Your prayers are requested for Metropolitan CONSTANTINE (Papastephanou) of the Archdiocese of Baghdad, Kuwait and Dependencies, a senior and highly esteemed member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch, who has been in hospital in London, England.
Many thanks to Fr. Samir Gholam, dean of the Cathedral of St George in London, who sends us the following update concerning His Eminence: "Dear Fellow Servants of the Lord: May this period of Great Lent be for us a source of all blessings tailored to each one of us. Sayyidna Constantine is improving continuously and now is in a very encouraging situation. All our gratitude is rendered to the Loving Lord who shows His extreme mercy to His beloved and loyal hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Constantine. May our God and Saviour Jesus Christ's will be done. Amen. Asking for your prayers, I remain your brother in Christ - Father Samir." Messages may be sent to His Eminence c/o Father Samir at email@example.com.
Submitted by Bishop BASIL.
A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, concelebrated by the three Orthodox hierarchs with oversight for parishes in the Heartland, held at St Seraphim Cathedral (OCA), on Sunday, March 16th. The hierarchs are His Eminence DMITRI, Archbishop of Dallas and the Diocese of the South (OCA), His Eminence ISAIAH, Metropolitan of the Denver Metropolis (GOA), and His Grace BASIL, Bishop of Wichita and the Diocese of Mid- America (AOCA).
The three hierarchs also presided at the Vespers of the Triumph of Orthodoxy served yesterday evening at Dallas' Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church at which dozens of priests and hundreds of laity were present from the 15 parishes through the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Next year the three hierarchs will serve together on the Sunday of Orthodoxy at St George Cathedral (AOCA) in Wichita, KS.
Article provided by Bishop BASIL. Photos courtesy of OCA's Chancery of the Diocese of Dallas and the South.
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan LAURUS, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, March 16, 2008. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.
Adapted from http://www.antiochianladiocese.org/
Tour Dates: June 26th – July 6th, 2008 *LIMITED SPACE!!
Seeking: World travelers, medievalists, musicians, self-educators, spiritual pilgrims, and adventurers of all varieties for an immersion experience at the crossroads of Europe and Asia: welcome to Caucasus Georgia!
Explore Georgia's oldest monasteries, founded in the sixth century by Christian ascetics from Syria. Be among the first westerners to rediscover the ancient architecture, frescoes, and acoustics of these remarkable monuments, set amidst rolling vineyards, towering peaks, and the desert vistas of the Caspian basin. Led by chant team Luarsab Togonidze, John A Graham, and Aurelia Shrenker, this unique tour seeks to investigate the sounds and wonders of medieval Georgia, while presenting the world-famous hospitality and charm of modern Georgia.
Read more about the trip at www.georgianchant.org.
On Sunday, March 16, 2008, 20 priests, 3 deacons, and more than 250 worshipers from 18 parishes in at least five jurisdictions gathered at St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, Pa., to celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
The chanting and responses were led by the Pan-Orthodox Mixed A Capella Choir, comprised of choir members and singers of various participating parishes. This year the choir director was Khouria Pam Pier of St. John's. The guest speaker was Dr. Tristan Engelhardt, Jr., a professor at Rice University. George Vafeas, an 11th grade student of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Lancaster, Pa., spoke on "Bearing Witness to the Light of God." Three members of St. John's were inducted into the Order of St. Ignatius. After Vespers, an offering was received to support Orthodox ministries and a meal was served.
The parishes comprise the Orthodox Council of Churches of South Central Pennsylvania. In addition to yearly Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers (this was the 43rd), the group also meets for a yearly summer picnic in the area.
Bishop THOMAS joined the parish of St. John Chrysostom in York, Pa., for Divine Liturgy on Sunday, March 16, the Sunday of Orthodoxy. The children of the parish joined in the procession with icons.
Later in the afternoon, the parish hosted the Orthodox Council of Churches of South Central Pennsylvania for vespers (see separate article, to be posted on Tuesday).
