Skip to Navigation

News

Metropolitan Joseph's Formative Years: A Reflection

November 2, 2008: Metropolitan Joseph stands with his lifelong mentor and spiritual father Patriarch Ignatius IV in Boston before the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy.November 2, 2008: Metropolitan Joseph stands with his lifelong mentor and spiritual father Patriarch Ignatius IV in Boston before the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy.His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph Reflects on Early Lessons Learned from His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch and All the East

by Subdeacon Peter Samore

All he knew was that he was going to Balamand. Everything else was in God's hands.

In 1964, a 13-year-old Joseph Al-Zehlaoui had been recruited by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East to study at a newly established secondary school next to the seminary and monastery at Balamand near Tripoli, Lebanon. His parents, Georgi and Matilda, had consented to send their fifth of six children at a tender age to a sacred place to know our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ; and to learn how to serve His Holy Church.

Nowadays, the automobile drive between Damascus, young Joseph's hometown, and Tripoli takes just a few hours. In 1964, the drive took several days. And it took several automobiles – taxicabs – to transport the future Metropolitan of North America to his educational and spiritual center. He had some company: boys who would grow up to become Metropolitan Damaskinos Mansour of Brazil; Metropolitan George Abu-Zakhem of Homs, Syria; and Archimandrite Elias Bitar, a legendary priest of the North American archdiocese.

OCF's Day of Prayer Begins on the Eve of Great Lent

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, has announced that its annual observance of a Day of Prayer will be held from February 22-23, 2015, from 6 p.m. on the Sunday of Forgiveness, to 6 p.m. on Clean Monday.

The Day of Prayer program unites the various chapters across North America in unceasing prayer at the start of Great Lent. Chapters on college and university campuses sign up for a time, with each school taking a one-hour slot to pray for themselves, their chapters, their fellow students, and loved ones. 

"We invite anyone to submit prayer requests for family members and friends," notes the OCF's website. "Your submissions will be forwarded to each chapter participating in the Day of Prayer to be included in their prayers."

View the resources for the Day of Prayer

 

Report on U.S. Monasteries Released by Assembly of Bishops

The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PAThe Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PAIn late January, 2015, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America published a new report, written by the Assembly's Research Coordinator Alexei Krindatch, on monastic communities within the United States. There are more than 70 such communities, with significant differences in size, liturgical practices, openness to outside visitors, and educational programs.

The report was issued by the Assembly's Committee for Monastic Communities, which is tasked with studying and comparing Orthodox monastic communities in the United States.. Accordingly, this study was designed as a first step toward that goal. The report's findings are based on a survey that was conducted of all Orthodox monastic communities in the United States in late 2013 and early 2014.

Read the full report.

Summer Memories, Spiritual Growth: Sign Up Your Child for Camp!

Even while winter is still bringing snow and rain, summer camp registration for Antiochian Village is open, and spots are filling up quickly, with 925 campers already registered. Notes the Village Facebook page, "...keep in mind that last year, most sessions were full by the end of February, so make sure you register right away!" After a session is full, parents can phone the Village's office at 724-238-9565, to be added to the Wait List. Those new to Antiochian Village must set up a family account online before calling the office to be added to the List. 

In addition to the camping experience provided by Antiochian Village, there are seven regional camps all over the United States and Canada, serving hundreds of children throughout the summer. The Department of Camping explains that each program is overseen, "to insure that the highest safety guidelines are followed, a consistent program is presented at all of our camps, accreditation is maintained, and oversees the distribution of the Order of St. Ignatius Scholarships to each camp." (Find the list and more information here.)

Contact the The Order of Ignatius to learn about schoalrships for camp.

Archdiocese Launches New Website Design

The Archdiocese unveiled a new website design for www.antiochian.org on February 1, 2015, as part of a series of planned major improvements to her online ministry. The improvements introduced with the launch of the new design represent the cumulative work of a multi-year project of the Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministry.

Work on a new visual presentation for the website began in earnest in late 2012, under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory. After a pause with his repose and the past eventful year in the life of the Archdiocese, the design has been concluded under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, and the hierarchical overseer of the department, His Grace Bishop Nicholas.

