His Grace Bishop BASIL has appointed Fr. John Mefrige of St. Ephraim the Syrian Church in San Antonio, Texas to begin the process of organizing a "DOWAMA Consortium of Professional Counselors" to be a resource for clergy in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. Professional counselors in the Diocese are encouraged to download and submit a registration (PDF). For more information, please contact Fr. John Mefrige at FrJohnMefrige@aol.com.
Due to the severe storm that hit the Northeast on Saturday, March 13, there has been no power or telephone service at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey since Saturday. At this point, there is no reliable estimate as to the restoral time. We apologize to all those who have been unable to contact the office since Saturday.
Update Thursday, March 18: Electricity and phone service have been restored, and communications can return to normal. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage.
On March 3, 2010, an unexpected and out of the ordinary visitor arrived at the edge of the Antiochian Village property. A small black bear was sighted in a tree. A Game Comissioner was called in. He sedated the bear and gave it a mask to protect its eyes and mouth while being moved.
The Game Comissioner confirmed that this is out of the ordinary. After examination, it is clear that this young bear is ill and thin. He came out of hibernation early, and finding no food, he tried to locate some in the neighbor's garbage.
The Game Commission assured Mother Alexandra that sleeping beauty will be medicated, fed, and released somewhere good for bears.
The 2nd Annual Encountering Eastern Orthodoxy Conference presents…
Let God Arise (and let His enemies be scattered):
The RESURRECTION of CHRIST in Eastern Orthodox Theology & Worship
with Deacon Nicholas V. Belcher, M.Div., Dean of Students, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology - Boston, MA, and guests, including His Grace Bishop MARK of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest
+For complete description & campus map, please visit www.hope.edu.
NEW YORK – The video presentation of “Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ,” a program highlighting Orthodox Christian Pascha, or Easter, will broadcast on NBC affiliates nationwide this April. The program, produced by Greek Orthodox Telecommunications and sponsored by FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, highlights Holy and Great Week, focusing on the deeply moving and ancient services that recount the Gospel narrative leading to the Death and Resurrection of Christ. Archbishop Demetrios of America leads a procession of the faithful around the church and outside where, following the reading of the Gospel of the Resurrection, they proclaim the joyous hymn “Christ is Risen!”
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is working with affiliates nationwide, urging them to broadcast the program within their local area. Broadcast information will be posted as soon as it becomes available from affiliates.
For more information on coverage please log on to www.goarch.org/special/paschatv.
DVD copies of the program available for pre-sale ($25, plus $6 shipping). To pre-purchase please contact the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Communications at 212.774.0244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies is pleased to announce publication of the latest addition to the Chrysostom Bible Series, Romans: A Commentary. In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, explains that Romans, "the one gospel meant for all the nations living in the Roman empire East and West," was addressed to the capital city and positioned at the beginning of the Pauline corpus to emphasize the universality of St. Paul's teaching. Not only Romans, he argues, but all of Paul's epistles were meant to be read at church gatherings everywhere, "together with the Old Testament." The book is available in both e-book and paperback versions.
The V. Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi is Professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He is the author of a three volume Introduction to the Old Testament, a four volume Introduction to the New Testament, Galatians: A Commentary, I Thessalonians: A Commentary, Land and Covenant, and the Chrysostom Bible, Genesis: A Commentary and Philippians: A Commentary. His Audio Bible Commentaries on the books of the New Testament are available online through the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS).
Mrs. Jean Miriam Card Walker, 100, died on March 1, 2010, at the Little Flower Assisted Living Community in Charlotte, NC. Mrs. Walker was born in Dora, AL, on April 15, 1909, and lived in Palmerdale, Alabama, for 50 years before moving to Charlotte in 1986. She is survived by two sons, Fr. Gordon Thomas Walker, Sr. (Mary Sue) founding priest and pastor emeritus of St. Ignatius Church in Franklin, TN; and Phillip Jackson Walker of Charlotte; a daughter, Mary Exa Walker Crew (Steve) of Charlotte; and numerous grand-,great-, and great-great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Mrs. Walker was preceded in death by her loving husband of 50 years, G. T. Walker, Jr.; a daughter, Alice Jean Walker; and a son, David Richard Walker, Sr. (Carol). Jean personally cared for Alice, a loving special needs child, for over 60 years. Jean and G. T. were charter members of First Baptist Church of Palmerdale, where Jean sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, and served in many other capacities. She later taught the Sonshine special needs Sunday school class at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte. Jean’s life was marked by service and quiet giving to those in need.
A service of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, March 6, at 10 AM at Roebuck Chapel, 9012 Parkway East, Birmingham, AL, 35206, the Rev. B. J. Strickland of Huntsville officiating. The family will receive friends from 4:30-8 PM on Friday, March 5, at Roebuck Chapel. Younger family members will serve as pall bearers. Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Palmerdale, AL, 35123.
