News


SCOBA Hierarchs Convene For Special Session

Press Release


September 25, 2009


SCOBA Hierarchs Convene For Special Session


New York, NY— A Special Session of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) met on September 25, 2009, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., hosted by the Chairman of SCOBA, Archbishop Demetrios of America, at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in Manhattan. The session was attended by the following Members of SCOBA: Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Philip, Vice-Chairman (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Christopher, Secretary (Serbian Orthodox Church), Archbishop Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Joseph (Bulgarian Orthodox Church), Metropolitan Jonah (Orthodox Church in America), Archbishop Antony (proxy, Ukrainian Orthodox Church), and Archpriest Alexander Abramov (Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA).


Also present were the General Secretary and members of the SCOBA Study and Planning Commission representing the SCOBA member Churches.


The entire discussion was focused on the documents related to the “Organization of Episcopal Assemblies” in the regions of the world that are outside the borders of the Autocephalous Churches. These Episcopal Assemblies have been authorized by the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference which met at the Orthodox Center of Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Switzerland from 6 – 13, June 2009. It was decided unanimously by the Hierarchs that the first such Episcopal Assembly shall be convened during Post-Pentecost Week of 2010, which will fall in the last week of May. The likely days of the Assembly will be May 26-27, 2010. There was also discussion as to the location of the Assembly, with a specific venue to be decided after investigation of locales and resources.

Special Olympics Awareness Day + October 18, 2009

The third Sunday of October, October 18, 2009 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese.  On Sunday, October 18th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the 2010 Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village August 13-22, 2010.  Next summer we will be celebrating our 30th Annual Special Olympics Sports Camp.  This ministry is sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO.  Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.

Please use the following downloads to promote Special Olympics Awareness Day:

2009 Clergy Letter (Word format)

Bulletin Insert for October 11, 2009 (PDF)

Bulletin Insert for October 18, 2009 (PDF)

2010 Special Olympics Application (PDF)

 

OCMC Now Hiring for a Major Gift Officer

POSITION: Major Gift Officer

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Open until filled

SALARY RANGE: $60,000.00 - Negotiable

QUALIFICATIONS:

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center is now accepting applications for the position of Major Gift Officer. The Major Gift Officer is responsible for all facets of fundraising for the Mission Center.  The successful candidate will identify, cultivate, solicit and steward major donors. He/she will nurture long-term relationships with contributors including individuals, corporations, and foundations.

The Major Gift Officer will report to the Associate Director and work closely with the Executive Director providing support for identification of potential donors, cultivation and solicitation.

Minimum qualifications for the position include experience in major gift fundraising. Managerial, organization, interpersonal, and communication skills are required. Knowledge of fundraising and ability to prepare proposals from start to finish are essential.

TO APPLY: Submit your resume and cover letter, including a brief statement of fundraising qualifications  with emphasis on past experience  to: Fr. Martin Ritsi, Executive Director, Orthodox Christian Mission Center, 220 Mason Manatee Way, St. Augustine, FL 32086 or by email to missions@ocmc.org. For additional information please contact Fr. David Rucker, Associate Director, by phone at (904) 829-5123 ext. 102 or by e-mail at assocdirector@ocmc.org.

Orthodox Christian Laity Annual Meeting at Antiochian Village

Listen to an interview with OCL director George Matsoukas on Ancient Faith Radio.

Amidst an unprecedented focus of attention and activity on Orthodox Unity, Orthodox Christian Laity invites all Orthodox and interested observers to attend its 22nd Annual conference to be held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, October 29-31, 2009.

“At no time in recent history has there been such attention focused on the quest for Orthodox unity both in America and world-wide,” declared Peter Petkas, OCL president.

“These developments provide OCL, a long-time advocate of Orthodox unity, and all concerned Orthodox with a historical opportunity to help chart the way toward this vital goal. Our annual meeting is a timely vehicle for both dialogue and action leading to Orthodox unity.”

