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FOCUS NA Provides Meals, Supplies, and Medical Care in Back to School Outreach

FOCUS North America recently celebrated the end of a successful summer feeding program, providing nutritious meals to 200 children a day in Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona ranks third in the country in food insecurity, with more than 450,000 children facing hunger on a daily basis.

In partnership with The Sodexo Foundation’s Feeding our Future Program, Sodexo USA and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the program provided more than 16,000 meals to children at two Phoenix YMCAs.

The program required volunteer manpower and FOCUS volunteers turned out in force! Some 50 Orthodox volunteers from seven parishes in the Phoenix area contributed to the program’s success, with some volunteers helping out more than ten times.

“Our Orthodox volunteers rearranged their schedules to be able to serve. Some took time off from work, others came and volunteered with their children. We had volunteers of all ages. That was one of the highlights—seeing how many Orthodox volunteers enthusiastically turned out to help their neighbors in need ,” said FOCUS North America’s Executive Director Nicholas Chakos. “We’re so thankful for their support.” 

Across the US, more than 21 million children receive free and reduced-price meals during the school year. During the summer, children are at greater risk of hunger as their families struggle to provide meals that are typically provided by schools. Lack of nutrition during the summer months sets a cycle for poor performance once school begins and makes children more prone to illness and other health issues. FOCUS’ summer feeding program was designed to fill that nutrition gap. The program also alleviated the strain on parents, who could rest assured knowing that a nutritious breakfast and lunch were being provided for their children.

Memory Eternal! + Edward S. Khouri

Fr. John Ojaimi writes:

EDWARD S. KHOURI, age 83, passed away peacefully and has returned to his heavenly home on September 18, 2015 at home in Parma, Ohio surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Aramoun, Lebanon, and immigrated to the United States in the year 1955. In 1962, shortly after his arrival to Cleveland, Edward founded the iconic Middle East Restaurant in Cleveland, which he owned for over four decades. His warmth, generosity and love for all will be greatly missed.

Edward became a close friend to our beloved Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory, since he was the priest at St. George of Cleveland. Their friendship continued and strengthened until the day when His Eminence joined the community of the saints.

Registration is Open for OCF Winter College Conferences

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conferences 2015 will be held from December 28-31st at both the Antiochian Village in PA, and St. Nicholas Ranch in CA. The Keynote Speakers are Rev. Fr. Apostolos Hill (West) and Sr. Vassa Larin (East). Registration is now open for the conferences. In 2015, $100.00 scholarships are being offered to those students in need.


LINKS
College Conference
College Conference East 2015
College Conference West 2015
Scholarship Application

Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops

Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States Regarding the Draft Proposal of the Committee on Canonical Regional Planning 

Presented at the Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops Convened in Chicago, IL

September 15-17, 2015

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America has always prayed for and been committed to unity and cooperation of all of the Orthodox Christians in North America. The unity that we seek is true Orthodox unity based on mutual respect, love and cooperation with all of the Orthodox in America without subjugation or domination of any. Unity must allow for the continued work and support of each of the jurisdictions for their people and continued unity with the respective mother churches. 

There is no doubt that the Christian Fellowship and work of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America as well as that of the Assembly of Bishops has been very valuable. We have come to know each other and have discovered how we can even better cooperate and support each other. We can enhance the ministries of each other as well as promulgate corporate ministries. Our relationships provide even more effective ministries. We are grateful for the candid and honest exchanges of the bishops at the meetings. We are committed to continuing this process of building up our relationships and working together in every area possible.

Metropolitan Joseph's Public Schedule Updated Through November

The public schedule of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph that is published on the Archdiocese website, has been updated through November, 2015. The schedule is linked in the Resources and Links section of the sidebar on the official Metropolitan Joseph page. Check back regularly for future improvements and updates.

Metropolitan Joseph's Schedule

 

Annual Conference for The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion is Nov. 5-7

The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion is honored that Fr. Stavros Kofinas, D.Min., will give the Keynote Address on Thursday evening, November 5, at its Annual Conference on November 5–7, 2015, followed by a wine and cheese reception.

Father Stavros is the Coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care, and also serves as the celebrant at the Holy Monastery of St. Meletios of Kitherona in Greece.

