith from pious women. Once St. Barabara accepted Christ, her father martyred her, but a lightning bolt struck his house and killed him.

St. James the Apostle Orthodox Church of Westminster, Maryland Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

O holy James
As a disciple of the Lord you received the Gospel
As a martyr, you displayed an unyielding will
As a brother of the Lord you have special power with Him
As a hierarch you have the right of intercession
Intercede therefore with Christ our God
That He may save our souls!

With these words, the faithful of St. James the Apostle Orthodox Church celebrated the tenth anniversary of their founding as the first canonical Orthodox Church in Carroll County, Maryland. Sayidna Thomas, joined by Fr. Gregory Mathewes-Green and clergy and faithful of local parishes of many jurisdictions, entreated our Holy God to look down with favor on His Church in our locality.

AFR Posts Audio of Bishop Anthony Series on Second Coming

Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest spoke on November 11–12, 2016 at St. Matthew the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church in North Royalton, OH. Thank you, Fr. Andrew Harmon, for allowing Ancient Faith Radio to record this enlightening series by His Grace!

Listen now

2017 Diocese of Worcester Parish Life Conference

The 2017 Diocese of Worcester Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. George Cathedral, Worcester, MA. The dates are June 17, 2017 and June 23–25, 2017.

Please check back for more information.

2017 Diocese of Charleston/New York Parish Life Conference

The 2017 Diocese of Charleston/New York Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. George Church in Little Falls, NJ. Dates are Thursday to Sunday, June 29–July 2, 2017.

Please check back for more information.

Memory Eternal! + Sadie Shaheen

Sadie Shaheen passed away November 14, 2016 at the age of 86, from pancreatic cancer.

Affectionately known as "Dooda," Sadie was the daughter of Fr. George and Khouria Mary Shaheen. Born in Canton, Ohio, she spent the early years of her life growing up in Katana, Syria. She returned to Canton at the age of 16 and graduated from Lehman High School, barely speaking English. She married Carl Shaheen on September 4, 1949 and a new chapter began. Sadie was a warm and welcoming hostess and a wonderful cook, especially of mid-eastern food – her home and her heart always open to family, friends and soon-to-be friends from near and far. Her Sunday brunches, Monday girls' nights, and Thursday morning breakfasts were regular weekly features! She especially loved children and was passionate about supporting three orphanages in Syria through the Crusaders Organization, inspired by her brother, Archbishop Michael Shaheen, 50 years ago. On October 23, 2016, she was awarded the Antiochian Archdiocese Meritorious Service Award for her charitable works. Besides the Crusaders, she was a member of the Ladies of St. George and the Phoenician Auxiliary.

Brooklyn, NY Newspaper Features Festal Services for St. Raphael

(Photo by Denise Alexander)(Photo by Denise Alexander)On November 14, 2016, reporter John Alexander of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle featured St. Nicholas Cathedral's services for St. Raphael, in his article "Brooklyn's own St. Raphael venerated at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral." 

The article recounts the story of St. Raphael's life, and explains the significance of the beloved saint to the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the greater Orthodox community. "St. Raphael was the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in America from any ethnic background," Cathedral Dean the Very Reverend Thomas Zain is quoted as saying in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle article.

Read the full story in the Daily Eagle

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Presents Archdiocese with $25,000 for Syrian Relief

His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (India) Diocese of Southwest America visited St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn on the afternoon of November 8, 2016, to present the proceeds of collections in their diocese for Syrian Relief. Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Archdiocese and Cathedral Dean, received the check on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, who was on an archpastoral tour.

Father Thomas welcomed Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius and thanked him on behalf of those who are suffering and displaced as a result of ongoing Syrian war. This generous gift of $25,000 will be used to help educate the children of those new immigrants who have arrived as a result of the war and have come with nothing or very little. Father Thomas then gave the Metropolitan a tour of the Cathedral and hosted him to lunch before the Metropolitan departed for the airport to return to his headquarters in Houston. The hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese are grateful to Metropolitan Alexios and the entire Malankara Diocese for their thoughtfulness and concern for the displaced people of Syria who have found their way to these blessed shores.

