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Tribute Dinner and New Endowment Fund Honor OCF Founder, Bishop Dimitrios

OCF Honorary Dinner for His Grace, Bishop DimitriosOCF Honorary Dinner for His Grace, Bishop DimitriosJACKSONVILLE, FL [OCF/OCA] -- Orthodox Christian Fellowship honored its founder, His Grace, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, at a tribute dinner at the San Jose Country Club here on Friday, September 17, 2010.

As a recent seminary graduate in the 1960s, Bishop Dimitrios (James Couchell) was the driving force in establishing what has become the joint campus ministry arm of all canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in North America.

The dinner gathered clergy and laity from throughout North America to honor Bishop Dimitrios’ dedication and devotion to college students and to celebrate the ever-growing network that OCF has been able to build upon the foundation he laid years ago.

At the dinner, the OCF Board of Directors announced the establishment of the Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos Orthodox Christian Fellowship Ministry Endowment, which has been created to sustain and further the ministries of OCF. The fund was initiated with a $100,000.00 anonymous donation.

"Bishop Dimitrios has offered so much to Orthodox Christianity in North America and throughout the world in various capacities," said OCF Board of Directors Chairman and Interim Executive Director, Rev. Mark Leondis. Specifically, his efforts on behalf of college students are significant and this recognition of his work is long overdue."

In conjunction with the dinner, members of the OCF Board of Directors, the Regional Chaplains Network, and the Student Advisory Board met.

Those who are interested in participating in the Bishop Dimitrios Ministry Endowment are encouraged to contact OCF Development Director Presvytera Shyla Hadzellis at 800-919-1623.

Extensive Online Resource Guide for Teachers Available

Don't miss our Online Resources guide for Orthodox Christian Education, available HERE.

Listed are numerous programs from helpful general websites to camping programs to online lesson plans and craft ideas.

“Let Us Attend” Now Includes a Reader Theatre Page!

New! The Sunday Gospel Program, “Let Us Attend,” now includes a Reader Theatre page! The page provides the gospel as a script for reading aloud the different parts. Taking the parts of Jesus, the disciples, the crowd, the women disciples allows the students to come closer to experiencing the presence of Jesus. The goal is for the students to get to know Jesus Christ through the gospel. Although they hear the gospel in the Divine Liturgy, it is chanted in a continuous rhythm, unlike what occurred in reality.

Here is how to use this resource. 1) Let the children read through it once silently; 2) discuss the various feelings of the characters and how they would have spoken the words they did; 3) assign the parts and read aloud; 4) discuss how they felt about Jesus’ words—did they get a different idea of Jesus from this passage?

No doubt Jesus would have paused before answering certain questions. Those who addressed Jesus undoubtedly were taken aback at some of his responses. For the older students, add three components. 1) talk about where Jesus would have paused before answering, and where the crowd would have been silent in amazement, 2) use the footnotes of the gospel to enhance their understanding of Jesus, and 3) look at the gospel passage just before the reading to find other hints as to why Jesus said/did the words/actions of the day’s gospel.

Conference of Orthodox Peace Fellowship Coming to Irvine, California, Oct. 1-3

"In Communion," the journal of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, announces that the Annual OPF North American Conference will take place soon in Irvine, CA, October 1 through 3, 2010. This year's theme, “Interfaith Dialogue,” will feature speakers from within the Orthodox Church, as well as Jewish, Muslim, and other lecturers. The program will be a mix of talks and discussions, music, comedy, award-winning films and one-on-one conversation.

Notes OPF, "Though differences exist and need to be acknowledged, we can learn from one another and create a more peaceful world in the process. Non-members are welcome — this conference is not to be missed!" Those interested in registering may go here for more information and downloadable forms.

Conciliar Press Releases Book Featuring Hours of Prayer

Conciliar Press recently released a new title, A Book of Hours: Meditations on the Traditional Christian Hours of Prayer. The website description reads: "Eastern and Western Christians share a rich spiritual heritage in the Hours of Prayer—the brief services of praise and psalmody that mark the progress of each day, sanctifying the hours of our lives. In this gem of a book, Patricia Egan digs deeply into the meaning of each of the Hours, drawing on poetry, nature, experience, and theology to show how the services reflect the different aspects of our salvation and our lives. A Book of Hours is an excellent companion for anyone who wants to experience the blessing of praying through the Hours of each day." To order, go to Conciliar Press' website here. The book's retail price is $21.95.

St. Vladimir's Seminary Hosts Orthodox Education Day, Oct.2

[YONKERS, NY SVOTS COMMUNICATIONS] Prepare for a holy pilgrimage and expect a multi-cultural immersion experience at St. Vladimir’s Seminary during its annual Orthodox Education Day on Saturday, October 2, 2010.