The theme of the Conference is "Caregivers as Confessors and Healers" and will be held at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, through November 7. The title of Fr. Stavros' talk is "Holy Confession and the Freedom to Be." He will also give a presentation describing the Patriarchal Program on Health Care during a special dinner on Friday, November 6.

Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. Ignatius Church + Twin Falls, ID

Karen Hefner writes:

On the weekend of August 22-23, 2015, our little parish of St. Ignatius of Antioch Orthodox Church in Twin Falls, Idaho was graced with the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. Our father and chief shepherd celebrated the baptism of our newest member, Maximus Joseph Habib, new infant son of Fr. Michael and Kh. Masha Habib.

Special guests attended from throughout the Orthodox communities in our surrounding area, as well as many others both of our Orthodox faithful and non-Orthodox alike. The visiting clergy included, Fr. Mark Fenn, Archdeacon George Shishim, Deacon Mark Townsend, Deacon Christopher Payne, Deacon John Mahfouz, Subdeacon Thomas Rice, Subdeacon Peter Samore and Subdeacon Matthew Romero.

On Saturday, August 22, the church was overflowing with more than 90 people when the metropolitan arrived. Parish members joyfully rang the bells and the choir sang, "Blessed is he who cometh in the Name of the Lord" and "Eis polla eti, Destpota," as they and all those present welcomed Sayidna for the first time as the Metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Although crammed into our little church, there was great excitement among the faithful as we witnessed the sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist being bestowed upon little Maximus Joseph by our Metropolitan.

New Study on Orthodox Generosity and Giving to the Church

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has released a new study today, "Exploring Orthodox Generosity: Giving in US Orthodox Parishes." The 138-page report is accompanied by a brief summary that shares the highlights of the study. The study was prepared by the Assembly's research coordinator, Alexei Krindatch.

The study addresses religious giving of Orthodox Church members to their home parishes and to wider religious causes and explores the differences in giving between members of various Orthodox jurisdictions and parishioners according to certain demographics. Based on its findings, the study provides suggestions as to how Orthodox parishes might increase the generosity of parishioners.

More than 2,800 Orthodox Church members (lay parishioners) representing all Orthodox jurisdictions participated in this unique study.

The full report can be read here.

The summary can be read here.

A Prayer for September 11

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Today is the fourteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks upon our nation in New York, NY, Washington, DC and Shanksville, PA. A service appropriate to the day is the Akathist to the Mother of God 'Softener of Evil Hearts.'

A Prayer for September 11

St. Vladimir's Seminary to Bestow Honorary Doctorate on Metropolitan Joseph

July, 2015: Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John X, and The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield at St. Vladimir's SeminaryJuly, 2015: Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John X, and The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield at St. Vladimir's SeminaryOn September 14, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty of St. Vladimir's Seminary will bestow a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, on His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, at an Academic Convocation beginning at 7 p.m. St. Vladimir's will also award an honorary degree to His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Metropolitan Tikhon serves as President of the Seminary and Chair of its Board of Trustees, and Metropolitan Joseph serves as Vice Chair of the Board. The event is open to the public and will be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building.

Invitation to Attend Vigil at St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery, Glenville, PA

September 10, 2015

Beloved and most Reverend Fathers, Mothers, and Friends of St. Thekla's Monastery,

God be with you all.

The Lord is Wondrous in His Saints.
St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery in, Glenville, Pa, will be celebrating an all night vigil for, St. Thekla, on the 25th of September, at 8:00pm. We would be greatly blessed by your attendance and prayers.

Please, refer to the following contact information, so that we have an idea of how many may be coming:

Email: protomartyrthekla@hotmailcom
Land line: 717-630-8298
Cell: 443-244-0207

Keep us in your prayers.

Your unworthy servant in Christ,
Mother Justina

Memory Eternal! +Archdeacon Basil Rives

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

While we were all at Divine Liturgy this morning Archdeacon Basil Rives, 94, of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Santa Fe, NM, the eldest clergyman of our Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, fell asleep in Christ. May he be granted Paradise! Archdeacon Basil, born May 23, 1921, was preceded in death by his wife Shamassy Mary Anne, and is survived by four sons and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

The first Trisagion Prayers of Mercy were prayed for Archdeacon Basil by Fr. John Bethancourt and the congregation of Holy Trinity following this morning's Divine Liturgy.  Condolences may be sent to the Rives Family c/o Father John Bethancourt at FrJohnB@aol.com.

