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Antiochian.org Interviews Bishop THOMAS

Bishop THOMAS (right) with Bishop JOSEPH and Metropolitan PHILIP at the Episcopal AssemblyBishop THOMAS (right) with Bishop JOSEPH and Metropolitan PHILIP at the Episcopal AssemblyRecently, the editors at Antiochian.org interviewed His Grace Bishop THOMAS of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic. This will be the first of a series of interviews with our bishops to be published in the coming months. (Read His Grace's biography here. Bishop THOMAS also selects a weekly reflection, collected under Notes from Bishop THOMAS.)

1. Your Grace, you attended the recent Episcopal Assembly in New York. Do you have any thoughts for our readers on this historic gathering?

Given the mutual isolation of our various jurisdictions for so many years, I found it especially encouraging that fifty-five bishops of Orthodoxy on this continent were able to come together, speak the same language together, and begin getting about the business of working out a common Church life together. This is what unity actually consists of, that we live together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Inaugural Meeting of the Orthodox Assembly for the British Isles is Held

In a Communique dated June 22, 2010, posted on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain website, it was announced:

"The Inaugural Meeting of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops with Churches in the British Isles was held on 21st June 2010 at Thyateira House, the centre of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. The Assembly operates in accordance with the Decision reached at the 4th Pre-conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference Meeting at Chambésy ( Switzerland) on 13th June 2009."

The announcement emphasized the historical significance of the gathering, stating that up until the present day, "...there has been no kind of Inter-Orthodox Episcopal Committee." Three subcommittees have been formed, for Theological, Pastoral and Educational considerations. The second meeting has been scheduled for December, 2010.

After the meeting, the Orthodox Bishops joined His Grace Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace for a dinner and fellowship.

A photo gallery of the event can be viewed here.

OCF Releases Spring Edition of WITNESS

Orthodox Christian Fellowship has released the annual edition of WITNESS, the lively online student review that profiles Orthodox leaders, encourages campus activism for the faith, and highlights ministry opportunities for college students. (To subscribe to OCF's Headliner and Witness Listserv, contact Student Editor Arianna at: Arianna.Ranahosseini@du.edu.)

In this issue's opening reflection, Stevie Hull writes, "I entered my professor's office and, not without a bit of hesitation, announced that I would be missing 'Introduction to Ancient Greek' to attend Holy Week services. This was two years ago, when I was a sophomore and Pascha did not fall on the same day as western Easter. He turned towards me in surprise. 'Are you Greek? Your last name's not Greek. Is it your mother's side?'

'No,' I said.

'Russian?'

'No. I'm American. I converted to Orthodoxy.'

He stared at me, stunned, for a few moments before blurting out, 'Why?'

This caught me off guard, so I offered the first explanation that surfaced in my head: 'To escape nihilism.'

That put an abrupt end to our conversation. Two years later, I learned that the professor in question is a self-professed nihilist. But even without this hilarious conclusion, my professor's initial shock at my profession of faith left its mark on me. I realized that, in my department, I was like an exhibit at a circus sideshow. And I was going to be watched."

Summer Parish Life Conference Season Launched

The Diocese of Miami, the Diocese of Wichita, and the Diocese of Worcester all launched the season for Parish Life Conferences over the long weekend of June 16-20. St. George of Jacksonville, Florida, hosted the southern conference with the keynote speaker The V. Rev. Fr. Paul Tarazi featured at the Saturday evening banquet. In the meantime, in Oklahoma City, the faithful of DOWAMA met for their "family reunion" at the Marriott; significantly, the Diocese host parish of St. Elijah was celebrating its 90th Anniversary as a community. In a young ladies' sweep, Nora Haddad won the junior division and Melissa LIkiardopoulos won the senior division in the Oratorical Festival. Back east, St. George Cathedral in Worcester hosted a busy schedule at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in the historic city of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in honor of the two new mission parishes that had joined the Diocese in the previous year, Emmanuel Church of Warren, MA and St. Stephen Church of Springfield, MA. See the Archdiocese calendar for information on other parish life conferences coming this summer.

