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Antiochian Author and Speaker Fr. Joseph Huneycutt Records Syrian Pilgrimage

Metropolitan SABA and Fr. Joseph HuneycuttMetropolitan SABA and Fr. Joseph HuneycuttAntiochian Orthodox priest and author, Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of Houston, made a pilgrimage to Syria visiting Metropolitans, monasteries, and ancient churches from April 11-24. Father shares his journal here, and in his Ancient Faith Radio podcast "The Blindside."

The airport: It was a 16-hour flight from Dubai to Houston, having left Damascus the previous day.  The lines to get through American Customs were long.  When it finally came my turn, I approached the counter to see a sight not seen in my two-week absence:  a very white woman with red hair and freckles.  “Where you coming from?” she asked.  “Dubai,” I said, “I’ve been traveling in Syria.”  “Syria!  On business?” she asked.  “No, I was visiting the holy sites,” I replied.  The fair skinned Customs Agent looked at me as if I had six heads and said, 'Why Syria?!'

That They May Be One

by The V. Rev. Nicholas R. A. Sorensen

Disunity in the Church causes great trouble, frustration, anger, jealousy and despair, but true unity always bears the beautiful and gentle fruit of joy.

FOCUS North America Releases First Annual Report

FOCUS North America Executive Director and CEO Fr. Justin Mathewes has released the first annual report for the year 2009. As he said in a letter to ministry friends and supporters, "We are excited to share with you our 2009 Annual Report. We have had an amazing and blessed first year. Thank you so much for making FOCUS North America a living reality.

 In the annual report, you will find updates on our programs such as the Youth Equipped to Serve Program and our Parish Education Program, our FOCUS Centers, and our Partner Ministries. Also in the annual report, you will find reports from our chairman and founder, Mr. Charles Ajalat, and me about our hope and aspirations for the future and our 2009 financial report.

 Thank you again for helping the poor and needy here in North America. Your gifts are helping to restore the living icons all around us."

The report can be viewed here.

Antiochian Parishes Celebrate Pascha

Fr. John Oliver, St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church, Murfreesboro, TNFr. John Oliver, St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church, Murfreesboro, TNChrist is Risen! Across the United States, in the Canadian Provinces, and around the world, Antiochian priests and laity joined together in the triumphant Paschal hymn, "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!" The editors of Antiochian.org have assembled a photo gallery picturing Pascha as it is celebrated, in parishes from California to New York, and Calgary to Florida. If your parish has photos to share, send them to editor@antiochian.org and we'll add them to our collection. Click here to enjoy the photos.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates St. George’s Day in Boston

By Elisabeth Lourie

St. George Church in Boston was doubly blessed and honored the weekend of April 17th and 18th with a visit from His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, and the ordination of Subdeacon Stephen Mathewes to the Holy Diaconate. For as long as anyone can remember, His Eminence has visited St. George to celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, St. George.

The weekend, coordinated by St. George Weekend Chairperson Douglas Howdy, began Saturday morning with Youth Day at the church. Children and teens of all ages gathered for fun and games in the church hall, and enjoyed lunch with Sayedna PHILIP. His Eminence took time to meet with the youth answering their questions and asking a few of his own. “It’s always a delight to see our Father in Christ with the children gathered around him,” said V. Rev Timothy J. Ferguson, pastor of St. George, “as an image of the icon of Christ gathering the children to Him.”

Orthodox Summer Institute in Cambridge, England

The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England, has announced their Summer School theme and schedule for July 18-23. Titled "Passion: Human and Divine," the sessions will feature such speakers as Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, who will speak on "Divine Passion: Does God Suffer?" and "Human Passion: Enemy or Friend?"

Participants of the eleventh annual school held at Sidney Sussex College, will also be able to travel to the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex for the Divine Liturgy and a monastery tour. Attendees can either chose a full package of room and board, opt for shared accommodations or make their own arrangements. For enrollment forms and information, click here.

Since October 2009 the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies has offered its Cambridge-based courses on-line, using the internet to make available some of the most distinguished teachers of Orthodox studies to students anywhere in the world.

Guidelines for the Paschal Season

By Fr. Dn. David Keim

These guidelines are intended by our Holy Church to help us experience the joy of this feast and celebrate our Lord’s victory over death and sin more completely!

