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January 27, 2010 + With Genuine Rejoicing

By Fr. James C. Meena
from
The Word, March 1981

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, emphasis is usually made either on the character of the Prodigal or the elder brother who stayed home and remained faithful to his father, or the father himself. But I would like to ask you to imagine that the Prodigal had a larger family than that mentioned in the parable. The rest of the brothers and sisters of the Prodigal, seeing the joy of their father would rejoice with him at the return of their sinful yet repentant brother. Genuine love would compel genuine rejoicing. In our Father’s house, so it is also.

Jesus attracted and ministered to the despised, to publicans and to sinners and this didn’t meet with the approval of the leaders of the community. They didn’t like the idea that this self proclaimed teacher and prophet would associate himself with those people whom they had ostracized. But despite their objections, Jesus continued His ministry and He told the Parable of the Lost Sheep, which is not unlike the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Readers of the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke will see that the Parable of the Lost Sheep and that of the Lost Coin are preludes to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In the Parable of the Lost Sheep He said, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them is lost does he not leave the ninety and nine and go out and search to find the one that is lost and then, bearing him upon his shoulders he returns to his flock and he calls all of his friends to come and rejoice with him because the sheep that had been lost was now found.” Any businessman will tell you that ninety-nine percent of an investment isn’t so bad but, despite the fact that only one percent of his flock was lost, his concern was so great that he went out to find that one lost sheep. The lesson is: “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

I Am Poor and Needy

By Fr. Michael Gillis

“I am poor and needy, O Lord, come to my aid,” says the Prophet and King David.

There is a kind of wealth that makes you arrogant and independent even if you do not have a cent.  And there is a poverty that takes no notice of visible signs of wealth, for it sees them as only transient: tools to be used, responsibilities to be managed, tokens of the greater judgment that will fall on those who have received more.  

Worldwide Orthodox Home Exchange Launched

For Orthodox Christians planning to travel, EGERIAexchange.com now matches people for free home and hospitality exchanges, both in the U.S. and Canada, as well as overseas. After joining the group for a low, flat fee, members may either exchange their homes with a fellow member for an agreed period of time, chose a place to stay with a host family for free without swapping homes, or pay a reasonable Bed and Breakfast fee to their Orthodox B & B host. Matushka Jenny Hainsworth of EGERIA Orthodox Home and Hospitality Exchange, says:  "We let people work out the details, but the nice thing is that now, whenever Orthodox Christians travel, they can have friends wherever they go!"

For instance, a home in Ballydehob, Ireland, offers visitors use of a small cottage, music lessons, three acres for strolling, and a private chapel for praying. Other countries intrigue the EGERIA web browser: Germany, Kenya, India, Greece, and Serbia.

Bobby Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio recently interviewed Matushka Jenny, EGERIA's co-founder and proprietor, about the new venture--listen here.

Department of Sacred Music Sponsors Weekend Institute

The Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Sacred Music is sponsoring its 24th annual Sacred Music Institute, to be held at the beautiful La Casa de Maria retreat center in Santa Barbara, California. Beginning on Thursday, January 28 and concluding on Sunday, January 31, the retreat will feature choir directors and instructors Vladimir Morosan, Maureena Boosamra, Fr. John Finley, Kevin Lawrence, Paul Jabara and Chris Farha. The topics covered will be numerous and varied and among other things, workshop participants can expect to: learn about the use of the ison, discover new settings for The Cherubic Hymn, and be given training tips they can use with musicians in their own parishes.

For more information and registration forms, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/music.

Sanctity of Life Observations Encouraged by Bishop BASIL

His Grace Bishop BASIL, in his St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood newsletter on January 8, encouraged the faithful and clergy of his Diocese to mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision with prayers, volunteer work with local pro-life ministries, and participation where possible in the Washington D.C. March for Life.

His Grace writes:

"FRIDAY, JANUARY 22nd will mark the 37th anniversary of the infamous decision given by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case known as "Roe v. Wade." Please find below two links about how Orthodox Christians will observe that day:

OCMC Agape Grants to Assist the Ministries in Seven Countries in 2010

Kosovo CampKosovo CampThe love that Christ's disciples show for others has served as a living witness to the faith, inspiring countless numbers of people to come into the Body of Christ. For over 20 years, the Agape Canister Program of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), through its support of philanthropic ministries such as orphanages, feeding programs, and healthcare programs, has helped the Church to meet the needs of children, families, and communities in a loving witness to the Orthodox faith in mission countries. The OCMC is excited to announce the ministries that will be receiving support from the Agape Canister Program in 2010.

