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St. Anthony the Great in Florida Celebrates a Consecration, Ordination, and Elevation

By Deborah Thieme

On May 7, 2016, St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Melbourne, Florida celebrated a Consecration, Ordination, and Elevation. The consecration of a church is a once in a lifetime event for a parish. It was especially eventful for this struggling mission parish, which had been meeting in various rented facilities for its 15-year existence. 

As a convert who only just celebrated my first Pascha as an Orthodox Christian this year, I beheld these events with wide-eyed wonder, and what follows is my feeble attempt to share this wonderful story with you.

But first, you should know how the story almost never came to be…

Memory Eternal! + Adele Helen Abraham

Adele Helen Kaleel Abraham, age 95, fell asleep peacefully in the Lord at her home on Thursday May 19, 2016. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband of 66 years, Abe, her parents Nicholas and Shafica Kaleel, sisters Mabel and Regina Kanag (George), brothers Naseeb (Elsie), Ernest (Laurece), and George, brothers-in-law Wade Abraham (Margaret), James Abraham (Georgette) and Dr. Thomas Bander.  Adele is survived by her four loving children Alan (Debbie), Cheryl (Sam) Barkett, Carol (Peter) Assaly, Kaye (Mike) Powell, ten very special grand-children Kristen (Fadi) Baradihi, Philip (Mindy) Abraham, Jeffrey (Nicole) Abraham, Brittany Abraham, Lauren Barkett, David (Kate) Barkett, Allison Assaly, Meredith Assaly, Melissa Powell and Rick Powell, nine great-grandchildren who she cherished Maya, Natalie, Alexa, Lea, Allie, Elise, Mark, Rita and Sammy, brother Thomas (Eva) Kaleel, sister-in-law Dolores Bander and many godchildren, nieces and nephews.

Adele was born in Spring Valley, Illinois on February 23, 1921. She graduated from Hall High School. Adele proudly worked for Westclox, a company that during World War II converted from making clocks to grenades to support the war effort. In 1947, Adele married the love of her life, Abe and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Adele embraced her role as a wife and mother; she loved being involved in her children’s school activities. She served as a Girl Scout troop leader and as PTA President.

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Liturgy at Balamand Monastery

On Sunday May 15, 2016, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided over a Divine Liturgy in Our Lady of Balamand Patriarchal Monastery in Lebanon. Also present was His Eminence Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui Tannous, Archbishop of Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean. 

Saint Katherine College is Awarded Regional Accreditation

Saint Katherine College(SKC), an Orthodox institution of higher learning in San Marcos, CA, has been awarded regional accreditation by WASCUC (WASC Senior College and University Commission). This represents the highest standard of accreditation in the United States. The WASCUC Commissioners commended the College for its outstanding interdisciplinary curriculum, focus on student-centered teaching and learning (9:1 student faculty ratio), and integration of faith and learning.

SKC is the first Orthodox Christian institution of higher education to earn regional accreditation in over 50 years, and is the only undergraduate Orthodox Christian institution of liberal arts and sciences in the nation.

Holy Trinity Seminary Press Releases Major Contribution to Middle Eastern Christian Studies

A comprehensive study of the history of the Orthodox Churches under Ottoman rule is now available. Arab Orthodox Christians under the Ottomans: 1516-1831 focuses on the middle period of the Ottoman Empire spanning the years from the Ottoman conquest of Syria in 1516 to the Egyptian invasion of 1831. It offers a vivid and compelling account of a vital but still little known and frequently misunderstood spiritual and political culture. The book is illustrated with full color pictures and maps. A glossary of terms is also provided.

The new English language edition is complemented by a Foreword from His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and all the East. He writes:

The Church of Antioch has faced many challenges throughout its two thousand year history, but through such hardship firm and unshakeable faith in the Lord is produced. As much as this was the case in the past it is true today, when our Antiochian people in the Middle East are enduring countless trials that cause some to even call into question their continued existence in the land of their ancestors.

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 May 15, 2016 (St. Joseph of Arimathea, Second Sunday after Pascha). May God grant him many years!

Learn more about Joseph of Arimathea
Read about Metropolitan Joseph

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Theodore Mikovich

On May 5th, 2016 the Very Rev. Archpriest Theodore J. Mikovich, formerly of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, reposed in the Lord. May his memory be eternal!

From the St. Paul Church website:

The Very Rev. Archpriest Theodore J. Mikovich (affectionately known as “Fr. Ted”) was born on September 18, 1945, to Orthodox parents, John and Anna (Goida) Mikovich in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania, with two sisters, Helen (Berezniak) and Dorothy (Macenka). He was baptized by the Rev. John Zeliniak in St. John’s American Russian Orthodox Church (American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese) in Nesquehoning. It was in this church that as a young boy he served as an acolyte. It was also at St. John’s that he began a life long career in teaching when he became a student religious education teacher. There he received the Boy Scouts of America “God and Country” Award, known in the Orthodox Church as the Alpha Omega Award.