Petkas explained that the program includes seven panels comprised of devout and informed Orthodox who will discuss a range of topics connected to the realization of Orthodox unity in America. He said these discussions will include (a) the process for achieving Orthodox unity in North America and other non-traditional Orthodox areas that was adopted at the recent Pan-Orthodox meeting held in Chambesy, Switzerland and (b) the impact that the exclusion of representation by the Church in North America in that meeting, and in future pre-conciliar meetings, will have on the relevance of those decisions to the Orthodox faithful in North America. His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, newly installed primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will deliver the keynote address. His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel and His Grace Bishop Thomas will also participate in the meeting.

Announcing The Chrysostom Bible from OCABS Press

This summer, the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies has launched The Chrysostom Bible, a new biblical commentary series for preaching and teaching. "The Chrysostom Bible," writes series editor, Fr. Paul Tarazi, "is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation."

Order of St. Ignatius Governing Council Meeting on October 16

The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch will meet in Houston, TX on Friday, October 16 in conjunction with the Archdiocese Board of Trustees meetings. Our host parish, St. George Church, Houston, has made hotel arrangements with Hilton Post Oak Houston, 2001 Post Oak Boulevard, Houston, TX 77056.  Please make your room reservations directly with the hotel.  The phone number is 713-961-9300.

Reflection on the 2009 Archdiocese Convention

by Fr. William Olnhausen, pastor of St. Nicholas Church in Cedarburg, WI – the article was published in the Church’s Sept. 2009 newsletter:

FATHER BILL'S ARCHDIOCESE CONVENTION REPORT

It was 114 in Palm Desert California the day I arrived & well over 100 every day. Lord have mercy. But our delegate Mike Hubergot off the plane, breathed it in & said "I love it!"

Cheryl Haska also represented St. Nicholas. Our teens Nicole Haska, Abe Newhouse, Lydia Newhouse & Ana Treptow & coach Mary Beth Newhouse, our Midwest Bible winners, represented our Diocese at the national Bible Bowl - which didn't go as well as at the Midwest, but they are still one of the top teams in the Archdiocese. Be very proud of them! It was fun to have so many St. Nicholas people there.

Our Antiochian Archdiocese is doing well financially & spiritually: united, growing, enthusiastic, dynamic. Since 1988 this little Archdiocese has established over 125 new missions, most of which are now self-supporting churches. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP at age 78 is in fine form & delivered a brilliant keynote address. The worship services, more than 2 hours daily, were well attended and beautifully celebrated. (I am now accustomed to services with 3 metropolitans, 7 bishops, a congregation of 1,000 & a choir of 50!) The many departments of the Archdiocese are doing really good things. Our clergy are high quality.

A Letter from the Mathewes-Greens on Seminarian Placement

An email that was sent to the Archdiocese office in late August from Fr. Gregory Matthewes-Green and Khourieh Frederica regarding their son Stephen:

We wanted to communicate to His Eminence and everyone there that the negative comments and speculations appearing on the internet do not represent our thoughts and feelings. Personal attacks on His Eminence are especially dismaying to us. While the instruction to our son to move to Holy Cross initially came as a shock, we fully accept it and believe that God will work through it for the best. In fact, we are already seeing many good things come out of it.

Please convey to everyone there our greetings in Christ, as we ask for your continued prayers. The midwife says the baby should be born in the next couple of days.

In Christ,

Fr. Gregory and Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green

 

Registration Begins for OCF College Conference 2009 on September 20th

Fishers, IN – September 16, 2009

Registration for 2009 College Conference opens Sunday, September 20th and runs through December 1st. “Building Community” (II Corinthians 13:14) is the chosen theme for this year’s conference. Identical conferences will run simultaneously from December 27-31 in two locations: the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, Pennsylvania and the Diakonia Center in Salem, South Carolina. 

