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March is Antiochian Women Month

The month of March, designated as Antiochian Women Month by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, is a time when the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America encourage their sisters in Christ to participate in the Liturgy and minister in their parishes and their communities. 

Learn more about Antiochian Women and download the resources below.

Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs + January 30

Let all who love their words come together and honor with hymns the three luminaries of the light-creating Trinity: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and renowned John of golden speech, who have enlightened the world with the rays of their divine doctrines, and are mellifluous rivers of wisdom who have watered all creation with streams of divine knowledge; they ever intercede with the Trinity for us.

+Troparion, Tone 1

Thou hast taken the sacred and divinely inspired heralds, the crown of Thy teachers, O Lord, for the enjoyment of Thy blessings and for repose. For Thou hast accepted their sufferings and labors above every burnt offering, O Thou Who alone dost glorify Thy Saints.

+Kontakion, Tone 2

Statement from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph on the Recent Bombing of the Coptic Church in Egypt

A nun reacts as Egyptian security forces inspect the scene of the bomb explosion. (Khaled Desouki/Getty Images)A nun reacts as Egyptian security forces inspect the scene of the bomb explosion. (Khaled Desouki/Getty Images)Lest they be forgotten, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph urges the clergy and the laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese to continue to pray for peace for the people of Egypt, especially after the bombing of St. Peter Coptic Orthodox Church, next to St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, in Cairo. There, 25 Coptic Christians lost their lives, and 49 others – mostly women and children – were wounded during Sunday worship.

“These are defenseless people who did not deserve to have their lives ended or drastically altered forever,” Sayidna Joseph said. “All over the world, but especially in the Middle East, harmless Christians are crucified daily for their faith. When we ask ‘why,’ we know there is never a good answer.

“The injustice continues and the international community is silent. The Christians of the Middle East will live in this never-ending nightmare of terror – especially in the name of religion – without courageous powers stepping forward.

The 2016 Nativity Letter of His Beatitude Patriarch John X

His Beatitude Patriarch John XHis Beatitude Patriarch John XWith the mercy of God
 

John X

The Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

To my brethren the pastors of the holy Antiochian Church.

To my sons wherever they are in this Apostolic See.

"When it was time for thy presence on earth the first enrollment of the world took place. Then it was that thou didst decide to enroll the names of men who believe in thy nativity"

Every winter, the Baby of the cave visits us to wipe away with His simplicity, our distress and difficulties, to touch with His humility our souls, and to illumine our world with His divine peace.

The Lord used the cave to walk into the caves of our souls, to clean them and to crystallize them with His divine love.

On Christmas we are always called to remember that the Lord of the cave has come to join us and to be with us, to build up his home in our souls, and plant His seeds in the heart and in the whole human person. 

Blessed Name's Day to Metropolitan Joseph!

We extend our prayers and love to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph on the occasion of his Name's Day on April 30, 2017 (St. Joseph of Arimathea, Second Sunday after Pascha). May God grant him many years!

Learn more about Joseph of Arimathea
Read about Metropolitan Joseph

Metropolitan Joseph Convenes Meeting of Archdiocese Department and Organization Leaders

Department and Organization Leaders Gather at Antiochian VillageDepartment and Organization Leaders Gather at Antiochian VillageMarch 22, 2016 - Antiochian Village

Beginning today, department and organization leaders from across the Archdiocese have gathered with His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to review their collective work, pray and fellowship together, and build greater collaborations across our collective efforts.

Also in attendance in their roles as hierarchical overseers of departments and organizations are their Graces Bishop Thomas, Bishop John, and Bishop Anthony, as well as leaders from the Archdiocese financial team and the Board of Trustees. His Grace Bishop Nicholas was unable to attend.

In his invitation to this meeting, Metropolitan Joseph wrote in part: "It is critical that we have departments and organizations of this Archdiocese whose work is dynamic, timely, efficient and impactful on the mission of this Archdiocese. ... It is so seldom that this important group meets. I want to make sure that we allocate in the agenda enough time for thoughtful and productive discussion about how we can all work together for the future of our beloved Archdiocese."

