Registration is open for the Annual St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage, with His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic presiding. Lodging for both adults and children is available for the weekend, which is an annual event at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and camp in Bolivar, PA.
"Did you know that the Antiochian Village is one of the few places places in the United States where you can visit the grave and shrine of a saint of the Church?" notes Bishop Thomas. Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in the United States, reposed in the Lord in 1915 and was later canonized by the Orthodox Church in America in 2000. Appropriately, since St. Raphael is buried on the grounds of Antiochian Village, the pilgrimage includes a Service of Supplication to him. Other activities include small group workshops, a panel discussion with Bishop Thomas, a special movie showing, and the full cycle of liturgical 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."
In a letter dated July 3, 2014, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America congratulated His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph on his election as head of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocse of N. America
P.O. Box 5238
Englewood, NJ 07631-5238
Your Eminence and Beloved Brother in Christ, Metropolitan Joseph,
I greet you in the grace and peace of the Lord and I congratulate you upon hearing the joyous news of the election by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch of Your Eminence as the Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
More than three months have passed since the faithful of the Antiochian Church in America were saddened by the great loss of the falling asleep in the Lord of their spiritual leader, Metropolitan Philip. Today, I believe that this precious flock rejoices as they receive the announcement of your election. I am most confident that through the God-given gifts and natural talents that Your Eminence possesses you will continue to shepherd these holy people of God for years to come.
Moreover, as the presiding hierarch of the Church of Antioch in the United States, Your Eminence also serves as the First Vice-Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. I very much look forward to increasing the work of our Assembly through close cooperation with you and the rest of the member hierarchs.
In a letter dated July 10, 2014, reports oca.org, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America congratulated the newly elected His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
July 10, 2014
His Eminence Joseph
Archbishop of New York
Metropolitan of All North America
P.O. Box 5238
Englewood, NJ 07631-5238
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It is with great joy that we congratulate Your Eminence on your election as the Metropolitan of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
The Very Rev. Dr. Daniel Matheson reposed in the Lord peacefully on July 5, 2014, surrounded by love. He was 99.
Father Daniel was born on the family farm in Pictou county, Nova Scotia. He was the youngest of four children born to Charlie and Annie Matheson. He was predeceased in 2010 by his beloved wife of 68 years, Presbytera Vera. He is survived by his devoted children Mary (Crawford), Neil (Donna) and Peter (Cindy). He was blessed with four grandchildren, Rawni, David, Heather and Danielle. He took much delight in being the great-grandfather of Kate, Sam, Will, Jack and Cullen. Father Daniel received his B. A. in 1940 from Dalhousie University in Halifax. He received his M. Div. degree from Pine Hill Divinity Hall (now Atlantic School of Theology) also in Halifax. In 1967 The United Theological College of Montreal conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa.
He was ordained into the ministry in the United Church of Canada in 1942 and faithfully served congregations in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Ontario. In 1985 Fr. Daniel was received into the Evangelical Orthodox Church where he founded and served the Holy Epiphany Evangelical Orthodox Mission in Ottawa. In 1987 he was ordained to the priesthood of the Orthodox Church. In 1991 he began his ministry in St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa. He was blessed with the love and fellowship of the St. Elias Christian community until the end of his life on earth.
The 14th Annual Orthodox Women's Retreat in Canada will be held at the Entheos Retreat Centre just outside of Calgary, Alberta, on September 19-21, 2014.
"We are thankful to once again be able to offer this weekend filled with spiritual nourishment, and to provide an opportunity for the women in our Church community to worship, learn and to share in each other's lives," notes the brochure, which also includes a registration form and the schedule for the weekend.
Retreat Speaker The Very Rev. David Hovik, pastor of St. Andrew (Antiochian) Orthodox Church in Arlington, Washington, will be addressing the theme, "The Bible: Our Book."
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — In the second half of the month of June, 2014, rivers across the Midwest surged over their banks, flooding cities and sweeping away summer crops as they failed to contain record summer rains that fell during the early summer. Floodwaters engulfed much of Minnesota, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, in some of the worst flooding in decades. The state's governor declared a state of emergency as homes and businesses as well as vast stretches of farmland across 35 counties were submerged under several feet of water.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) mobilized to respond to the emergency needs of flood survivors in the region. IOCC Emergency Response Network volunteers as well as the local Orthodox Christian community sprang into action, with more than a dozen teens and adults from St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis traveling to Rock Rapids to roll up their sleeves and help clear out waterlogged debris from flooded homes.