Valentine’s weekend is usually a time for sweethearts to get together and celebrate their love for each other. Here in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during this time, parishioners of St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church and members of the Archdiocese were celebrating love as well, but love for the Church in the form of stewardship. The ground breaking ceremonies for the new John and Hooda Germack Hall took place over this wonderful weekend with lots of events and fun.
The events started Friday night with a dinner welcoming His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP where the plans and the model for the new hall were presented by Architect Alex Khoury to the Metropolitan, Parish Council, and a few Archdiocese Board of Trustees members. This event was hosted by Salim and Deborah Khoury at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club. There was a short question and answer session about the new hall which was very informative. At the same time, the weekend chairman, Richard Zakka, Spoke about the new St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church Home for Children Program, which will “serve a greater cause than ourselves”, to help orphaned children in need. He stated that “There are over 1 million homeless children in the United States and someone has to take the initiative of changing that number”. Mr. Zakka, who is spearheading this effort, asked “If we don’t do it, who will? If not now, then when?”
In a new summertime venture, St Vladimir’s Seminary will be offering an intensive weeklong academic course for the public, June 13–19, 2010, with an option for academic credit.
Archpriest John Behr, renowned professor of Patristics and dean of St Vladimir’s, will lead a rigorous and rewarding academic class titled “From Gospel to Creed.” The course will examine key Christian figures and explore the historical and thematic paths that led to the formulation and promulgation of the Creed of Nicaea.
“I’m thrilled to offer a course to the general public this summer,” said Fr John. “And, I’m always eager to share what so energizes me—learning about Christ and the origins of my church, and all the providential quirks of history that make that study so fascinating, enduring, and decidedly life-changing.”
Read more about the academic program on the seminary’s Website.
Antiochian House of Studies Announces Certificate Program for Pastoral Marriage and Family Counseling
- For men and women serving in parish ministry with at least three years of experience as clergy, chaplains, Christian Education Staff who have completed a M.Div. or diploma though the St. Stephen’s or like program.
- For Orthodox and non-Orthodox Clergy and staff who desire to be more competent in counseling individuals, couples and families.
- Program will take 2 years and the first session is projected to begin in August of 2010 Classes will meet for two weeks in August, (September) and May at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Class size limited to 15 students.
Year one - Fall Session
The Foundations of Marriage and Family Ministry
Christian Anthropology and Human Development in the Family Life Cycle
Pastoral Care and Professional Ethics
Pastoral Counseling: Skills and Models
Year two - Fall Session
Pastoral Marital Counseling: Skills and Models
Pastoral Family Counseling
Marriage and Family Counseling Practicum
Coming this Friday and/or Saturday to hear Frederica? Bring a spare small mounted icon for a soldier in Afghanistan!
We will be collecting small icons that can be carried by Orthodox Christian Service men and women who are deployed presently in Afghanistan.
If you do not have an icon to donate, we will also be taking donations to provide prayer books, bottles for carrying holy water and Slavic and Greek Pascha breads for the service people to share as they celebrate the Resurrection.
On Friday and Saturday March 12-13, 2010, well-known Antiochian author Frederica Mathewes-Green will speak at St. Anthony Orthodox Church in Bergenfield, New Jersey. On Friday night, the topic of discussion will be The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts. Saturday's presentation topic will be The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer That Tunes the Heart to God.
His Grace Bishop MARK of the Diocese of Toledo visited Houston for the first weekend of Great Lent. Fr. Joseph Huneycutt posts here about the visit, and includes links to the following audio:
February 24th, 2010
To our Venerable Hierarchs and beloved clergy of our God Protected Archdiocese:
Greetings and blessings to all of you in the Spirit of this Great and Holy Lent.
It has come to my attention that there is some confusion concerning the Typikon of the Great Feast of the Annunciation. We have discovered that different Typikons deal with this issue in different ways.
Therefore we ask you to abide by the following directions:
1) You may celebrate the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on Wednesday morning, March 24th.
2) Celebrate Matins and Divine Liturgy for the Annunciation on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, March 25th.
Wishing you a blessed journey to the Empty Tomb, I remain,
Your father in Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
The Department of Convention and Conference Planning announces the launching of a new website dedicated to assisting parishes in planning and executing Parish Life Conferences and Archdiocese Conventions: Antiochian Events (www.antiochianevents.org). The Antiochian Archdiocese funded this project, and NAC Fellowship of St. John the Divine will cover its annual operating expenses.
The new website includes a comprehensive system for online registration and payment functions. Conference and convention participants will be able to register for events, to submit Souvenir Journal sponsorships, to upload journal messages and art work, to register for vendor or display booths, to make general donations, and to make individual or corporate sponsorship donations.
Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico visited Haiti this past week bringing comfort to the clergy and Orthodox faithful of the earthquake stricken Island. His Eminence arrived from Greece where he was visiting for official Church business, aboard a Greek Government plane, with the Assistant Foreign Minister of Greece and the Executive Director of the NGO “Solidarity” of the Church of Greece. The plane was carrying 50 tons of food, medicine and other aid, a gift from the Greek Government and the Church of Greece, for the people of Haiti.
His Eminence immediately visited the homes and schools of the Greek Orthodox ministry in Haiti to assess the damage done by the earthquake. He was deeply moved by what he saw; “This is a disaster of immense proportions” he noted. All of the buildings where the Greek Orthodox Church and schools are presently housed were seriously damaged and will need major repairs, or even worse, will need to be demolished and rebuilt. His Eminence further visited the property owned by the Holy Metropolis where the Metropolis has plans to build a complete complex, comprised of a Church, a school, a clinic and housing for clergy.
Since the property is presently vacant, families whose homes were destroyed and who had no place to live, are presently using the property for temporary living quarters. About 3000 people live on the Church property, 1000 of whom are children. Initially they lived out in the open until last week when the Metropolis received a donation of 500 tents, which were given to these families for more humane living conditions.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Now to Him Who by the power at work within us is able
to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think,
to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21).
February 21, 2010
The Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy
The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
To all the Clergy and the Laity of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, greet you on the Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy with words of the Holy Apostle Paul that were selected by the Primates of the worldwide Orthodox Church to close their Message proclaimed on October 12, 2008. Indeed, we glory in our God whose love for us exceeds every thought or imagining that could enter our minds or hearts. As the Apostle Paul says in another place: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him (I Cor. 2:9).
In the historic Synaxis and in the Message that was declared by it, the Primates of worldwide Orthodox Christianity proclaimed the following with one voice and one heart:
Nearly everyone had arrived at Antiochian Village by Friday Feb. 5 for Antiochian Women’s mid-winter meetings before the fourth largest snowstorm ever in western Pennsylvania began.
The North American Board (NAB), made up of five elected officers, immediate past president and six coordinators, met Friday afternoon. They began meetings with officers and delegates of the seven diocesan Antiochian Women’s organizations on Friday evening, which continued on Saturday after Soul Saturday Divine Liturgy.
Prior to the first meeting Mother Alexandra, abbess of the Convent of St. Thekla that established at the Village in July, led a mini-retreat for the women. Most everyone, including monastics, deal with temptations and distractions in their spiritual lives, Mother Alexandra said. She talked with the women about the things that distract us, including church-related ones. “We need to stay focused."
His Grace Bishop THOMAS spoke to the women about preparations for Great Lent and for the Kingdom of God. “You have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the presence of God." He later added that “you bring great joy to this place."
Please pray for His Grace Bishop ANTOUN of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, who is resting following successful surgery on Thursday, February 11, in Florida.
TEMPE, AZ --- On February 4-5th, 2010, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), in partnership with a very generous grant from The Order of St. Ignatius, gathered a group of Board members and priests, from across five different SCOBA jurisdictions, to form the first-ever OCF Regional Chaplaincy Network. In order to meet the pastoral needs of the 270 local OCF chapters throughout the United States and Canada, OCF has broken the country into nine different regions. A Regional Chaplain and a Student Regional Representative will represent each of these regions. Together these roles will assist with the development of new and existing OCF chapters.
“Identifying a group of talented and committed spiritual leaders to help build this network is a critical step in helping OCF create a spiritual safety net for our students as they leave home for college,” remarked Fr. James Coles, the OCF North American Chaplain.
Besides the organizational administration of this new network, the group discussed ideas and plans for Chaplain training and resources. Fr. Kevin Scherer, the OCF Executive Director said, “It’s our hope that this new network will not only help grow new OCF chapters, but resource those that are struggling to develop and stay connected to other Orthodox students across the country.”
Fr. Jack Norman Sparks--Author, Project Director for the Orthodox Study Bible, mentor to many, Founder and Dean of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, father, grandfather and great grandfather--fell asleep in the Lord in Eagle River, Alaska, on February 8, at 7:30 a.m. Fr. Jack reposed on the twenty third anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate.
Fr. Marc Dunaway, Pastor of St. John Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, writes:
"It is with sadness and prayers for his family that I relay to you the news that the servant of God, the Archpriest Jack Sparks, fell asleep in the Lord early this morning. He was 81 years old. Fr. Jack did much research in the 1970's and 80's that helped the journey of the Evangelical Orthodox into the Antiochian Archdiocese. After this he was the principle overseer for the Orthodox Study Bible, which was just recently published with the Old Testament. Fr. Jack has lived in Alaska for the last five years and has several of his children here. Fr. John Downing, Kh. Betsy and I joined Kh. Esther Sparks and her family and prayed the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy for the Departed around him. We have truly lost a good soldier in the Church today."