The Archdiocese website has been in continual operation for twenty years, and since 2008 has been the primary responsibility of the Department of Internet Ministry. The website is one of the most popular English-language Orthodox Christian resources available, with an audience that has grown to 100,000 unique visitors each month, resulting in over a quarter million monthly pageviews. Included on the site are over 20,000 distinct pages, and extensive collections of graphics and documents.

The core team at the Department of Internet Ministry has been in place since 2008, and consists of director Douglas Cramer, and editors Virginia Nieuwsma and Andrew Frishman. Technical support has been provided since 2013 by SNP Technologies of Hamden, Connecticut, and their project lead Michael Brooks. Graphic design concepts and consulting for the new design were provided by Fr. Joel Wilson (OCA) of Rolla Creative of Rolla, Missouri.

Bishop Nicholas Delivers Schmemann Lecture on the Ministry of St. Raphael

On January 30, 2015, His Grace Bishop Nicholas engaged his audience in a fascinating historical look at "The Life and Ministry of St. Raphael of Brooklyn" during the 32nd Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture, held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), attended the evening lecture.

Bishop Nicholas holds several engineering degrees as well as a Master of Divinity degree awarded with Highest Distinction from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He speaks Arabic and English fluently and has a working knowledge of French, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, New Testament Greek, and Modern Greek. His Grace administers the Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. and also serves as the assistant to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

Memory Eternal! + Rev. Dn. David Daumit

Deacon David Daumit of St. George Church in Phoenix, Arizona, fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, January 28, 2015. His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days, to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life, and to remember his loved ones in your prayers for the living.

Ordained to the Holy Diaconate on March 21, 2010, Dn. David had been serving at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ, with The Very Rev. Christopher Salamy.

In addition to holding his M.Div. and M.A. in Religious Education from St. Vladimir's Seminary, Dn. David also earned an M.S. degree in Gerontology. He specialized on caring for the aged and infirm throughout his professional career, and was the Founder and CEO of New Dawn Memory Care in Scottsdale, AZ, a firm that provides residential care for seniors living with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The New Dawn website says that he "was elected to the National Board of the Alzheimer's Association. In 1990 in conjunction with the greater Washington chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, he developed the first specialized activities program for Alzheimer's residents."

The schedule of services is as follows:

Sunday, Feb 1, 2015--Trisagion Prayers following Divine Liturgy
Thursday, Feb 5, 2015--Viewing from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. and Trisagion at 6:30 p.m., St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
Friday, Feb 6, 2015--Funeral 10 a.m., followed by the Interment at Paradise Memorial Gardens
A Meal of Mercy will be offered in memory of Dn. David in The Legacy Ballroom following the interment.May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Celebrate St. Raphael! Posters Depict His Legacy

Saint Raphael left a legacy of 30 churches to the Antiochian Archdiocese. These beautiful small posters have been prepared so our children may learn about Saint Raphael. The posters show the parishes, and with vintage photos offer some clues as to how Bishop Raphael made his way around in the early 20th century. Some photographs of his parish visits still exist and were also included.

The posters are free—online only at www.antiochian.org/festivals/cf/posters-2015. Download the files (file name in quotes) onto a USB drive and take them to Staples or Office Max. (Some print centers will download from a website.) Each poster is available in two sizes, 8.5 x 14 (legal size) and 11 x 17 (ledger size). There are also posters with the troparion and logo.

Youth Workers Meet at Antiochian Village, Announce New Events

Youth workers representing Orthodox jurisdictions from across the country met at Antiochian Village on January 22, 2015, and are excited to announce a new series of unprecedented, inter-jurisdictional "Be the Bee" themed events. "Be the Bee" is a popular weekly video podcast hosted by Steven Christoforou, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's Youth Protection/Parish Ministries Coordinator.

Orthodox youth and young adults are invited to a series of monthly, day-long retreats. Each month, from August 2015 to May 2016, "Be the Bee" will be visiting a different city across the United States, offering Orthodox youth an opportunity to worship, learn, and have fun together. Retreats will also offer programs for young adults, parents, and youth workers. For more information, please contact the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese at y2am@goarch.org.

Additionally, Orthodox teens and parents are also invited to a "Be the Bee" retreat Veteran's Day weekend next year, November 11-13, 2016. It will be held at Camp Nazareth, in the Pittsburgh area, and will offer a unique, multi-day "Be the Bee" experience. For more information, please contact campnazareth@acrod.org.