This year, Agape funds will assist 10 projects in 7 countries: a Youth Camp and the Fellowship of Love Soup Kitchen in Albania; the Protection of the Theotokos Family Center, the St. Dimitrie Program, and a Youth Camp in Romania; the St. Thomas House Orphanage in Indonesia; a feeding ministry in Kenya; Youth Day Camps in Kosovo; medical supplies in Uganda; and a Youth Camp in Guatemala. All of these projects will be administered by OCMC missionaries, mission priests, and mission teams during 2010 with the blessing, and under the guidance, of each country's respective hierarch.

Share the Light Sunday

On Sunday, January 17, 2010, the hierarchs of SCOBA have scheduled a national event to support the growth of Orthodox media outreach. Titled “Share the Light Sunday,” it is intended to raise awareness and financial support for the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), a pan-Orthodox media ministry that is also one of the official agencies of SCOBA. OCN uses the power of the radio and the Internet to present our Church to mainstream America--to reach out to everyone, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, with a message that is engaging, accessible and Christ-centered. The Hierarchs of SCOBA have issued a letter calling attention to the ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network, and encouraging the faithful to participate in Share the Light Sunday.

For more information, inluding bulletin inserts, media materials and more, please visit OCN's Share the Light Sunday web page.

Get Involved: One Million Campaign

Khouria Maggie Hock is encouraging Orthodox parents to get involved in the fight for media decency, through two organizations:  One Million Moms, and One Million Dads. Sponsored by the American Family Association, a Christian media watchdog group, the associations provide information and resources for concerned parents. "I get so many questions about how to get involved," notes Kh. Maggie, "parents want to know how they can make a difference, and protect their children." One Million Moms and One Million Dads targets sponsors of offensive programming through email campaigns and boycotts.

Diocese of Toledo Adds Mission

The Diocese of Toledo is in the process of starting a new mission in Evansville, Indiana. Fr. Daniel Hackney and his family have moved to the area, and a regular schedule of services is beginning. For information, go to: evansvilleorthodox.org

Fr. Daniel Hackney writes:

My wife Carole, our three boys, and I are privileged to come to Evansville in order to share in the founding of a Mission in the largest city in the United States without an Orthodox Church. This effort is actually a fruit of the many years that Fr. Nabil Hanna and others labored for in the late nineties and early years of this decade, as they did Liturgies when they could for those in this area. Many seeds were planted during that era.

Memory Eternal!+Kh. Alice Nahas

Khouria Alice Nahas of Hanover Township, PA, died peacefully at home on Sunday, December 27, 2009, surrounded by her family.

Born January 12, 1922 in Pawtucket, RI, she was the daughter of Damtry and Victoria Ganim. She was a graduate of Pawtucket High School and Wilkes-Barre Business College.

She moved to Wilkes-Barre in October 1951 when her husband, the Very Rev. Herbert G. Nahas, was appointed pastor of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church. For the next 35 years she faithfully assisted Father Herbert as he served as pastor of the church. She offered great hospitality to all, hosting parishioners, clergy, community and national leaders. As a member of the Ladies of St. Mary, she worked tirelessly in the many church activities and her wise advice was sought by all.

She founded and operated her own businesses, Lana Fashions of Wilkes-Barre, and the East Wing Clothing Boutique. She was renound for the work of her hands in cooking, baking and sewing.

She is survived by her devoted husband of 64 years, Father Herbert, and her three children, Dr. George Nahas, John Nahas, and Joyce Moses and her husband Atty. John Moses, and her five grand-children.

Her funeral was on Wednesday December, 30, and her burial was in the parish cemetery, St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Cemetery.

May her Memory be Eternal.

Khouria Alice Nahas

Khouria Alice Nahas of Hanover Township, PA, died peacefully at home on Sunday, December 27, 2009, surrounded by her family.

Born January 12, 1922 in Pawtucket, RI, she was the daughter of Damtry and Victoria Ganim. She was a graduate of Pawtucket High School and Wilkes-Barre Business College.

She moved to Wilkes-Barre in October 1951 when her husband, the Very Rev. Herbert G. Nahas, was appointed pastor of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church. For the next thirty-five years she faithfully assisted Father Herbert as he served as pastor of the church. She offered great hospitality to all, hosting parishioners, clergy, community and national leaders. As a member of the Ladies of St. Mary, she worked tirelessly in the many church activities and her wise advice was sought by all.

She founded and operated her own businesses, Lana Fashions of Wilkes-Barre, and the East Wing Clothing Boutique. She was renowned for the work of her hands in cooking, baking and sewing.

She is survived by her devoted husband of 64 years, Father Herbert, and her three children, Dr. George Nahas, John Nahas, and Joyce Moses and her husband Atty. John Moses, and her five grand-children.

Her funeral was on Wednesday December, 30, and her burial was in the parish cemetery, St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Cemetery.

May her Memory be Eternal.