Antiochian Village Hosts Pan Orthodox Men's Retreat

Certified counselor, businessman, active layman and father of three Paul Karos, was the featured speaker at this year's Antiochian Village Men's Retreat, themed "Exploring the Passions that Drive us and the Virtues that can Save us." Mr. Karos drew from both his professional life as a financial analyst and investment banker, as well as his life as an active Orthodox Christian at St. Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, to lead discussions about the role and impact of the passions, and the meaning of spiritual discipline and repentance. Attendees participated in a liturgical cycle of services, enjoyed a barbecue cookout at the Pavilion, and enjoyed three separate sessions presented by Paul Karos. 

St. George in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Welcomes Home Seminarian Todd Mokhiber

St. George Parish in Niagara Falls, N.Y.  welcomed home Subdeacon Todd Justin Mokhiber from his first year at St. Tikhon's Seminary in Pennsylvania. On Sunday, June 6th, Todd gave a wonderful homily that included insights and experiences from his year. Here is his homily:

"In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Glory to Jesus Christ, Glory forever. It is truly a blessing to be back here at St. George Niagara Falls for a few months. Fr. Paul asked me to share a few words about my experience at seminary.

Back in August of last year I was embarking on a journey that would change my life forever. I would leave everything that was comfortable and familiar to me. I would be leaving Niagara Falls for the first time in my life for more than a couple of weeks for vacation or a business trip. Needless to say I was very nervous about leaving my job, home, family, friends, and of course our beloved St. George parish. So many things happened in the process of going to seminary. My brother was very ill, my car died, and I had/have no health insurance since I left my job. Many things were going wrong and I felt like abandoning the idea of going to seminary. I never truly lost hope because of the support of many people that encouraged me and I knew that Christ was calling me to ministry.

Christ the Savior Mission Suffers Damage

Fr. "Barry" ThibodeauxFr. "Barry" ThibodeauxChrist the Savior Mission in Jacksonville, Texas, has suffered heavy damage due to the recent rains and flooding in the nation's central regions. Reports His Grace, Bishop BASIL in his newsletter, "During the recent heavy rains here in the Heartland several of our church temples sustained various levels of flooding and water damage, but none has been damaged as severely as the Church of Christ the Saviour/Jacksonville, TX where our brother Fr. Finbar Thibodeaux is proistamenos."

Adds Fr. Finbar, "It seems than when the building next to ours was undergoing repair of its roof and renovation of its upper storeys, much of the construction debris - as well as the personal trash produced by the workers (soda bottles, cans, plastic bags, candy wrappers, newspapers, etc.) - was simply tossed on to the lower, flat roof of our church building. During the recent storms all of that debris and trash completely clogged the downspouts, gutters and drains of our building resulting in the pooling of a massive amount of water on the roof of Christ the Saviour Church. As was to be expected, the weight of the water finally proved to be too much for the structure; the water began not only to seep into our building but literally pour in, eventually causing ceilings to collapse and severe interior flooding coming from above....We continue to try to facilitate the drying of the building by running the AC units, fans and dehumidifiers. The humidity in the building remains extremely high and we continue to see more and more damage to the building. My vestments were taking on the stench of the building so I moved them to my home. The pew missals and hymnals are warping due the humidity."

Father or Kh. Linda may be contacted at: bearfam@ckswireless.com.

St. Vladimir's Hosts Symposium on "Hellenism and Orthodoxy"

Archbishop DEMETRIOS at St. Vladimir's SeminaryArchbishop DEMETRIOS at St. Vladimir's SeminaryOn June 10-12, St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York, hosted a groundbreaking symposium on the role and significance of Hellenism in the Orthodox Church. Key addresses were offered by His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, ("Hellenism and Orthodoxy: A Linguistic and Spiritual Journey"), and by Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, chief secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate ("Greek Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarachate, and the Church in the USA").

Associate Professor for Systematic Theology Dr. Peter Bouteneff stated in his opening remarks, "Simply put, Hellenism is undeniably one of the most significant cultural impulses for the life of the Church since its earliest historical manifestations. More than any single culture, it is possible to say that any and every Christian must somehow deal with Hellenism, or specifically with the Hellenistic impress on the formation of Christian doctrine and life."

