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Memory Eternal! + The Reverend Deacon Benjamin Mann, Jr.

The Reverend Deacon Benjamin Mann, Jr., 72, husband of Karen Gabriel Mann, fell asleep in the Lord Sunday, October 23, 2016 at his home.

Born June 9, 1944 in Boston, MA, Deacon Ben served in the U. S. Coast Guard from 1966-70 with two tours of duty in Antarctica with Operation Deep Freeze. He received his B.S. and Master's degrees from the University of KY. Deacon Ben and Karen were one of the founding members of St. Andrew Orthodox Church where he was ordained a deacon after completing the St. Stephen's House of Studies in 1995. His love for the Church was evident in the mentoring of the youth as well as caring for the Church grounds.

Struggling with health issues he was unable to continue to serve but with his thirst for knowledge he was always found with a book open.

Besides his wife, survivors include a son, Sean Mann; a daughter, Nicole Mann (Joseph) Highland; two grandchildren, Gabrielle and Sylvey Highland Visitation will be from 4-7:30pm Tuesday at St. Andrew Orthodox Church with the Trisagion Prayers at 7:30pm. Funeral services will be 10am Wednesday, Oct 26, by the V. Rev. Thomas Gallaway with burial to follow in the Lexington Cemetery.

SOYO Launches New Website

SOYO, the youth movement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, has launched a new and redesigned website at

Check out the new offerings under:
Shop for SOYO apparel, key chains, and other items
"Ask Abouna"
Instagram and news feeds

Visit today!

Episcopal Visit and Elevation at St. Paul Church + Emmaus, PA

The parishioners of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania had the supreme joy of combining their annual visit from their beloved father and chief-pastor His Grace Bishop Thomas with the elevation of their pastor Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick to the rank of Archpriest over the weekend of October 1st and 2nd, 2016 in recognition of his service to the parish and the Church as a whole. The pastoral visit began with Bishop Thomas' meeting with the men of the parish for breakfast on Saturday morning, and then with the women for lunch at midday. That evening, Fr. Andrew celebrated Great Vespers as Bishop Thomas presided from the throne.

The next morning Orthros was chanted and Bishop Thomas served Hierarchical Liturgy. Concelebrating were Fr. Andrew; the V. Rev. Archpriest Olof Scott, dean emeritus of St. George Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia, where Fr. Andrew served his first two years as a priest; as well as Rev. Dn. David Keim of All Saints Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, where Fr. Andrew was received as a convert to Orthodoxy in 1998. Also assisting were seminarians Marshall Goodge and Joseph Clark. Shortly before the final dismissal, Bishop Thomas prayed over Fr. Andrew before giving him a pectoral cross, accompanied by shouts of "Axios! Mustahiq! He is worthy!" from the assembled congregation and visiting family. In his address following, Bishop Thomas stressed that archpriests are meant to serve as exemplars to other clergy, and their parishes as exemplars to other parishioners throughout the archdiocese.

Refugee Charity Dinner to be Hosted by Holy Trinity in Pottstown, PA

A charity dinner to benefit refugees is being hosted by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Pottstown, PA.

"Refugee Aid: How the Orthodox Church Can Help"
Holy Trinity Orthodox Church
Pottstown, PA
Saturday, November 12, 2016 
3:45 p.m.

Presentation and Vespers to follow


"Beyond the Image" Sacred Art Conference Hosted by St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids

St. Nicholas in Grand Rapids, MISt. Nicholas in Grand Rapids, MIIcons in the Orthodox Church are called "windows to Heaven." Saint Nicholas Church, Grand Rapids, MI, is opening those windows to the public in a special iconography conference on Saturday, October 15th, from 1–6 p.m. Admission is free, all are welcome!

"Beyond the Image" is an afternoon that will explore sacred art as a means of drawing near to God. Doors open at 1 p.m. A number of exhibits will be on display all afternoon, and Iconographer Brian Whirledge will demonstrate the ancient art of iconography.

A wide variety of icons from all over the world representing numerous artistic approaches have been loaned to the exhibit from the private collections of St Nicholas parishioners. In addition, there is a great line up of speakers: Mother Gabriella, the Abbess of Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan will speak at 1:30 on the role art plays in worship. After a break, Mother Olympia, the iconographer at Holy Dormition Monastery, will talk about what is involved in creating sacred art, from choosing subjects to portray: events, saints or groups of saints, to the step by step process and materials used. Mother Olympia will share how she created an indescribable masterpiece of sacred art at the monastery. Finally at 4:30 p.m., Dr. Charles Makhoul, an instructor of religious education at St. Nicholas Church, will explain the icons chosen for inclusion in St. Nicholas Church and the religious symbolism contained in those works of art.