Highlights of the day include the presence of an exact replica of the famed Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God, from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY; an exquisite exhibit of 15th–19th century icons, Arabic Christian manuscripts, and Syrian artifacts from Antiochian Heritage Museum; and a keynote address by Fr. Michael Oleksa, an expert in Alaska Native history, in keeping with this year’s theme, “Many Cultures, One Faith.”

The seminary campus will be transformed into a global community filled with the sights, sounds, aromas, and tastes of many lands. Visitors will enjoy music and folk dance groups from the boroughs of New York City, ethnic dishes and delicacies, and workshops for all ages.

Colorful exhibits will introduce campus visitors to the religious traditions and cultural customs of peoples from the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches—representative of the student body at St. Vladimir’s. Faculty from both St. Vladimir’s and St. Nersess seminaries will participate in a panel “The Road to Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Unity,” which will explore the historic rift between the two church bodies.

Services include: Divine Liturgy, 7:30 a.m.; Hierarchical Akathist, noon; and a Memorial Service, 4:00 p.m., followed by Vespers, to conclude the day. Food booths, exhibits, and workshops will be open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

For a full schedule of the day’s events, please view the “Upcoming Events” section on the seminary’s Home Page: www.svots.edu.

-END-

New Online Store Sells High Quality Icons

 

With the blessing of His Grace Bishop George, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Damascene Gallery, a supplier of fine antique icons, newly painted icons, and high quality mounted icons, opened on August 29 (the feast of the Translation of the Icon of the Savior "Not Made by Hands" from Edessa to Constantinople, Old Calendar). The web store features a wide selection of antique and new hand-painted icons, as well as a unique type of mounted icons consisting of high-quality canvas prints mounted to traditional solid-wood panels with support slats commonly found on antique icons. Concerning the rationale of such a design, the founders of Damascene Gallery explained that such panels combined with the canvas prints result in a mounted icon that looks and feels much like the antique icons also being offered in the store.

Currently, the web store features around 30 antique icons, ranging from the early 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Additionally, there are some 20 new painted icons in inventory, as well as numerous antique brass icons and crosses. Around 230 images, including many from the Holy Trinity Monastery collection, are available for ordering as mounted icons. The inventory of icons is expected to significantly increase within the next several weeks, and the selection of mounted icons is being continuously updated.

Bishop Basil, Clergy and Faithful Join in Holy Land Pilgrimage

Venerating the Relics of St. GeorgeVenerating the Relics of St. GeorgeOn August 18, 2010, 43 pilgrims including His Grace Bishop Basil, joined pilgrimage organizer Fr. Joseph Abud (St. George Church, Flint, Michigan) for a journey which would later be described as "life changing" by Kh. Cindy Baize (Holy Transfiguration Mission, Hillsboro, Kansas). At one of the holiest seasons of the year which included the Feasts of the Transfiguration and the Dormition on the Old Calendar, the American faithful joined pilgrims from all over the world as they venerated the relics of saints and visited sites that even Orthodox tours pass over. "Our guide said he had never seen a group received as well as our group and he heard and saw things which he never had access to before." enthuses Bishop Basil. The packed schedule included a nightly Bible study and debriefing session, and some of the travelers even attended the midnight liturgies served daily at the tomb of Christ. Readers can browse the gallery of photos taken by Fr. David Moretti of St. George, Terre Haute, Indiana.

"I prayed for you all facing the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee," writes Bishop Basil on August 21. Read on for the rest of his pilgrimage diary.

Wednesday, 18 Aug. 2010

Visited St Peter Church (Orth) over house of St Tabitha house of Simon the Tanner, St Michael Monastery (Orth) with its church of St Tabitha. On to Lydda.

Pilgrim groups are here from Greece, Romania, Russia, and us (and probably others we haven't seen yet).

OCF's College Student Sunday is Sept. 19

OCF has announced their annual event, College Student Sunday, which will take place Sunday Sept. 19, 2010.

Writes the OCF, "Over the past 50 years, campus ministry has made a presence in the Orthodox Church. We would like to ask all of you to make a presence this year for Orthodox college students at your parish. Now more than ever is the time to raise awareness.

Over the past few years the national average of young adults leaving the Church has been 6 out of 10. Recently the Pew Research Institute declared the average is quickly growing to 7 out of 10. We would like to encourage each of you to visit our website to find the resources you will need to conduct a presentation. If you are unable to make the presentation, please ask some to fill in for you. Thank you for your support of campus ministry!!!"