Youth workers are also invited to next year's Orthodox Youth Workers and Camp Conference, to be held January 28-30, 2016. For more information, please contact the Orthodox Church in America's Chair for the Department of Youth, Youth Adult, and Campus Ministry, Andrew Boyd, at aboyd@oca.org.

February 8 is National Scout Sunday

The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting, an endorsed agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, released the following letter announcing this year's annual recognition of Scouting programs.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

On Sunday, February 8, 2015, Scouts all over the United States will celebrate National Scout Sunday. Scout Sunday is an annual event among all faiths which recognize the good work that is done by Scouts in our religious communities. The observance of Scout Sunday tradition was started years ago to make people in the church aware of Scouting, and to allow Scouts to live out of what is pledged each week, The Scout Law says that a "Scout is Reverent" and the Scouts of all ages promise to do their "Duty to God". These values strengthen youth character in their family, community and faith. That is why this Sunday is set aside to honor God and to remind us that we are all His Creatures and made in His Image or more precisely - to image (reflect) Him to the world.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishop of the Americas has designated this also as Orthodox Scout Sunday. Through the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS], the Assembly and its predecessor, SCOBA, have been actively supporting both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the USA since the 1960's.

Assembly Delegation to Participate in March for Life

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America will send a delegation to the annual March for Life, Thursday, January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. The date marks the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Metropolitan Methodios will lead the delegation. He will be joined by Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Michael, and Bishop Demetrios Mokissos. Metropolitan Tikhon will deliver the invocation at the annual Rose Dinner at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington DC on the evening of the 22nd. On the evening before the March, Metropolitan Methodios will attend the National Prayer Vigil for Life at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

The rally begins at noon on the National Mall at 12th Street. Orthodox Christian marchers will gather to the right of the stage under the "Orthodox Christians for Life" banner and signs. The march begins at 1 PM and processes down Constitution Avenue to the US Supreme Court, where prayers for the victims of abortion will be offered.

Theophany Water Blessings Make Local News

Dn. John Mahfouz, Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Salt Lake City (Chelsey Allder/Deseret News)Dn. John Mahfouz, Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Salt Lake City (Chelsey Allder/Deseret News)On the feast of the Theophany of Our Lord or Epiphany on January 6, 2015, our Antiochian clergy and parishes journeyed to nearby bodies of water for The Great Blessing of the Waters. Several media outlets published articles and photographs from these services; excerpts and links are included below.

Deseretnews.com: "Epiphany: priests bless water, 'essence of life'"

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of Orthodox Christians gathered at Sugarhouse Park Tuesday to be blessed during a service of sanctification and commemoration of Jesus' baptism.

More than 60 members of the Orthodox Christian community lined up as the Rev. Justin Havens of Sts. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Salt Lake dipped a bundle of branches into holy water and sprinkled it on parishioners' heads.

Memory Eternal! + Fr. N. Constantine Masood

Memory Eternal! Father N. Constantine Masood of Duxbury, Massachusetts fell asleep in Christ on January 16, 2015 at age 75. Prior to his retirement, Fr. Constantine served parishes in Danbury, Connecticut; Beckley, West Virginia; New Kensington, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Beaumont, Texas; South Glens Falls, New York; and Omaha, Nebraska. He is survived by his wife Khouriya Diana, their six children, seventeen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements may be found here. Memorial donations in his memory may be made to St. Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Church, 261 Main St., Kingston, MA. 02364 

Blessed Name's Days to Bishops Antoun and Anthony!

January 17th is the celebration of St. Anthony the Great and the name's days of His Grace Bishop Antoun of the Diocese of Miami and of His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo. May God grant them many years!

APOLYTIKION OF ST. ANTHONY THE GREAT, TONE 4 

Thou didst become like the zealous Elijah in his condition, and followed John the Baptist in his upright ways, becoming a dweller in the wilderness and an establisher of the universe by thy prayer, O Father Anthony. Wherefore, intercede thou with Christ God to save our souls.

Dr. Maria Khoury to Visit Miami and Boston Areas

Dr. Maria C. Khoury, author of Christina Goes to the Holy Land, will be in the Miami and Boston areas and available for book signings and/or discussions about the Christian community in the Holy Land. Dr. Khoury will be be in Miami from March 19 to March 31 and in the Boston area from approximately April 23 to May 27, 2015.