To listen to Archbishop DEMETRIOS' Keynote Address on ocn.net, click here.

Bishop Basil Reflects on Historic Episcopal Assembly

Recently, Bishop Basil spoke with AFR correspondent Matthew Namee about the historic assembly of bishops which took place in the week following Pentecost. His Grace was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Below are excerpts from the interview, which can be found here in full:  

"The bishops delighted in being together and doing the work of the Church."

"The ultimate task was to prepare the Orthodox (Church) of this region...to constitute itself as a canonical, single Church.…It is a huge task, one that a vast majority of Orthodox Christians in America have been praying for, hoping for, talking about, for a long, long time."

"It’s as if the Mother Churches have said to us, ‘Look, you have been asking for this. Before we give it to you, we would like to know, what is your plan?’"

On SCOBA:

"We were blessed by the work of SCOBA….the work of the Episcopal Assembly was made quite easy by the 50 years of preparation."

"The Episcopal Assembly is comprised of every Orthodox bishop, not just the primates. We had 55 in attendance, (in New York) where the maximum of SCOBA members would have been 8."

Ancient Faith Radio has also posted an extensive interview with Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA, titled Unraveling the Episcopal Assembly. Additionally, Antiochian.org has compiled a summary of online Assembly articles.

Department of Marriage Offers Customizable Souvenir Wedding Brochure

Wedding BrochureWedding BrochureJust in time for the summer wedding season, now those who are in the midst of planning for a wedding have a helpful tool provided by the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries. The customizable souvenir wedding brochure can be downloaded from the department's web page, and customized with the names of the bride and groom, wedding attendants, and wedding date. (The download is in PDF format. Some may have the software and technical skills to customize this brochure on their own, but we recommend simply taking this file to a local printer for customizing and printing.)

Oftentimes weddings are the only Church service which non-Orthodox family and friends will ever attend. Orthodox brides and grooms need a way to explain to their guests what is happening in the ceremony. Those attending Orthodox weddings are struck by the rich symbolism, but they are also curious and perhaps even critical of the wedding, not understanding why it is so different from other weddings they’ve attended.

This souvenir brochure provides a helpful take-away explanation for your guests as to why the priest is doing what he is doing and what the parts of the wedding (such as the dance of Isaiah) mean. 

Additionally, a bride and groom and their family members, can also benefit from reading and downloading the brochure "Crowned With Glory and Honor: Guidelines for Orthodox Marriage Preparation."

OCMC Receives Two-Year Grant to Completely Retire Mortgage

OCMC Building At DedicationOCMC Building At DedicationBy Alex Goodwin

It is for the Glory of God and His Church that the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is pleased to announce its acceptance of a grant totaling $650,000 awarded by an anonymous donor on June 10, 2010.

This two-year grant will completely retire the mortgage on the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Center in St. Augustine, Florida, which serves to administer the many ministries of OCMC and to train and equip mission workers from the United States for service around the world.

With this gift, OCMC will continue to develop its vibrant mission ministries which serve to extend the open arms of the Orthodox Christian Church to parts of the world that still long for the hope of salvation in Christ.

This significant contribution further illustrates the intent of Orthodox Christians in North America to make disciples of all nations.

Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop THOMAS Celebrate Groundbreaking Weekend With St. George Faithful

The weekend of June 4th through the 6th proved to be a joyful and historic event for the community of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. Starting with the arrival of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, His Grace Bishop THOMAS and Archdeacon Hans on Friday, June 4, a weekend of celebration was set in motion for the groundbreaking of the new St. George Church.

On Saturday, June 5, our beloved Hierarchs began the day by meeting with some of the parents, teachers and children of our parish. The morning consisted of a dialogue between Metropolitan PHILIP and our children, and a special arts and crafts project. The groundbreaking Ceremony was celebrated at 11:30 a.m. on the land where the new St. George Church will be constructed. Metropolitan PHILIP and Bishop THOMAS blessed and planted a wooden cross on the land where the church will be built.