Becoming Truly Human Webinar Update: Second Session is May 18

Webinar link

Christ is risen! Last week's webinar about the Becoming Truly Human program presented some technical difficulties for some who wished to watch, so we decided to move the hosting of our webinar for May 18th at 1 PM Eastern to a new software company. 

The webinar works in all browsers and also works on all smartphones. If you use a desktop computer, such as PC or Mac, you will be prompted to install a small plugin to view the webinar. No registration is required, to make it easier on our viewers.

Also, we will be joined by Nathan Jacobs, who was not on the previous webinar because he was in the middle of filming the new feature film on the Orthodox Church. 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support, and we acknowledge with gratitude the guidance of our Metropolitan in this fruitful ministry.

Announcing the 2016 Western Rite Vicariate Conference

August 9 -12, 2016 
St. Patrick Orthodox Church,
 Bealeton, Virginia
westernriteconference2016.wordpress.com

Registration Form (PDF)
Hotel Information (PDF)

The biennial conference of the Western Rite Vicariate will be held Tuesday, August 9 through Friday, August 12, 2016 at St. Patrick Orthodox Church in Bealeton, Virginia.

The theme for this year's conference will be based on these words from the Canon of the Mass:

"Remember, O Lord, ... all here present, whose faith and devotion are known and manifest unto thee: for whom we offer, or who them­selves offer to thee, this sacrifice of praise."

Presentations will focus on participating in and assisting at the Mass.

Bishop John (Abdalah), Vicar Bishop for the Western Rite Vicariate, will preside at all liturgical services, and will be one of the presenters. He will also address the clergy and laity on various Vicariate matters. Other presenters will include the V. Rev. Michael Keiser, the V. Rev. John Mangels, the V. Rev. John W. Fenton, and V. Rev. Edward Hughes, Vicar General for the Vicariate.

Photos from Metropolitan Joseph's Pascha Celebration

On April 30 and May 1, 2016, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided over the Paschal Services at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Concelebrating with him were Cathedral Dean, the Very Rev. Thomas Zain; the Rev. Adrian Budica; and Deacon Andre El Hajj.

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Mary Ellen Braun

Memory Eternal! Khouria Mary Ellen Braun
September 8, 1931—April 29, 2016 (Holy Friday)

Mary Ellen was born to Ernest and Mabel Risell on September 8, 1931 in Turlock, CA, the second of four children. After graduating from Turlock High School in 1949, she attended Modesto Junior College and then San Jose State University, from which she graduated in 1953 with a degree in Elementary Education.

In 1951 Mary Ellen met her future husband, the Very Reverend Jon Braun, at Mt. Herman Christian Conference Center, located in the Santa Cruz mountains, where they were both on the summer staff. They were married in 1953 in San Jose, CA. From 1954 to 1970, they labored together in Christian youth ministry in Pasadena, Chicago, Minneapolis, Miami, Atlanta, Lake Arrowhead, CA and Leavenworth, WA as a result of their strong commitment to Christian service.

Metropolitan Joseph Offers Prayers After Tragic Cathedral Fire

Interior of St. Sava Cathedral after fireInterior of St. Sava Cathedral after fireChrist is Risen!

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, along with the bishops, clergy, Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, share our prayers and love with His Grace Bishop Mitrophan and all the faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Archdiocese as they deal with the tragedy of the fire that destroyed St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City. As we just finished celebrating the Holy Fire of the empty tomb of our risen Lord and Savior, a different, terrible fire was destroying this historic cathedral in Manhattan. May our risen Lord and Savior grant peace and healing to the Cathedral community as they move forward and begin anew.

For more information, visit the St. Sava Cathedral website.

 

Vocations Day for East Coast Teens and Young Adults + May 14

from OCA.org:

“Exploring Ministry: A Day in NYC to Discover How You Can Serve the Church” will be the focus of a gathering for Orthodox Christian teens and young adults interested in exploring the many opportunities available to serve the Church at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, 59 East Second Street, New York, NY on Saturday, May 14, 2016.

Sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of New York and New Jersey and funded by a grant from the Forum for Theological Education, the day will begin at 10:00 a.m. with prayers and opening remarks by His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, followed by a panel discussion and question-and-answer session on vocations.  Panelists who will share their stories and field questions include men and women currently serving the Church in a variety of ways as hospital and military chaplains, parish priests, deacons, choir directors, and theology professors.

Metropolitan Joseph honors Fr. Paul Doyle and Fr. George Aquaro

Following Bridegroom Orthros on Holy Monday night at St. Matthew Church in Torrance, California, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph surprised two faithful priests of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America with special honors for their service to Christ’s holy Church. As Protopsaltis Kenneth Woolsey put it, “It was like the joy of Pascha came early.”