If your church is interested in hosting a program, please contact Dr. Khoury directly at khourymaria@hotmail.com.

Description of Holy Land Presentation:

Maria Khoury uses her personal life experiences living in the West Bank, the Palestinian Occupied Territories, to bring greater awareness of how conditions are on the ground for Christians specifically, and Palestinians in general, who suffer day to day under Israeli military occupation trying to do simple things like going to work, school, etc. She speaks from the perspective of being a woman, mother, an Orthodox Christian and community activist. A sample of her opinions can been viewed on one of the interviews on the multimedia page www.saintgeorgetaybeh.org.

OCABS Symposium: January 22-25, Phoenix, AZ

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Phoenix, AZSt. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Phoenix, AZThe 2015 Symposium of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS), will be held January 22-25, 2015, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Phoenix, AZ. (Download a detailed schedule.)

Building upon the success of OCABS's inaugural symposium, papers presented at the 2015 Symposium will be published in the Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies.

OCABS is committed to empowering current and future generations of teachers and scholars already possessing a love for Scripture. This dynamic collaborative enterprise cannot help but benefit the lives of students and parishioners in a world in need of hearing the divine Word.

Memory Eternal! + Ann Kafoure Freije

Fr. Nabil Hanna of St. George Church in Fishers, IN writes:

Beloved in Christ,

I regret to inform you that Ann Kafoure Freije left us for the heavenly mansions on Friday, January 9th, 2015. A lifelong member and tireless worker here at St. George's, we will miss Ann as much as we rejoice in her well-deserved rest. As a testament to her faithful service, she was a recipient of the Midwest Antiochian Women's Metropolitan Philip Award as well as of our parish's St. George Award.

Climacus Conference To Discuss the Theme of Beauty

The fifth Climacus Conference, featuring the theme "BEAUTY, Truth, and Goodness Will Save Us," is scheduled for February 13-14, 2015, at St. Michael Orthodox Church in Louisville, KY. The conference is a pan-Orthodox intellectual and spiritual event featuring scholars and voices across the fields of Theology, Philosophy, Patristics, Classical Education, Literature, History and Politics. It is unique in that it provides an opportunity for people to be enriched by thinking well across disciplines. It furthers the life of the mind through scholarly engagement with the classic liberal arts, but approaches such an endeavor through the spiritual nous, the mind of the heart, enabling our ascension "of the ladder" (κλίμακος), as inspired by St. John Climacus and his Ladder of Divine Ascent.

IOCC Provides Vital Winter Relief For War-Weary Syria

January 9, 2015

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Freezing temperatures, heavy snow and chilling winds sweeping across Syria are putting thousands of young lives in jeopardy as displaced mothers struggle helplessly to keep their small children warm and sheltered from the harsh winter conditions. Many live in shelled out buildings with no doors or windows to keep frigid weather out, or in temporary shelters with no heat. The need for warm clothing is great.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding with the distribution of handmade sweater sets for 600 children crafted last summer by 34 displaced Syrian women taught to knit through a cash-for-work program. IOCC and its church partner in Syria, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA), offered the one-month training as a way to help Syria's most vulnerable families achieve some financial independence. The new skills help provide vital income for the women and their families while displaced Syrian children benefit by receiving warm clothes to protect them against bitter cold.

Endowment Established to Honor Dr. George J. Farha

Students from Christ the Savior AcademyStudents from Christ the Savior AcademyDr. George J. Farha didn't like big events. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke, people listened. So, when the idea of forming the first Orthodox day school in Kansas was presented to Dr. George and a group of his peers in 2009, he listened quietly, looked around the room and then proclaimed, "This school must happen. I'm going to support it, and I want each of you to support it too."

It is fitting, then, that five years later, the Dr. George J. Farha Endowment for Christ the Savior Academy is being established on the one-year anniversary of his passing on January 7 a year ago. The goal of the endowment is to raise $1 million, and the Trustees of the endowment board are asking Dr. George's friends and colleagues to join the family in raising the funds.

"It is my desire to secure his dream long-term for the Academy," said Brenda Farha, Dr. George's wife. "I believe with all of my heart that my husband would be so pleased, you see, this school was his dream."