Endorsed by the Episcopal Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in North America, this observance is designed to draw attention to the importance of ministering to our college age Orthodox Christian Students. Parishes are reminded that young Orthodox Christians are attending college in their cities and towns, and the faithful are encouraged to connect with these college students in order to provide a parish home away from home. For more information, contact the Orthodox Christian Fellowship.

"Icons: Windows to Heaven" Iconographers Interviewed Prior to Fall Village Event

"Icons: Windows to Heaven"

Getting To Know the Iconographers

Cheryl Ann Pituch and Niko Chocheli will be presenting workshops at Antiochian Village for the event, “Icons: Windows to Heaven,” November 4–7, 2010. Vasiliki Oldziey, Christian Education Coordinator for the Diocese of Wichita and the Midwest, interviewed them this summer. The Department of Christian Education sponsors the annual Orthodox Institute, and the theme of this year’s event is iconography. The Institute will include several courses on iconography and provide participants an opportunity to learn how to write icons (“Utilizing Crafts”). Teacher-training courses and the Church School Director Seminar are also scheduled for the Institute. Amateur or professional iconographers are encouraged to bring an icon for our “Festival of Orthodoxy” display. If you love icons, don’t miss this opportunity! For more information or a brochure, please e-mail the department at aodce@aol.com, or visit our website.

Cheryl Ann Pituch

Cheryl Ann has been married for thirty-eight years to Eugene Pituch and is the mother of four children and the grandmother of two. She currently resides in Davidsville, Pennsylvania, a small town in the Laurel Mountains, 92 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Her icons are featured in the current Icon Calendar from Conciliar Press.Icon Calendar, 2010Icon Calendar, 2010

1. Icons were not part of your early life. Tell us how icons have changed your life.  

I grew up in the Presbyterian Church and was taught that any statues or “pictures” were never to be kissed or prayed before in any way. I struggled to understand icons, in order to embrace the faith. I have been an Orthodox Christian for 32 years and have been painting for about 26 years. Now, I can’t imagine life without icons. The most dramatic change in my life with icons is prayer. Icons open constant opportunities to pray. They have changed my life just by being visible and witnessing (in their silence) their love for God, and stirring my heart to do more.

New Season of Learning Begins Sept. 12

Some of the busiest people in Antiochian parishes currently, are teachers and church school directors preparing to kick off the 2010/2011 Sunday School year. Supporting all of this activity is the Department of Christian Education, headed by experienced educator Carole Buleza. Antiochian.org was able to catch up with Carole and find out about how her department is making a difference in the lives of teachers and children in parishes all across the country. Last summer in a groundbreaking presentation at the Clergy Symposium at Antiochian Village, Carole outlined "a new way thinking about Orthodox catechesis." 

1. Can you articulate for us your philosophy of Orthodox Christian Education, as it has developed over your years of experience?

My philosophy of successful Orthodox Christian Education developed first of all from my childhood. I was raised in a home where Sunday was for church and visiting, the holy days meant going to church, and the very special holy days involved special meals. I saw my mother pray the Divine Liturgy when she could not make it to church, and my dad read the Bible.

Happy (Church) New Year!

By Fr. Joseph Huneycutt

Make Yours Acceptable to the Lord!

It seems odd saying "Happy New Year" in September, but that’s when the Church marks Her annual beginning. September 1st is, for the Church, the first day of a New Year.

"Foundations of the Orthodox Faith" Series Completed

Ancient Faith Radio has released the completed "Foundations" series recorded by Antiochian priest Fr. Andrew Damick for his podcast, "Roads From Emmaus." "This series represents an attempt at a sort of catechism—approaching the faith from four foundational angles: the revelation of God to man, authority in the spiritual life, worship, and morality," explains Fr. Andrew. "As with most of my work, I attempted to keep these talks fairly free of religious jargon, approaching the subjects with only a minimum of assumptions shared with the listeners. My hope is that these will be digestible not only to Orthodox Christians, but to other Christians, members of other religions, those who are 'spiritual but not religious,' and even unbelievers."

Fr. Damick begins the series with a conversation about the person of Christ, then builds on that with subsequent talks about Scripture and Tradition, and Worship. He concludes the four part discussion with a two part presentation, "Christian Life in the World."