Sayidna Joseph bestowed upon the Very Rev. Paul Doyle the high honor of the Gold Order of St. Raphael for his more than four decades of priestly ministry in a variety of capacities. To name but a few: founding pastor of St. Matthew Church, dean of the Southern California Deanery, and Protosyngellos of the Archdiocese. Father Paul has retired from those ministries, but he remains an active and trusted spiritual father to countless clergy and laity. He received his award with his typical humility. Sayidna Joseph remarked that Fr. Paul’s sole agenda has always been to serve the Lord and His people.

Metropolitan Joseph Honors Archdeacon George Shishim on His Fortieth Anniversary in the Diaconate

Palm Sunday of 2016 marked a special day for the senior-most deacon of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America: the fortieth anniversary of the ordination of Archdeacon George Shishim to the holy diaconate. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph led a special celebration after the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, where Archdeacon George has faithfully served for all four decades of his ministry. (View the St. Nicholas Cathedral photo gallery)

Since his ordination on Palm Sunday in 1976 by Bishop Elia Saliba (now Metropolitan of Hama, Syria), “Arch” – as Sayidna Joseph calls him – has trained dozens of men to serve at the holy altar. Many of them started as altar boys and would later become lay leaders, subdeacons, deacons and priests.

Joint Prayer Service Held for Aleppo Bishops

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, a joint prayer service was held at St. Gabriel Syriac Orthodox Church in Haworth, NJ, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the kidnapping of Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and Archbishop Youhanna of Aleppo. The event, sponsored by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches (SCOOCH), was well attended by faithful from the surrounding area.

Special speakers included His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, who serves as First Vice-Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops; His Eminence Archbishop Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Delegate, Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Eastern USA; His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Chairman of SCOOCH and Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church; and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After the prayer service a Lenten meal was served in the fellowship hall.

AV Bookstore Announces Pascha Sale

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Publications Center & AV Bookstore announces a sale, in time for Pascha purchasing.

Sale items include:

  • The Myrrh-bearing Women icon, 10 x 8 photo print on wood (commissioned in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah by the Antiochian Women)
  • Wood budded Cross, with inset 3-bar cross; Laser cut detail, 8” tall, 6.75” wide
  • And more!

 

Spring 2016 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2016 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, and the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest. The issue contains:

  • Pastoral Message from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
  • Photos and first person stories
  • Profiles of diocesan officers

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

New Guide to Holy Week and Pascha Services Available

A new booklet by the Very Reverend Ayman Kfouf, pastor of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Sylvania, Ohio, has been released in time for this year's observances of Holy Week and Pascha, 2016. The booklet, Journey to Pascha: An Explanation of the Holy Week Services, also includes introductions by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Anthony.

Noted a reviewer, "Understanding the true meaning of the liturgical and theological themes of the Holy Week and Pascha allows us to participate in these services more fruitfully and profoundly....The simplified language of this guide is intended to speak to the average faithful and to help them understand the true meaning of the Holy Week services. In spite of this simplicity, however, this guide offers a complete interpretation of the vast majority of the theological and liturgical themes and practices of the Holy Week with Pascha."

Order a copy of Journey to Pascha from Amazon

Metropolitan Joseph Meets with CAMECT (Christian Arab and Middle Eastern Churches Together)

On Monday, April 4, 2016, His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph attended a meeting of CAMECT (Christian Arab and Middle Eastern Churches Together) at the Armenian Orthodox Prelacy in New York. His Eminence was accompanied by the Archdiocese Vicar General, Archpriest Thomas Zain. Nearly all of the various churches with their roots in the Middle East were represented by their respective hierarchs or a representative.

There were two main items on the agenda for the spring meeting. The first was a dialogue with the New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner, William Bratten. This was a very welcomed and enlightening dialogue as it was the first time such a meeting has taken place with the leaders of the NYPD and the New York Middle Eastern Christian community. Both sides agreed to further the dialogue in the months to come. Other representatives of the NYPD from the Arab-American community were present and gave their input on how both groups can work together to help build bridges and keep our neighborhoods safe.

Memory Eternal! + Nassif Elias Abdallah Saliba

Memory Eternal! + Nassif Elias Abdallah Saliba
(Former mayor of Abu Mezan)

Nassif Elias Abdallah Saliba fell asleep in the Lord in Lebanon on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at age 94. Beloved husband of the late Adma Saliba, he was also the cherished father of five girls: Najat (Nick Nicola) of Danville, California; late Daad (Fayez Chalhoub) of Nakach, Lebanon; Dr. Amal (Dr. Gregory Dalack) of Ann Arbor, Michigan; Bahaa (Gabriel Nasr) of Bickfaya, Lebanon and Attorney Ghada (Nassif Malouf) of San Francisco; Beloved brother of the late Metropolitan Philip Saliba of Thrice-Blessed Memory; Dr. Najib (Elaine) Saliba of Worcester, MA, and the late Chaheed Saliba and Nazira Ibrahim Kfouree. He was loving Jiddo of 13 grandchildren, and great grandfather of two great-grandchildren.

