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Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for Great and Holy Pascha

May 1, 2016

Christ is Risen! Indeed he is Risen!

We greet you with great joy and love as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.  I wish to share with you this beautiful Paschal Oration by St. Gregory the Theologian as my pastoral message for Pascha:

Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him.  
Yesterday I died with Him; Today I am made alive with Him.
Yesterday I was buried with Him; today I am raised up with Him.
Let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us…ourselves, the possession most precious to God and most proper.
Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us.
Let us become divine for His sake, since for us He became man.
He assumed the worse that He might give us the better.
He became poor that by 
His poverty we might become rich.

Metropolitan Joseph honors Fr. Paul Doyle and Fr. George Aquaro

Following Bridegroom Orthros on Holy Monday night at St. Matthew Church in Torrance, California, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph surprised two faithful priests of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America with special honors for their service to Christ’s holy Church. As Protopsaltis Kenneth Woolsey put it, “It was like the joy of Pascha came early.”

Sayidna Joseph bestowed upon the Very Rev. Paul Doyle the high honor of the Gold Order of St. Raphael for his more than four decades of priestly ministry in a variety of capacities. To name but a few: founding pastor of St. Matthew Church, dean of the Southern California Deanery, and Protosyngellos of the Archdiocese. Father Paul has retired from those ministries, but he remains an active and trusted spiritual father to countless clergy and laity. He received his award with his typical humility. Sayidna Joseph remarked that Fr. Paul’s sole agenda has always been to serve the Lord and His people.

2016 Paschal Letter From Bishop Thomas

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2016

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us— you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world. Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honor our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died. (St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 1.4)

The great sacrifice that Christ our High Priest has made for us on the Cross, the sacrifice which enables our sanctification when we partake of it worthily, has been fulfilled for us in the resurrection of Jesus, the first-born from the dead (Col. 1:18).

What has been offered is shown to be a perfect Offering well-pleasing to God, as Jesus Christ is both Offerer and Offering, the One Who both distributes and is distributed in this sacrifice given for us.

2016 Paschal Letter From Bishop Anthony

Pascha 2016

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! !قام حقا !قام المسيح

Our Church has given us the sacred sacrament of Holy Baptism to guarantee our personal resurrection from the dead. St. Paul clearly taught this when he writes: We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life. (Romans 6:4) Just as Jesus rose bodily from the dead and stayed with His Apostles for forty days to teach and deliver them the practices of our faith, we will rise bodily with the same recognizable features and personality traits which now and forever will identify, distinguish, and define us: only in a most purified and perfected way: I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ‘For no eye has seen, nor ear heard, no heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.’ (Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4) Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)

We realize the Great Lent and Holy Week purifying discipline of prayer and fasting is to tame the flesh and give power to the soul in preparation to become the beautified body of the resurrection, all in anticipation of the glory to come when Christ returns at the end of time. But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (at the Second Coming), who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20) We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

Metropolitan Joseph Honors Archdeacon George Shishim on His Fortieth Anniversary in the Diaconate

Palm Sunday of 2016 marked a special day for the senior-most deacon of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America: the fortieth anniversary of the ordination of Archdeacon George Shishim to the holy diaconate. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph led a special celebration after the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, where Archdeacon George has faithfully served for all four decades of his ministry. (View the St. Nicholas Cathedral photo gallery)

Since his ordination on Palm Sunday in 1976 by Bishop Elia Saliba (now Metropolitan of Hama, Syria), “Arch” – as Sayidna Joseph calls him – has trained dozens of men to serve at the holy altar. Many of them started as altar boys and would later become lay leaders, subdeacons, deacons and priests.

Joint Prayer Service Held for Aleppo Bishops

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, a joint prayer service was held at St. Gabriel Syriac Orthodox Church in Haworth, NJ, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the kidnapping of Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and Archbishop Youhanna of Aleppo. The event, sponsored by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches (SCOOCH), was well attended by faithful from the surrounding area.