NY Times Tells Story of Early Syrian Christian Manhattan Enclave

"The Syrian Colony, Washington Street " by W. Bengough"The Syrian Colony, Washington Street " by W. BengoughMatthew Namee, at OrthodoxHistory.org, has posted an alert to a recent New York Times article about an early Syrian American presence in Manhattan, not far from what became the site for the World Trade Center. While it was eventually displaced by the construction of entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, the once thriving community called little Syria, hosted three churches. Notes Namee, "...while the article doesn’t directly discuss Orthodoxy, it talks about the very same community into which St. Raphael came in 1895, and which included the first Antiochian parish on the continent." 

OCF to Honor His Grace Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos

His Grace Bishop DemetriosHis Grace Bishop DemetriosFISHERS, IN. - August 18, 2010

The OCF Board of Directors will be honoring His Grace Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos for his tremendous contributions in establishing Orthodox Christian Fellowship with a celebratory dinner in Jacksonville, Florida, on September 17, 2010.

Beginning in 1960 as a recent seminary graduate, Bishop Dimitrios (James Couchell) was the driving force in establishing what has become the all-important campus ministry arm of the Orthodox Church. Inspired by his dedication and devotion to college students, OCF has been able to build upon the foundation he laid 50 years ago.

In the year 2000, OCF experienced a renewal, which included the strong and continuing support of the various Orthodox jurisdictions in North America. Recognizing these two milestones, this fall marks the 50th anniversary of OCF's creation and the 10th anniversary of its current efforts.

In addition to the dinner, OCF will be holding its annual Board of Directors, Chaplain's Network and Student Advisory Board meetings throughout the weekend. These planning meetings will lead into OCF's annual College Student Sunday on September 19.

Discerning the One Thing Needful

By Fr. Andrew Damick

Silence… is something that our culture wants to avoid at all costs. Some of us look for it on vacation. But on our way to that vacation, we make sure that we’re well insulated with noise, whether it’s blaring from the car stereo as we drive or plugged into our ears as we sit on the airplane.

Memory Eternal! + Metropolitan Christopher

Metropolitan Christopher of Libertyville-ChicagoMetropolitan Christopher of Libertyville-Chicago

Chicago, IL - On Wednesday, August 18, 2010, on the eve of the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Old Calendar), His Eminence +Christopher, Metropolitan of Libertyville-Chicago, fell asleep in the Lord. 

Funeral arrangements are forthcoming. Updates may be obtained from the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America website here.

May his memory be eternal! Вечнаја памјат!

From the Holy Resurrection Cathedral web site:

Born in Galveston, Texas, and baptized Velimir Kovacevich, the future Metropolitan Christopher was the ninth of twelve children of Serbian immigrant parents. After graduation from high school, he attended Nashotah House and graduated from St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Seminary in Libertyville, Illinois. After marriage, he was ordained to the Diaconate and Priesthood. Continuing his education, he earned a B.A. (Philosophy), Master of Letters (History) at the University of Pittsburgh; the Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, and completed courses and examinations for the doctorate at the Chicago Theological Seminary.

Notes from Bishop Thomas Inspire and Inform

Readers of antiochian.org are encouraged to remember that each week, His Grace Bishop Thomas posts a new article to edify and exhort the faithful of the Archdiocese. As Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, His Grace has long provided his flock with appropriate weekly teachings selected from his treasured collection of essays, articles, homilies and more, including many rare pieces from earlier decades of The Word. This week's essay, for example, was first published in 1966, and yet its message of the need for parents to put "First Things First" as they nurture their children, is as timely today as it was when it first appeared in The Word. Read this piece and many others, published and archived here.

What Can We Learn from Mary’s Falling Asleep?

From Fr. James Coles blog, Scholé

All the things we say about her could be said about us. But will they?

St. Vladimir's Seminary Launches New Website

On August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration, St. Vladimir's Seminary launched a new website.

The Seminary’s Chancellor, Archpriest Chad Hatfield, says of the new site, which took nearly six months to develop, “With so much good happening at SVOTS we wanted to offer you a Website that was easy to navigate, informative, and a pleasure to view, and I believe we have met those goals.” The new site has more audio and video content, and will eventually be hosting some space for interactive exchange.

Site browsers can read reflections from Chancellor Hatfield as well as the Dean, Fr. John Behr, in the "Voices" section: other features are Seminarians Speak, Alumni in Action (currently featuring Antiochian Bishop Basil), and Faculty Footnotes. A new history of the seminary can be found in the About Us section, and a new welcome video is accessible via a homepage button. 

Ancient Faith Radio Presents The Chronicles of Narnia Audio Books

Chesterton, IN — Do you love the Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, yet never have time to sit down and read them?

Now, by special permission of C.S. Lewis, Pte. Ltd., you can listen to the entire Chronicles of Narnia series in your car, office, or home, read to you in the fine British voice of Dr. Chrissi Hart.