Metropolitan Joseph's Public Schedule Updated Through November

The public schedule of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph that is published on the Archdiocese website, has been updated through November, 2015. The schedule is linked in the Resources and Links section of the sidebar on the official Metropolitan Joseph page. Check back regularly for future improvements and updates.

Metropolitan Joseph's Schedule

 

Sign up Today: Camp Season is Just Around the Corner!

One of the best opportunities for children to grow spiritually and in friendship, is through summer camp. In addition to Antiochian Village, there are seven outstanding regional camps in the Antiochian Archdiocese across the United States and Canada, serving hundreds of children throughout the summer. The Department of Camping explains that each program is overseen, "to insure that the highest safety guidelines are followed, a consistent program is presented at all of our camps, accreditation is maintained, and oversees the distribution of the Order of St. Ignatius Scholarships to each camp." (Find the list and more information here.)

Contact the The Order of Ignatius, your parish priest, or your diocese camp, to learn about scholarships.

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St. Paul Church Founders’ Weekend Celebrates 18 Years in Naples, Florida

Metropolitan Joseph addresses the communityMetropolitan Joseph addresses the communityParishioners of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Naples, Florida, are just now beginning to wake up from a dream ... that our newly enthroned Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America blessed us with his presence this past weekend!

Awaiting the arrival of His Eminence, Fr. Joseph and Subdeacon Rassem El Massih at the Hilton Hotel were His Grace, Bishop Antoun, Archpriest George and KH Nouhad Shalhoub, Archpriest Elia and KH Odette Shalhoub and Archdeacon David Nimer and our Council Chairman, Dr. David Thomas. The Greeters disbursed very quickly in order to allow an interval before the scheduled dinner that evening.

Metropolitan Joseph didn’t have a trumpet fanfare announcing his entrance into any event but rather chose to quietly appear in the company of His Grace Bishop Antoun, our pastor, Archpriest Joseph Shaheen, and visiting clergy!

Archdiocese Launches New Website Design

The Archdiocese unveiled a new website design for www.antiochian.org on February 1, 2015, as part of a series of planned major improvements to her online ministry. The improvements introduced with the launch of the new design represent the cumulative work of a multi-year project of the Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministry.

Work on a new visual presentation for the website began in earnest in late 2012, under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory. After a pause with his repose and the past eventful year in the life of the Archdiocese, the design has been concluded under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, and the hierarchical overseer of the department, His Grace Bishop Nicholas.

The Archdiocese website has been in continual operation for twenty years, and since 2008 has been the primary responsibility of the Department of Internet Ministry. The website is one of the most popular English-language Orthodox Christian resources available, with an audience that has grown to 100,000 unique visitors each month, resulting in over a quarter million monthly pageviews. Included on the site are over 20,000 distinct pages, and extensive collections of graphics and documents.

The core team at the Department of Internet Ministry has been in place since 2008, and consists of director Douglas Cramer, and editors Virginia Nieuwsma and Andrew Frishman. Technical support has been provided since 2013 by SNP Technologies of Hamden, Connecticut, and their project lead Michael Brooks. Graphic design concepts and consulting for the new design were provided by Fr. Joel Wilson (OCA) of Rolla Creative of Rolla, Missouri.

Transitions for the St. George Cathedral in Charleston

The Rev. Christopher Eid was named Dean of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Charleston, WV in 2014. He will assume the role in late July of 2015, when The Very Rev. Olof Scott retires. Archpriest Olof has faithfully served at the St. George Cathedral for 39 years. The Cathedral is the episcopal home of His Grace Bishop Thomas.

A native of Syria, Fr. Christopher was raised in an Orthodox home among the clergy members of his family. He attended and served at the Bosra Horan Archdiocesan Chancery Church of St. George in Syria before moving to the United States. While working full-time after arriving in the U.S., Fr. Christopher also attended the City University of New York (CUNY), obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in International Criminal Investigation.

After completing his professional training, he established a career in executive protection security and investigation. However, his love for the Church compelled him leave his job; with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory, he enrolled in St. Vladimir's Seminary and completed his M.Div. degree in May of 2010.