FASTING – There is a general dispensation from fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays from Pascha through its Leavetaking (this year, May 12) on the Eve of the Feast of the Ascension.

Antiochian Deacons Participate in Historic Alaska Mission Trip

Dn. Lucas Rice (left) and Dn. Ignatius WarrenDn. Lucas Rice (left) and Dn. Ignatius WarrenIn a cooperative effort between St. Vladimir's Seminary (SVS) in Yonkers, NY and St. Herman Seminary (SHS) in Kodiak, AK, two Antiochian seminarians joined Chancellor Fr. Chad Hatfield in March 2010 for a groundbreaking missions trip to Alaska. The two seminarians, Dn. Lucas Rice and Dn. Ignatius Warren, traveled up to St. Herman to present weeklong, intensive courses in missiology, homiletics, and pastoral counseling.

Both Fr. Chad, former dean at St. Herman, and Archpriest John Dunlop, its current dean and an SVS alumnus (MDiv '94), have been instrumental in nourishing the relationship between the two seminaries, both of which are under the auspices of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).

Fr. John issued the winter invitation to St. Vladimir's, stating, "This visit re-establishes a historical connection and builds bonds of friendship and our commitment to common work in educating pastors."

The two Antiochian student deacons who accompanied Fr. Chad to Kodiak this year enthusiastically testified to the significance of the Alaskan venue for missionary endeavors. Additionally, they witnessed both the wonder and the joy of teaching at the northern seminary.

"This was the trip of a lifetime," said Dn Lucas. "Kodiak was a sensory experience: the mountains, the orcas, the wind. Perhaps even more memorable was the faith of the people of Kodiak and the students at St. Herman. It was profound blessing to serve in front of St. Herman's relics at Holy Resurrection Cathedral, and rivaled only by the fellowship and hospitality of those who are doing holy work in the birthplace of American Orthodoxy."

Memory Eternal! + Orthodox Church Grieves Death of Archbishop Miron of Poland

On April 10, Saturday, Archbishop Miron, Bishop of Hajnówka, Poland, was killed in the crash of the presidential aircraft Tu-154, reports the official website of Orthodox Autocephalous Church in Poland. Archbishop Miron was a member of a presidential delegation headed to Smolensk, Russia. All eighty-eight passengers, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, many other senior Polish officials and eight crew members all perished in the crash as the plane burst into flames while landing in dense fog.

Stefan Dmitruk reports:

"Miroslaw Chodakowski was born on October 21, 1957 in Bialystok. He graduated from primary school in Bialystok, then from the Orthodox Seminary in Warsaw and the Higher Orthodox Seminary in Jableczna.

On December 17, 1978 he was tonsured a rassophore monk, and nine days later was ordained a deacon. On February 15, 1979 he was ordained to the rank of hieromonk. In November of 1979, the Metropolitan of Warsaw, Metropolitan Basil, tonsured him in the small schema as a hieromonk, giving him the name Miron.

Hieromonk Miron served as governor of the monastery church, St. Humphrey the Great, in Jableczna. He was also Rector of the Orthodox Theological Seminary. In 1984 he was elevated to the dignity Ihumen, adopted as part of the clergy Bialystok-Gdansk diocese, and appointed pastor of the parish church of Annunciation of Our Lady in Supraśl. In 1990, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and was appointed governor of the monastery in Supraśl.

On May 11, 1998, in accordance with the decision of the Council of Bishops of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church in Poland, Bishop Miron was appointed to the Hajnówka diocese, and on August 15, 1998, the Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski appointed bishop Miron Brigadier General and Orthodox Ordinary of Polish Army.

Antiochian Village Seeking a Camp Program Director

Antiochian Village is seeking a full time Camp Program Director, who will report to the Village Director. He or she will be responsible for a year round program which includes the development and oversight of the summer camp program staff (i.e. morning program, evening program, arts and crafts, etc).

The essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following (in no particular order) listed below. Other duties may be assigned as well:

o Planning, execution and development of VillEdge Adventures (Road Trip and Extreme VillEdge) and Sacred Arts (Iconography and Byzantine Chanting) programs.

o Training, mentoring and supervision of summer program staff

o Database entry, basic bookkeeping, general correspondence

o Facilitate program registration

o Development and Marketing of new Village-sponsored programs: Specialized Family Camps (Daddy/Daughter, Single Parent, Home School Families, etc.), Adventure Weekends (Whitewater rafting, caving, backpacking, skiing), Youth Leadership Retreats, Altar Boy Retreat, etc.

o Customized programs for Parishes, Youth Groups, Clergy Brotherhoods, Seminarians, etc.

o Marketing of the Antiochian Village Camp for rental to youth groups, sports groups and family programs.

o Forming alliances with school districts and youth programs for grant-funded Adventure programs and Environmental Education.

o Marketing and programming of Challenge Course

o Attending regional and/or national conferences (2-3 times/year)

o Promotional visitations to parishes (4-10 times/year)

For more information, or to send a résumé, please contact:

V. Rev. Anthony G. Yazge 

Antiochian Village Camp

201 St. Ignatius Trail

Bolivar, PA 15923

franthony@antiochianvillage.org

Beginning Byzantine Chant Workshop Hosted by Antiochian Village

"Have you ever met a stichera you didn’t like?" reads the brochure. "Do you know your eison from your apichema?" In conjunction with the St. Romanos Chanting Course, Antiochian Village is sponsoring a beginner's chant class from April 21-24. Taught by noted liturgical expert V. Fr. David Barr, Pastor of St. Elias Antiochian Church in Austin, Texas, the class promises to give new learners a foundation that will enable them to chant hymns in tones by the second day of the course. No prior knowledge of chant or of reading a musical score is required since the course emphasizes singing from text. Registration begins on Wednesday afternoon and classes wrap up by midday Saturday. Click here for registration information.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Pascha with Brooklyn Faithful

"Christ is Risen!" "Al-Maseeh Qam!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn New York, in the early morning hours of April 4. After a long and cold winter in the Northeast this year, the dark and short days of the season gave way to the day that knows no night and the celebration of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. Once again, our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, returned home to celebrate the Feast of Feasts and the season of seasons in his cathedral, the mother church of the North American Archdiocese. The Cathedral was filled to capacity on the beautiful New York evening.

Following the Paschal services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children and adults in celebration of the Feast.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Feast.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Palm Sunday with the Faithful of Little Falls, NJ

The parish of St. George, Little Falls, NJ welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP as he celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy there on Palm Sunday, April 28, 2010.

Joined by co-celebrants the Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Deacon Jason Blais from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, His Eminence began the day with the ordination of two Subdeacons from St. George parish – Peter Yazgi and Matthew Chatri. St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd viewing the Liturgy from our large parish hall via a large video screen.

 Sayidna PHILIP spoke about the events in the Gospel of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and while this was not the first time Christ gave life to the dead, it was the most famous. Comparing it to today's world, His Eminence suggested that the event would be on "the headline biggest... the first item of news on TV!"

Fr. Constantine Nasr Offers Church History Timeline

The Very Rev. Archpriest Fr. Constantine Nasr of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City has created a banner for parishes, Sunday Schools, and inquirers to the faith titled "Timeline of the Christian Church." Subtitled "Find Your Roots," the chart sketches out the Church's timeline from the Nativity of Christ up to the present day. Available in two different styles, "East/West" and "Original Orthodox," the timeline enables viewers to see how each denomination began and the age of each current Christian tradition. All proceeds from the sale of the timeline will be donated to underprivileged school children in Taybeh, Palestine. To order, download the flyer below.

Click here to download flyer.

OCN Posts Colorful OCMC Mission Team Kenya Blog

Fr. Martin Ritsi, Executive Director of OCMC, recently led a mission team to Kenya, and readers can follow their adventures and see the colorful photos of the trip, at www.myocn.net.

A typical blog entry reads:

Day 3

Antiochian Village Hosts Homeschoolers and Antiochian Women

The past several weekends, Antiochian Village has been a beehive of activity. From March 11-14, over 160 participants from several states traveled to the Village for the Homeschooling Conference. Attendees enjoyed workshops, crafts and creative activities for the kids, corporate worship, and visits by His Grace Bishop Thomas with both the youth and adults. Thanks to the hard work of the Teen SOYO Chapters of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Johnstown, PA, and St. Michael Orthodox Church in Greensburg, PA, children attending the conference participated in a lively carnival complete with activities such as a hula hoop contest, a butterfly hunt, and most memorable of all, visits with "The Bible Guy." 

The following weekend, March 19-21, four Christian groups used the conference center; one of these groups was the Antiochian Women of the East, who came for their annual Lenten retreat and Spring delegates meeting.

