The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning has been given the responsibility of overseeing the planning and selection of all Archdiocese Conventions as well as all regional Parish Life Conferences. As of September, 2014, the dates and sponsoring parishes for the 2015 Parish Life Conference and the national Archdiocese Convention, are as follows:
2015 Diocesan Parish Life Conferences, and Archdiocese Convention
Diocese of Wichita
June 10-13, 2015
St. Elias Church; Denver (Arvada), CO
Diocese of Miami
June 10-14, 2015
St. Ignatius Church; Franklin, TN
Diocese of Worcester
June 18-21, 2015
St. Mary Church; Pawtucket, RI
Diocese of Toledo
June 24-28, 2015
St. Nicholas Church; Grand Rapids, MI
Dioceses of Los Angeles & Eagle River
July 2-5, 2015
St. Andrew Church; Riverside, CA
Dioceses of Charleston & New York
July 2-5, 2015
St. John Church; Levittown, NY
Diocese of Ottawa
July 2-5, 2015
St. Michael Church; Geneva, NY
52nd Archdiocese Convention
July 19-26, 2015
On Friday evening, September 5, 2014, The Orthodox Clergy Association of Southeast Texas held a Town Hall Meeting at St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas (with rector The Rev. James Shadid), titled "The Silent Holocaust—The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East." The press release following the event reported that all of the Orthodox, Coptic and Syriac Christian communities in the area participated—approximately 300 persons, including 16 priests. Jurisdictions represented were the Greek Archdiocese (GOA), the Antiochian Archdiocese, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the Serbian Diocese of Midwestern America, and Coptic and Syriac Dioceses.
There were four speakers, including Hieromonk Bashar (al-Shamany) of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Originally from Mosul, the he spoke about the current situation in the Middle East. Father Bashar's family are currently among the thousands of scattered refugees. A question and answer period followed, and a large collection was taken for the IOCC's relief work in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of the Town Hall, all of the Orthodox clergy offered up the Trisagion Prayers for those who have died.
September 26-28, 2014
In conjunction with the St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage
Open to all deacons in the Mid-Atlantic Diocese
Speaker: Archdeacon David Khoury from St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids, MI
For more information, contact Dn. Peter Maris: email@example.com
Clergy Synaxis (Retreat)
September 30-October 3, 2014
Open to all clergy in the Mid-Atlantic Diocese
Speaker: His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah) of the New England Diocese
Download schedule (PDF)
Download registration form (PDF)
For more information, contact Fr. Anthony Yazge: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fall 2014 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York, with special dedication to our new Metropolitan Joseph! The issue contains:
- Metropolitan Joseph's Vision for the Archdiocese
- Message from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor V. Rev. Iskander Younes
- A message from Diocesan President Susanne Zeidan
- Highlights from the 2014 Mid-Summer Meetings at Antiochian Village
- Introductions to the Diocese of Ottawa's Board
- Happenings around the Diocese of Ottawa
- Antiochian Women Visit the Grave of Metropolitan Philip
- Miracles Are Still Happening by Lianne Nimey
...and more! Download (PDF) here.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has designated Sunday, September 7 as Assembly of Bishops Sunday and releases the following encyclical: (Download the PDF)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents 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 the United States of America:
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In just one week, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America will convene for its fifth annual meeting. From September 15-18, the hierarchs who shepherd the Orthodox faithful in our blessed country will express our common faith and our unity in Christ. Moreover, our gathering together as bishops with diverse cultural traditions offers the world a visible and tangible expression of the profound depth of Orthodoxy.
The meeting this year will also include a pan-Orthodox gathering of the clergy and laity of the region. This offers the entire body of the Church: the bishop, the presbyteriat and the laity, the opportunity to glorify God and to offer thanksgiving for His great gift of Holy Communion.
My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we have designated September 7th as Assembly of Bishops Sunday. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy we ask that the following special prayer be offered as part of a special litany:
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) remind us that with the new school year, Syrian refugee students are in need of supplies and hygeine items. The notebooks and pencils in the IOCC School Kits provide tools needed to continue learning, while the items in the Hygiene Kits help children maintain their health and dignity. The following IOCC-sponsored kits are offered:
SCHOOL KITS — Imagine going to school without pencil and paper. Children in many of the countries where IOCC works don't have even the most basic of these school supplies. By putting together a School Kit, you can give a less fortunate child the tools needed to succeed in school.
HYGIENE KITS —Basic items like a bar of soap, wash cloth, comb, and bandaids may seem small, but putting them all together in a Hygiene Kit can make an instant difference in an ongoing development program or when disaster strikes.