Noted Antiochian Scholar Fr. Paul Tarazi Honored at Retirement Dinner

The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, in whose honor former students founded the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies, recently retired from teaching this year after forty-four years of service at St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary, Holy Cross School of Theology, and the St. John of Damascus Theological Institute in Balamand, Lebanon. As many as thirty former students gathered from around the world to attend Fr. Paul's final class at St. Vladimir's Seminary, and to honor him at a special retirement dinner. They were joined by his brother Nouhad, who traveled from Lebanon, his daughter Reem, and his youngest son, Bassam. 

Even into the final years of his illustrious career, Fr. Paul remained extremely active, having published during that time no fewer than ten books and a two-volume set of audio commentaries covering the entire Bible. Father Paul's unparalleled zeal for the Bible continues unabated in his retirement. He is translating his comprehensive audio commentaries on the Bible into Arabic, in a labor of love for the sake of his mother church in Antioch, offered in the hope of bringing solace to Christians in the Middle East during these difficult times. He is also currently completing work on the Chrysostom Bible Commentary series, with forthcoming books on Ephesians, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude. 

Father Paul's retirement is a great loss for students of the Bible; however, his growing collection of writings and the continued work of OCABS will remain to serve future generations seeking the light of God's instruction.

Vicar General Interviewed Regarding Plight of Middle Eastern Christians

Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and Dean of St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, was interviewed by Jeanine Pirro of Fox News recently, about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The interview was part of an ongoing series, "Christians Under Attack: A Justice Investigation." Noted Fr. Thomas, "Extremism is affecting all of the minorities in Syria, not just Christians."

Many Years to His Grace Bishop Basil!

Many years, master! January 1st is the celebration of St. Basil the Great and the name's day of His Grace Bishop Basil. May God grant him many years!

Apolytikion of St. Basil, Tone 1

In all the earth that received thy sayings, thy melody did resound, O righteous father, through which thou didst go about and proclaim, as worthy of God, the nature of creatures, cultivating the character of mankind, O thou of kingly Priesthood, Basil. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.

St. Panteleimon Fellowship: A Society for the Practice of Orthodox Christian Healthcare

Christ healing the Paralytic (6th C. Mosaic)Christ healing the Paralytic (6th C. Mosaic)Greetings, Orthodox healthcare professionals!

With the approval of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Basil (Antiochian Archdiocese of North America), the St. Panteleimon Fellowship has been launched for the benefit of all Orthodox health care professionals. This new organization has emerged from the coordinated efforts of Deacon Luke Stauffer, MD of St. Thomas Orthodox Mission in Frederickburg, TX and Father Symeon Kees of St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX.

The Great Martyr Panteleimon, a physician counted among the Unmercenary Healers of the Church, is our patron. Orthodox physicians, nurses, and all others who work in health care are invited into the Fellowship. Since the Church has always held the healing of the soul and body together, Orthodox clergy are certainly welcome. While our organization is currently rooted in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, all Orthodox Christians from our sister canonical jurisdictions are welcome. Indeed, the founders hope that the efforts of the Fellowship will create opportunities for health care professionals to share the Orthodox Way to non-Orthodox workers as well.

If you would like to be added to our email list, contact Alexandra Funchess (cafunchess@gmail.com). For more information, please download the St. Panteleimon Fellowships inaugural newsletter (PDF).

Let us confess the presence of Him who is both King and Physician. For Jesus the King when about to become our Physician, girded Himself with the linen of humanity, and healed that which was sick.

- St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Nativity Outreach to the Homeless Hosted by St. George in Orlando

By Archpriest John Hamatie, St. George Orthodox Church, Orlando

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a man of traditions. All of us have fond memories and traditions of the Nativity of Our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus—also known as Christmas. I remember that as a child, I would not allow myself to be at home when the Christmas tree was taken down. In fact, I keep two trees up throughout the year-one Orthodox (decorated with small paper icons), and one secular. We also invite those who are alone to join us at Christmas dinner.

One tradition is the annual Christmas party for the homeless held at our Church of St. George in Orlando every December. On Friday, December 19, 2014, we had the joy and privilege to gather with over 400 homeless men, women and children and 111 volunteers to rejoice in the Lord. We hosted a band and set up tables with linens in our parking lot. The whole event was Christ-centered, as are all the feedings of the homeless at St. George's.