St. Anthony Orthodox Church in Bergenfield, NJ, presents The Voice of the Orthodox Christian in Today’s Religious Dialogue, a series of public events that highlight and focus Eastern Orthodox thinking on today’s issues. The series is open to all Orthodox Christians from every denomination and to the public at large, to explore critical issues in today’s world and understand the sometimes quiet, sometimes disparate, Orthodox Christian perspective.
Friday, March 21, 2008 at 8:30pm, Fr. Daniel Zelinsky
Recently conferred as Bishop-elect of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Fr. Zelinsky’s perspective on Orthodox theology and its place in the wider realm of Christian thought have made him a popular speaker and lecturer. Fr. Zelinski will offer his perspective and insight on the Ukrainian city of Chernoble since the disastrous nuclear meltdown over 20 years ago.
Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:30pm, Prof. Nicolae Gavriliu
Prof. Gavriliu is a specialist in Fine Arts and Director of the Byzantine Iconology Course at the Antiochian House of Studies and a member of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate. His presentation on “Icons and Orthodox spirituality” will provide a fascinating insight into the faith through the history and “writing” of holy icons.
Friday, April 4, 2008 at 8:30pm, Prof. Kyriacos C. Markides
IOCC staff and Habitat for Humanity volunteers recently attended a dedication ceremony for “Faith Village,” a cluster of six homes in Covington, Louisiana. Sixteen faith-based organizations, including IOCC, provided the materials, supplies and volunteers to build the new homes. IOCC also contributed $150,000 towards material costs and mobilized 200 volunteers in 2007 to help work on these and other homes on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
In an emotional ceremony, the families were presented with hammers, representing their own volunteer days, Bibles, representing their faith in God, and keys, symbolizing their ownership of their own homes. IOCC board member Fr. Michael Rosco of Perth Amboy, NJ, on his third tour as a volunteer with the program, offered the opening prayer for the ceremony.
In February, International Orthodox Christian Charities was awarded a $1.6 million grant from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to continue and expand its current relief and recovery work for Greek farmers who lost livestock and pasturelands to last summer’s wildfires. This latest grant will enable IOCC to reach an estimated 2,000 farming families with emergency supplies of animal feed and forage seed. For many farmers, IOCC’s help will mean the difference between saving their family farm or having to return to Athens to find work.
The Greece program is the latest example of IOCC’s ability to respond to emergencies. We mobilized IOCC headquarters staff and members of our Belgrade and Athens offices to make assessments, oversee distributions, and also to consult with scientists in order to identify forage seed that will allow the Peloponnese to begin recovering its damaged pasturelands — a long-term solution for farmers.
The Midwest Antiochian Women’s third annual spring weekend retreat will be held May 2-4, 2008, at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan. Following Bright Saturday services on May 3 Father Steven Kostoff of Cincinnati, Ohio, will speak on “how we now live, following the light of the Resurrection.”
|Bishop THOMAS with Father Nicholas Sorenson, Deacon Philip, Fathers Gordon Walker, Gregory MacGregor, and Thomas Zain.|
On the weekend of January 12-13, 2008, the Mission of St. Basil the Great, York County, Virginia, hosted numerous guests and clergy along with His Grace, Bishop THOMAS of the Diocese of Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Tidewater Mission, now known as St. Basil the Great. The southeastern portion of Virginia is known locally as the Tidewater Region, or more popularly, as Hampton Roads.
The region has many military bases, and is known as a summertime vacation haven; therefore, over the past twenty years, there have been several failed attempts at starting and sustaining an Antiochian mission that would be pan-orthodox in nature, with an all English Liturgy.
In 1997, approximately five local families planted the seeds of the mission, along with the help of the Very Reverend Fathers Boniface Black, Gordon Walker, and Nicholas Sorensen. The mission now has thirty-six pledging families. St. Basil the Great is located in Poquoson, Virginia, a mere twenty minute drive from historic colonial Williamsburg.