Nassif, most tender of hearts, loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren so dearly. He
had a great relationship with many patriarchs, metropolitans, and clergy of the Antiochian Patriarchate, and defended the church and his Orthodox Faith on many occasions. The Funeral Service will be on Saturday
April 2 at 4:00 pm at St. Nicholas church, Shreen, Lebanon. The Saliba family will receive relatives and friends on Friday and Sunday, April 1 and 3, 2016, between 10:00 am, and 7:00pm at their home in Shreen and on Saturday, April 2, at the hall of St. Nicholas in Shreen.

 

Syrian Relief Gathering to Benefit IOCC's Middle East Outreach

On Sunday, April 17, 2016 the IOCC Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee plans to hold a prayer service and fund raising dinner that will benefit our Syrian brothers and sisters. This "Syrian Relief" gathering will be held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. We would like to cordially invite your Parish to attend, and support IOCC's aid efforts in Syria. The recent conflict has been devastating. It has resulted in the displacement of a substantial percentage of the population which is now hungry, homeless, and lacking essential items. (Please see below)

Last year Archbishop Melchisedek, Metropolitan Savas, Bishop Thomas, Bishop Dr. Mitrophan, Bishop Daniel and Metropolitan Theodosius (retired) lead our Syrian Relief gathering. This year we are hoping to more fully engage all of the Orthodox jurisdictions and faithful in this Orthodox offering of love, prayer, and mercy. Please join us!

Second Sunday in Lent: St. Gregory Palamas

Planting the doctrines of Orthodoxy, uprooting the thistles of wicked opinion, O blessed one, and growing well the plant of faith with the rain of thy sayings, thou didst offer to God, like a good farmer, ears a hundred fold.

+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 1

On the second Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the teachings of St. Gregory Palamas, who upheld the Orthodox doctrine that humans can know God not only through the intellect but through experience of His uncreated energies. 

... every day we should stand in awe of Him, as He is with us, and do what is pleasing before Him. If we are unable now to perceive Him with our physical eyes, we can, if we are watchful, see Him continuously with the eyes of our understanding, and not just see Him, but reap great benefits from Him. This vision destroys all sin, demolishes all evil, and drives away everything bad. It gives birth to purity and dispassion, and bestows eternal life.   + St. Gregory Palamas

Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches to Hold Common Prayer Service

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Public Invited to Gathering on Evening of Thursday, April 21, in Haworth, N.J.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America (SCOOCH) are pleased to announce that a “Common Prayer Service” will be held on the evening of Thursday, April 21, 2016, at St. Gabriel Syriac Orthodox Church (750 Sunset Avenue) in Haworth, N.J.  The service will begin at 7:00 p.m.

This service is meant to bring people together as they pray for the safety of two Syrian hierarchs held in captivity—Syriac Orthodox Archbishop John Ibrahim, and Antiochian (Greek) Orthodox Metropolitan Paul Yazigi—and for all suffering calamities in the Middle East. This gesture of solidarity between the Assembly of Bishops and SCOOCH also marks the commencement of the organizations’ shared work.

The distinguished speakers during the service will include His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly of Bishops and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Eastern Armenian Church of America and Chairman of SCOOCH; His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese; and Archbishop Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Delegate of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Eastern U.S.A.

The Assembly of Bishops and SCOOCH invite all residents and visitors of the Tri-State Area to join our communities in prayer on the evening of April 21st.

Media Contacts:

Armenian Diocese – Mr. Chris Zakian
chrisz@armeniandiocese.org  (212-686-0710) 

Antiochian Publications Center & AV Bookstore Sale: Holy Week and Pascha

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Publications Center & AV Bookstore SALE!
Holy Week and Pascha service books, icons and CDs
Download flyer (PDF)

Services of Holy Week and Pascha Hardcover, 3rd edition and Holy Unction service booklet 4th edition, 2009
Resurrection icons by the hand of Erin Kimmet

AND

Byzantine Hymns, 2nd edition: “Let my Prayer Arise”
Father Elias Bitar singing from his heart the hymns of Holy Week, and other liturgical hymns of the Church
plus "Lamentations," an excellent recording of the best loved hymns of Holy Week, drawing from Byzantine (Antiochian, Greek, & Romanian), Serbian, Russian, and Bulgarian traditions, by the mixed ensemble “Archangel Voices”

Click on the items in the flyer for direct links to the Bookstore pages.