Antiochian Heritage Museum Opens "Spirit and Whimsy" Chocheli Exhibit

On March 15, the Antiochian Heritage Museum at Antiochian Village is opening a one-of-a-kind exhibit featuring the art of Niko Chocheli. "Spirit and Whimsy" marks the first time that a comprehensive exhibit of Chocheli's work, with examples from each of the books that he has illustrated, has ever been presented.

Niko Chocheli is one of the foremost artists to emerge from the Republic of Georgia, a nation rich in early Christian history. An acclaimed iconographer, illustrator, and award-winning artist, Chocheli draws upon the artistic traditions of both East and West, as well as his Orthodox Christian heritage, creating colorful and expressive paintings which have been shown throughout the world and which are held in many prestigious collections.

NBC Network To Air "Pascha: The Resurrection Of Christ"

NEW YORK – The video presentation of “Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ,” a program highlighting Orthodox Christian Pascha, or Easter, will broadcast on NBC affiliates nationwide this April. The program, produced by Greek Orthodox Telecommunications and sponsored by FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, highlights Holy and Great Week, focusing on the deeply moving and ancient services that recount the Gospel narrative leading to the Death and Resurrection of Christ. Archbishop Demetrios of America leads a procession of the faithful around the church and outside where, following the reading of the Gospel of the Resurrection, they proclaim the joyous hymn “Christ is Risen!”

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is working with affiliates nationwide, urging them to broadcast the program within their local area. Broadcast information will be posted as soon as it becomes available from affiliates. 

For more information on coverage please log on to www.goarch.org/special/paschatv.

DVD copies of the program available for pre-sale ($25, plus $6 shipping). To pre-purchase please contact the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Communications at 212.774.0244 or email gotel@goarch.org.

Conciliar Press Introduces New Resources

Conciliar Press has announced a new release of their most popular book, Becoming Orthodox, by Fr. Peter Gillquist. This edition of the best-seller includes an epilogue, "Coming Up on Twenty-Five Years," and will be featured soon as Conciliar's first audio book, read by the author himself. Additionally, the Press is moving into the world of digital publishing and has released their first Kindle book, Dimitri's Cross, the story of Fr. Dimitri Klepinin, an Orthodox priest serving in Nazi-occupied Paris. 

Additionally, the two journals, The Handmaiden and AGAIN, will gain a second life in the new Conciliar reading room currently under construction. The Press also plans to provide online periodicals in the future, as CEO John Maddex explained in a recent interview.

1.  Recently Conciliar held its annual editorial board meeting. How does your leadership plan to navigate all the changes taking place in the greater publishing world?

This is both an exciting and challenging time for all publishers including Conciliar Press.  Exciting in terms of opportunities to harness new technologies to disseminate the life giving message of the Orthodox Faith.

Metropolitan PHILIP Presides Over Groundbreaking and Surprise Elevation in Florida

Groundbreaking Ceremony:  from left to right The Very Reverend Fr. Joseph Rahal, The Right Reverend Fr. Nicholas Ozone, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, The Very Reverend Fr. Elia Shalhoub, and Mayor of the Town of Davie, Judy Paul.Groundbreaking Ceremony: from left to right The Very Reverend Fr. Joseph Rahal, The Right Reverend Fr. Nicholas Ozone, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, The Very Reverend Fr. Elia Shalhoub, and Mayor of the Town of Davie, Judy Paul.By Charles Weber

Valentine’s weekend is usually a time for sweethearts to get together and celebrate their love for each other. Here in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during this time, parishioners of St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church and members of the Archdiocese were celebrating love as well, but love for the Church in the form of stewardship. The ground breaking ceremonies for the new John and Hooda Germack Hall took place over this wonderful weekend with lots of events and fun.

The events started Friday night with a dinner welcoming His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP where the plans and the model for the new hall were presented by Architect Alex Khoury to the Metropolitan, Parish Council, and a few Archdiocese Board of Trustees members. This event was hosted by Salim and Deborah Khoury at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club. There was a short question and answer session about the new hall which was very informative. At the same time, the weekend chairman, Richard Zakka, Spoke about the new St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church Home for Children Program, which will “serve a greater cause than ourselves”, to help orphaned children in need. He stated that “There are over 1 million homeless children in the United States and someone has to take the initiative of changing that number”. Mr. Zakka, who is spearheading this effort, asked “If we don’t do it, who will? If not now, then when?”