Conciliar Press Offers Unique Icon Calendar for 2010

At the start of the new year, Conciliar Press is offering a unique 2010 Icon Calendar featuring women saints. Written by three contemporary iconographers from North America--Michael Kapeluck, Matthew Garret, and Cheryl Ann Pituch, the full-color calendar measures 11" X 12" and features large calendar boxes for recording important date reminders. It also lists major saint and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world, with dates according to the new calendar. Popular and beloved saints such as St. Xenia and St. Brigid are featured, as well as less familiar saints such as Holy Martyr Natalia of Nicomedia.

To order, go to www.conciliarpress.com.

A New Day

By Fr. Michael Gillis

In 1993 Bill Murray starred in Groundhog Day, a movie about a completely selfish weather broadcaster who spends a year trapped in the same day—Ground Hog Day.

Bishop Joseph Helps Lead Pan-Orthodox Retreat for over 100 West Coast Clergy

OCA.org reports:

At the initiative of the canonical Orthodox Bishops of the West, 106 priests and deacons gathered at Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in Dunlap, California, December 1-3, 2009 for a retreat.

His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos [Greek Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Joseph [Antiochian Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin [OCA]; and His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Patriarchate] encouraged their clergy to participate in this historic gathering. Each hierarch addressed a reflection to the group during one of the services.

The Advent of Modern Almsgiving

By Todd Madigan

There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores (Luke 16:19-21).

Although his suit is no longer likely to be purple, everything else in this passage depicts a scene that is re-enacted each day throughout our society.

Archbishop of Canterbury to Deliver Annual Schmemann Lecture at St. Vladimir's Seminary

CRESTWOOD, NY [SVS] -- On Saturday afternoon, January 30, 2010, the Most Rev. and Rt. Honorable Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and senior bishop of the worldwide Anglican communion, will deliver the annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture at Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. The archbishop will speak on the topic "Theology and the Contemplative Calling: The Image of Humanity in the Philokalia."

Saint Vladimir's Seminary will also confer upon the archbishop a Doctorate of Divinity honoris causa, in recognition of his contribution to the academic study of Eastern Orthodox theology and spirituality. The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir's, was examined for his own doctoral degree at Oxford University by the archbishop, then a professor of theology there.

"Many Orthodox Christians may be unaware of Rowan Williams's research and contribution to the field of Orthodox theology," said Father John. "But he was a pioneer in this field, with outstanding breadth and depth. The subject of his own doctoral thesis, for instance, was the work of the great Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky, the first academic study of the émigré theologians. He has also written beautifully on the icons of the Theotokos and the Transfiguration, and, most recently, has published a highly regarded volume titled 'Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction.' In recognition of his outstanding work and contribution to the study of Eastern Christianity, we are very pleased that he has accepted to deliver the 2010 annual Schmemann lecture."

Bishop BASIL Discusses Nativity on OCN

This week on Special Moments in Orthodoxy, in an Orthodox Christian Network vaulted interview, Fr. Chris Metropulos interviews His Grace Bishop BASIL on the importance of the Nativity Season and Advent.

"As Orthodox Christians, we're used to our Fast periods being periods of repentance, and rather dark periods. And the period of Advent, the pre-Nativity Fast, is a very different kind of season ... It's more of a preparation, a preparation for a great Feast. And there's joy that permeates that entire Fast." + Bishop BASIL

Click here to listen to the full interview on OCN.

Within the Cradle

By Janice Bidwell

Raised in the Orthodox Church I’ve never viewed Orthodoxy from the outside, but I’m certain the view is different. My perspective reflects a lifetime spent within a Church known for Tradition.

OCF Encourages College Students to Sign Up for Real Break

This Spring Break, over one hundred college students have the opportunity to make a real change for those less fortunate through Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Real Break program.

Real Break is an alternative spring break service-learning program designed to provide college students with life-transforming experiences that strengthen their faith and broaden their Christian world-view. OCF offers several trips to locations all around the globe where students have the opportunity to serve and minister to the poor with compassion and humility.

Students can sign up for Real Break at: www.ocf.net/realbreak.

Liturgica.com Releases New Chant Titles in Time for Christmas

A premier online source of beautiful music, Liturgica.com, has just released several new chant titles in time for Christmas giving.

1. Christmas Hymns (Hymnes de Noel). Through a special arrangement with the French label Jade, they are now offering this classic title by The Greek Byzantine Choir, directed by Lycourgos Angelopoulos. It is a wonderful collection of the hymnology from Matins and the Divine Liturgy for Nativity. 

2. Lights of Byzantine Chant (Lumieres du Chant Byzantin) by Divna and The Melodi Choir is another release on the French Jade label. This outstanding CD is a wide ranging collection of Eastern chant forms, from the Great Doxology to Agni Partheni - sung in her crystal clear voice. 

To order, click here: www.liturgica.com

OCMC Pioneers Four Family Mission Teams in 2010

Since 1987 over 1,000 people have offered a living witness to the Orthodox Christian faith through their participation in an Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) Mission Team. These Team members have taught catechism, built churches, schools, and hospitals, offered healthcare, worked with youth, and provided outreach in 27 countries around the world.