OCF is honored this year to announce that His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah will be the keynote speaker at the Antiochian Village. Additionally, The Very Reverend Father Jon Braun will be delivering the keynote addresses at the Diakonia Center.

Registration is $325 for students and $375 for alumni. Included in the registration fee are transformative keynote addresses and inspiring workshops, social events, a dinner/dance, memories and friendships that will last a lifetime as well as lodging and meals.  

Space is limited so register early. Some scholarships are available.  Please visit www.ocf.net or call 1-800-919-1623 for more information. 

For additional information contact:

Kelli Phillips

Program Director,
Orthodox Christian Fellowship
kelli@ocf.net
www.ocf.net

Memory Eternal! + Archimandrite Gabriel Cooke

Archimandrite Gabriel Cooke, former pastor at St. Michael/Seattle, WA and St. George/Portland, OR, died in medical retirement this past Thursday, September 10th, 2009, at his home in Prescott, AZ after suffering a second massive stroke. Prior to his release to the OCA in 1997 and his monastic tonsure he was known by his worldly name of "Jeffrey" when a seminarian at St. Vladimir's Seminary in the mid-1980s and as "Father Gregory" when a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese (1987-1996). Archimandrite Gabriel will be buried this Thursday, September 17th, at St. Spyridon Cathedral in Seattle, WA; presiding will be His Grace BISHOP BENJAMIN of the OCA Diocese of San Francisco and the West.

May his memory be eternal!

College Student Sunday + September 20, 2009

ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
“Keeping our College Students Connected to the Church”
OCF COLLEGE STUDENT SUNDAY 2009

 

A discussion of College Student Sunday on the OCN Now podcast

Fishers, IN – September 16, 2009

Since 2003, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) have designated the Sunday following the Elevation of the Holy Cross as OCF College Student Sunday. They ask all faithful Orthodox Christians in North America to call to mind and prayer our college students. We invite you to read the 2009 SCOBA College Student Sunday Encyclical at www.ocf.net/css.

OCF’s mission is to help Our Youth discover that it is communion with God, through life in the Church, which gives real meaning and significance to life.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship is Our Campus Ministry. It exists to come alongside families and parishes to provide solutions. OCF provides curricula, educational DVDs, service learning encounters and an interactive website that help our students apply their faith in their daily lives. On a program level, OCF offers large-scale, transformative opportunities annually, such as College Conference and Real Break.

Currently, we have 270 local college/university chapters in the United States and Canada. Together these individual chapters represent the backbone of the OCF ministry and Our Future of the Orthodox Church in North America.

FOCUS North America Serving the Poor of Philadelphia

16 Teens and Youth Leaders Served the Poor of Philadelphia and Initiated FOCUS North America's Newest Program

September 4, 2009– Kansas City, MO This past weekend, August 28-30, 2009, the Orthodox Youth Outreach Program (OYO), now called the YES Program of FOCUS North America (Youth Equipped to Serve), took its first trip as a ministry of FOCUS North America. A group of 16 eager teens and leaders said yes to the “cry of the poor” (Proverbs 21:13) and gave their time in service to the people of Philadelphia, PA.

The weekend began with orientation, led by Katrina Bitar, YES Program Director. The rest of Friday evening was spent in prayer, the team’s first ministry to Philadelphia. The group traveled around the city and prayed for it and its people. This prayer tour kicks off all YES trips, orienting the team to the past and present of the community they will serve and opening their eyes to the real struggles of its people.

St. Vladimir's Seminary Plans Ecological Education Day 2009

[Yonkers, NY] On Saturday, October 3, 2009, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY, invites the faithful to its annual Orthodox Education Day, this year titled "God's Green Earth: Ecology and Theology." The day's program will feature outstanding speakers, exhibits, and workshops regarding the intersection of faith and practice, as related to the environment.