Dr. Hart presents the podcasts as part of her “Under the Grapevine” series of inspirational stories for children of all ages.

Born in Cyprus, Dr. Hart grew up in England from age three, and has a BA in Psychology from the University of Hull, British Psychological Society Diploma in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Leicester, UK. She has helped troubled children for over twenty five years and has a part time child psychology practice. She now lives in York, PA with her husband and two children, where they attend St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church. Dr. Hart is the author of the books Under the Grapevine and The Hermit, The Icon and The Emperor (published by Conciliar Press). To learn more, visit her on the web and check out her other “Under the Grapevine” podcasts here.

Media Contact:

Matthew Dorning, Marketing Director

mdorning@conciliarmedia.com

(816) 213-7481

PR#20100806-LS

2010 Diocese of Los Angeles and the West Clergy Seminar Audio CD's Available

His Grace, the Right Reverend ILIAHis Grace, the Right Reverend ILIAThe Diocese of Los Angeles and the West has made a set of audio CD's featuring the sessions from the 2010 Clergy Seminar available here. Web browsers may download the CD's for free of charge using the links provided, or the series is available for purchase here. The series features the special guest speaker, His Grace, the Right Reverend Ilia, the Titular Bishop of Philomelion, of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America. The theme, "'...but make us worthy to approach Thee by mouth and heart…':The Priest, Pastor and Spiritual Father" emphasized the high calling of the priesthood; one CD also features a talk on Albania's Church, titled "From Oppression to Renewal The Orthodox Church in Albania."

For FOCUS Volunteers, Summer is Time to Serve

FOCUS volunteer serves meal in San DiegoFOCUS volunteer serves meal in San DiegoFOCUS North America volunteers, through local affiliates, have been busy this summer! In Orange County, southern California Orthodox Christians bagged food for some of the 20,000 children that are homeless county-wide. In the meantime, thirty volunteers from the Kansas City area drove nearly one thousand miles to North Carolina to work for needy families in the Bakersville region. In San Diego, in the shadows of the wealthy community of Coronado at the Coronado Island Bridge, twenty eight people from six parishes served meals to the homeless in an effort that will be ongoing on Wednesday nights. In a sweltering midwestern heat wave, FOCUS Minnesota served a meal at the end of July as they looked forward to the launch of their new center on Lake Street in Minneapolis; their doors are slated for opening on August 14, the day before the Feast of the Dormition.

Click here to read all the news from FOCUS.

New Site For Metropolitan Anthony Bloom Archives Launches

Metropolitan Anthony BloomMetropolitan Anthony BloomA beautiful new website hosting a great majority of the archived works of Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, recently launched at masarchive.org. Compiled as a labor of love over twelve years, by Boris K. Khazanov, the archive consists of over 2,000 text files, 800 photographs, 1,600 audio files, and 200 videos in Russian, English, French, and eight other languages. As the website "About" section explains,  "For several decades a number of parishioners and disciples of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (1914-2003) recorded his talks, interviews and sermons on audio tapes, video recordings and photographs. Some of the audio tapes were transcribed. All of these documents, stored on fragile media, were widely spread among many people across the globe – in the UK, France, Russia, USA, Switzerland, etc. Metropolitan Anthony did not prepare an official will, with regard to his works or wordly possessions, however in 1987 he gave his blessing to his spiritual son and friend Boris Khazanov to collect all his works and in 1998, memorialized that blessing in a written statement."

Browsers can spend hours in the Photographs, Texts, Audio, and Video menus. In "Photographs," for instance, galleries display images from the years 1912 all the way up to the year of his repose, 2003.

OCABS Press Releases Commentary on Colossians and Philemon

New from OCABS Press:The Chrysostom Bible - Colossians & Philemon: A Commentary                                      Paul Nadim Tarazi (Paperback: 130 pages, Publisher: OCABS Press, July 2, 2010)

The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation. In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, explains how both Colossians and Philemon are woven together to "'fetter' a free Roman patrician of the 'mighty' city of Colossae to the gospel whose main injunction is the love for the needy neighbor...both Colossians and Philemon," Tarazi writes, "when understood against their original background are lessons for the ages."

The V. Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi is Professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He is the author of a three volume Introduction to the Old Testament, a four volume Introduction to the New Testament, Galatians: A Commentary, I Thessalonians: A Commentary, Land and Covenant, and the Chrysostom Bible, Genesis: A Commentary, Philippians: A Commentary and Romans: A Commentary. His Audio Bible Commentaries on the books of the New Testament are available online through the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS).

Visit the OCABS Press website for more information.

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