The IOCC is on the scene, helping the victims of disasters in the United States, like the Midwest floods. The United States Emergency Response Fund provides immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need.
Read more at IOCC's website.
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Worcester and New England held its 76th annual Parish Life Conference (PLC) from June 19-22 at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth Harbor. The conference was organized and hosted by the parish of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston. The theme of the PLC was taken from the Gospel according to St. Luke; "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself." With over 300 people in attendance throughout the four days, the PLC proved to be a tremendous success.
Some highlights included lively question and answer sessions led by His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah) as well as daily Bible studies, divine services and inspirational homilies led by our beloved Diocesan clergy. The teens of our Diocese showcased their knowledge and talents at the annual Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals.
A letter from His Grace Bishop Gregory of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, liaison from the Assembly of Bishops of the U.S.A. to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), concerning the Church's joint ministry to our Orthodox college students:
Dear Reverend Fathers:
As many of you know, the loss of our Christian youth is a staggering problem today in our country. Statistics show us that more than 80% of our young people are graduating high school, going to college and never returnlng to their faith group. l do not mean their parish or community, but their faith. In other words, more than 6 out of 10 Orthodox young adults will abandon Orthodoxy. This is a huge challenge for all of us.
As the official campus ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) works on behalf of all Orthodox to connect students to Christ and His Church during college. Through its campus-based chapters, regional events and programs such as College Conference and Real Break, OCF engages Orthodox college students across the continent in fellowship, education, worship, and service.
The Ancient Church on New Shores: Antioch in North America, authored by Economos Antony Gabriel, is a comprehensive history of the Antiochian Archdiocese that emphasizes the virtues of perseverance, struggle, and determination. The book, presented to the Archdiocese by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory and offered by the Department of Publications, is a lucid recounting that relates the struggles of the Antiochian Archdiocese's founders in North America to the strivings of Saints Peter and Paul, the founders of the Holy See of Antioch.
Department of Publications phone: 201-871-1355 or Fax: 201-871-1709
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
Memory Eternal! Angela Nasr of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, fell asleep in Christ late last evening, June 27th, 2014. She was the daughter of the late Fr. Zacharia and Kh. Nasra Nasr; and sister of Kh. Nawall Elias of Jacksonville, Florida; Fr. Constantine Nasr of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Kh. Ellen Antypas of Troy, Michigan; and Fr. Elias Nasr of Syracuse, New York. The funeral will be served on Tuesday, July 1st at St. Philip Church in Fort Lauderdale.
May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.
This year's Diocese of Wichita and Mid America's (DOWAMA) Parish Life Conference was held in San Antonio, Texas. The host church was the tiny St. Ephraim the Syrian, with host pastor The Rev. John Mefrige. Not only was there great weather, but the 412 people who attended conference found old friends, met new ones, and were both physically and spiritually encouraged.
There was something happening for everyone. The younger kids went to a children's Whitte Museum one day and did some interesting craft projects the next. Teens were busy going to Six Flags/Fiesta Texas as well as making blankets to be donated to a community home for unwed mothers.
[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY, has chosen as its theme for Orthodox Education Day 2014, "Do Books Still Matter? A Celebration of Orthodox Christian Publications." This year’s traditional open house will be held Saturday, October 4, and will pay tribute to the importance of Orthodox Christian authors, illustrators, and publishing houses throughout the world.
The dean of the seminary, The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, author of academic, popular, and spiritual works, will be the keynote speaker. The seminary’s own publishing house, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (SVS Press), will receive special recognition on reaching its 50th Anniversary and will invite many other Orthodox Christian publishers onto campus to help it mark the occasion.
Ancient Faith Publishing, the publishing arm of the Antiochian Archdiocese department Ancient Faith Ministries, announced on June 25, 2014 that their 2013 release A Patristic Treasury has won the prestigious Word Guild award for the "Inspirational/Devotional" category. Authored by patristic scholar James Payton, the book discusses patristic passages that are "devotionally stimulating, doctrinally thought-provoking, or epigrammatically striking...." Payton is professor of History at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, where he teaches Eastern European History, Orthodoxy, and Patristics.