"This Education Day, we want to wed theological vision with practical ways to care for our world," said The Very Rev. Chad Hatfield, chancellor and CEO of the seminary. "So, the day will feature everything from ecological perspectives of ancient church writers, to how to create an 'earth-friendly' garden."

Keynote speaker Dr. Vigen Guroian, an Armenian theologian and professor or religious studies at the University of Virginia, will address the topic "Ecological Musings from the Garden," and an array of other experts will present workshops. In particular, Mr. Chris Nolan, Chief Landscape Architect of Central Park Conservatory, New York City, will discuss the eco-friendly use of land; and Dr. Emily Markides, adjunct faculty at the Peace and Reconciliation Studies Program, University of Maine, and co-pioneer of the Permaculture Garden at Agia Skepi Detoxification Center, Filani, Cyprus, will share her experience with building sustainable communities. For animal lovers, a monk from New Skete Monastery in Cambridge, NY, Father Christopher, will speak about deepening spiritual consciousness through kinship with animals. The monastery is known globally for its dog training methods and breeding of German shepherds.

Charity Run to Benefit Theophany School in Needham, MA

Charity Road Race to Continue Local Woman’s Dream

August 25, 2009 West Roxbury, MA—In the mid-1990s, 18-year old Sonia Belcher (then, Sonia Daly) was intent on creating a school where Orthodox Christian children in the Boston area would benefit from a strong academic and spiritual education founded in the teachings of the Orthodox Christian Church.  In 1997, with the support of the local Orthodox Christian community, Sonia founded what is believed to be the first pan-Orthodox School in the country: the Theophany School in Needham, MA.  That fall, 17 children were enrolled for the 1997-1998 school year.  Today, Theophany School is thriving, with some 35 students enrolled in the School’s Pre-School and Kindergarten classes.  With three full-time teachers and one director on staff, students are provided with the individualized care and attention that is vital to a young child’s learning.  Theophany School continues to grow, thanks to the generous support of the community.

Sadly, in February, 2008 Sonia Belcher passed away suddenly on her 32nd birthday. She was survived by her husband, Deacon Nicholas Belcher and their three-month old son, Andrew.  In addition to her beloved family, Sonia left behind a legacy of tenacity and determination.  Her final wish was for Theophany School to function as a full elementary school.  Shortly after her untimely death, the School launched its “Building on a Dream” campaign, an initiative to continue Sonia’s mission, while keeping her memory alive.  Thanks to the campaign, the School has received overwhelming support over the last year. 

OCAMPR Offers Pan-Orthodox Conference on Care for Severely Challenged Patients

Brookline, Mass. -  The 2009 Annual Conference of Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR) will focus on Care for the Severely Challenged Patient. Presentations at the conference will review the needs of patients with chronic illnesses and severe and persisting trauma from a pastoral, medical, and psychotherapeutic perspective. Speakers will include Deacon Nathanael Symeonides, Dr. Aaron Haney, Dr. Michael Christakis, and Presbytera Maryann Tonias. The conference will meet at the Holy Cross Seminary campus in Brookline, Mass., November 6-7, 2009, beginning at 7 p.m. Friday evening. 

OCAMPR is an inter-jurisdictional network of Orthodox persons in helping and healing professions, endorsed by the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).  The conference will be prefaced by an open General Board Meeting on Friday November 6, at 1:30 pm at Holy Cross.

Over the two day conference, speakers focusing on medicine, psychology, and theology will offer talks on various dimensions of Care for the Severely Challenged Patient and discuss a sample case.  Group discussions will invite reflections, questions, and comments from conferees.  Resources on caregivers’ practical concerns from medicine, nursing, hospice, ethics, theology, law, counseling, chaplaincy, and clinical pastoral education will be available at the conference, and the Holy Cross bookstore will also offer resources.

Fr. James Hamrick Ordained to Priesthood

Maryland’s First Western Rite Orthodox Church Emerges

Click here for more photos.