After graduation, Fr. Christopher was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on September 8, 2011 and then to the Holy Priesthood on September 11, 2011.

Immediately following ordination, Fr. Christopher was given a temporary assignment to serve alongside Fr. Elias Bitar at St. George Orthodox Church in Little Falls, NJ, before moving to Houston, TX to serve at St. George Orthodox Church from December 2011 to December 2014.

Understanding Orthodoxy for Mental Health Practitioners + Part 5

[This is a follow up course to Orthodox Christian Spirituality and Cognitive Psychotherapy: An Online Course, that appeared in four parts over the years 2012-2013. This second course is specifically oriented to explain Orthodoxy to mental health practitioners,and serve as a useful resource for Orthodox Clergy and laity as well. Ethically, mental health practitioners should incorporate the spiritual values of their patients in the therapeutic process. The course would serve as an introduction of the Eastern Orthodox ethos and cultural traditions to these professionals.

One of the most frequently questions I am asked as Chairman of the Chaplain and Pastoral Counseling Department of the Antiochian Archdiocese is for a referral to an Orthodox mental health practitioner. Sadly Orthodoxy is not a majority spiritual tradition in North America and Orthodox practitioners are few. So careful questioning by potential patients, family and clergy of a potential practitioner regarding the practitioner's understanding and respect for the spiritual values of their patients is very important. This course is meant to aid in this inquiry.

It also should be noted that this course is an updating and reworking of a recently published chapter: Psychotherapy with members of Eastern Orthodox Churches, (Morelli, 2014).]

by Fr. George Morelli

You doctors, must take good care of your patients in order to avoid unpleasant situations. You should have a practical mind. Generally speaking, every one of us must take advantage of his mind which is a gift from God.
(Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain) [1]

Considerations in the Psychotherapy for Orthodox Christians

Cognition, emotion and behavior interact with each other in complex ways.Cognition, emotion and behavior interact with each other in complex ways.Emotion and Neural Processes

There are currently various psychological models to explain this interaction. One model, based on Darwinian evolutionary theory, is that emotion develops as an adaptive value to a stimulus. From the different laboratories of Izard (1993, 2001, 2002), Plutchik (1984) and Tomkins (1991) come remarkably similar findings on the presence of primary emotions shortly after birth. 

Chaplain's Corner + Perfectionism vs. Diligence

by Fr. George Morelli

One of the major irrational beliefs that cause and sustain disturbing emotions and unproductive behavior is a perfectionistic personal rule that “one should be thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving in all possible respects if one is to be considered worthwhile.” (Ellis, 1962, p. 63) [1].  The inherent irrationality of perfectionism can be seen by considering that no one can be masterful in all things, and that it is often accompanied by undue anxiety, stress and physical disorders. Focusing on trying to excel over others, or considering perfection as the measure of our personal worth by demanding perfection of oneself, distracts us from task-attention and from making the appropriate choices to achieve success.

Such perfectionistic standards are opposed to diligence. A sense of diligence guides us to be conscientious in appropriately paying attention to a specific task and giving it the actions necessary to carry it out to a successful conclusion.

Bishop Nicholas Delivers Schmemann Lecture on the Ministry of St. Raphael

On January 30, 2015, His Grace Bishop Nicholas engaged his audience in a fascinating historical look at "The Life and Ministry of St. Raphael of Brooklyn" during the 32nd Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture, held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), attended the evening lecture.

Bishop Nicholas holds several engineering degrees as well as a Master of Divinity degree awarded with Highest Distinction from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He speaks Arabic and English fluently and has a working knowledge of French, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, New Testament Greek, and Modern Greek. His Grace administers the Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. and also serves as the assistant to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

Lenten Retreat in Kansas City + February 21-23, 2015

A Lenten retreat with Dr. Christopher Veniamin will be held February 21st and 23rd, 2015 at St Basil the Great Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Please see the attached flyer (PDF). For more information, please contact host pastor Fr. Elias Issa at 913-663-2200 or Fr.Elias@StBasilKC.org.