A new home for the parishioners of St. Patrick Orthodox Church in Warrenton, VA, demonstrates that fresh beginnings can arise out of tragedy. Two years ago when their new church building burned to the ground before the parish even had a chance to move in, Fr. Patrick Cardine said that the community didn't ask "why?" but "what now?"
"The congregation of St. Patrick Orthodox Church had spent about $80,000" on the original building, Fr. Patrick Cardine explained to the Fauquier Now reporter who covered the story of the blaze in 2012. Later, the community of St. Patrick learned that an arsonist had set the fire. Undeterred, the priest and parish set out to rebuild, aided by generous contributions from members of the community and the Orthodox SICA Foundation.
The new building will be fireproof, and larger than the original structure. "It's going to be a very interesting building," says Fr. Patrick, adding that it might be finished sometime in the fall of this year.
Ancient Faith Radio is pleased to announce the debut of its third live call-in program. Titled "Faith Encouraged Live with Fr. Barnabas Powell," the program will replace "Ancient Faith Today" on the second and fourth Sundays of each month beginning September 14. Kevin Allen, host of "Ancient Faith Today," retired on August 11, ending his show's two-year run.
"Faith Encouraged Live" will have a slightly different format and focus from "Ancient Faith Today." While still featuring interviews with prominent Orthodox individuals on contemporary topics, it will also contain reflections and commentary by host Fr. Barnabas Powell, as well as readings from Scripture and the Church Fathers.
Many years to His Grace Bishop Alexander!
Set aflame by the love of Christ, O glorious ones, you took up the yoke of His precious Cross revealing yourselves as followers in His footsteps by your way of life, and you became partakers of His divine glory, divinely-wise Alexander, with wonderful John and glorious Paul. As you stand before His throne, earnestly pray for our souls.
Troparion, Tone 8
Antiochian Orthodox priest Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, rector of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, PA, has released a new book with Ancient Faith Publishing titled An Introduction to God. In his book, the author of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy author and Roads From Emmaus podcaster speaks to non-believers and Christians about creating "a sacred space in which we can encounter God.
The book's description explains that Fr. Andrew's goal is to explain to a new generation what is "...the essence of the traditional Christian faith, addressing the fundamental mysteries of where God is, who God is, why we go to church, and why Christian morality matters."
In an interview with Holy Trinity Bookstore, Fr. Damick comments that as a priest, " I've met many folks who don't come to church or are perhaps not very engaged in church not because they are in rebellion against God but because they just don't see the point. Most of the time, no one ever really tried to explain it to them."
Over 500 faithful from the Eastern Dioceses of New York and Washington, D.C. and Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic participated in the historic 2014 Parish Life Conference (PLC). Held at the Antiochian Village (AV) in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, it was a testament to the vision of Metropolitan Philip, who founded AV to foster fellowship and spiritual growth in the Orthodox faith. The grace of the Holy Spirit emanated throughout the conference, which was focused on the theme of loving God and neighbor, and was hosted by St. George Orthodox Christian Church of New Kensington, PA, with Fr. Meletios Zafaran.
Participants at the PLC had the unique opportunity to pray at the gravesites of St. Raphael and Metropolitan Philip. Father Anthony Yazge, the AV host priest and camp director, guided the group on an uplifting tour of the St. Raphael and St. Thekla shrines, and led a Supplication Service to St. Raphael.
His Grace Bishop Thomas announces two new mission parishes being formed in the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic.
Beloved in Christ,
The Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, is pleased to announce that we are beginning to establish two new missions.
The first is a mission station in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For information about this mission endeavor, you should contact Paul Abernathy (email@example.com; 412-334-0917).
A second mission endeavor is being attempted in Talbot County, Maryland. An advertisement offers information about our first meeting, which I plan to attend.
I would appreciate it very much if those of you who are on the East Coast would regularly remind your faithful about both these movements. Those of you who are not in this area, but know people who might live in or travel to this area, please pass this information on.
Ancient Faith Publishing has released the 2015 version of their popular icon calendar. Featuring icons of the Virgin Mary from a variety of contemporary American iconographers, the 11" X 12" full-color calendar is also available for the first time in a Julian version.
Major saints and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world are listed in both versions of the 2015 calendar. Additionally, other feast days of some of the most popularly venerated saints of the Orthodox Churches around the world are listed in black, regular type.
Order your calendar at Ancient Faith Publishing's web store.