Refreshments will be available.

2016 Pan-Orthodox Education Conference: York, PA

Saturday, October 14-15, 2016
St. John Chrysostom Church + York, PA
Download Flyer (PDF)
For registration, scedule and course descriptions, please see attachments below.

Guest Presenter:
Melissa Tsongranis
Associate Director, Center for Family Care Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

The York Conference will open with a Keynote Address and Reception on Friday night. Workshops will be held on Saturday from 8:30 to 4:30. Participants may choose the theme track for the three sessions, or attend the Church School Staff training workshops. A registration fee of $35 covers all workshops, speakers, printed materials, handouts, and Saturday lunch. Certificates will be given to participants who complete the courses in their track.

Contact: Rebekah Yergo at or Leslie Atherholt at

Blessed Namesday to Bishop Thomas!

His Grace Bishop Thomas' namesday is October 6, Thomas the Apostle of the Twelve. Many years, Master!
Readings and Inspiration from the Diocese of Charleston
Read about St. Thomas the Apostle

Thomas, the faithful servant and disciple of Christ, filled with divine grace, cried out from the depth of his love: "You are my Lord and my God!"
Kontakion — Tone 4

Diocese of Toledo Announces Fall Meeting Schedule

Father Basil Koory and the members of St. Ignatius Church in Madison, Wisconsin are pleased to announce that our diocese's Fall Meeting will take place October 20-23, 2016. Please see the schedule, registration form, and flyer for more information!

Protection of the Theotokos + October 1

Most holy Mother of God, today we Orthodox joyfully celebrate thy coming among us. As we gaze at thy icon we cry with compunction: Shelter us under thy protection, deliver us from evil, and pray thy Son Christ our God to save our souls.

+ Troparion of the Feast, Tone 4

Today the Virgin is standing before us in the Church praying for us with the choirs of Saints. Angels worship with Hierarchs, Apostles rejoice with Prophets, for the Mother of God intercedes with the Eternal God for us.

+ Kontakion of the Feast, Tone 3

Father Justin Patterson writes: "This feast of the Protection of the Theotokos is neither one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church nor is it a commemoration of any events in the earthly lives of our Lord or His Mother. So why does the Orthodox Church—here in twenty-first-century North America—keep this feast?" Read his reflection here.

Memory Eternal! + Sondra Murr Love

The Very Rev. Timothy Baclig, Pastor of  St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Van Nuys, California, writes:

I am saddened to inform you of the passing of our sister-in-Christ, Sondra Murr Love, who entered eternal rest on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at her home in Encino. Sondra is the sister of her late brother, Gary George Murr (+21 June, 2005), and is survived by her sister, Marcia Terry, sister-in-law, Charlotte Murr, four nephews, three nieces, three great nieces, and five great nephews.

The Funeral Service is scheduled for Monday, October 3, 2016 at St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church (16643 Vanowen Street; Van Nuys, CA, 91406), at 7 p.m.

The Interment Trisagion is on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in No. Hollywood (6300 Forest Lawn Drive; Los Angeles, CA, 90068 ) beginning at 10 a.m. Those attending the interment will meet at the cemetery entrance by 9:45 a.m.

The family will be receiving guests at Sondra's home at 5742 Wish Avenue; Encino, CA, 91316 from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, September 28, 29 and 30.

In lieu of flowers Spiritual Bouquet Memorial Gifts may be made to St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church Building Fund (16643 Vanowen Street; Van Nuys, CA, 91406)

Blessed be the memory of our sister-in-Christ, worthy of blessedness and eternal memory.

Memory Eternal! + Dn. Bassam Alsweis

Fr. Joseph Abouid of St. George Church in Cicero, Illinois writes:

Dear Brethren in Christ,

It is with a deepened heart that we must inform you of the falling asleep into the Lord of our dear Rev. Dn. Bassam Alsweis. Deacon was an integral cog of our St. George community in Cicero and throughout.

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cicero offers her sincerest condolences to the Alsweis/Sweis family on the falling asleep of the servant of God, Rev. Dn. Bassam Mikhael Alsweis, who passed into eternal life on Friday afternoon. Dn. Bassam was ordained into the Holy Diaconate in 2004 and has ever since served faithfully at our St. George Cicero parish.

Our sincerest condolences are extended to his wife, Sana, and their children, Natalie and Nicholas. Also, condolences are offered to his mother, Fadwa Sweis, brothers Basil and Khaled (in Jordan) and their families, sisters Manal Sweis and Nawal Sweis (also in Jordan). He is preceded in Christ by his father, Mikhael Sweis(†).