The Institute, an abbreviated version of the event held each fall at Antiochian Village, is a pan Orthodox event that encompasses teacher training as well as education on topics of Orthodox believe in an enjoyable atmosphere of fellowship and sharing. The 2008 Theme is "Sharing Your Faith." The keynote address is, "Do Orthodox Evangelize?" presented by V. Rev. Daniel Kovalak, Missions and Evangelism Department, Orthodox Church in America.
Friday evening, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, 2008
St. George Antiochian Church, Vicksburg, MS
Contact: Fr. John Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org
The day started with Divine Liturgy followed by registration. Deacon Seraphim Solof then led us in the topic of the retreat; Church Teaching and Contemporary Bioethical Issues. The talk focused on such topics as stem cell research, cloning, organ transplant and other current issues. Deacon Seraphim started the session with a survey of stem cell research and cloning before we broke for lunch. Following a lunch prepared by the women of St. George we heard about issues regarding organ transplants and euthanasia. Deacon Seraphim serves at Saint George Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester, Mass., and has graduated with a BS degree from MIT and a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.
The presentation was very informative and many women commented on how pleased they were to have attended. Many questions were asked to which Father answered with expertise.
Louise Ferguson, Religious Coordinator
February 27, 2008
Dear Brother in Christ,
Christ is in our midst!
This is just a last second reminder regarding camp scholarships through the generosity of the Order of St Ignatius. Each parish was mailed a form for awarding up to $700 in camping scholarships. The scholarships may be applied to any of our eight camps:
- Antiochian Village - Pennsylvania
- Camp St George - Iowa
- Camp St Nicholas - California
- Camp St Raphael - Oklahoma
- Camp St Thekla – South Carolina
- Camp Transfiguration - Canada
- St John Summer Camp - Alaska
- St Mary of Egypt Camp - Washington
The forms that were mailed to you in early January must be postmarked by March 1st and returned to our office. All of our camps are receiving numerous requests for additional scholarship assistance. We are unable to provide such assistance until we know what scholarship funds remain. It is for this reason we must insist that the St Ignatius Scholarship forms be returned this week. If you have a camper who has a particular need for additional scholarship assistance that your parish is unable to provide, please have them write to the camp director of the camp they wish to attend stating their specific circumstances and needs. To contact our camps, please follow the link to our website: http://www.antiochian.org/camps
If you have already sent in your scholarship form, I thank you for assisting us and more importantly taking care of your youth who so desperately need our attention and care.
May our Lord bless you with a fruitful Lenten journey to the empty tomb!
Yours brother in Christ,
As result of previous successful mission experiences with the Navajo Indians in New Mexico and a blessing of his Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Archdiocese, a new non-profit organization has been formed. Young Orthodox Christian American Mission Adventures, or YOCAMA, is pleased to announce the scheduling of two mission trip experiences for Orthodox youth.
- Thursday, June 19 to Saturday, June 28, 2008: Thoreau, New Mexico, to work with the Highland Navajo Outreach, a non-profit organization, to provide help for the Navajo people via home improvement projects, vacation Bible school, medical services, and food delivery.
- Thursday, July 24 to Saturday, August 2, 2008: Browning, Montana,to work with the Blackfeet Community hospital and housing authority to provide help for the Blackfeet people via home improvement projects, lunches and activities for local children, medical services, and food delivery.
"We think that this will be an exceptional experience for all those who wish to give of themselves to improve the conditions of the Navajo and Blackfeet people," say YOCAMA organizers.
Download Cover Letter
Teen SOYO Joins with OCN to Undertake Media Outreach for Teens
You can download the first SOYO episode - (MP3 format) Teens and abortion.
SOYO has joined with the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) to offer a new podcast for Orthodox Christian teens and their peers.
The show, called Orthodox Teen Talk Online (OTTO), features a pan-Orthodox group of teens from around the country, who discuss real-life issues in an open and honest manner with at least one Orthodox priest. One of the unique characteristics of the show is that the teens themselves develop the topics for discussion, contribute their own opinions and share their own life experiences related to the discussion. This allows Orthodox young people to find their own voice and develop their own Orthodox Christian response to some of the most pressing issues of the day.
