Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Throngs of displaced Syrians crowd before the gates of an Orthodox church in the coastal governorate of Tartous, awaiting their turns to register for humanitarian assistance at one of the four offices IOCC and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA) have established in the governorate to assist with the influx of people needing aid. IOCC is responding to the most urgent humanitarian needs of thousands of displaced families who have sought the relative safety of Tartous from areas of intense conflict in Homs, Aleppo and Idlib.
IOCC/GOPA volunteers work diligently to register the thousands of weary and homeless Syrian people who gather daily seeking food, shelter and basic household items like bedding and blankets. More than 3,300 displaced families have been registered to receive assistance such as housing support, crisis counseling, and remedial classes at a makeshift school for 500 displaced children. In response to the needs of the growing number of Syrian families arriving to Tartous and other governorates, IOCC is working to expand the assistance it is providing.
In the meantime, the IOCC has also helped resettle families displaced from the historic town of Maaloula. Read about these efforts on IOCC's Website.
The Lord’s Day After the Exaltation of the Cross, September 15th/29th, 2013
“Behold now, what is so good or so pleasant as for brothers to dwell together in unity?” Psalm 132:1
Beloved Clergy, Godly Monastics, and Blessed Faithful,
On behalf of the members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, we greet you in the Joy of our Lord Jesus Christ as we commence the 2013-14 Academic School Year. The wonderful verse recounted above comes to us from the Psalmist David. Its brilliance and simplicity should inspire us all as Orthodox Christians to strive for active engagement, participation, connection and interaction with one another through all stages of life and development in the life of the Orthodox Christian.
Your Grace: Master, bless! News reports about the '100 year flood' in Colorado are very true. We ask for your prayers and those of our DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood. I heard this morning from a parishioner asking for special prayers for her elderly mother Batool in a downtown Boulder apartment who was recently referred to hospice. They cannot reach her due to the floods and evacuations. Fr. Lester Bundy told me yesterday that his daughter called saying their home was 'lost.' Some people have died, some are in isolated areas, some without utilities and without safe drinking water. Emergency workers are doing what they can, to get people to shelters. Weather reports call for more rain. Our church temples are so far not effected in any major way, just a few leaks. Some areas are fine as well. Thank you.
Yours in Christ,
His Eminence Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, head of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, sent a message to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which reads, in particular: “We monitor with gratitude your tireless efforts in support of the Christians, and all the God-fearing people of Syria.”
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip expresses his conviction that the forces responsible for stirring up the conflict in the country “have ulterior motives in mind, not the least of which is to expunge the area of Christians who have been living in that land peacefully with Muslims for many years under the secular government…”
The hierarch of the Church of Antioch thanked the Russian Church for carrying out the fund-raising campaign and sending the money collected “to help the needy, homeless and downtrodden people of Syria” who have been suffering from “the uncivil war that continues to rage.”
“Throughout history, Russia has protected the Orthodox of the Middle East in times of need and it seems history is repeating itself once again,” the letter reads. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip expressed his gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia for his support in this difficult time and asked him “to remember the victims of this barbarism” in his prayers.
The following videos feature the Dormition Patriarchal Divine Liturgy that His Grace Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain of New York City, and Fr. Mousa Haddad of Chicago celebrated with His Holiness Kirill the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. See here for the full story of the pilgrimage, including a photo gallery.
From St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Coral Gables, FL:
St. George Cathedral is saddened to inform you of the passing into eternal life of Ramon Ghawali (Ghazaleh) at the age of 71.
The Clergy and Council of St. George Cathedral offer their sincerest condolences to his wife, Suhayla, his children and their families, Joudeh and Muna, Elias and Reem, Ghada and Sameer Al-Ghawali, Mary and Elia Sammour, and Roland, his brothers and sisters across the United States, and the Ghawali and Kattan families in Beit Jala, Palestine, on the loss of their beloved, Ramon.
May Christ, who is our life and resurrection, give rest to the soul of the servant of God, Ramon, with all the Saints and may He grant comfort, patience, and strength to his family.
The following arrangements have been made:
Sunday, September 8 - The Viewing will be held at St. George Cathedral from 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. The Funeral Service will be held during the Wake at 7:30 p.m. A Mercy Meal will be offered at St. George Cathedral Hall after the Funeral Service.