On Sunday, August 23, 2009, Bishop THOMAS (Joseph) ordained James K. Hamrick to the Holy Priesthood in the Orthodox Church, Antiochian Christian Archdiocese.  The ordination ceremony was conducted during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint Basil the Great Orthodox Church in Poquoson, Virginia (near Newport News).  The host priest and pastor of the church, Father Gregory MacGregor, was one of Hamrick’s three priest sponsors.  Father MacGregor had introduced Hamrick to Holy Orthodoxy three years earlier during a family vacation to Williamsburg, VA.  At that time Hamrick was a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church and had just planted a new mission in Lewistown, Maryland named Lamb of God Church—all of this after having previously served as a United Methodist pastor for six years in the Harpers Ferry, WV area.

Hamrick’s other two priest sponsors for his ordination were present and included Father Patrick Cardine, pastor of St. Patrick Orthodox Church in Warrenton, VA; and Father Nicholas Alford, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Orthodox Church in Washington, DC, both of whom were also the catechists for Hamrick’s congregation when they made a decision to become Orthodox last year.  

Statement Issued by Metropolitan's Office Regarding Placement of Antiochian Seminarians

From the Office of Metropolitan PHILIP:

Unfortunately, there has been much speculation and incorrect information on the Internet and elsewhere regarding our recent decision to send our incoming seminarians to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. This decision effected two students. The third new student was already planning to attend Holy Cross. Over the years we have tried to keep a balance between the distribution of our seminarians to various Orthodox seminaries here and abroad, especially St. Vladimir’s, St. Tikhon’s and Holy Cross. In fact, this year, we will have 10 students at St. Vladimir’s, 9 students at St. Tikhon’s and 6 students at Holy Cross.

It has been our primary concern over the years to insure a strong priestly formation for our future priests. While all three schools have helped us in accomplishing this task for generations of clergymen, we feel Holy Cross most closely mirrors the practices and customs of the Patriarchate of  Antioch in general and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America in particular. This is true for a variety of reasons, first and foremost being the common Syro-Byzantine liturgical and musical tradition that we share. Given the changing demographics of the majority of our seminarians and the reality that many of them are not rooted in this Syro-Byzantine expression of our one Orthodox faith from birth, we feel it is vital to immerse them in this tradition in a more complete way. It is our hope to have our own seminary in the future. In fact, much of the foundational work has already been done. Nevertheless, since we do not have our own seminary at this point in time, we feel Holy Cross is best suited to accomplish the task at hand.

At the same time, however, we will and have always assessed the common needs and concerns of both the seminarians and the Archdiocese and therefore leave all doors open for the future with regard to their placement.

International Orthodox Psychotherapy Conference in Chicago, June 2010

Dear Clergy, Students and Psychotherapists,

Plans are underway for the 2010 International Orthodox Psychotherapy Conference slated for June 21 - 25, 2010 at the Cenacle Retreat House in Chicago, Illinois. The conference center has only 50 rooms available on campus. Please book your reservation sooner rather than later.

For more information, to register or to submit a presentation proposal, please visit the conference web page or contact Fr. Stephen Plumlee.

Memory Eternal! + Fr. James Kenna

Archpriest James Kenna, 74, of St. Sophia in Dripping Springs, TX, was fatally injured in an automobile accident on Sunday, July 26th 2009. Services for Fr. James will be held at St. Sophia on Tuesday July 28 and Wednesday July 29th; see below for further details, or visit St. Sophia's web site.

Condolences may be sent to Khouriya Anne and the Kenna family c/o the Dean of Central Texas, Fr. David Barr of St. Elias Church in Austin, TX, at stelias_austin@sbcglobal.net.

From the Austin American Statesman:

 

The Rev. James Kenna was an energetic Dripping Springs pastor who founded several Orthodox Christian parishes in Central Texas and, even in retirement, was looking to establish more.