"The young people of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America are deeply committed to living the Orthodox Faith in Christ daily," V. Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of Department of Youth Ministry, said. "It is with joy that our young people join with OCN and other Orthodox teens in expressing their Orthodox Christian Faith and its profound effect on their daily choices."
OTTO is a collaborative effort of the Antiochian Youth Department, NAC Teen SOYO, OCN and the Youth Department of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Several episodes of OTTO have already been recorded.
In the first SOYO episode, Fr. Antony Bahou spoke with several officers of the NAC Teen SOYO, including Christopher Shadid and Amanda Sahawneh, about the sanctity of life and how Orthodox teens respond to related issues, such as abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia.
St. Anthony Antiochian Orthodox Church in Bergenfield, NJ, invites the public to hear Fr. Daniel Zelinski speak on Friday, March 21, at 8:30 p.m. Recently conferred as Bishop-elect of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Fr. Zelinski’s perspective on Orthodox theology and its place in the wider realm of Christian thought have made him a popular speaker and lecturer. Fr. Zelinski will offer his perspective and insight on the Ukrainian city of Chernoble since the disastrous nuclear meltdown over 20 years ago.
This presentation is part of the ongoing The Voice of the Orthodox Christian in Today’s Religious Dialogue series of public events that highlights and focuses Eastern Orthodox thinking on today’s issues. The series is open to all Orthodox, Christians from every denomination, and to the public at large, to explore critical issues in today’s world and understand the sometimes quiet, sometimes disparate, Orthodox Christian perspective.
For more information, call St. Anthony's at 201-568-8840.
Join the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) on Saturday, May 3, in Rocky River, Ohio, for a lecture, brunch, and book signing with noted Orthodox author Frederica Mathewes-Green. All proceeds from the event will benefit OCN. For tickets and more information, call 440-835-2348 or 440-899-3257.
We sorrowfully announce the falling asleep in the Lord of the servant of God Sonia (Daly) Belcher, 32, of St. George Church, Boston, Mass., on February 20, 2008. She is survived by her husband Deacon Nicholas Belcher and their four month old son Andrew. Sonia was a faithful member of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, both on a Diocesan and NAC level. She served on the board of the Theophany School and was active in her and her husband's parish.
Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with her husband Rev. Dn. Nicholas and her 4 month old son Andrew and the entire Daly and Belcher families. May her memory be eternal.
Sonia's family has put together a website to remember her and for her friends to share some memories: www.soniabelcher.com
Baltimore (IOCC) - International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) today announced an expansion of its work in Kosovo to provide immediate assistance to isolated minority communities and long term development projects aimed at providing stability and cooperation. The expanded initiatives in Kosovo will provide continued support for families, including household items, support for agricultural projects and family gardens, and school supplies.
The IOCC response will also offer assistance for schools and community centers in isolated communities.
Local leaders in minority enclaves in Kosovo report that the situation remains very tense, with most villagers restricted to their homes, making access to health and education facilities difficult. More and more young people are leaving Kosovo because of the isolation and the lack of jobs.
IOCC has been implementing community development and relief programs in Kosovo since 1993. Recent projects in the region are designed to give people in such isolated communities hope and opportunity. IOCC is building a community center in Velika Hoca with a special meeting place for youth clubs, a gym facility, an internet center, and computer-equipped classrooms.
IOCC is also partnering with the monks of the Visoki Decani Monastery on an innovative project that will not only increase the production capacity of the monastery vineyards, but will also provide more jobs to villagers and promote peaceful cooperation through the purchase of grapes from local farmers of all ethnicities.
"Our role is not a political or a national program, but to care for the soul and the body" said Father Sava Janjic, one of the monks. "IOCC does this as well, and we hope that this economic interdependence that IOCC is helping us to establish with the Albanian community will help interethnic relations."
