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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.

Orthodox Historical Society Brings the Past to Life

Growing up in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Matthew Namee learned to love the faith, and as he grew older and began to research the Church's history in America, he eventually decided to join with other historians to form the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA). Readers of SOCHA's website, OrthodoxHistory.org, will encounter fascinating articles about, and see archived photos of, events of great interest to Antiochian Christians, such as St. Raphael's consecration, and Metropolitan Antony Bashir's ministry in the early to mid-1900's. They will also discover essays, primary sources, links to podcasts, book reviews, and tidbits discovered in the course of research, that all tell the story of the early years of Orthodoxy in America. Namee also now hosts a podcast with Ancient Faith Radio, titled American Orthodox History.

Recently, Antiochian.org chatted with Matthew Namee about SOCHA's historical sleuthing. 

1. Tell us about the Society. What is your mission and purpose?

I’ve been doing research on American Orthodox history for a number of years now, and I noticed early on that there were others like me, doing similar research, but without any knowledge of each other.

Antiochian Women's Board Meets February 5-7 at Antiochian Village

Antiochian Women With Completed Haiti KitsAntiochian Women With Completed Haiti KitsNearly everyone had arrived at Antiochian Village by Friday Feb. 5 for Antiochian Women’s mid-winter meetings before the fourth largest snowstorm ever in western Pennsylvania began.

The North American Board (NAB), made up of five elected officers, immediate past president and six coordinators, met Friday afternoon. They began meetings with officers and delegates of the seven diocesan Antiochian Women’s organizations on Friday evening, which continued on Saturday after Soul Saturday Divine Liturgy.

Prior to the first meeting Mother Alexandra, abbess of the Convent of St. Thekla that established at the Village in July, led a mini-retreat for the women. Most everyone, including monastics, deal with temptations and distractions in their spiritual lives, Mother Alexandra said. She talked with the women about the things that distract us, including church-related ones. “We need to stay focused."

His Grace Bishop THOMAS spoke to the women about preparations for Great Lent and for the Kingdom of God. “You have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the presence of God."  He later added that “you bring great joy to this place."

New Parish Pages Launched on Antiochian.org

The editors at Antiochian.org have launched a dedicated section of pages for parishes under the "Parishes" drop down button in the top menu. In addition to the already existing list of parishes, the three new pages feature news from parishes around the U.S. and Canada, resources for building missions and strengthening established parishes, and help for parish web editors. A centerpiece of the new section is a fascinating roundtable discussion between six mission parish priests, who share what they've learned about effective mission building.

Has your parish hosted a conference or sponsored an outreach event? Did your community just break ground for a new building? Share it with us! Readers of Antiochian.org are encouraged to submit their parish news and photos for posting, as well as suggested resources, via the editor's box: editor@antiochian.org.

Antiochian.org Offers Lenten Resources

Throughout the holy season of Great Lent, Antiochian.org will feature Lenten resources, accessed on the home page through the Resources for Great Lent button.

Here, web visitors will be able to read articles about the forty days of fasting and preparation, listen to podcasts old and new, and find liturgical resources to use in Lenten services.

Blessed Forty Days!

OCN Launches New Internet Stations and Resources

Recently, the editors at Antiochian.org spoke with Fr. Christopher Metropulos, the Executive Director of the Orthodox Christian Network, about several new initiatives OCN is introducing at the start of Great Lent.

1. OCN is launching a new all talk internet radio station called "The Anchor." Who will be hosting this, what is his/her background, and what kinds of topics will you be addressing? We understand that both the host and the programmer are members of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Yes, we are launching the Anchor Internet Radio Station. Our new talk stations will have a multitude of programs around this sacred time of the year encouraging and inspiring the faithful on their spiritual journeys. We welcome Konstantin (Kosta) Rysyanin as the new Program Director, and Scott Allen Miller as the host of the station, to our OCN staff. Both are members of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Metropolitan PHILIP Presides Over South Florida Ground Breaking

There will be an official visit to South Florida by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP on the weekend of February 12th -14th, 2010 at St. Philip Orthodox Church.  Metropolitan PHILIP will be accompanied by His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop of Miami and Assistant to the Metropolitan. His Eminence will preside over a weekend of activities celebrating: 

  • The official Ground Breaking of the new Germack Hall which is named after the late Mr. and Mrs. John and Hooda Germack, who left $1,000,000 to St. Philip Church for the construction of the new Hall. 
  • The launch of the St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church Home for Children Program.  This program was spearheaded by Mr. Richard Zakka, Chairman of the Ground Breaking Committee. 

On Friday night, February 12th 2010, His Eminence will preside over a private meeting with the Pastor, Parish Council, and Building Committee members of St. Philip Orthodox Church at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Waterway.  The dinner is hosted by Salim Khoury, Chairman of the Parish Council, and his wife Deborah. 

On Saturday, February 13th, 2010, His Eminence will preside over a luncheon with the parish children at St. Philip Orthodox Church, 4870 Griffin Road, Davie, FL 33314, while the Parishioners and guests from around the country will enjoy a Golf Tournament, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. David and Terri Dorta, at the Bonaventure Country Club.  David Dorta is the Chairman of the Building Committee and his wife, Terri, is the Choir Director at St. Philip Orthodox Church.  