Original Christmas Pageant Available for Download

Now available for download! An original Christmas pageant entitled Out of Egypt, written by Rebekah Yergo, the Church School Director at St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in York, PA, is available for use in your parish. The pageant was successfully performed in 2015; the writing, stage preparations, and costumes were a hit with the children, who felt like they were in a real production.

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

View photos of the pageant

The Light and Joy of the Lord: Dn. Paul Abernathy is Ordained to the Holy Priesthood

The ordination of Deacon Paul Abernathy to the Holy Priesthood: Saturday, August 27,  2016: St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Bridgeville, PA, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Thomas, ordaining hierarch

By The Very Rev. Dr. Jason DelVitto, Pastor of St. George Church, Bridgeville, PA

If one could express in words the spirit of a very special weekend in the life of our Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, and in particular among the members of St. George Church, Bridgeville, PA and of St. Moses the Black Mission located in Hill District of Pittsburgh, I believe that we would describe this as a “weekend of joy, thanksgiving, peace and gladness in the Lord.” I am referring to the celebration of the ordination of Deacon Paul Abernathy to the Holy Priesthood of the Orthodox Church.  By the grace of the Holy Spirit and with blessing of our father in Christ, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, and through the hands of His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and Mid-Atlantic, faithful and dedicated parishioner Deacon Paul Abernathy was ordained to the Holy Priesthood during the Hierarchical Liturgy on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at St. George Church.  The Very Rev. Joshua Makoul of St. George Cathedral in Oakland and I served as Fr. Paul’s sponsors.

Diocesan News: Fellowship of St. John the Divine is Restructured

As you have probably heard, the Fellowship has been dissolved and the work reorganized to best suit the growing needs of our Archdiocese. This was done after an extensive goal setting process by the leadership of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph. While this structure is new to our Diocese, it has been used by both the Wichita and Los Angeles Dioceses for years. The goal of the reorganization is to more efficiently run the programs of the Archdiocese, provide new focus to young adults, and support the priorities of our hierarchs as they minister to our faithful. (View a diagram of the new structure.)

Here are few highlights of how this is playing out in our Midwest Diocese:

  • Bishop Anthony has appointed a Midwest Diocesan Council which was introduced at the 2016 Parish Life Conference in Livonia, Michigan. The Diocesan Council is a small group of faithful who will oversee and assist with the administrative business of the Diocese. In addition to supporting the work of our Bishop, the Diocesan Council will run the General Assembly at the Parish Life Conference and bring together leaders of other Diocesan organizations as needed.
  • The management of programs historically run by the Fellowship will be transferred to Archdiocese Departments like Christian Education, Department of Youth, Convention and Conference Planning.
  • A new Young Adult Ministry has been established to better serve our young adults, ages 19-35. This group will work toward active young adult groups in each of our parishes. In the future, the plan is to develop ministries to serve other groups in our parishes (young families, senior citizens, etc.).

Diocese of Toledo Fall Meeting Hosted by St. Ignatius

From October 20–23, 2016, St. Ignatius Orthodox Church in Madison, Wisconsin hosted the Diocese of Toledo’s 2016 Fall Meeting. 

Sayedna Anthony opened the weekend with a two-day clergy retreat, where he offered a beautiful and well-researched history and meaning of the Sacrament of Confession.  Sayedna taught through the early church era, when the practice of confession was less formalized but Christians sought out for counsel and guidance those holy men and women who had suffered for the faith as confessors.  Later on, the Church developed a distinction between “spiritual fatherhood” (holy monastic elders) and the ordained priesthood.  Sayedna based much of his teaching on St. Cyprian’s Treatise to the Lapsed, and especially urged the gathered clergy to keep in mind that the sacramental grace of God comes first and foremost through the ordained priesthood: “You are essential for the Second Coming… We are the agents preparing for the Advent of Christ!”  He continued to advise the clergy of the Diocese on specific and practical issues that arise in ministry.