Special speakers included His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, who serves as First Vice-Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops; His Eminence Archbishop Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Delegate, Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Eastern USA; His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Chairman of SCOOCH and Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church; and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After the prayer service a Lenten meal was served in the fellowship hall.

A Joint Statement: Three Years on the Abduction of Metropolitans Paul and Youhanna

On April 21, 2016, a joint statement was issued by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, and the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, marking the three year anniversary of the abduction of Metropolitans Paul and Youhanna.
 
 
Balamand, 21 April, 2016
 
Beloved Spiritual Children, Our Compatriots, Brothers and Sisters in Humanity,
 
On this day, three years ago, the Bishops of Aleppo, Metropolitans Paul Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim were kidnapped near Aleppo. This incident occurred while they were in a humanitarian mission to help save others. Since then, we have not heard any official news about them. No governments, associations, or great or small powers have provided us with any information about them. Since three years, their case became a miniature of the great human suffering coming from terrorism: massacres, abductions, deracination, takfir, and explosions. This is done under the pretexts of slogans and clichés. All this was done with no empathy to tearful mothers from Syria and the whole world and the broken hearts of many people who have prayed and worked to end this great human tragedy that has been going on for the last five years under false pretexts.

Memory Eternal! +Metropolitan Constantine (Papastephanou)

+Metropolitan Constantine (Papastephanou), 1924 – 2016

It was with great sadness that we learned of the falling asleep in our Lord Jesus Christ of His Eminence Metropolitan Constantine (Papastephanou) on Sunday April 17th, 2016.  I was personally blessed to know Metropolitan Constantine during my time in Damascus, and I can certainly testify to his holiness, and prayerfulness.  It can truly be said that he was a man of God. 

Metropolitan Constantine was born in 1924 in Damascus, Syria where he was educated in the city's parochial schools. Desirous of entering upon an ecclesiastical career, His Eminence was blessed to study in Greece before he was ordained to the holy priesthood in 1951 by Patriarch Alexander III (Tahan) of Antioch.  He then served as a priest in Damascus and its vicinity for eighteen years. During the late 1950s he was appointed as the director of the Balamand Clerical School in north Lebanon, and in 1964 was assigned by Patriarch Theodosios VI (Abourjaily) VI as abbot of the Holy Patriarchal Monastery of the Great-martyr George al-Humayra in the "Valley of the Christians" in Syria.

AV Bookstore Announces Pascha Sale

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Publications Center & AV Bookstore announces a sale, in time for Pascha purchasing.

Sale items include:

  • The Myrrh-bearing Women icon, 10 x 8 photo print on wood (commissioned in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah by the Antiochian Women)
  • Wood budded Cross, with inset 3-bar cross; Laser cut detail, 8” tall, 6.75” wide
  • And more!

 

Spring 2016 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2016 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, and the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest. The issue contains:

  • Pastoral Message from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
  • Photos and first person stories
  • Profiles of diocesan officers

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Upcoming BeeTreat for Youth: From YouTube to You!

BeeTreat: From YouTube to You!

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Youth & Parents / Youth Workers start time: 9:30 a.m. 
Young Adults start @ 7:00 p.m.

Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral
24 W. Preston St.
Baltimore, MD  21201

Register here
Visit us on Facebook

 

Memory Eternal! + Rose Mousi Yazigi, Mother of His Beatitude Patriarch John X

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His holy ones" (Psalm 116:5).

Memory Eternal! Rose Mousi Yazigi, the mother of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, has reposed in the Lord. In a letter of condolence to His Beatitude, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph wrote: "It is with a sadness that we have learned of the falling asleep in Christ of your beloved mother, Rosa. On behalf of myself, my brother bishops, the clergy, the members of the Board of Trustees, the heads of the departments and organizations, and all of the faithful of this Archdiocese, we offer our prayers and condolences as you struggle with the departure of your beloved mother, especially at a time when so many events are weighing so heavily on your shoulders."