Funeral arrangement information is below:

His Grace Bishop Anthony Michaels will be presiding over the services on Tuesday and Wednesday (9/27 - 9/28).

A Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday the 27th at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Trisagion Service, and a mercy meal that will be offered by and held at St. George as well.

The Funeral Service will take place the next day, Wednesday the 28th, at 11:00 a.m. at St. George, followed by the burial at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleum (6001 W 111th St, Alsip, IL, 60803), and a mercy meal at St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church (6330 W 127th St, Palos Heights, IL, 60463) offered by the Fuheis Club.

Many Years to His Grace Bishop John!

September 26th is the celebration of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian and the namesday of His Grace Bishop John. May God grant him many years!

Apolytikion of St. John, Tone 2

O Apostle John, speaker of divinity, the beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose bosom thou didst lean accepteth thee as an intercessor. Beseech Him, therefore, to disperse the cloud of the stubborn nations, asking for us safety and the Great Mercy.

OCABS Releases Next Commentary in Chrysostom Bible Series

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) has released a new title in The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series, The Pastorals.

In this volume the author, Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, notes that the verb paradidomi (deliver) and its cognate paradosis (tradition) are totally absent from the Pastoral Letters. "Instead," he writes, "the verb paratithemai (entrust as deposit) and its cognate paratheke (deposit) are used to emphasize that what is written is not to be interpreted subjectively, nor is it to be modified, changed, or developed in any way."

The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation.

Ancient Faith Radio Interviews Antiochian Heritage Foundation Chair Fr. Antony Gabriel

Bobby Maddex, Operations Manager of Ancient Faith Radio, recently interviewed Fr. Antony Gabriel, the Chairman of the Antiochian Heritage Foundation. As the retired rector of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Montreal, Quebec, and the author of "Reflections on the Priesthood," Fr. Gabriel reflects back on his fruitful and active years of ministry that commenced when he was ordained in his early twenties. 

If you love God, you'll love people; and if you love people, you'll love God," says Fr. Antony in the interview. "My life has been about people." Father Gabriel is also the author of the forthcoming book Silence: A Diary of Suffering and Redemption, published by Westbow Press.


Patristic Nectar Publications Presents Series on Contemporary Orthodox Elders

Patristic Nectar Publications is pleased to present a seven part lecture series entitled Contemporary Orthodox Elders. This series by Father Josiah seeks to unfold the nature of spiritual direction and eldership in the Church, and examines the lives of influential elders who have served Christ and who are either still living or have reposed in the Lord within the last 50 years. Each of the seven presentations surveys the life and teaching of one particular elder. These great elders from Romania, Greece, England and America are majestic love gifts from the reigning Christ to His Flock on earth, and their radiant witness serves as a clear guide for all who wish to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Enjoy and be edified by this survey of seven Contemporary Orthodox Elders:

  • Father Epiphanios of Athens
  • St. Porphyrios of Attica
  • Father Sophrony of Essex
  • Father Cleopa of Sihastria
  • Father Aimilianos of Simonopetra
  • St. Paisios of Mt. Athos
  • Father Ephraim of Arizona

Letter from Metropolitan Joseph Regarding the Convent of St. Thekla

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph writes:

July 29, 2016

Ms. Loulou Jane Nasrallah
5409 Allison Mill Rd.
Glenville, PA 17329-9115

Dear Ms. Nasrallah,

Blessings and greetings to you in the name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. We hope this letter finds you and Sister Kathrina Samaan in good health.

We have received you and Sister Kathrina with open arms for the past three years. We have had high hopes for the Convent of St. Thekla through both of you. In order to prepare for a successful convent, we purchased a car and a 55 acre land that included a large house, a barn, and separate garages to pave the way for a good foundation so that all the convent physical needs are met. On the other hand, we know that starting a new convent is a great spiritual struggle and challenge.

Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Parish Centennial of St. Thomas Church in Sioux City, IA

View the photo album on Facebook

On September 2-5, 2016—Labor Day Weekend— St. Thomas Church in Sioux City, IA celebrated its 100th Anniversary. People came from all over the country to worship, fellowship, dance, and celebrate this auspicious milestone. Perhaps most especially, we were graced beyond measure with the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for the full weekend. In addition to the formal meals, the hafli, and the grand banquet, participants were given multiple opportunities to connect with God and with one another. Each day brought its own special joys.