Monday, September 9 - The Final Viewing will be held at St. George Cathedral beginning at 10:00 a.m. followed by the Trisagion Service at 10:30 a.m. The Procession and Burial Service will be held after the service. A Mercy Meal will be offered at St. George Cathedral Hall after the Burial Service.
May his memory be eternal!
His Grace Bishop Basil, Secretary of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, writes: This is an important Encyclical from Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, chair of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, concerning Assembly IV which will be held later this month in Chicago. The encyclical is to be published and/or read to our people on "Assembly Sunday," September 15th, and the prayer which appears in the encyclical is to be said at the end of Divine Liturgy that Lord's Day in all church temples.
September 15, 2013
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Chairs and Members of Parish Councils, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Members of Philanthropic Organizations, the Youth and Youth Workers, and the entire Orthodox Christian Family in North and Central America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America will convene for its fourth meeting on September 17 – 19, 2013. On this day, marked as "Assembly Sunday," we ask all clergy and faithful throughout the lands of which the Assembly is composed to offer prayers for safe travel, fraternal dialogue, and furtherance of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church. The Assembly represents the hopes, aspirations and vision for the future of Orthodoxy for all Orthodox Christian faithful in North and Central America.
[SVOTS Communications / Yonkers, NY] "More than a third of our alumni are in jurisdictions that use Byzantine music," noted The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. "In order to serve the Church and our students preparing for service in these ecclesial settings, we are fortifying our Byzantine music course offerings and chapel music repertoire for the 2013–2014 Academic Year.
"We are particularly blessed that Mr. Rassem El Massih has joined our faculty as Lecturer in Liturgical Music," continued Fr. Chad. "Instructor El Massih of the Antiochian Archdiocese is a renowned church musician who will be teaching 'Introduction to Byzantine Chant.'"
From the Antiochian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West Website:
Memory Eternal! The Very Reverend Father Demetri Moamar
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that Fr. Demetri Moamar, who was attached to St. Joseph the Damascene Church in New Westminster, BC, Canada, fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday, August 22, 2013. His Eminence Archbishop Joseph has requested the parishes to remember him in the prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life.
May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal. The funeral arrangements will be posted when they become available.
In August, 2013, over 600 children living in motels with their families were given backpacks filled with school supplies at the West Anaheim Youth Center in Southern California. The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) partnered with 30 other organizations in Orange County to spearhead the effort.
Additionally, FOCUS volunteers have continued to distribute shoes to homeless children who are enrolled in public schools in the FOCUS program Operation Lace Up. This back-to-school program brings much-needed shoes to thousands of children from homeless and working poor families in cities across America. Volunteers gather at a shoe storage location and then help organize and prepare the shoes for delivery to needy children. Contact email@example.com to get involved, or visit the FOCUS Website.
Founding pastor of the Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, The Very Rev. George Shalhoub, has released a book titled The Mystery of Love and Marriage. An associate professor at Madonna University as well as a priest of many years, Fr. George draws from more than 40 years of experience in counseling, teaching and educating the community on the foundations of a healthy relationship. His book provides practical advice about healthy living in a complicated and fast paced world, and about how to live a balanced way of life.
"This book is a roadmap for anyone looking to be in a relationship,' said Fr. George Shalhoub. "The Mystery of Love and Marriage exposes the truths to communication, forgiveness and unconditional love, all the scariest and most important pieces of being in a partnership."
The summer is an especially busy season for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), as short-term mission teams are trained and then sent out to minister in other parts of the world. In 2013, teams journeyed to Alaska, Tanzania, Kenya, Guatemala and Albania, and several of the participants shared their stories on the OCMC's Website and Facebook page.
Jamil Samara, director of Internet Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, served on the Albania Mission Team in the early summer. On Day five of his blog diary, he wrote:
Thursday, May 30, 2013
My head popped off the pillow about 4 am, even before my alarm went off! I intended on waking up early, as today was a big day, and I needed to prepare for it. Andrew Otto and I were tasked with giving a presentation today in front of 100 teenagers in Berat, a nearby city. I'm not used to public speaking, so I like having what I'm going to say clearly written out and rehearsed.