Bishop Thomas Visits Holy Trinity Mission

Lynchburg, Virginia

On May, 29, 2010, His Grace Bishop THOMAS was solemnly received at Vespers service by Father Alban Waggener and the members of Holy Trinity. Following Vespers, His Grace spoke to the members present about his vision for the church and the mission in Lynchburg. He noted that this region of the country is a difficult area to introduce people to Orthodoxy, however, “nothing is impossible with God”. He encouraged everyone to continue to preach the Gospel everywhere they go.

Following Vespers, His Grace joined the mission council for dinner at the Waggener home. Many topics were discussed including the future of the mission in Lynchburg and how it can reach out to others in the community. His Grace is positive about the the Mission and the future of Orthodoxy in Lynchburg.

Seeking the Peace from Above: Peacemaking and Conflict-Resolution in the Church

Icon by Linda Haddad, www.byzantineicons-lindahaddad.comIcon by Linda Haddad, www.byzantineicons-lindahaddad.comBy Fr. John Mefrige

Reprinted from The Word, June 2010

The very words of Christ Himself proclaim, “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God,” but all too often we see the very children of the Church embroiled in destructive conflict and controversy. Who has not been to a Parish Council meeting or an Annual Parish Assembly where there has been conflict or controversy? Who has not experienced strong differences of opinions within families or with siblings? Who cannot say that they know people who have gone through messy divorces in their Church communities? As a matter of fact, a cottage industry has emerged on the Internet now populated with numerous websites and blogs specifically dedicated to exploring the question of just how we are dealing with conflict in the Church. Perhaps one might conclude generally that conflict is “normal” to the human condition, and, by extension, to the Church, and we just have to do our best to survive it. But the reality is that, all too often, conflict leaves in its wake a myriad of severed relationships and broken ties that ultimately do harm to the very members of the Church that produce it.

OrthodoxHistory.org Publishes Life of Pioneering Antiochian Priest, Fr. Nicola Yanney, +1918

Fr. Paul Hodge, Antiochian pastor of St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Sioux City, Iowa, recently republished a fascinating account of the life and times of Fr. Nicola Yanney, the first Antiochian priest to serve in mid-America. Born in 1873 as the son of Elias Yanney in Fi’eh al-Koura, north Lebanon, Fr. Nicola and his young bride Martha George al-Baik of Qilhat, immigrated to America shortly after their wedding, where they led the life of homesteaders in a sod house. Sadly, after happy years spent farming in the Kearney area, Martha and the Yanneys' second daughter Catherine, reposed in 1902. Following this loss, St. Raphael of Brooklyn ordained the widower to the priesthood, as Bishop BASIL recounted in his own Enthronement remarks on December 15, 2004: "Father Nicola’s parish stretched from the Canadian border in the north, to the Mexican border in the south, and from the Mississippi River in the east, to the Rocky Mountains in the west. It is Fr. Nicola who, as a circuit riding priest headquartered in Kearney, followed the example of his Father-in-Christ, St. Raphael, and visited Orthodox Christians in the scattered towns, villages and isolated farm lands throughout America’s Heartland."

Read the full account here.

Bishop BASIL Elected Secretary of the Episcopal Assembly

At the Episcopal Assembly recently concluded in New York City on Friday, May 28, His Grace Bishop BASIL was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Reports His Grace, "I was nominated by Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Chair of the Episcopal Assembly), and Metropolitan PHILIP (First Vice-Chair of the Episcopal Assembly) seconded my nomination. I was then elected by acclamation by the 53 other bishops present at the Episcopal Assembly. I will head the Secretariat of the Episcopal Assembly which will be headquartered in the center of America's Heartland -- Wichita, Kansas."

By decision of the Assembly, all organizations and joint action projects such as International Orthodox Christian Charities which operate under SCOBA, will function now under the auspices of the Episcopal Assembly. Newly formed committees will meet at regular intervals to discuss issues of common interest to all Orthodox Christians.