Antiochian Women's Retreat is Saturday, October 1

"Learning to Love, as God Loves"

Download Registration Form

Where:  St. Andrew Orthodox Church, Arlington, WA
When:  Saturday, October 1, 2016:  9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Who:  The Very Rev. Gregory Horton, guest speaker

Register Now! 2016 Clergy Wives Weekend at Antiochian Village, October 21-23

The 2016 Clergy Wives Weekend will be held at Antiochian Village the weekend of October 21–23. This year's speaker at the pan-Orthodox event will be Catherine Hopko Mandell, daughter of Fr. Tom and Mat. Anne Hopko, and granddaughter of Fr. Alexander and Mat. Juliana Schmemann. She is well qualified to speak from her understanding of life in the clergy family, and will reflect not only on her life as a daughter and granddaughter, but as mother and aunt. 
The info and registration form can be downloaded. Scholarship funding is available. To make a request for that, or if you have questions, contact Kh. Stefanie Yazge:

2016 Feastday Vigil at St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery, Glenville, PA

Celebrate the feast of St. Thekla at her monastery in Glenville, Pennsylvania, on 23-24 September, 2016!

Friday, 23 September 2016
6:30 pm - 9th Hour
6:40 pm - Vespers with Litya & Artoklasia...
7:40 pm - Small Compline with Akathist
8:15 pm - Fellowship & Refreshments

Saturday, 24 September 2016
8:00 am - Nocturnes
8:15 am - Matins
10:00 am - Divine Liturgy
11:30 am - Fellowship Brunch
1:00 pm - St Thekla Supplication Service

Please, let me know if you are coming so we have enough food. Please, email or call for further info. Also, in preparation for our Feast Day Celebration on 23-24 September, if you're available, come help clean, cut, fix, cook and generally prepare on both Saturdays of September 10 and 17 anytime between 9 am til 3 pm. If here around noontime, please bring something to eat. If able, bring brooms, cloths, buckets, cleaners, gloves, weed trimmers, axes for splitting logs, creativity, muscles and enthusiasm.

May our Lord Bless you,

Fr. Mark Sahady, Convent Chaplain

Memory Eternal! + Rev. Dn. Nathaniel Pflueger

Memory Eternal! It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that Dn. Nathaniel Pflueger of Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Ben Lomond, California, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, August 28, 2016. 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. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Loretta Mae (née Francis) Wilson

Loretta Mae (née Francis) Wilson, born June 29, 1933, in Beech Grove, Indiana, departed to eternal rest August 25, 2016. She was a resident of Greenwood. She attended Manual High School in Indianapolis and was a homemaker, wife, mother and grandmother.

Loretta was a loving and faithful companion to her husband of over 65 years, the Very Reverend Athanasius Wilson, who survives her and who will miss her for a "little while" but is confident they will be one, together for eternity.

Loretta is also survived by son Dan Wilson, daughter Deborah Fisher (Thomas Fisher), sister Kathleen Stallings, sister Shirley Caldwell, 6 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren.

Memory Eternal! + Christine M. (Esahak) Lynch

Memory Eternal! + Christine M. (Esahak) Lynch, 83, of Little Falls, NJ, passed away on August 18, 2016. Christine was born in Paterson, NJ on March 4, 1933 to the late Charles and Sarah (Mitchell) Esahak.

Christine loved her family, music and her faith. Her extensive knowledge of liturgical music cultivated over 68 years of directing the choir at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church was a labor of love. She was an active and involved member at St. George in addition to her dedication and passion for its choir. "Her life was a song, God wrote the words."

Memory Eternal! + Shamassy Janice Marie Bourquin

Memory Eternal! + Shamassy Janice Marie Bourquin

Shamassy Janice Marie Bourquin, wife of Deacon John Bourquin of St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church in Erie, CO, reposed at her home late on the night of August 18, 2016, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Times of services have not yet been finalized, but are tentatively set for Sunday evening, August 21 and Monday morning, August 22.  Condolences may be sent to Deacon John and the Bourquin family at  

Department of Conventions and Conference Planning is Accepting Bids for 2021 Archdiocese Convention Hosting

The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning (DCCP) would like to inform parishes that the deadline for submitting bids to host the  2021 Archdiocese Convention is February 1, 2017. Parishes interested in bidding or obtaining information about the bidding process can contact the DCCP Co-Chairs, Carol Jazzar or Raed O. Sweiss. The DCCP email is Please visit the Department website for contact and bid information.

It is recommended that no contact be made with the hotels until you contact the DCCP Co-Chairs. No contract or any form of commitment should be made without the approval of the DCCP.