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Executive Committee of the Assembly of Bishops Meets with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Istanbul—On Tuesday, June 16, 2015, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew warmly received the Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America at the Phanar in Constantinople.

During the meeting, which took place in a spirit of open exchange in the personal office of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the hierarchs reviewed with His All-Holiness the work of the Assembly of Bishops, especially as it relates to the overall work of its committees. Particular attention was given to the work of the Committees for Pastoral Practice and Canonical Regional Planning. The hierarchs also discussed a number of challenges and opportunities in the formulation of a proposed plan for the restructuring of the Orthodox Church in the United States.

Joining the Ecumenical Patriarch, Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon discussed the mission of the Assemblies of Bishops as originally envisioned at their inception in Chambésy in 2009. Both the Ecumenical Patriarch and Metropolitan John commended the efforts of the U.S. hierarchs, and acknowledged their work as a model for inter-Orthodox cooperation.

Present at the meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch and Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon were the following members of the Executive Committee: Archbishop Demetrios (Ecumenical Patriarchate, Assembly Chairman), Bishop John (Moscow Patriarchate, Second-Vice Chairman), Metropolitan Antony (Treasurer), Bishop Longin (Patriarchate of Serbia), Archbishop Nicolae (Patriarchate of Romania), Metropolitan Joseph (Patriarchate of Bulgaria), Bishop Saba (Patriarchate of Georgia). Also present were Bishop Maxim (Coordinator for Committees) and Metropolitan Tikhon (OCA).

Ready, Set, Go! Village Kicks off First Camp Session

Staff training week at the Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA, is complete, and Session One has started! Meet the 2015 summer staff on the Village's website. 

The Village's Facebook page reported on Day One this way:

Three words to describe Monday's weather: hot, humid, and rainy. But such could not dull the spirit of our campers, as they were active as ever. We started off the morning with breakfast, giving everyone an extra hour to sleep in. This provided them with the energy they needed to remain attentive in their first sessions of morning program! Some attended "Ask Abouna," doing a Q & A with our lovely session priests, Abouna James King from St. Mary in Livonia, MI, and Fr. Noah Bushelli from St. Philip in Souderton, PA. Our chanting cabins went to the Conference Center for their morning practice, and the rest of the campers were scattered about the camp, and the challenge course.

St. Nicholas Cathedral in L.A. Launches Media Ministry

From the June 2015 issue of The Word

St. Nicholas Antiochian Cathedral in Los Angeles has initiated "The Orthodox Light," a new media ministry. This new outreach, by God's grace, will share the love of Christ with the world, and introduce the world to our ancient faith. The brand new control room was consecrated by Metropolitan Joseph on February 1, 2015, following his West Coast enthronement. Our Mission is, that through the use of technology and media, we will reach out in worship, fellowship and Orthodox Christian education.

The Very Reverend Michel Najim, Great Economos and Cathedral Dean, had the original vision to use digital media for the spiritual benefit of all the faithful. In 2009, Fr. Najim began by forming a group of parishioners to start media ministry in St. Nicholas Cathedral. We are now equipped with the latest hardware for video and audio production and post-production work. We are in the process of constructing a dedicated area for in-house video production. In March, 2014, the ministry completed the Sunday School Media Project: projectors are now installed in each classroom, able to display content from an array of media sources (iPads, laptops, Apple TVs, Wi-Fi routers and DVD players).

Patriarchs Meet in Syria, Issue Call for Peace

L to R: Patriarchs Gregorios III, Ignatius Aphrem II, John X, Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, Ignatius Joseph IIIL to R: Patriarchs Gregorios III, Ignatius Aphrem II, John X, Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, Ignatius Joseph IIIOn Monday, June 8, 2015, the five Patriarchs of the churches of Antioch met in a summit in Damascus to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East. "We are authentic (people) of this land, deeply rooted in its earth that was watered by the sweat of our fathers and grandfathers, and we confirm more than ever that we are staying," noted the statement released following the meeting, which was reported in several news outlets including Reuters and Ecumenical News.