A note to our young adults from Fr. David Barr of St. Elias Church in Austin, Texas. Father David writes:
Howdy, y'all! We are thrilled to be hosting Austin's first pan-Orthodox Young Professionals Conference. Join us on October 24th-26th, 2014, deep in the heart of Texas, for an incredible weekend, packed full of spiritual and social activities. Get to know and spend time with fellow Orthodox Christians as we learn what it means to live authentically. Explore the concepts of 'Real Life, True Faith' with Dr. George Stavros during the keynote address, as well as during breakout sessions led by both esteemed clergy and theologians. Later on, perhaps you'd like to check out the vintage shops on South Congress, or maybe you'd rather try your luck at paddling on Town Lake. One thing's for sure -- you can't leave Austin without some authentic BBQ! We'll reflect, learn, and worship together, discover Austin's hotspots, and form lifelong connections.
Early bird registration ends on September 1st.
Register on our website: http://peliniko.wix.com/yal-2014-austin
Check us out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AustinConference#!/events/268607640009171
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Living conditions for thousands of displaced families in the Gaza Strip are rapidly deteriorating as families uprooted from their homes and forced to find shelter now face a shortage of water as well as decreasing access to food. The recent escalation of the conflict has destroyed Gaza's power plant and civilian infrastructure, depriving vulnerable Gazans of the most basic needs and adding to the misery of more than half a million people displaced across the densely populated territory.
Many of the displaced families have sought refuge at schools, mosques, and churches, including St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Christian Church in the Az Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. More than 2,400 displaced children and their parents are sheltering at the church, sleeping in the community center as well as outside in the church courtyard. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) staff is on the ground in Gaza to provide humanitarian relief to families in urgent need of food and basic supplies.
IOCC distributed hot meals to hundreds of displaced families seeking refuge at the church, for many their first hot meal in weeks. "We were not able to provide meals like this," explained Hani, one of the church council members, who expressed gratitude for the critically-needed assistance. "With this support we are able to help feed these people who have come to us for help."
Archdeacon Peter Boulukos of the Antiochian House of Studies has been interviewed by Ancient Faith Radio in advance of the approaching 2014 deadline for new students to apply for the next round of programs.
Listen to Archdeacon Peter speak about the St. Stephen's course and the programs of the House of Studies here.
Learn more about the school, based at Antiochian Village, here.
With affordable tuition and flexible scheduling, the House of Studies offers students, parents, or full-time professionals the ability to pursue an Orthodox theological education.
Greetings and best wishes to you in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With the Grace of God and the blessings of our new beloved Father in Christ His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, I'm preparing the 2015 Liturgical Guide which I have been preparing every year for the last seventeen years. For the last eight years, with the blessing of our late beloved Father Metropolitan Philip of Thrice Blessed Memory, I took the chance to print and distribute the Guide on my own. I would like to thank every parish and every individual who supported the use of the hard copy of the Guide by purchasing one or more.
I'm doing the same thing again this year and I'm looking for your support to keep this project alive so we can all have the same and proper liturgical services in our churches. I would like to have the book printed by the middle of October and I only print copies based on the orders.
Enclosed with this letter is the Order Form for the 2015 Liturgical Guide, please complete and send it back to me with your payment as soon as possible so I can have an accurate idea of how many copies I need to print and be able to distribute to you on time. The deadline is January 15, 2015. Any Orders after the deadline will be $2.00 extra per book. Please send your order ASAP.
Please keep me in your prayers,
Yours in Christ,
Very Rev. Fr. Elia Shalhoub
2295 Oklahoma St., West Palm Beach, FL 33406
Phone / Fax: 561-616-8215
The Children's Relief Fund (CRF), with Fr. George Rados as National Director, is a charity of the Antiochian Archdiocese that has been supporting the education of needy children in the Middle East through scholarships since 1983. In 2012 alone, the CRF assisted 420 young students with their schooling. Since 2012, the Fund has also been supporting the children of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
The Fund facilitates sponsorships of individual children, and the entire donated gift amount is always distributed to the sponsored child. Sponsors may apply online, and will subsequently receive photos of their children, and information about their families and circumstances. Exchanging letters at Christmas time is encouraged, and for those who can travel to visit their children in Palestine or Lebanon, visits are possible.
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page of the recently remodeled CRF Website offers details on sponsorship, and points out that in addition to individual sponsors, groups such as SOYO may also sponsor children. Stirring testimonials and photos of children are also available.
The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) recently opened the FOCUS + Pittsburgh Free Health Center. The Center provides free, quality physical and mental health care as well as pharmaceutical and laboratory services to uninsured individuals. Patients are seen by Orthodox physicians and health care providers who volunteer their time. The Center specifically targets and serves people who fall through the gaps in today's health care system: those who don't qualify for government assistance and/or those who don't have employer-sponsored health insurance.