The Word Guild is a professional association consisting of some 325 Canadian Christian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other interested individuals. The Guild's focus is on "strengthening the Canadian Christian writing and publishing community; encouraging excellence in writing; and impacting the Canadian culture through the words of writers, editors and speakers with a Christian worldview."
His Grace Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, encourages the faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to explore the possibilities of the educational opportunities that exist at the Balamand Seminary and the University of Balamand. "This is a multi-purpose institution," notes His Grace. "Here are some links that you and your high school and college students might want to take a look at. I was very impressed when I visited the University. In addition to Theology, there are a number of areas that can be studied the Balamand. The links that are provided here will familiarize you with everything the University has to offer.
Fr. Robert James Bethony, retired and attached to St. George Church in El Paso, Texas, fell asleep in Christ on June 17th, 2014 at the age of 73. He is survived by his wife Khouriya Elizabeth and their married daughter Alexis. The Funeral Service will be served at St. George in El Paso on Friday, June 20 at 10:00AM.
Beginning Sunday, June 15, 2014, Antiochian Village Summer Camp in Bolivar, Pennsylvania begins its summer-long camping program for kids age 9-18. Since 1978, the mission of the Camp has been to promote the faith of the Orthodox Church through ministry to the youth. The Village has been a "holy mountain" wherein campers form lifelong friendships and grow stronger as Christians.
Is your child going to Antiochian Village this summer? Are you an alumnus longing to vicariously enter into this year's camping season? Visit the Village's Facebook page for introductions to counselors, highlights of each session, and other features, or view all the new photos as they are uploaded to the Village's photo site. A complete list of camps within the Antiochian Archdiocese is available on the Department of Camping page.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina, the patriarchal vicar of New York and all North America, the 2014 Archdiocese Summer Meetings will be hosted at the Antiochian Village, July 18-20, 2014. The Archdiocese and diocese officers of the Antiochian Women, Fellowship of St. John Divine, and Teen SOYO, will gather for their annual summer meetings to conduct the business of the Archdiocese organizations.
In addition, the Archdiocese Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals will be held during the weekend with participants from each diocese. Please contact your NAC/NAB President if you have any questions.
Information for the Summer Meetings is as follows:
On June 5, 2014, hierarchs, clergy, and laity delegates convened in Chicago, IL at the Hyatt Regency Hotel to participate in the historic Archdiocese Special Convention, with the purpose of selecting three candidates whose names will be submitted to the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch for the office of Metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America and Canada.
Vicar General for the Antiochian Archdiocese The Very Rev. Thomas Zain was interviewed by Ancient Faith Radio immediately following the vote, announcing that the Special Convention has nominated the following (in alphabetical order): The Right Rev. Bishop Basil, Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America; The Right Rev. Bishop John, Diocese of Worcester and New England; and The Most Rev. Archbishop Joseph, Diocese of Los Angeles and the West and Locum Tenens for the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest.
In the interview, Fr. Thomas also thanked His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina, who has served as the Patriarchal Vicar of New York and all North America since the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory on March 19, 2014.
The Antiochian clergy of the Capital Deanery (the Greater Washington, D.C. / Baltimore area) were invited by the Franciscans of Washington D.C. to offer Orthodox Vespers on Sunday, May 18, 2014, at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, as part of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the meeting of Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagorus in Jerusalem in 1964. The 50th anniversary was also marked in Jerusalem this year by the meeting of Pope Francis I and Patriarch Bartholomew on May 25, 2014, where they prayed together for peace in the Middle East.
Prior to his repose, Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory received a request from the Franciscans asking for his blessing for this service, emphasizing the need to join together in support of the suffering Christians of the Middle East.
The Summer 2014 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, and contains:
- A Tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory
- Reflections on the services for Metropolitan Philip by Antiochian Women President Violet Robbat
- A greeting from Bishop Antoun
- Reflections from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor Fr. Stephen Rogers
- A message from Diocesan President Dorothy Tampary
- A moving diary by Kh. Kyra Lewis of her husband Archpriest Michael's last earthly days
- Introductions to the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast's Board
...and more! Download (PDF) here.