Bishop HILARION, Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions in Brussels, Makes Statement to WCC
Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Liberal Christianity will not survive for a long time
Intervention at the opening session of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, 13 February 2008
I would like to draw your attention to the danger of liberal Christianity. The liberalization of moral standards, initiated by some Protestant and Anglican communities several decades ago and developing with ever-increasing speed, has now brought us to a situation where we can no longer preach one and the same code of moral conduct. We can no longer speak about Christian morality, because moral standards promoted by 'traditional' and 'liberal' Christians are markedly different, and the abyss between these two wings of contemporary Christianity is rapidly growing.
We are being told by some allegedly Christian leaders, who still bear the titles of Reverends and Most Reverends, that marriage between a woman and a man is no longer the only option for creating a Christian family, that there are other patterns, and that the church must be 'inclusive' enough to recognize alternative lifestyles and give them official and solemn blessing. We are being told that human life is no longer an unquestionable value, that it can be summarily aborted in the womb, or that one may have the right to interrupt it voluntarily, and that Christian 'traditionalists' should reconsider their standpoints in order to be in tune with modern developments. We are being told that abortion is acceptable, contraception is agreeable, and euthanasia is better still, and that the church must accommodate all these 'values' in the name of human rights.
Anaphora Press now open for business. Responding to the growing needs of American Orthodox Christians, Anaphora Press seeks to provide an array of materials to enrich both personal lives and liturgical experience.
Port Townsend, WA Feb. 5, 2008 – New Orthodox publishing company, Anaphora Press, opens its doors and releases its first two products: liturgical chant CD “Cherubika” and poetry collection Mysteries of Silence. The website goes live, offering a hub of information for Orthodox singers, artists and writers across several genres of creative and liturgical arts.
While theological, hagiographical and biographical works are currently well-represented in English by several established Orthodox publishers, Anaphora Press focuses on the under-represented genres of creative fiction and poetry with a particularly Orthodox ethos. Its first publication, a book of poetry by Reader Christopher Lewis entitled Mysteries of Silence is now available.
Similarly, it seeks to publish curricular materials designed with Orthodox children in mind. Complementing these materials, the website also provides links, reviews, and resource materials for parents, homeschoolers, and educators.
In a recent letter to OCMC, Metropolitan Alexander, of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Nigeria, greeted all who have supported the work of this church: “You all have left a green leaf in our hearts.” His Eminence’s comments followed the recent celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Nigeria.
The Nigerian people formed a union of churches called “Calvary Grace Church” in search of the “original Christian Church.” By 1985, this collective of Nigerian churches was brought into the full canonical beauty of the Orthodox Church.
In his letter, Archbishop Alexander encouraged the Nigerian faithful toward “a deep reflection and concentration on our vocation, our ministry…for greater spiritual pursuits, for more intensive and warm prayer life, so as to be able with ‘naked intuition’ to listen every moment to ‘what the Spirit says to the Churches’ (Rev. 2:29).”
His Eminence also shared what wonderful opportunities there are within the Archdiocese to “perceive the certainty of the love, mercy, and the grace of God; His inexorable providence and divine intervention.” Metropolitan Alexander praised those who, seizing these opportunities, are brought by God to carry the cross, to reveal the Gospel in Nigeria.
Antiochian Village, Ligonier, Pa., is seeking a full-time program director responsible for year round program development and oversight of the summer camp program staff (i.e. morning program, evening program, arts and crafts, etc).
The Antiochian Village Camp is in its 30th year of operation. We are fully accredited by the American Camp Association. We are a full service year-round camp that is minutes north of Ligonier, PA and is part of a team ministry that also includes the Antiochian Village Retreat and Conference Center.
The mission of the Antiochian Village is to present to young people a living experience of the Holy Orthodox Faith, in their relationship with God and other campers in an uncluttered, natural environment.
If interested, send your résumé to V. Rev. Anthony G. Yazge, Antiochian Village Camp, 201 St. Ignatius Trail, Bolivar, PA 15923, email@example.com.