November Liturgical Texts Available for Download

St. John Chrystostom Antiochian Orthodox Church, York, PASt. John Chrystostom Antiochian Orthodox Church, York, PAThe first bishop of the missionary church that would become the Antiochian Archdiocese, the archbishop who gave the Orthodox Church its primary liturgy, a Great Feast of the Theotokos, and a major American holiday fill the celebrations of the Orthodox Church in the month of November. The Liturgical Texts to guide us through services on these holy days, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

Community of St. George Cathedral Celebrates 50 Years in the Gables

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While Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL was actually first established on February 23, 1953 in the city of Miami, August 31, 1966 is no less significant a day, as it marks the signing of the contract to purchase Temple Judea, a Jewish synagogue, in the heart of nearby beautiful Coral Gables. This is where the community would build the Saint George Cathedral of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast as a beacon of faith for the Orthodox faithful and the local community. Fifty years later, hearts of the members of the Cathedral beat no less in celebrating this golden jubilee with love; love for their own Faith and their own Cathedral.

Archdiocesan Hierarchs, Lay Leaders Conclude Successful 2016 Fall Meetings

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The Hierarchs, Board of Trustees, Governing Council of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, and Antiochian Village Council, all met the weekend of October 28–30, 2016 in Wichita, KS for the annual Fall Meetings of the Antiochian Archdiocese. They gathered under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and through the hospitality of His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. They discussed many issues and topics related to the spiritual growth of the Archdiocese and the administration of the parishes in each diocese. All the hierarchs of the Archdiocese were present.

Simultaneously, the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch held meetings to plan new ways to foster growth; the Order is especially concerned about how to encourage new generations of members for the philanthropic work of the Archdiocese. They considered implementing new giving levels such as a junior level, and instituting a new category of a one-time life membership. The Governing Council also held lengthy discussions on the best way to communicate the various projects and charitable giving to both current and prospective members.

Prayers for Our Hierarchs and Board of Trustees at Fall Meetings

Photo credit: stgeorgecathedral.netPhoto credit: stgeorgecathedral.netYour prayers are requested for our Hierarchs and Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese who are gathering in Wichita, Kansas for their regular fall meetings from October 28–30, 2016. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph is presiding over the meetings, this year hosted by His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America.

The assembled hierarchs, clergy, board members and lay leaders will discuss various matters impacting the life of the Archdiocese. The weekend will conclude with a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas. May God bless all of their endeavors for His glory.

Memory Eternal! + The Reverend Deacon Benjamin Mann, Jr.

The Reverend Deacon Benjamin Mann, Jr., 72, husband of Karen Gabriel Mann, fell asleep in the Lord Sunday, October 23, 2016 at his home.

Born June 9, 1944 in Boston, MA, Deacon Ben served in the U. S. Coast Guard from 1966-70 with two tours of duty in Antarctica with Operation Deep Freeze. He received his B.S. and Master's degrees from the University of KY. Deacon Ben and Karen were one of the founding members of St. Andrew Orthodox Church where he was ordained a deacon after completing the St. Stephen's House of Studies in 1995. His love for the Church was evident in the mentoring of the youth as well as caring for the Church grounds.

Struggling with health issues he was unable to continue to serve but with his thirst for knowledge he was always found with a book open.

Besides his wife, survivors include a son, Sean Mann; a daughter, Nicole Mann (Joseph) Highland; two grandchildren, Gabrielle and Sylvey Highland Visitation will be from 4-7:30pm Tuesday at St. Andrew Orthodox Church with the Trisagion Prayers at 7:30pm. Funeral services will be 10am Wednesday, Oct 26, by the V. Rev. Thomas Gallaway with burial to follow in the Lexington Cemetery.

SOYO Launches New Website

SOYO, the youth movement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, has launched a new and redesigned website at https://TeenSOYO.org.

Check out the new offerings under:
Programs
Resources
Shop for SOYO apparel, key chains, and other items
"Ask Abouna"
Instagram and news feeds

Visit today!

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