Orthodox Missions Institute Established at Holy Cross/Hellenic

HCHC President Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou, EFOM President Mrs. Helen Nicozisis, Rev. Alexander Veronis and Rev. Luke VeronisHCHC President Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou, EFOM President Mrs. Helen Nicozisis, Rev. Alexander Veronis and Rev. Luke VeronisThe Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity was established on April 29, 2010, at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology with an initial endowment of one million dollars from EFOM (the Endowment Fund for Orthodox Missions). EFOM, a charity connected with the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was created in 1981 to honor the missions-minded ministry of the Reverend Alexander and Presbytera Pearl Veronis. The endowment was presented to the Reverend Nicholas Triantafilou, President of HC/HC, by EFOM’s Board President, Mrs. Helen Nicozisis.

On presenting the check to the school, Mrs. Nicozisis noted that this gift came not from one major benefactor, but from many people who gave both small and large donations over many years. “All of these people,” she emphasized, “believe in the essential importance of cultivating the spirit of missions, especially among our seminarians and future clergy.”

Historic Mission Team Arrives in Albania

Fr. Luke Veronis Preaches in AlbaniaFr. Luke Veronis Preaches in AlbaniaBy Andrew Lekos

Following classes and orientation led by Fr. Luke Veronis, Missionary Nathan Hoppe, and Fr. David Rucker, a Team of 2 priests and 11 seminarians arrived in Albania for two very full weeks of ministry and learning on Tuesday, May 25th. This Team is historic in several ways: It is the first joint Team of the newly inaugurated Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity and OCMC. It is also the first Team jointly made up of students from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and Holy Cross School of Theology. This is also the first fully accredited Team, offering three hours of seminary credit for the class work and time in Albania. The course will study in depth the life, missiology and writings of Archbishop Anastasios of Albania and examine how he has practically lived out this missiology through his ministry in the Church of Albania. The course will look at the foundation and calling of missions. The practicum includes the Team traveling to Albania, witnessing the resurrection of the Church of Albania, meeting missionaries and the indigenous leaders, and participating in an evangelism program within the country.

Please join OCMC and The Mission Institute of Orthodox Christianity in prayer for this historic Team to Albania. Support for this effort and the work of missions can be given on-line at www.ocmc.org.

Antiochian Priest Chronicles His Year In Conciliar Press Book, Aidan's Song

Conciliar Press has released a new book written by Antiochian priest Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of Cedar Park, Texas. Titled Aidan's Song, the book recounts the many moments of a parish priest's life, large and small, all experienced within the rhythm of the Church year. The journal entries delight, encourage and inspire. As Bishop BASIL writes on the jacket, "After a few pages priests will find themselves singing along and lay readers will be humming this really great tune. Enjoy! I did!"

From Aidan's Song:

Sunday, November 19: Prophet Obadiah

This morning I’m out among the trees behind the building. The sun hasn’t come up yet, and it’s pretty cold—even with a T-shirt, my clergy shirt, my cassock, and a sweater. I’m going through my sermon, and the sky starts to glow orange like a fire on a crisp morning. Out in the tall grass, a deer breaks cover and bounds off into the trees. But after a few minutes, the deer walks back out towards me. It’s a doe, and she’s got her neck stretched out, and she’s looking straight at me. I can see her brown eyes. I go through the sermon again, and she stays right there, listening. After I’m done, she wheels, her white tail flashes, and she leaps—once, twice, three times—back into the trees.

SVS Octet Performing in Kansas Concerts

The St. Vladimir's Seminary Summer Octet will be performing in three weekend concerts June 4th, 5th, and 6th. Both Overland Park and Wichita, Kansas, will host Director Dn. Philip Majkrzak's singing eight for three evenings of Byzantine and Slavic musical selections. Those interested may contact the host parishes: Holy Trinity Church (June 4), 913-681-6948; St. Mary's Church (June 5), 316-264-1576; and St. George Cathedral (June 6), 316-636-4676. 