Dr. Christopher Veniamin is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex and Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan PA, where he has served for more than 20 years. He received his first degree in Theology from the School of Theology in the University of Thessalonica, and his doctorate from the University of Oxford. Professor Veniamin is also the President of Mount Thabor Publishing.

New Resources for Art and Writing

The Department of Christian Education has provided three new resources for church school directors, teachers, and students. Because this year's theme is about St. Raphael and does not involve a Biblical quote, some have found depicting the theme to be a bit more challenging than usual. These three new resources can be used to inspire students and give them concrete examples they may want to utilize.

The first resource, "Help for Drawing" answers the question, "How do I draw a...?" by providing pictures of some of the churches founded by St. Raphael, photos of St. Raphael, pictures of modes of transportation St. Raphael may have used, an image of The Good Shepherd, sheep and their shepherd, maps, and icons of St. Raphael. Duplicates of popular images are provided on one sheet so they may be cut apart and given to the students for reference.

The second resource, "Great Writing!" gives students the tools they need to compose an entry for the creative writing or poetry festivals. It suggests ideas for choosing subject matter, lists various writing methods, poetry techniques, and describes six different types of poems.

The third resource, "Poetry Forms" is a poster containing the six types of poems mentioned in "Great Writing!" with an example of each for easy reference. The poster is available in two sizes: 8.5 x 11, which can be displayed in the classroom or given to the students as a handout, and 8.5 x 14, which can be downloaded and taken to a copy store or printer to be used for a larger classroom display.

As we remember St. Raphael and his wonderful accomplishments, having the students express themselves in art, writing, and poetry will reinforce the lessons they've learned about him and hopefully, inspire them to serve others.

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Milestones with Chicago Community

Metropolitan Joseph elevates Fr. MousaMetropolitan Joseph elevates Fr. MousaView the photos by Toni Milak and Sami Studio.

Between January 15– 18, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph made his first visit to Chicago as Metropolitan, to St. Mary Orthodox Church of Palos Heights, IL, to join Fr. Mousa Haddad, Fr. Malek Rihani, and their parishioners. Throughout the weekend, His Eminence and the St. Mary community celebrated the tremendous growth the church has experienced since starting as a mission only eleven years ago, and looked forward in anticipation of the expansion and renovation of their recently purchased building.

On Thursday January 15 His Eminence, accompanied by His Grace Bishop Nicholas, were welcomed at Chicago's O'Hare airport by a large delegation led by Fr. Mousa and Mr. Luai Sweiss, the Chairman of St. Mary's Parish Council. This delegation included the Antiochian clergy of the Chicagoland area, local members of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees, and parish community leaders. After the arrival of His Eminence, the group was treated to a wonderful lunch hosted by Board of Trustees member Constantin Kari.

February 2015 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

HIS PEACE AND PROMISE WORKING IN OUR PRISONS FOR THOSE SEEKING HIM WITH A SINCERE HEART

BELOW IS A LETTER FROM A PRISONER STUDENT WHO THANKS THE LORD FOR HIS FORGIVENESS AND THE EFFORTS OF THE ACADEMY TO BRING HIS GRACE AND TRUTH TO HIS WANDERING CHILDREN.

It is written in the Book of Proverbs, "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart" (11:29). So it has been with this sinner, who, because of great trouble in his own house, had to serve the wise in prison for twenty plus years. However, the Lord in His infinite mercy granted me to learn the meaning of St. Moses the Ethiopian's words, "Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything."