His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, was in attendance, as was Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Gregorios III of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church,, and Bechara Boutros al-Rahi of the Maronite Church. The Vatican Ambassador to Syria, Archbishop Mario Zenari, also participated. The Patriarchs called for "a culture of openness, peace and freedom of belief" in the region, and urged the international community to seek the political solutions that will lead to such conditions.  

Read more from Reuters

Archdiocese Bookstore Transferred to Antiochian Village

The Antiochian Village Bookstore will now be carrying all of the titles usually stocked at the Archdiocese!

You can now order your books online at: store.antiochianvillage.org

Hellenic College Holy Cross Announces Election of New President

V. Rev. Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos has been selected as the next president of Hellenic   College Holy Cross in Brookline, Massachusetts.V. Rev. Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos has been selected as the next president of Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, Massachusetts.Brookline, MA – Following a comprehensive search process that began in October 2014, the Board of Trustees of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC) voted unanimously to elect the V. Rev. Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos as the next president of the institution, in succession of the current president, the V. Rev. Fr. Nicholas C. Triantafilou, who after a fifteen-year tenure will retire at the end of June 2015. 

Fr. Metropulos has been serving as the Senior Pastor of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since 1989. He holds a BA from Hellenic College, a Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Fr. Metropulos founded and has successfully directed OCN (Orthodox Christian Network, a radio and internet ministry) and is currently its Executive Director. He has served as Dean of Admissions at HCHC, and thereafter in varying priestly capacities with the Archdiocese, including: Archdiocesan Representative to the UN and US Missions, Archdiocesan Council, Assistant Regional Director of Leadership 100, and President of the Archdiocesan Presbyter’s Council for two consecutive terms. Fr. Metropulos also served the parishes of St. Demetrios Cathedral, Astoria, NY; Archangel Michael, Port Washington, NY; and the Assumption Cathedral, Denver, Co. In addition to being a Protopresbyter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, he is also Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne.

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Peter Jacobsen

The Very Reverend Peter A. Jacobsen, an archpriest of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, died on May 27, 2015 in Orlando, FL with family members at his side. Father Peter was 84 years of age and had recently moved to Orlando after having served as rector of St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church of Silver Springs, FL. Prior to joining the Orthodox Church seventeen years ago, Father Peter served as an Episcopal parish priest for over 30 years.

Father Peter was born in Buffalo, NY on October 4, 1930 to Asta and Arthur Jacobsen. The family moved to Floral Park, NY where he graduated from high school, then continued his education at New York University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. Father Peter also earned a Master of Music Education degree from Holy Names University in Oakland, CA.

Father Peter was an active musician and conductor, having played violin in both the Bridgeport (CT) and Hudson Valley (NY) Symphony Orchestras, as well as serving as the conductor of the North Fork Chamber Orchestra of Long Island. Father Peter was a professor at Sullivan County Community College (NY) where he taught music, humanities and philosophy, conducted many choral concerts, and directed several well received Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.

House of Studies 35th Anniversary Celebration + Sept. 4-6, 2015

Online Registration for HOS 35th Anniversary Celebration

On behalf of Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, we are pleased to announce the 35th Anniversary Celebration of the Antiochian House of Studies (AHOS).

The festivities and academic program will officially be held at the Antiochiam Village, from Friday, September 4th to Sunday, September 6th. The theme is:

"Orthodox Theological Education:
St. Raphael to Modernity."

The program will feature expositions of St. Raphael's era of theological education at the Halki Seminary, up to our contemporary endeavors.

Featured speakers include, the Dean of the Institute of St. John of Damascus at the University of Balamand, Fr. Porphyrios Georgi,Ph.D., along with other AHOS faculty and graduates of our Doctoral of Ministry program in lectures, panels pf experts, and special presentations. In a yearlong preparation for this celebration, the thesis of St. Raphael has been translated from the Patristic Greek in which it was written to English and Modem Greek by Rev. Patrick Viscuso, Ph.D., from the Patristic Greek in which it was written, and further translated from English to Arabic by Dr. Adnon Trabulsi.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph will preside over the weekend events and, with Fr. Porphyrios, will present the Masters Degrees and Masters Crosses to the candidates at the Grand Banquet on Saturday Evening, September 5th. He will then lead us in the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which will officially close the celebration, on Sunday, September 6th.

Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops to Meet with Patriarch Bartholomew

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On June 16, the Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America will travel to Istanbul in order to meet with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who will receive them at the Phanar.

The meeting is scheduled prior to the annual meeting of the Assembly in September in order to share with the Ecumenical Patriarch the overall work of the Assembly of Bishops, particularly as it relates to the achievements of its committees, and to discuss preparations for the upcoming Great and Holy Council, which is scheduled for 2016. The prayers of our faithful for safe travel and fruitful deliberations inspired by the Holy Spirit are requested. 

Updates on Texas Flooding

Further updates - May 28, 2015 8:00 a.m. Central time - We have now heard from 25 of our parishes in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas:

Fr. Mark Telschow of Holy Cross Orthodox Church, Midland, TX reports, "By God's grace and your prayers, our people and temple are fine. Lots of wind and hail but less rain than others. No flooding or damage to the temple or members homes. Thanks be to God."

Fr. Robert Weber of Our Lady of Walsingham in Mesquite, TX writes: "Thank you so much for your concern and prayers. Some, in the parish, have sustained minor wind damage but all are safe. Thanks be to God." 

Bishop Anthony's Letter to Graduates

His Grace Bishop Anthony writes:

May 2015

Dear Graduates:

In the next few weeks, you will be experiencing a great milestone in your lives. As graduation approaches, we thank God for you and the accomplishments that have culminated in this great accomplishment. And as your parishes celebrate this entry into the next phase of your life, it is my joy to share in honoring your today. 

St. Paul told Timothy, who at the time was a very young man just out of his teens, to practice the traditions he has received from his mother and from the Church; and that the most important thing in his life was training in Godliness. For he said "Godliness profits in every way." We celebrate and are thankful for all of your heard work and for all of your accomplishments. But always keep in mind that your education and your dedication must be sealed with the consecration of the Holy Spirit, even as we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Appoints Mr. Paul Jabara to Head the Archdiocesan Department of Sacred Music

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has appointed Mr. Paul Jabara of Montreal QC, Canada to be the new Head of the Archdiocesan Department of Sacred Music, replacing Mr. Christopher Holwey who is finishing his tenure in that position to pursue new opportunities. A brief biographical summary for Mr. Jabara can be found here. His Eminence wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to Chris Holwey for his dedicated service to this department and wish him well in all of his future endeavors. In addition, His Eminence congratulates Paul Jabara on this appointment and wishes him every blessing.

Biography of Paul Jabara

Conductor Paul Jabara was born in Montreal and is a graduate of McGill University. Originally a trombonist, he obtained his undergraduate degree in voice and piano, a Master's degree in choral conducting, and divides his time between conducting and teaching.

Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. George Church + Washington, D.C.

Fr. Joseph Rahal writes:

The week of May 6-11, 2015 was a glorious week for the city of Washington and the Parish of St. George. On Wednesday, May 6, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, accompanied by Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih, arrived in Washington, D.C. for an official visit.

On Thursday May 7, His Eminence, accompanied by the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Pastor of St. George Church of Washington, D.C., the Very Rev. Isaac Crow of Ss. Peter & Paul Church of Potomac, MD, and Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih, attended and participated in the 100-year commemoration of the Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Antiochian genocide that took place in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire in Turkey.

On Friday May 8, His Eminence attended a private dinner with members of the parish council of St. George, their spouses and other prominent members of the Parish at the home of Jamal & Amal Motran in Fredrick, MD.

Summer 2015 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Summer 2015 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Worcester and New England! The issue contains:

  • Messages from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop John
  • A Tribute to "Woman"
  • A message from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor Fr. Edward Hughes
  • A Sincere Word of Thanks by Lucy Hanna
  • Introducing The 2013 - 2015 Board of Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester and New England
  • My Mother's Legacy by Christine Bezreh
  • Happenings Around the Diocese of Worcester and New England

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Pentecost Letter from Bishop Anthony Encourages Support of Mission Parishes

In honor of the Holy Feast of Pentecost, Bishop Anthony encourages all churches in the Toledo Diocese to support our new missions. Missions are a sign of a living, and vibrant church, and evidence that the same Holy Spirit who descended upon the Apostles is with us today!