In an Ancient Faith Radio reflection, Fr. Peter Gillquist remembers Fr. Jack as one who lived a full, rich life of service to the Church and to his family.
There will be an official visit to South Florida by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP on the weekend of February 12th -14th, 2010 at St. Philip Orthodox Church. Metropolitan PHILIP will be accompanied by His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop of Miami and Assistant to the Metropolitan. His Eminence will preside over a weekend of activities celebrating:
- The official Ground Breaking of the new Germack Hall which is named after the late Mr. and Mrs. John and Hooda Germack, who left $1,000,000 to St. Philip Church for the construction of the new Hall.
- The launch of the St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church Home for Children Program. This program was spearheaded by Mr. Richard Zakka, Chairman of the Ground Breaking Committee.
On Friday night, February 12th 2010, His Eminence will preside over a private meeting with the Pastor, Parish Council, and Building Committee members of St. Philip Orthodox Church at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Waterway. The dinner is hosted by Salim Khoury, Chairman of the Parish Council, and his wife Deborah.
On Saturday, February 13th, 2010, His Eminence will preside over a luncheon with the parish children at St. Philip Orthodox Church, 4870 Griffin Road, Davie, FL 33314, while the Parishioners and guests from around the country will enjoy a Golf Tournament, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. David and Terri Dorta, at the Bonaventure Country Club. David Dorta is the Chairman of the Building Committee and his wife, Terri, is the Choir Director at St. Philip Orthodox Church.
The 50th Bienniel Archdiocesan Convention will be held in Chicago, IL from July 24th-31st, 2011. The Convention will be hosted by Fr. Nicholas Dahdal and the good people of St. George Church in Cicero, IL. For more information or to reserve hotel rooms on-line, please visit www.archdioceseconvention2011.org.
February 14, 2010
Sunday of Cheesefare and Mission Sunday
"The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38)
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and
The Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
We greet you in the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Lenten fast that precedes the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha is upon us. Like the dawn of a new day, the beginning of this 40-day journey provides opportunities for us to recommit ourselves and our whole lives to Christ our God. The Sunday before Great Lent, February 14th, 2010, is Mission Sunday as designated by the hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). Over the past two millennia, the work of making disciples has been a focal ministry of saints, and billions of people have accepted life in Christ. Today, sixty-six percent of the world's population is still non-Christian; thus missionary service remains a core ministry of the Church and a collective movement of the faithful.
Over the past 15 years, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), as the official missions agency of SCOBA, has provided the faithful of North America with opportunities to answer their call to make disciples of all nations. Over 70 people who serve as OCMC Ambassadors are taking this call to parishes across the country, and the mission ministries of our Orthodox Churches that are outside of America are growing as a result.
Fishers, IN – January 15, 2010
In response to the growing concerns that Orthodox students are leaving their family roots in the Church, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has produced a gripping, high definition documentary film and launched a complimentary webpage.
“We decided that we had to do the film after reading that only 7% of incoming freshmen could identify a Christian organization on campus before arriving,” said Executive Director, Fr. Kevin Scherer. “They’ve prepared themselves academically for that transition, but there’s been little or no preparation spiritually.”
This just released DVD captures the honest and unedited interviews of eight different students and their transition from high school to college. Their stories cover everything from leaving home and friends to the temptations and pressures of modern college life. “We made this film to start a dialogue. We want parents, priests and students to use this DVD to talk about what’s likely to happen emotionally and spiritually during four of the most important years of a person’s life,” said Fr. Kevin.
This year’s annual public Lenten retreat at St. Vladimir’s Seminary will be “Southern Style” as the Seminary welcomes Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, author of the popular blog Orthodixie. Fr. Joseph’s topic for this year’s retreat, to be held Saturday, March 20, 2010, is “Paschal Fire from Spiritual Ashes.”
Known for combining wit with wisdom, and satire with sobriety, Fr. Joseph has authored several books reflecting his journey to and through the Orthodox Christian faith, including: We Came, We Saw, We Converted: The Lighter Side of Orthodoxy in America; Defeating Sin: Overcoming Our Passions and Changing Forever; and One Flew Over the Onion Dome: American Orthodox Converts, Retreads, and Reverts. He appears regularly on Ancient Faith Radio and is a priest at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Houston, Texas.
Describing his approach to spreading the gospel, Fr. Joseph said, “I find English works best; it’s also good to make the message sinner-friendly and open to all. Seriously, without encouragement toward perpetual conversion in Christ the Living God, our message is the same as any other: dead.”
The public retreat begins with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 9 a.m. in Three Hierarchs Chapel, and will be followed by brunch at 11 a.m. Fr. Joseph will present his talks from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building. A prayer service at 4:30 p.m. will close the retreat.