Having sat in a prison cell contemplating my lot, I saw clearly the veneer of lies that I had hid behind for so many years. "Who am I?", really, I wondered. Also, I remembered the many good Christians I had known who were still free and blessed of He Who is our One true God. Again I wondered, what do they know that I obviously don't know? I concluded, therefore that I needed to find the truth about myself and true faith. Thus, for the next two years I fully immersed myself in self-examination and a thorough re-study of the faith I had claimed, but not practiced, in the churches of Christ, Jesus.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

February 4, 2015 + The Effect of Divine Love

from Ode 9 at Matins for the feast of The Translation of the Relics of St. Ignatius the God-Bearer

Divine love, taking hold on thy soul, burned up all the material cares of the world with immaterial fire, O blessed Ignatius and it set thee crowned at the pinnacle of all that can be desired.

from The Menaion vol 5 for January

Celebrate St. Raphael! Posters Depict His Legacy

Saint Raphael left a legacy of 30 churches to the Antiochian Archdiocese. These beautiful small posters have been prepared so our children may learn about Saint Raphael. The posters show the parishes, and with vintage photos offer some clues as to how Bishop Raphael made his way around in the early 20th century. Some photographs of his parish visits still exist and were also included.

The posters are free—online only at www.antiochian.org/festivals/cf/posters-2015. Download the files (file name in quotes) onto a USB drive and take them to Staples or Office Max. (Some print centers will download from a website.) Each poster is available in two sizes, 8.5 x 14 (legal size) and 11 x 17 (ledger size). There are also posters with the troparion and logo.

2014 Nativity Pastoral Message of His Eminence Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

“Come, O God-inspired faithful, arise and behold the descent of God from on high! He manifests Himself to us in Bethlehem. Let us cleanse our minds and offer Him a life of virtue instead of myrrh. Let us prepare with faith to celebrate His Nativity, storing up spiritual treasure and crying out: Glory in the highest to God in Trinity! His good pleasure is now revealed to men. In his love for mankind He sets Adam free from the ancestral curse”. (Idiomelon for the Sixth Hour of the Nativity)

We greet you with joy as we draw near to the glorious feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ!

The beautiful hymn above embodies the true spirit of Christmas as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. God comes down to us from on high, and chooses to be born as a babe in the most humble of settings, the cave in Bethlehem. We strive to respond to this outpouring of love from God by cleansing our minds from all carnal thoughts and passions. Whereas the Kings of the East offered Him myrrh, our appropriate offering is a life of virtue, free from all of the sinfulness that would separate us from our God.

2014 Nativity Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

By the mercy of God

Patriarch John X, The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

To my brother pastors of the Antiochian Holy Church, and my children throughout the Holy See

"Heaven and Earth are made one today, for Christ is born. Today God is come upon the earth, and man is gone up into the Heavens. Today He Who by nature is invisible, for man's sake is seen in the flesh. For this cause, let us also give glory and cry out to Him: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, which Thy coming hath bestowed upon us; O our Savior, glory be to Thee."

This is what our church chants on this glorious day, the day of the Creator's presence in the flesh: the Nativity of Jesus Christ. 

His presence glows with peace. O Christ, how much we need Thy peaceful presence on earth, from which Thy glad tidings have gone forth unto the whole universe! O Treasure of Mercy, O Sun of Righteousness, how greatly do we need Thy presence, in a land which has grown weary of the drums of war, of dismemberment, and of abduction! The land that welcomed the apostles two thousand years ago lies wounded and hemorrhages!

OCN Video Interviews of Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph

His Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph were interviewed by Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network at Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ, on Friday, December 5, on the eve of Metropolitan Joseph's Enthronement as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America.

Watch the informative interviews, each about 20 minutes in length, below:

His Beatitude Visits the United Nations, Holds Press Conference

On December 10, during his final day in the New York area, His Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, visited the United Nations and held meetings with a variety of officials. (Watch press conference here.) His first meeting was with the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ian Eliasson. During that meeting, as well as the other meetings, His Beatitude stressed that the only solution to the crisis in Syria is one of negotiations and peace, not of bombs and war, saying “The Syrian people ask for peace and welfare for themselves and for everyone on earth.” He continued by saying that “as a Christian leader, I can also speak on behalf of the Islamic leaders in Syria in that we all reject extremism. In Greater Syria we have been co-existing for hundred of years.” He also relayed in his various meetings that with regard to humanitarian relief the Orthodox Church is helping everyone, regardless of sect or religion. He stressed that, as Christians, we do not want to be considered a minority that needs special protection, but that the Christians are all part of the fabric of the society and are equal citizens in every respect.

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