May 31, 2015
Great Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost

Beloved Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest:

Christ is in our midst!

We give thanks to God in all things as we enjoyed the blessings of the Great Fast, the Feast of Feasts, Pascha, and now our celebration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

As we read in the Holy Scriptures, our Lord asked the apostles and disciples to stay in the Holy City of Jerusalem until they received "power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8) The Holy Spirit gave them the power and grace to go and preach the Good News of His Resurrection. This "power" has been with the Church since that day and given to us!

This most-joyous feast represents the beginning of the Church's mission to carry the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the four corners of the earth. From that day in Jerusalem, the Apostles followed our Lord's command to make disciples of all nations. This mission continues to this very day.

Of particular importance in the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest is the work of our nine mission parishes and our Diocesan Mission Council. Through our mission parishes, the love of God the Father and the Communion of His All-Holy Spirit in His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church have come to rest in the hearts and on the heads of so many in otherwise geographically and spiritually remote places throughout our Diocese.

"Ancient Faith Presents" Interview with Samer Laham: Conflict and Relief in Syria

Samer LahamSamer LahamListen to the full interview

On May 14, 2015, Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) President John Maddex interviewed Mr. Samer Laham, Director of Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD) for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch in Syria. The Department is a nonprofit organization belonging to and operating from the Patriarchate, located in the old city of Damascus. Mr. Laham was visiting the headquarters of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in Baltimore, MD, and during his visit sat down with Maddex to share his up-to-date account of the dire situation inside his homeland. 

"About 10.8 million people are in need of assistance" due to the civil war conditions in Syria, noted Maddex in his introduction. Additionally, due to the many consequences of the protracted war, "the whole population is really under hard conditions," explained Mr. Laham. Yet those who are working in relief efforts, he continued, persevere with faith, hope, and prayer. "We are the second largest organization on the ground...our vision in the future is to continue our work."

May 17: IOCC Syrian Relief Benefit in Grand Rapids, MI

The Syrian civil war is one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. Over 200,000 people have died including more than 10,000 children. You can help by contributing to an event to benefit the International Orthodox Christian Charities' Syrian Relief Fund. The event takes place on May 17, 2015 at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, MI and will feature keynote speaker Mark Ohanian, who oversees approximately 300 relief workers on the ground in the Middle East including the IOCC's response to the Syrian civil war. Event donations may be made at www.iocc.org/grandrapids.

Download the flyer.

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday is May 17

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday is almost here! This year the date is May 17, 2015. Please join in raising awareness and support of the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), an Agency of the Assembly of Bishops, on this day.

Jesus told His sheep: "I was in prison and you came to Me" (Matthew 25:36). Not all of us can go into the prisons directly, but we can all support those who do this work.

What can you do?

·Volunteer to promote OCPM on May 17 in your parish, with the blessing of your parish priest. Your parish should have recently received a packet of OCPM materials.

·Print OCPM materials to hand out to parishioners after the Divine Liturgy. 

·Share the Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday Encyclical, written by Archbishop Mark and Fr Stephen Powley.

·Make a secure donation to OCPM in any amount.

·Tell a friend about OCPM.

Thank you for helping us grow this vital ministry of the Church!

New Scholarship Available for Youth Workers in House of Studies Youth Ministry Program

In an effort to educate Antiochian parish youth workers, the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) is pleased to announce that with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, SOYO will award the first scholarships to Antiochian Archdiocese parish youth workers this fall, specifically for those registered in the St. Stephen Youth Ministry Concentration. The Scholarship Application and Policy statement are available online; the deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 31, 2015.

Currently the Scholarship Fund has $217,095.87 invested (as of April 30, 2015). Teen SOYO raised and gifted $200,000 to establish this Youth Worker Scholarship during the 2013 Archdiocese Convention.

Download the application here.
For a complete listing of scholarships, view our Scholarship page.

Listen: Bishop Anthony's Homily on the Feast of St. George

Listen to the homily here.