Service information will be published as it becomes available.

Read Metropolitan Joseph's Letter of Condolence

Letter of Condolence from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to His Beatitude Patriarch John X

April 8, 2016

His Beatitude John X
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Beloved Sayedna and Father in Christ:

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His holy ones” (Psalm 116:5)

It is with a sadness that we have learned of the falling asleep in Christ of your beloved mother, Rosa. On behalf of myself, my brother bishops, the clergy, the members of the Board of Trustees, the heads of the departments and organizations, and all of the faithful of this Archdiocese, we offer our prayers and condolences as you struggle with the departure of your beloved mother, especially at a time when so many events are weighing so heavily on your shoulders.

New Guide to Holy Week and Pascha Services Available

A new booklet by the Very Reverend Ayman Kfouf, pastor of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Sylvania, Ohio, has been released in time for this year's observances of Holy Week and Pascha, 2016. The booklet, Journey to Pascha: An Explanation of the Holy Week Services, also includes introductions by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Anthony.

Noted a reviewer, "Understanding the true meaning of the liturgical and theological themes of the Holy Week and Pascha allows us to participate in these services more fruitfully and profoundly....The simplified language of this guide is intended to speak to the average faithful and to help them understand the true meaning of the Holy Week services. In spite of this simplicity, however, this guide offers a complete interpretation of the vast majority of the theological and liturgical themes and practices of the Holy Week with Pascha."

Order a copy of Journey to Pascha from Amazon

Memory Eternal! + Nassif Elias Abdallah Saliba

Memory Eternal! + Nassif Elias Abdallah Saliba
(Former mayor of Abu Mezan)

Nassif Elias Abdallah Saliba fell asleep in the Lord in Lebanon on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at age 94. Beloved husband of the late Adma Saliba, he was also the cherished father of five girls: Najat (Nick Nicola) of Danville, California; late Daad (Fayez Chalhoub) of Nakach, Lebanon; Dr. Amal (Dr. Gregory Dalack) of Ann Arbor, Michigan; Bahaa (Gabriel Nasr) of Bickfaya, Lebanon and Attorney Ghada (Nassif Malouf) of San Francisco; Beloved brother of the late Metropolitan Philip Saliba of Thrice-Blessed Memory; Dr. Najib (Elaine) Saliba of Worcester, MA, and the late Chaheed Saliba and Nazira Ibrahim Kfouree. He was loving Jiddo of 13 grandchildren, and great grandfather of two great-grandchildren.

Nassif, most tender of hearts, loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren so dearly. He
had a great relationship with many patriarchs, metropolitans, and clergy of the Antiochian Patriarchate, and defended the church and his Orthodox Faith on many occasions. The Funeral Service will be on Saturday
April 2 at 4:00 pm at St. Nicholas church, Shreen, Lebanon. The Saliba family will receive relatives and friends on Friday and Sunday, April 1 and 3, 2016, between 10:00 am, and 7:00pm at their home in Shreen and on Saturday, April 2, at the hall of St. Nicholas in Shreen.

 

Syrian Relief Gathering to Benefit IOCC's Middle East Outreach

On Sunday, April 17, 2016 the IOCC Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee plans to hold a prayer service and fund raising dinner that will benefit our Syrian brothers and sisters. This "Syrian Relief" gathering will be held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. We would like to cordially invite your Parish to attend, and support IOCC's aid efforts in Syria. The recent conflict has been devastating. It has resulted in the displacement of a substantial percentage of the population which is now hungry, homeless, and lacking essential items. (Please see below)

Last year Archbishop Melchisedek, Metropolitan Savas, Bishop Thomas, Bishop Dr. Mitrophan, Bishop Daniel and Metropolitan Theodosius (retired) lead our Syrian Relief gathering. This year we are hoping to more fully engage all of the Orthodox jurisdictions and faithful in this Orthodox offering of love, prayer, and mercy. Please join us!