The FOCUS + Pittsburgh Free Health Center is the first fully-accredited Orthodox health center in the United States. Using this model, FOCUS hopes to launch more health centers in areas where Orthodox physicians are available to donate their time and skills to serve the uninsured and working poor. A church hall, Sunday school rooms, an office—any of these can double as a health center in a community, on a weekly or monthly basis. Medical malpractice liability protection under the FOCUS model is provided by the federal government and the Federal Tort Claims Act at no charge, to any physician or medical staffer serving at a FOCUS clinic. Details are available on the Free Health Center's Information page.
The following people were recipients of a 2014 Francis Maria Scholarship, a Fund that is managed by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Metropolitan Joseph presented these scholarships on July 19, 2014. Each scholarship recipient received a check in the amount of $2,500.
The Francis Maria Scholarships are available to all students attending an undergraduate accredited degree program in the fall after they submit their application. Applications are due in January of each year, and information may be obtained on the Antiochian.org Scholarship page. A Website dedicated to Frank Maria is also available.
The Dormition Fast is almost upon us. Now is the perfect time for a new Orthodox fasting and feasting cookbook! Plus, for this month, it's ON SALE! Save $2 on every cookbook ordered by Thursday, July 31. Orders must be placed online via PayPal or mailed and postmarked by July 31 to receive the discount.
Taste & See II: More American Orthodox Cooking is a sequel to the much loved Taste & See Cookbook published in 1999. With the help of 150 contributors at 63 parishes in 27 states across America, this cookbook has been published by the Women of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The Taste & See Cookbooks have been created to help American cooks prepare meals that conform to traditional Orthodox fasting guidelines while appealing to an American palate. Preparing meals during the fast should be as simple and stress-free as possible to allow ourselves more time for prayer, almsgiving and attending the services.
An audio CD of the hymns of Great Vespers, the Lamentations, and the Orthros hymns for the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos has been made available in anticipation of the August 15, 2014 feast day. Chanted by Dr. Sam N. Cohlmia, Protopsaltis of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS, the CD is available for $15.00 by contacting Dr. Cohlmia at his email address.
"Feed My Sheep"
Cathedral Dean Fr. Fouad Saba reports that in this last year, St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL heard loud and clear this call of the Lord. In less than 10 months, the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast's Cathedral has collected and distributed near $100,000.00 in monetary aid and supplies. Some of the recipients include:
- IOCC (relief in Syria and Middle East)
- Al-Kafaat Foundation
- Miami Rescue Mission
- Children's Home Society
- Hope for Women Society
- Children's Relief Fund (Lebanon and Palestine)
- IOCC (Hygiene Kits)
- Orphans in Syria (Antiochian Women Annual Project
- Miami Department of Children Services
- Food for Hungry People Program
- Special Olympics (Archdiocese record collection)
- Local School (200 Backpacks)
- Local homeless shelters
- Local needy families (Good Samaritan Program)
Archbishop Victor Abo-Assaly led the Antiochian Archdiocese from 1924 until his death from cancer in 1934. He is remembered as a saintly leader, one who ministered with prayer and great kindness. In a July 14, 2014 article by Matthew Namee for The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA), readers are reminded of his legacy. Mr. Namee also requests that readers speak with senior members of their parishes in order to glean memories of Archbishop Victor, so that they can be recorded for posterity. Those who know senior citizens who can share memories or photographs, are encouraged to contact Matthew or other members of SOCHA.
"He is is at risk of being forgotten by his spiritual descendants," writes Mr. Namee, since "anyone who would remember him is probably at least 85 or 90 years old now. We've no doubt lost more memories than we can save, but let's get to work now and save what we can while there is still time."
SOCHA exists to promote the study of the history of the Orthodox Christian Church in the New World; to collect source materials and make them available to researchers and scholars; to disseminate historical information to the public; and to encourage networking among those engaged in the study of American Orthodox history.
The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) continues to alleviate the suffering caused by the ongoing strife in the Middle East, both in the new conflict that has arisen in Gaza, and in Syria, where people have lived for several years under civil war. (Donate through the IOCC's online portal.)
In the Gaza Strip, the most intense violence in nearly two years has claimed over 100 lives, including 23 children, injured more than 800 people, leaving families with damaged and destroyed homes. IOCC representatives are assessing the emerging humanitarian needs of those caught in the conflict, notes the article "IOCC Mobilizes to Provide Urgent Relief for Families Caught in Gaza Conflict."
An article about malnourished Syrian children in Lebanon's refugee camps notes that "since January, IOCC has screened more than 13,000 Syrian refugee children for malnutrition and provided treatment to those in need of emergency nutrition. IOCC's health workers are also taking preventive measures with new mothers...by counseling them on the importance of emergency nutrition and breastfeeding for their young children."