"He never wanted to quit," said the Rev. David Barr, the pastor of St. Elias Orthodox Church in Austin. Kenna, 74, died Sunday afternoon in a car wreck on his way home from lunch with a parishioner after attending church in Dripping Springs. Austin police officials said Kenna's PT Cruiser left Texas 45 for an unknown reason, crashed into a fence and flipped over into a retention pond.

New Direction for Conciliar Media

John and Tonya MaddexJohn and Tonya MaddexThe 2009 Antiochian Convention in Palm Desert coincided with the announcement by Conciliar Media Ministries that the ministry is discontinuing AGAIN and The Handmaiden magazines in their current printed forms, as well as moving the base of operations for Conciliar to the Chicago area.

Said CEO John Maddex, “We are embracing new technology that will reduce our costs by utilizing digital and audio formats where possible. While such decisions are difficult, these adjustments represent a necessary pruning and will result in a new lean model of operations with a continued strong evangelistic emphasis.”

Record Number of Children Attend Camp at Antiochian Village

His Grace Bishop THOMAS passes on the following message:

Beloved of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic:
May God bless you always.
This summer a record number of our children are spending time at the Antiochian Village Camp.  I've been blessed to share some of this time with them at the Camp.  I encourage you to go on the Camp website to view what has been happening this summer of 2009.  In order to see the photos, go to the Camp website and see the Summer Memories section.
Thank you.
Yours in Christ,
+Bp. THOMAS

Clergy Wives Weekend 2009: Antiochian Village, Nov. 8-9

Antiochian Village Announces a pan-Orthodox gathering of spiritual refreshment and fellowship in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah.

Kh. Joanne Abdalah served as an inspiration in her life as the wife of a priest and as a counselor to many. She understood the joys and trials of this life, and the need for finding strength in Christ and each other. She believed that every clergy wife needs to discover and develop her own Christian vocation.

In her memory, clergy wives of the Antiochian Archdiocese and greater Pittsburgh area Orthodox churches are planning the inaugural pan-Orthodox Clergy Wives Weekend at the Antiochian Village the weekend of November 7-8, 2009. Mother Christophora of Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Ellwood City) and Matushka Juliana Schmemann will be the speakers, addressing the theme: “How to Be a Clergy Wife and Still Go to Heaven.” The schedule will reflect Joanne’s holy and holistic approach to life – we need to pray; we need to play. We need to enjoy the fellowship for this short time without parish responsibilities, family responsibilities or other cares of this world.

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP Announces the Establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village

It is with great joy that His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP announces the establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at the Antiochian Village.  The Acting Superior of the convent will be Mother Alexandra (Magan), and we welcome her with joy to the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.

Mother Alexandra will take up residency at the Antiochian Village during the first week of July, and will live in temporary housing until such time as the residence building is constructed on the proposed site for the convent, which is on the main property at the Antiochian Village. This will allow her to experience a good part of the camping season, and to interact with our children.

She also has plans to attend the Archdiocese Convention in late July, and to have a presence at the St. Thekla Pilgrimage which will be held at the Antiochian Village in September.

There will soon be a website established for the convent, where all important news and information will be posted.

Click here to read a brief biography of Mother Alexandra.

Katrina Bitar Appointed New Executive Director of OYO

Katrina Bitar, a past SOYO member, SOYO officer, Parish Youth Director, and recent graduate of St. Vladimir's Seminary, was appointed, with the blessing of Metropolitan PHILIP, by the Department of Youth Ministry, effective May 17, 2009, as the new Executive Director of OYO - Orthodox Youth Outreach. OYO is a ministry of NAC Teen SOYO. Katrina comes to this ministry with much youth and OYO experience. Katrina writes:

"I believe in the power of this ministry because I, myself, am a product of this program. I participated in the very first OYO trip. I plan to continue to serve Orthodox Christian young people through not only leading short-term mission trips, but also helping parishes to establish consistent commitments to serving the poor and needy in their local communities.