Preserving the Future of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Legacy of Metropolitan Philip
The Archdiocese has another department?
How much does it cost?
What is it for?
What’s in it for me?
Even before these questions, maybe you asked, “Why do we need an Archdiocese? Our church is doing just fine on its own.” This is the very reason and purpose for this Department – to “re-energize” the Laity of our Archdiocese regarding the Hierarchal nature of our faith and its relevance to our future viability in this country.
V. Reverend Economos Antony Gabriel, Chair of the Department offers the following:
“What is so unique about the Antiochian Archdiocese is that it was established by the Laity. In 1885 St. Raphael came to the United States, consecrated in 1904 in Brooklyn, and then proceeded to establish 30 parishes. He died young as did other Bishops that succeeded him. Metropolitan Philip is the longest serving Bishop in the history of the Archdiocese. The legacy of this Archdiocese will be that we have embraced the spirit of going forward; standing still is death. We must continue to do everything in our power which comes from God to continue our forward progress not for our own glory or the glory of the Metropolitan, but for the glory of God and in honor of our founders who came to this country penniless. When Metropolitan Anthony died in 1966 the Archdiocese consisted of 66 parishes. Now we have 265 parishes. If the Church is not a missionary Church then it is dead. The ministry of the Laity is more important than that of the Priests. The Priests are confined to the parish, but the Laity has the whole world as its parish.”
On October 6, 2011 members of the Department of Planning and Development met with Metropolitan Philip at the Archdiocese to discuss the strategy behind the Department’s exciting plans to re-energize the visions and legacy of the Metropolitan Philip and our God-protected Archdiocese. The purpose was to seek approval to begin the process of connecting the people of our Archdiocese to the challenges and victories of our history in America, which have lead to the true glory of the present.
In attendance at the meeting were the Department Chairman Economos Antony Gabriel, Co-Chairman Dan Abraham and members David Ghiz, Philip Saliba, Steve Adams and Nick Reid. Metropolitan Philip shared powerful inspiration of his beginnings and provided some of the purpose behind many of his key visions over the past 45 years. The members were given a clear base of understanding so this project can be designed and built to accomplish the very important goals of preserving the foundations and accomplishments of Metropolitan Philip’s hard work, visions and legacy and creating a clear strategy to communicate them to the communities around the country.
Metropolitan Philip shared a brief synopsis of the history of our Archdiocese and our challenges for the future:
“The history of the Antiochian Archdiocese can be divided into three eras –
- Immigration Era: it was the most difficult time because resources were limited, but the Church grew because the people were God fearing people who believed the Church was the most important foundation for their family’s future in this country.
- Era of Organization: the Board of Trustees was formed along with SOYO. After World War II there was a movement to the faith. The Youth movement did wonderful things.
- Era of Spiritual Maturity: It is imperative that the family and the Church work together. It is important to get the Clergy to focus on the younger generation’s problems. The Clergy must embrace the people and connect with the youth. Young parents do not have time to meet, be with and eat with their children. Programs are needed to reach them.
There was a time when young people learned about their church from their parents. When you love a child when he is young then he looks at the world as a friendly world. I experienced this as a Priest. When I became Metropolitan I wanted to do something for the children and put them together away from home to play, pray, and make them feel loved by the Church. This was the beginnings of what is now the Antiochian Village and Camp. I want our people and all who seek our faith to come to the Center to learn about our heritage and understand the importance of preserving it for our children’s future.
Visions remain just that without resources and money to turn them into reality. Money is a means to our worthy ends. It is the second most frequently mentioned word in the New Testament next to God.
I believe in my heart without any doubt that the Antiochian Laity will give when they understand our past and the necessity to preserve our legacy for the future of our children.”
The Department of Planning and Development has a clear mission to share with our faithful the history of our Archdiocese so we can understand our role in preserving its future.
The Orthodox faith is Hierarchal. Our Bishops are consecrated by the laying on of hands which started from the Apostles and has continued for 2000 years. Christ commanded the Apostles to build His church on the rock which He established. Our churches are not islands in themselves, but part of the original church which Christ founded. Our Hierarchy brings consistency and ensures that our faith remains as Christ intended. Each parish and mission today and every one that shall come to be in the future are all part of something larger and more powerful. Our structure insures that our faith cannot be compromised.
This is our legacy, but also our direction for the future. Our Church must be a living church to serve the needs of the faithful. The Antiochian Archdiocese has a strong foundation with its various lay organizations, church school, camps, evangelism, youth ministry, choirs, chanters, theological training, and financial support for our Priests and their spouses.
When we give alms, we give of ourselves and have the opportunity to change people’s lives. Our Antiochian Archdiocese is our foundation from which each parish and each individual fashions its future. Our message is simple – Each Antiochian Orthodox must assume their individual responsibility to insure the legacy of our humble roots and the legacy of our Metropolitan Philip are preserved through a strong and vibrant Antiochian Archdiocese which serves its people and leads them on the path that Christ has chosen for us.
What does a “strong and vibrant” Archdiocese mean? It means having the financial resources to provide for today and insure a Christ-centered future especially in light of the secularization of our country. We are not a government nor are we a secular charity. We exist because Christ deemed it so and it is up to each of us to heed the call of Jesus to build upon the “vine which He has planted”.
“Blessed are those who give without remembering and blessed are those who receive without forgetting.”
– Metropolitan Philip
Economos Antony Gabriel – Chairman
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
East Montreal (Quebec) Canada H2R 1T8
Dan Abraham – Co-Chairman
Advisory Committee: Stephen Q. Adams, Thomasine Ilyas Alvarez, Peter Dacales, Kh. Lynn Gabriel, David Ghiz, Khalil E. Kardous, Michael R. Karolle, Robert H. Laham, Albert Mokhiber, Paul Mokhiber, Nick Reid, Philip Saliba, Justin Sayfie.
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