Order of St. Ignatius Encourages Giving to Camp Scholarships

Joanne Hakim, Administrator for The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, reports: "At the recent board of directors meeting in New York, the amount of dollars that The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch contributed to camp scholarship was reported. A member of the board asked how many children were able to attend camp as a result of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch’s contribution. The answer to that question follows:

'The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, as you know, contributes a significant portion (over 10%) of its annual revenue to our Camp Scholarship program. Beginning in 2009, we increased our commitment to $175,000 annually. Since inception the Order has contributed over $1,700,000 for scholarships to our camp children.'

However, what is most important is human lives impacted. For the 2010 camping season over 700 young people will receive scholarship assistance from The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. We thank all of our Orthodox brothers and sisters who have joined The Order and ask everyone in our Self-Ruled Archdiocese to consider joining. One new member = one new camper = one soul saved!"

For more information, contact the Order of St. Ignatius or Antiochian Village.

Two Diocese of Wichita Parishes Have New Church Homes

St. Luke Orthodox ChurchSt. Luke Orthodox ChurchFr. David Mustian  (frdavidmustian@yahoo.com) reports that over 200 people attended the first Divine Liturgy in the new home of St. Luke Orthodox Church, Erie, Colorado, on Sunday, May 23rd. The new iconostasis and some other items are yet to be delivered and installed. In other Holy Ascension Orthodox ChurchHoly Ascension Orthodox Churchgood news, a second parish, Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Norman, Oklahoma, has finished building their new church as well. Fr. Justin McFeeters (justin41148@gmail.com) says that the congregation hopes to begin worshipping in their recently completed church temple following the Parish Life Conference next month. As is the DOWAMA tradition, the iconostasis crafted for the chapel at the Parish Life Conference is gifted to a mission or small congregation within the Diocese. This year the iconostasis will be gifted to Holy Ascension in Norman. The formal blessing of this new facility is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the Diocesan Fall Gathering in October.

AFR Podcast Features Antiochian House of Studies

On May 25, the podcast Ancient Faith Presents featured an interview with AFR CEO John Maddex and Dn. Peter Bolukos, Registrar for the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology. Dn. Peter highlighted aspects of this unique educational program and encouraged new students to consider studying theology and ministry via the Antiochian House of Studies.

Dn. Peter pointed out that the Antiochian House of Studies and St. Stephen's Course have been in existence for nearly 30 years. Between 120 and 150 students apply annually, and in the courses, students read approximately 13,000 total pages. Additionally, all students must complete a ministerial project with clergy mentors and all must attend yearly classes at Antiochian Village. There are thousands of students who have completed the courses and are serving the Church as both clergy and laypeople, including many from countries like Japan, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico and Australia.

For more information, prospective students may email Dn. Peter at theoedu1@aol.com, or call (201) 569-0095, Eastern Standard Time.

St. Vladimir's Awards Honorary Doctorate, Announces the Bishop BASIL Program in Byzantine Liturgical Music

At the May 22nd Commencement ceremony, St. Vladimir's Seminary bestowed an honorary doctorate degree on His Grace, Bishop BASIL, and also established a Byzantine music program in his honor. The commendation read:

Faithful son of God fearing Orthodox Christian parents, reared in the Church and nourished by her manifest blessings, university educated, theologically trained, and spiritually formed in graduate Orthodox seminary practice, steeped with the knowledge of church history, Scripture, and liturgical and pastoral practice, bridger of traditions, rejecter of phyletism, seeker of truth, author and translator of liturgical books and arranger of hymnography celebrating the glory of the Mother of God, avid inspirational leader of youth, teacher of liturgical music and church rite, builder of churches, lover of people, dedicated follower of the monastic rule, commemorator of the saints, archpastor and Christ loving shepherd of flocks, bearer of joy and teacher of sobriety, true friend and loyal advisor, articulate witness and dynamic defender of the faith, visionary leader and clear thinking guide, bearer of truth and defender of right, without guile and humble in spirit, “rightly dividing the word of God’s truth,” it is with great honor that the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, by unanimous decision and by the power vested in them by the Board of Regents of the State of New York, bestow upon His Grace, The Right Reverend BASIL, Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and of Mid-America of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, the degree Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.

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