Purchase a Spot in the 2016 PLC Souvenir Journal

Greetings Antiochian Orthodox Family!

The deadline for purchasing a spot in the 2016 Parish Life Conference Souvenir Journal is April 15th.

https://www.antiochianeve...

Please take a look at pricing options and choose what you'd like to create. We have a team to assist you in design and layout of your church ad, your business or a family photo. We'd also love to see personalized writings of how the church has changed you in a positive way; a shout-out to someone who has inspired you. Get creative!! The journals are a great fundraiser for our archdiocese and read by over 500 people! Only 2 more weeks to get your ad in our popular souvenir journal!

Sunday of Orthodoxy 2016 at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Ottawa

The First Sunday of Lent marks the celebration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the triumph of the Orthodox faith. As usual, St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa celebrated this beautiful day with much hope and prayer that the righteous faith dwells in the hearts of all the children of God.

Following the Divine Liturgy, on Sunday March 20, 2016, The Very Rev. Fr. Ghattas Hajal and Assistant Pastor The Rev. Fr. Nektarios Najjar led the faithful of St. Elias, the altar boys, and church school students through a procession with the holy icons, remembering the procession of the year 843 led by Empress Theodora, Emperor Michael and Patriarch Methodius.

Orthodox Men's Retreat in Palos Heights, Illinois

St. Mary Orthodox Church of Palos Heights, Illinois, is hosting a men's retreat on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The topic is an important one: "Retrieving the Sacramental Worldview: Moving Beyond Lust and Pornography," led by guest speaker Fr. Thomas Loya.

Father Loya is well versed on the subject of pornography. He has lectured extensively on the negative impact of this addiction, and how it destroys marriages, families, our society, and ultimately our relationship with God. Thanks to the internet and today's culture, pornography is legal and readily accessible by adults and children of all ages.

All are invited to join us to learn how to prepare our children – and ourselves - to avoid the temptations, and to address the addictive behavior of this "silent killer." More information, including registration, is available here. 

St. Mary of Palos Heights, Illinois, Hosts Spring Gathering

“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Mt 18:20

And in His name we were gathered, as His Grace Bishop Anthony presided over two major events in the life of our beloved Midwest Diocese: the annual Clergy Retreat and Spring Gathering. From Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, March 14, 2016, St. Mary Church of Palos Heights welcomed His Grace and the clergy and laity of the Midwest, representing 50 parishes and missions.

On Thursday and Friday 36 priests and deacons participated in a Clergy Retreat led by His Grace, who outlined for us the many ways the passions of this world can disrupt our calling and our holy ministry. There was ample time for clergy to spend time together to discuss and share their success stories and encourage one another in a spirit of love and brotherhood.

Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches to Hold Common Prayer Service

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Public Invited to Gathering on Evening of Thursday, April 21, in Haworth, N.J.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America (SCOOCH) are pleased to announce that a “Common Prayer Service” will be held on the evening of Thursday, April 21, 2016, at St. Gabriel Syriac Orthodox Church (750 Sunset Avenue) in Haworth, N.J.  The service will begin at 7:00 p.m.

This service is meant to bring people together as they pray for the safety of two Syrian hierarchs held in captivity—Syriac Orthodox Archbishop John Ibrahim, and Antiochian (Greek) Orthodox Metropolitan Paul Yazigi—and for all suffering calamities in the Middle East. This gesture of solidarity between the Assembly of Bishops and SCOOCH also marks the commencement of the organizations’ shared work.

The distinguished speakers during the service will include His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly of Bishops and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Eastern Armenian Church of America and Chairman of SCOOCH; His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese; and Archbishop Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Delegate of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Eastern U.S.A.

The Assembly of Bishops and SCOOCH invite all residents and visitors of the Tri-State Area to join our communities in prayer on the evening of April 21st.