[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] "This fall, as we conclude our 75th Anniversary year, we will bring some innovative events to our campus," remarked The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY. "Our fall schedule is quite full, and it will hold some surprises, in honor of our Jubilee.
"Most notably," he continued, "Father John Erickson, former dean of our school and professor emeritus of history, will present our inaugural Father John Meyendorff Annual Memorial Lecture in September; and in October, we will host a college conference with the theme 'For the Life of the World,' titled after the phenomenal book by Father Alexander Schmemann.
"With these two events," he concluded, "we plan to give special honor to two former deans who had immeasurable impact upon our seminary during their tenures."
The Diocese of New York & New Jersey for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) recently sponsored the 2013 Parish Council Conference for the Diocese. At the invitation of His Grace Bishop Michael, the conference facilitator was Antiochian speaker and author The Very Rev. Constantine Nasr. Father Constantine oversaw the growth of a modestly sized parish in Oklahoma City, OK to a truly thriving community of over 1,000 souls during his three decades of pastoral ministry. With enthusiasm, clarity, and wit, Father Constantine shared his years of expertise and highly practical methods for making the faith contagious and parishes inviting to both new visitors and to those who have fallen out of regular participation in parish life.
Blake Keller (Parish Council Warden, Saint John the Baptist Church, Rochester NY) said: “Father Constantine Nasr immediately got the attention of the conference participants by reminding us that in the Gospel of Mathew we are told to ‘Go ye therefore...!’ He repeatedly inspired us that this requires energy and effort, not sitting frozen.
Color and black and white versions of the official logo for 2014 Parish Life Conferences are now available online:
August is "Vice Month" for The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) flagship podcast, "Come Receive the Light. The August theme is introduced in the video "Overcoming Habits and Addictions" with Fr. Christopher Metropulos, OCN's executive director. To kick off the discussion, Fr. George Aquaro of St. Matthew Antiochian Orthodox Church in Torrance, CA tackles the topic "Substance Addiction: A Spiritual Illness." Author of the blog Orthodoxy and Recovery, Fr. George seeks to aid individuals struggling with addiction through the 12-Step program and the tools available through the Orthodox Faith.
Chapter Sponsorship Kits will include:
1 full-color 2'x4' icon banner with image above
10 "Timeline of Church History" brochures
10 "What on Earth is the Orthodox Church" brochures
10 "The 4 Elements of OCF Life" flyers
20 OCF prayer cards
10 OCF pens
Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, OCF has the means to send out 40 Chapter Sponsorship Kits, in order that the nearly 200 OCF chapters might bring a strong Orthodox presence to their welcome week activities and student activity fairs.
More information on sponsoring a chapter is available on the OCF Website.
Educating Ourselves and Our Children in Godliness
St. John Orthodox Church
80 Water Lane North
Levittown, NY 11756
Saturday, August 10, 2013
8:30am-4:30pm (lunch provided)
Pre-Registration Required by August 4
The Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC) and St. John Orthodox Church are proud to present an exciting workshop that will enhance the quality of teaching in our church schools.
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — By day, Rasha is known throughout her church community in Amman as the compassionate woman who visits Jordanian families and Syrian refugees in need and brings them relief items such as blankets, food and personal hygiene kits provided by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in Jordan. By night, few are aware that Rasha returns to her family and a life of poverty worse than many of those she seeks to help.
Her situation is shared by a growing number of Jordanians whose standard of living has suffered as a result of the Syrian refugee influx. With the flood of refugees who have arrived during the last two years seeking private accommodations over the conditions in the refugee camps, monthly rents are rising faster than wages for Jordanians.
From the Department of External Relations, Russian Orthodox Church:
The Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, who came to Moscow for the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, adopted the joint Statement. The main theme of the Statement is the situation of Christians in the Middle East. On 25 of July 2013, the Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. On behalf of all those present at the meeting, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia handed over the text of the Statement to Mr. Putin.
We, heads and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, who have come to Moscow on the occasion of the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia at the invitation of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, consider it our duty to raise our voice in defense of our Christian brothers subjected to persecution for their faith in various parts of the world today.
Every day thousands of believers in Christ are being tortured and driven out of their native lands; many people meet their death. Read the full statement of the Primates.