St Vladimir’s Seminary Offers Summer Academic Course, June 2010

Fr. John BehrFr. John BehrIn a new summertime venture, St Vladimir’s Seminary will be offering an intensive weeklong academic course for the public, June 13–19, 2010, with an option for academic credit.

Archpriest John Behr, renowned professor of Patristics and dean of St Vladimir’s, will lead a rigorous and rewarding academic class titled “From Gospel to Creed.” The course will examine key Christian figures and explore the historical and thematic paths that led to the formulation and promulgation of the Creed of Nicaea.

“I’m thrilled to offer a course to the general public this summer,” said Fr John. “And, I’m always eager to share what so energizes me—learning about Christ and the origins of my church, and all the providential quirks of history that make that study so fascinating, enduring, and decidedly life-changing.”

Read more about the academic program on the seminary’s Website.

 

Church Remembers St. Raphael on the Anniversary of His Repose

St. Raphael's ReposeSt. Raphael's ReposeFebruary 27th, is the 95th anniversary of the repose of our Father among the Saints, St. Raphael of Brooklyn. Holy Hierarch Raphael, pray unto God for us! Read about his passing on OrthodoxHistory.org.

Raphael Hawaweeny was born on November 8, 1860, in Beirut, Lebanon. Raphael attended the Greek Orthodox Theological School in Halki, Turkey; then traveled to Russia to further his studies at the Kiev Theological Academy. He was ordained a priest in 1889 and assigned to pastor the Antiochian Patriarchal Embassy in Moscow. He came know to the Arab communities in America as they sought his leadership. Bishop Nicholas of the North American diocese also went to Russia to recruit him and other missionaries. They arrived in America on November 14, 1895.

Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico Comforts the Orthodox Faithful of Haiti

Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico visited Haiti this past week bringing comfort to the clergy and Orthodox faithful of the earthquake stricken Island. His Eminence arrived from Greece where he was visiting for official Church business, aboard a Greek Government plane, with the Assistant Foreign Minister of Greece and the Executive Director of the NGO “Solidarity” of the Church of Greece. The plane was carrying 50 tons of food, medicine and other aid, a gift from the Greek Government and the Church of Greece, for the people of Haiti.

His Eminence immediately visited the homes and schools of the Greek Orthodox ministry in Haiti to assess the damage done by the earthquake. He was deeply moved by what he saw; “This is a disaster of immense proportions” he noted. All of the buildings where the Greek Orthodox Church and schools are presently housed were seriously damaged and will need major repairs, or even worse, will need to be demolished and rebuilt. His Eminence further visited the property owned by the Holy Metropolis where the Metropolis has plans to build a complete complex, comprised of a Church, a school, a clinic and housing for clergy.

Since the property is presently vacant, families whose homes were destroyed and who had no place to live, are presently using the property for temporary living quarters. About 3000 people live on the Church property, 1000 of whom are children. Initially they lived out in the open until last week when the Metropolis received a donation of 500 tents, which were given to these families for more humane living conditions.

FOCUS North America's Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) Program Hosts Los Angeles Weekend

By Charles Ajalat

I’ve just come home from the FOCUS North America YES trip to the Fred Jordan Mission on skid row in Los Angeles and am still so excited I want to capture part of what happened, for the benefit of Orthodox Christians.

 Our group of 23, included Katrina, five older “counselors” or leaders, the young adults (7th graders through high school students), and myself. We started Friday, February 4 at noon with a two hour briefing and training session at a local Orthodox Church by our truly spiritual, truly uplifting and inspiring YES! Director, Katrina Bitar. What rapport she has with the teens and counselors, what humility, what love for the poor, what a model for our young people. God willing, she is in the process of replicating herself .

We are not only more than doubling the YES program this year but, God willing, will multiple it many times over in the near future. Preparation had been made by the staff the day and week before the YES weekend. The trip was well-planned.

Ortho-Skates: What The Olympics Can Teach Us About Lent

By Fr. Michael Gillis

In order to compete in the Olympics, athletes must have the right equipment: you can’t complete in long track speed skating wearing skates designed for short track racing. Expert skaters may debate among themselves which slight variations of, for example, the ankle support are optimal, but when it comes to basic distinctions between long track and short track skates, there is no debate.

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