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, the community of St. George Orthodox Christian Church of Fishers, IN, hosted His Grace Bishop Anthony and area clergy for a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in honor of the Feast of the Holy Great-Martyr George. Bishop Anthony offered an inspiring homily explaining the meaning of the life of St. George, and how we can draw lessons from his life today. "My brothers and sisters, the Church is a military unit," exhorted His Grace. "We have to bivouac in the world, we have to travel in the desert...we have to fire with faith. 

"As St. George did when he confessed Christ before the soldiers—he showed them the courage of goodness and the morality of lasting love—that's what the world needs. Unless we face the fact that Christ is risen from the dead, we will never have the courage to live up to the possiblities of our own life. Each of us has a center and gift and unique talent to offer the world."

Reaching Our Young Adults: Fr. Joseph Purpura Interviewed on Ancient Faith Radio

May 1, 2015

On his Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Becoming a Healing Presence," host Dr. Albert Rossi recently interviewed Fr. Joseph Purpura, the Archdiocese's chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries. The podcast, titled "Reaching Our Young Adults," discusses how to best communicate with and serve the Church's teens and young people.  

"In the Antiochian Archdiocese, we are serious about raising up a generation of disciples and leaders. Our goal in everything we do, is to move our young people closer and closer to Christ. It's always a joy to work with young people; the questions that they have are very deep and serious questions." 

He added, "My experience over the past 34 years of doing youth work, is that young people want to do what's right. We see our young people doing really beautiful things, in the name of Jesus Christ....I can't tell you the power, when an adult ask one of our kids to help. They need to know there is a purpose for them there (in the Church)."

Listen to the full podcast.

May Liturgical Texts Available for Download

His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph reads the “Kneeling Prayers” of Pentecost at Holy Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Yonkers, NY in 2010.His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph reads the “Kneeling Prayers” of Pentecost at Holy Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Yonkers, NY in 2010.The Liturgical Texts for May, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

Starting Sunday, May 3, 2015, Sayidna Joseph has authorized a correction at the singing of "God is the Lord" in every Orthros service. The refrain will now properly read "God is the Lord and hath appeared unto us. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord." This matches the refrain as sung in Arabic, Greek and all other languages. The Department of Sacred Music has begun to provide compositions to reflect this correction. Parishes are to download them and print them for their books. (Visit Sacred Music's page weekly to collect all eight tones.) This change will also be reflected in all future Archdiocesan service books and publications.

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Patronal Feast with Arizona Community

From April 23-26, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph visited the parish of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ. The active community is led by the pastor, the Very Reverend Dr. Christopher Salamy, assisted by several other clergy. During His Eminence's days ministering in Phoenix, he presided over a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy commemorating the feast day of the community's patron saint, St. George. Metropolitan Joseph's visit concluded with a celebratory banquet on April 26.

(View the Facebook photo album.)

Antiochian Parish Hosts Commemoration: 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Gathering at the Basilica of St. Mary to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Tom Beaudoin)Gathering at the Basilica of St. Mary to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Tom Beaudoin)Father George Shalhoub, pastor of The Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, writes:

Beloved,

For almost a half of century, our church community has grown to be a bridge among all people and this is a testimony of other religions and ethnic communities granting our community that honor.

On April 24, 2015, we hosted the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in which over 2500 people gathered in the church, the Activity Center and outside as the relic from 1.5 million men, women and children were killed in 1915. Present was His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Archdiocese, His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel from the Romanian Orthodox Church of America, His Eminence Archbishop Allen Vigneron of the Detroit Catholic Diocese and scores of clergy representing all denominations in our area.

Department of Youth and SOYO Launch Improved Donation Portal

Fr Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, writes:

Christ is Risen!

The Department of Youth and NAC SOYO have implemented a new donation page that now gives donors the opportunity to select the area of youth ministry they want their donation to be applied.

Donate securely online today to the following ministries:
General Fund (for youth projects)
Department of Youth Ministry
Healthy Youth Program
SOYO Leadership Conference
SOYO Metropolitan PHILIP Youth Worker Scholarship
SOYO Special Olympics
Teen SOYO General Account

Utilize our secure online donation page through the Antiochian Events hosting service.

May our Risen Lord continue to bless all of your good works!

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph
frjoseph@orthodoxyouth.com
Twitter: @FrPurpura