Media Contacts:

Armenian Diocese – Mr. Chris Zakian
chrisz@armeniandiocese.org  (212-686-0710) 

Antiochian Publications Center & AV Bookstore Sale: Holy Week and Pascha

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Publications Center & AV Bookstore SALE!
Holy Week and Pascha service books, icons and CDs
Download flyer (PDF)

Services of Holy Week and Pascha Hardcover, 3rd edition and Holy Unction service booklet 4th edition, 2009
Resurrection icons by the hand of Erin Kimmet

AND

Byzantine Hymns, 2nd edition: “Let my Prayer Arise”
Father Elias Bitar singing from his heart the hymns of Holy Week, and other liturgical hymns of the Church
plus "Lamentations," an excellent recording of the best loved hymns of Holy Week, drawing from Byzantine (Antiochian, Greek, & Romanian), Serbian, Russian, and Bulgarian traditions, by the mixed ensemble “Archangel Voices”

Click on the items in the flyer for direct links to the Bookstore pages.

Bishop Nicholas is Guest Speaker at Ninth Annual Lenten Retreat

What:  9th Annual Lenten Retreat

Where:  Hosted by St. Stephen the Protomartyr Antiochian Orthodox Church Women's Group
609 Lane Ave, South Plainfield, NJ 07080  

Who:  Guest Speaker, His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn, Diocese of New York and Washington DC and Assistant to the Metropolitan

When:  April 9, 2016 - Begins at 10:00 am, concludes with Great Vespers
Breakfast 9:30- 10:00 am
10:00 – 12:00 noon 1st Session
Lunch 12:00 – 1:00 pm
1:00 – 3:00 2nd Session
3:00 pm 3rd session (General Questions & Answers)
Followed by Great Vespers

This event is free and open to all adults and teens. Please RSVP by April 4, 2016
For more information and to RSVP, please contact
     ·Nadine Atalla (732) 512-7344, Nadina18@msn.com
     ·Carmen Elsabee (732) 548-4947, Relsabee@hotmail.com

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Marguerite Shaheen

Memory Eternal! Khouria Marguerite Shaheen, wife of Archpriest George F. Shaheen (reposed), fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday March 20, 2016, surrounded by her family. 

Service information is as follows:

  • Tuesday, March 22 - Visitation and Trisagion prayers at St. George Orthodox Church in Cedar Rapids  5:00-7:00 pm
  • Thursday, March 24 - Visitation at the Cathedral of St. George in Toledo 2:00-4:00 pm; and 5:00-7:00 pm with Trisagion prayers at 7:00 pm
  • Friday, March 25 - Visitation at 10:00 am; Funeral Service at 11:00 am at the Cathedral of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral; Entombment at Toledo Memorial Park and Mercy Meal following.

If any clergy would like to serve at the funeral, they should contact Fr. Michael Shaheen, Dean of the Cathedral, at frmich@gmail.com.

Marguerite was born July 21, 1933 in Montreal Quebec, Canada. She married Fred Shaheen on November 15, 1959. With her husband they served parishes in Montreal, Toledo, Charleston, West Virginia, Syracuse, Louisville, Cambridge, Worcester as well as several Mission Parishes.

March 23, 2016 + Thoughts on Fasting and Temperance, Part II

By St. Sebastian Dabovich of Jackson and San Francisco

Do you not know that angels are the constant watchers and guardians of those that fast, just as the demons, those very friends of greasy stuffs, those lovers of blood and companions of drunkards, are the associates of those that give themselves up to debauchery and orgies during such a holy time as Lent? The angels and saints, as also the evil spirits, ally themselves with those they love; they become related with that which is pleasing to them. Every day in our life God points out a lesson to us concerning the eternal life, but we very seldom heed it; in a word, we generally don't care! Oh, is this not terrible to think of? And yet no one man will deliberately, so to speak, attempt to slight the Almighty Creator, no one who is capable of using his understanding in the very least degree. But yet, beloved brethren, we do it! We, day after day, in our worldly habits unconsciously say: "I don't care!"

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