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Welcome to the Diocese of Oakland, Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic, part of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The Diocese of Oakland is led by His Grace Bishop Thomas and includes more than 30 churches and missions in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

 

The Fast and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

By Bishop Thomas Joseph and Peter Schweitzer

Having celebrated the feast of feasts, the Lord’s Pascha, and Pentecost fifty days thereafter, we are about to embark upon the Apostles’ Fast, which this year begins on June 12, 2017, and ends with the commemoration of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29. 

The Apostles’ Fast is a prescribed fasting period of the Church, lasting from the day after the Sunday of All Saints to the 29th of June, the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

It is a sad truth that many neglect this particular fast for a variety of reasons inconsistent with the apostolic and patristic tradition.  Prior to reflecting upon the importance of the Apostles’ Fast, a review of the ancient history of this particular fast may help us to recognize its integral place in the life of each and every Orthodox Christian.

Care for the Elderly and Infirm in an Orthodox Setting

Bp Thomas Joseph and Peter Schweitzer 

Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. (Psalm 71:9)

Proper and loving care for the elderly should be a Christian concern for each of us.  Whether we have aged or infirm parents or loved ones, we all know elderly people who need our attention.  As Orthodox Christians, we have a duty to them before God.  We have a duty to look after their physical and most importantly, their spiritual needs.

While elected officials grapple with the financial and moral questions concerning healthcare, the elderly population continues to grow. In 2010, one-sixth of the adult U.S. population was older than 65; by 2030, about one-fourth will be.  This presents a pastoral challenge for the Orthodox clergy and laity.  All too often our elderly, infirm, and dying are isolated, in some cases abandoned.  They may be found in nursing homes where no one visits them and they are unable to attend church services.  In many instances, priests are not aware of their circumstances and they are left without confession and the other salvific Mysteries of the Church.  When they repose, they may even be cremated as opposed to given a proper Orthodox burial.  This may be the result of a family’s ignorance of Church teaching or a desire to reduce the costs of a funeral.  (An Orthodox funeral does not have to be an expensive affair.  There are Orthodox resources available that substantially defray costs while at the same time remaining faithful to our spiritual traditions.)

Phronema the Lifeblood of Orthodoxy

By Bishop Thomas Joseph and Peter Schweitzer

The Greek word φρόνημα, transliterated in English as phronema is difficult to capture in a single word since it is more of a way of being in the world or a way of looking at the world.  Often, it is rendered in English as mindset or ethos.  For the purposes of this paper, we will employ the understanding of phronema as ethos.

In no Western religion is the concept of phronema present.  The concept truly has meaning only for the Orthodox Christian.  Perhaps this is because most Western religions understand themselves intellectually.  They adopt a so-called theology and employ philosophical categories to make it intelligible to their adherents and the world around them.  This is not the case for Orthodoxy.  Indeed, it would be hard to experience Orthodoxy apart from this ethos.  Since Orthodoxy is not about the intellectual pursuit of knowledge, it is thoroughly consistent that phronema can’t be grasped or recognized in a purely rationalistic pursuit.  One has to live Orthodoxy, experience it deeply, to perceive its ethos.

Diocese of Charleston News Archive