FOCUS Launches Tackle Poverty Campaign with Polamalu Family

Prior to Super Bowl Sunday, and in anticipation of Great Lent, FOCUS North America has announced that they have joined hands with Troy and Theodora Polamalu to tackle poverty in America. "By joining with us," they urge, "you will help those in need-the poor, the sick and the suffering. Join us also in prayer this Lent for those who have no one to turn to and no one to pray for them." Troy Polamalu holds two Super Bowl rings as a Pittsburgh Steeler, and his wife Theodora is a board member for FOCUS. They are also parents of a young son, Paisios.

In an interview on OCN, the Polamalus discuss the importance of FOCUS' ministry, why they are choosing to become involved in fighting poverty in America, and how the Orthodox Christian approach to charitable outreach differs from other philanthropic groups. 

St. Vladimir's Seminary Welcomes Fr. Joseph Huneycutt as Lenten Retreat Leader

This year’s annual public Lenten retreat at St. Vladimir’s Seminary will be “Southern Style” as the Seminary welcomes Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, author of the popular blog Orthodixie. Fr. Joseph’s topic for this year’s retreat, to be held Saturday, March 20, 2010, is “Paschal Fire from Spiritual Ashes.”

Known for combining wit with wisdom, and satire with sobriety, Fr. Joseph has authored several books reflecting his journey to and through the Orthodox Christian faith, including: We Came, We Saw, We Converted: The Lighter Side of Orthodoxy in America; Defeating Sin: Overcoming Our Passions and Changing Forever; and One Flew Over the Onion Dome: American Orthodox Converts, Retreads, and Reverts. He appears regularly on Ancient Faith Radio and is a priest at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Houston, Texas.

Describing his approach to spreading the gospel, Fr. Joseph said, “I find English works best; it’s also good to make the message sinner-friendly and open to all. Seriously, without encouragement toward perpetual conversion in Christ the Living God, our message is the same as any other: dead.”

The public retreat begins with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 9 a.m. in Three Hierarchs Chapel, and will be followed by brunch at 11 a.m. Fr. Joseph will present his talks from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building. A prayer service at 4:30 p.m. will close the retreat.

AFR and Jason Barker Produce WORSHIP & YOU

WORSHIP & YOU, the new multimedia study for Orthodox Christian adults and teens from Jason Barker and Ancient Faith Radio, aims to help Christians deepen their worship of God, and take the transforming power of that experience into their daily lives.

Focusing on the main services of the Orthodox Church and personal prayer, Worship & You looks at the meaning of what takes place during liturgical worship, and how this applies outside of the church in the everyday world.

Cherished Relic, Head of St. John Chrysostom, Visits New York Feb. 6-12

NEW YORK, NY [OCA] -- With the blessing of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of Saint John Chrysostom, which is enshrined in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior, will be available for veneration in New York February 6-12, 2010.

The relic will arrive at the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, 75 East 93 Street, New York, during the celebration of the Vigil at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 6. Following the Vigil, it will be available for veneration by the faithful. The following morning, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m.

On Monday, February 8, the Vigil for the Feast of Saint John Chrysostom will be celebrated at 6:30 p.m., while the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy the following morning will begin at 8:30 a.m.

The Vigil will be celebrated on Wednesday, February 10, at 6:30 p.m.. The following morning, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, ROCOR First Hierarch, will preside at the Divine Liturgy at 8:30 a.m., after which the relic will be taken to Saint Nicholas Representation Cathedral, 15 East 97 Street, New York, where it will remain until the departure of the Moscow delegation on Friday, February 12.

The head of Saint John Chrysostom was brought to Russia from the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos in the 17th century. It was enshrined in the Moscow Kremlin's Assumption Cathedral until 1922. From 1930 until 1988, the reliquary with the shrine belonged to the Foundation for Guarding of Russian Silver of the 19th century.

Several reliquaries, including the one bearing the saint's head, were returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in the State Armoury Chamber on the eve of celebration of the 1000-year anniversary of the Baptism of Rus' on May 26, 1988.

St. George of Indianapolis Parishioners Assemble 1000 IOCC Kits

In a project initiated by the Charity Ministry Team, the parishioners of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, gathered materials together for the IOCC health kits for the suffering people of Haiti. Each health kit contains soap, towels, a comb and nail tool, and band aids, and parish members managed to assemble around 1000 kits that will be delivered directly via the IOCC, to Haitians in need. "We can never have too many of these," noted an IOCC representative. 

St. George blogger Sarah Childs described the experience on her blog, Place of Verdure.

"I was really looking forward to doing a lot of knitting, watching the Colts on Saturday evening, and doing a little house cleaning. Then about 4 pm, James called me to say that we had been asked to help at church with an effort to put together health/hygiene kits for Haiti, and my plans immediately seemed pretty trivial. I felt really blessed to have this opportunity to do something with my own hands, beyond praying and writing a check, to help those affected by this terrible earthquake. And I have to add that with many hands working together, we got it done so quickly that it didn't encroach on my own selfish plans at all."

"It was really heartwarming for me to see all our parishioners getting into this," adds the Very Rev. Fr. Nabil Hanna, priest at St. George.

 

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