There have been exceptions, but for reasons that include liability, the risks and rigor inherent in serving abroad, and the specialized nature of mission work, Team members have traditionally been at least 18 years old. Over the years, OCMC has heard from many sources including past Team members, missionaries, board members, staff, and supporters about the importance of enabling youth participation on OCMC Mission Teams.

With board approval, OCMC has opened up four of its 2010 Mission Teams to youth participation with the condition that Team members would not be under 13 years of age and that they would be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“The motivation behind this decision was to expose youth to the work of making disciples while giving eligible families the ability to experience service for the Church in a cross cultural setting,” offers OCMC Mission Teams Director Andrew Lekos.

The Teams in 2010 that are open to youth and families have been carefully chosen to allow youth to develop relationships with their Orthodox peers and learn about new cultures. “It is hoped that language barriers melt and horizons are broadened as families put their faith into action and share their Orthodox faith,” adds Mr. Lekos.

Ancient Faith Radio Announces 5 Year Anniversary, Annual Appeal

Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2004, John and Tonya Maddex quietly began a revolution on the back porch of their Chicago-area home. Ancient Faith Radio, an internet-based streaming radio station, began broadcasting Eastern Orthodox Christian liturgical music and readings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It soon became an outreach of their Antiochian Chicago parish, All Saints Orthodox Church, and later a department of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese.

Today, five years later, the station provides two streaming radio stations, about 50 podcasts, and audio recordings from conferences all across the country. Ancient Faith Radio has become an important resource for Orthodox Christians and many people interested in Christianity worldwide. What began as a few hundred listeners has grown substantially, with visitors to the website from 127 countries and an average of 250,000 downloads of podcasts each month.

John Maddex now serves full-time as the President and CEO of the parent company, Conciliar Media Ministries, overseeing operations of both Ancient Faith Radio and Conciliar Press, an Orthodox Christian publishing house. Currently, AFR is in the midst of their annual appeal. Supportive listeners have offered matching funds, so that end of the year gifts will be doubled, in order to increase the internet radio ministry's reach. Donate funds at: www.ancientfaith.com.

When asked what the future holds for Conciliar Media, Maddex said, “As technology develops and more and more people consume digital media in the form of internet radio and e-books, Conciliar Media and Ancient Faith Radio are positioned to provide high-quality audio and reading materials for Orthodox as well as other liturgically minded Christians worldwide.”

 

 

Antiochian Author Jane Meyer Releases The Woman and The Wheat

In time for Christmas gift giving, SVS Press has released Jane Meyer’s The Woman and the Wheat, the second book in a set that also includes The Man and the Vine. The books tell the story of the making of Eucharistic bread and wine, and are complimented by the artistic skills of illustrator Ned Gannon. To order, click here.

In an interview, author Meyer explained, “the book highlights that time in church when something temporal becomes something eternal.”  Read interview here:

December 6 is Choir & Chanter Appreciation Sunday

Music is a divine act and science concerned with tones, which aids us in expressing the sentiments of the heart by means of voice and instruments. —S.J. Savas

So he who sings well puts his soul in tune, correcting by degrees its faulty rhythm, so that at last, being truly natural and integrated, it has fear of nothing, but in peaceful freedom from all vain imaginings may apply itself with greater longing to the good things to come. For a soul rightly ordered by chanting the sacred word forgets its own afflictions and contemplates with joy the things of Christ alone. —St. Athanasius, The Letter of St. Athanasius to Marcellinus on the Interpretation of Psalms.

 

A Message From Christopher Holwey

Chairman, Department of Sacred Music

 

Greetings to you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray all is well.

This is simply a quick reminder to you that this coming Sunday, December 6th, is the Sunday that we honor our chanters and choir members throughout our Archdiocese. It is known as Choir & Chanter Appreciation Sunday.

So therefore, I would like to ask that you do something in recognition of the choir members and chanters in your parish. It might be a special acknowledgement of thanks after Liturgy, or a coffee hour planned in their honor, or whatever else you might creatively think to do for them. As you know, we not only need our priests for each and every service that is done in the Church, but we also need someone, or a group of people--our dedicated chanters and choir members--there to chant and sing the responses and special hymns for whichever service is being offered. They are a vital part of every service that is prayed. As Metropolitan ANTONY, of thrice-blessed memory, once said, “A church without a choir is like a body without a soul.”

An Invitation to be a Signatory of the Manhattan Declaration

On Friday, November 20, 2009, His Grace Bishop Basil sent an invitation to his flock, inviting them to sign a statement affirming the historic Christian teaching on life, marriage, and religious freedom. He wrote:

"Dear to Christ:

We invite you to join with other Christians across the nation who support the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty by endorsing the Manhattan Declaration.

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