Khouria Krista West, owner of Krista West Vestments and an Ancient Faith Radio podcaster ("The Opinionated Tailor"), has released a new book with St. Vladimir's Press titled The Garments of Salvation. The first comprehensive book on this topic in the English language, the text invites readers to explore the fascinating and colorful world of Orthodox Christian vesture and church adornment. Wife of Fr. Alban West, the rector of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Portland, OR, Kh. Krista is unveiling her new book at the 51st Annual Archdiocese Convention in Houston throughout the week of July 21-28. The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is also airing an interview with Kh. Krista about her book on the podcast "Come Receive the Light."
Praise for Kh. Krista's book:
The Garments of Salvation will fascinate anyone who loves "the beauty of Thy house" with its insight into the meaning and making of liturgical vestments and fabrics. Most importantly, it returns to us our own holy tradition, a tradition of great beauty, which threatens to be lost to the temptations of cheap materials and hasty production. Beauty matters, and The Garments of Salvation will make you hungry to see it in your own church. ~Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green
A ministry supported by The Order of St. Ignatius and many individual Antiochian parishes, Project Mexico is in the midst of its busy summer in Tijuana, Mexico. Home building crews have been working each week since May.
Two types of homebuilding groups participate each summer: small groups, and Orthodox Basic Training (OBT) groups. During small group weeks, teams from one, two, or three parishes construct a single home for a needy family and spend the afternoons interacting with the boys of St. Innocent Orphanage. During OBT weeks, larger groups travel to Tijuana to construct between four to seven homes in one week, and evening speakers each evening discuss a variety of Orthodox Christian topics. Two of this year's presenters are Antiochian priests Fr. Michael Nasser from Bowling Green, KY and Fr. John Bethancourt from Santa Fe, NM.
It is with saddened hearts that we inform you of the passing of our sister and aunt, Helen Thomas. Surrounded by family and friends, she died peacefully in her Washington, D.C. home Saturday morning, July 20, 2013.
Helen Thomas devoted her nearly 70-year career in journalism to the pursuit of the public's right to know. She was a champion of the First Amendment, fervently advocating for the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. For years, she proudly occupied her front row seat in the Press Briefing Room at the White House, considering it the people's chair in the people's house. She always acknowledged the privilege of being the eyes and ears of the public, and she boldly and unabashedly asked the hard questions to hold our leaders accountable.
The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology & Religion (OCAMPR) has announced the theme of its 2013 Conference in Falls Church, VA at St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church on November 1-2, 2013: "The Clinical and Pastoral Care of the Aging Patient."
Speakers include The Right Rev. Bishop John, Diocese of Worcester and New England, Dr. Helen Kales, geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan, Dr. Brenda O'Reilly, a clinical psychologist in private practice, and The Rev. Dr. Anthony Ugolnik, Emeritus Professor of Ethics and Humanities at Franklin and Marshall College.
Khouria Jacqueline "Jacqui" (Tomey) Rados, age 75, of Potomac, MD, passed away on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 after a long, courageous battle with an extended illness. Jacqui was born on January 20, 1938 in Canton, Ohio to Mike and Peggy (Albert) Tomey. She married and moved to Terre Haute, IN where she raised five sons before moving to Maryland and working over 20 years in the Montgomery County School system while performing her most beloved role of mother and grandmother.
Khouria Jacqui was preceded in death by her parents, Mike and Peggy Tomey; son, Christopher Rados; and sisters, Marlene Booth and Kathryn Martinez. The survivors include her husband of 52 years Fr. George Rados; son and daughter-in-law George and Hanada Rados; son and daughter-in-law Mark and Dana Rados; and sons, David and Paul Rados; grandchildren, Corey, Paul, Christopher, Nicholas, Alexi and Michael Rados; brothers, David, Michael and Alan Tomey all of Canton, OH; sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Don Boord of Massillon, OH, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Khouria Jacqui loved to bake and cook for all who visited her kitchen and was the adopted mother of many. She will be sadly missed by all whose lives she touched. Friends were received on Monday, July 15th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Ss. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD. Funeral Services were held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Interment was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery on Tuesday In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Ss Peter & Paul for the benefit of the Memorial Garden Fund.