Read the obituary for Archdeacon Basil Rives in the Santa Fe New Mexican

Funeral Arrangements for Archdeacon Basil (everything will take place at Holy Trinity Church in Santa Fe):

Patriarchal and Hierarchical Divine Liturgies to be Rebroadcast on NOURSAT

The Patriarchal Divine Liturgy from the July Convention in Boston will be broadcast on Lebanese television station NOURSAT at midnight Wednesday, September 9 (between Tuesday and Wednesday evening) Eastern time. It will air a second time on Wednesday evening at 6:00pm Eastern time.

The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph during his upcoming visit to St. Elias Cathedral in Ottawa, will be broadcast live from 9:45am to 12:30pm on Sunday, September 13th.

To enjoy these broadcasts, please visit www.noursat.tv at the scheduled times.

IOCC Video, "Saving Syria's Children," Tells Story of Displaced Families

"Saving Syria's Children," a new video from the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), recounts how civil war has robbed more than five million Syrian children of their innocence, homes, safety, and education. IOCC is responding with relief to Syria's displaced children and families and those living as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Armenia, Greece, and Serbia.

(Narrated by Constantine M. Triantafilou, IOCC Executive Director and CEO)

Tri-State Order of St. Ignatius Members to Co-sponsor Presentation by Mr. Samer Laham: "Syria in Crisis"

Download flyer

On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, a talk regarding the humanitarian crisis that has befallen the Syrian population, including Christians and other minorities, will be presented by Mr. Samer Laham, Director of the Department of Development and Ecumenical Relations for the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East. Admission is free; the presentation will be held at the City of the Museum of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, NYC. Donations will be accepted by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to help with their Syrian relief efforts.

The Cocktail Hour is from 6:30-7:30, followed by the presentation at 7:30. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will be in attendance. The co-sponsors for the event are The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the IOCC, and The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Space is limited! Please RSVP by September 25 to Christa Pourou, 212.570.3550 , or cpourou@goarch.org.

Assembly of Bishops to Convene Sixth Annual Meeting in September

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America will hold its sixth annual meeting September 15-17, 2015 at the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport Hotel.

This year's meeting will include two sessions devoted to canonical regional planning. In the first of these sessions, the Assembly's 12 jurisdictional first hierarchs will have an opportunity to offer their comments on a proposal that has been prepared by the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning for submission to the Great and Holy Council in 2016. In the second session, the Assembly's hierarchs will engage in a facilitated discussion about the proposal. This year's meeting also includes a working session on pastoral practices of marriage and divorce.

On Tuesday evening, September 15, the Assembly will sponsor a pan-Orthodox youth gathering for high school and college students in the Chicago area. The event will provide an opportunity for dialogue between the youth and a panel of hierarchs. The hierarchs of the Assembly request the prayers of all clergy, monastics, and laity for a spiritually fruitful meeting.

View the agenda for Assembly VI
Download a flyer for the youth gathering

August 30: Blessed Namesday to Bishop Alexander!

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

Registration is Still Open for Fall Courses at the Classical Learning Resource Center

The Fall school term fast approaches, and registration is still open for classes at the Classical Learning Resource Center (CLRC). Six years ago, the Center was founded by Antiochian Orthodox Christians John and Anne Van Fossen of Naples, ID, with the blessing and encouragement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. Sixteen of the twenty instructors, and well over half of the students, are Orthodox. Currently, the CLRC is offering online classes in Classical Greek and Latin, Literature and Composition, Math, History, Great Books, Mythology, Science, and Modern Languages. There are also a wide variety of catechetical offerings, including classes in Early Church Theology, the History and Meaning of Icons, the Divine Liturgy, Byzantine Chant and more. 

The CLRC is not a school, per se; rather, it is a portal that connects great teachers with valuable courses to homeschooling parents that need them. The CLRC is there to come alongside parents with the resources they need in providing an exceptional education for their children. Firmly rooted in the Orthodox faith, and dedicated to the principles of Classical education, the CLRC fills an important and ever-growing niche in the realm of homeschool education, and has been recognized for its excellence by leaders of the classical homeschooling movement—both within and without the Orthodox Church  

Listen to Bobby Maddex’s recent interview with Anne Van Fossen on Ancient Faith Radio

2015-2017 Antiochian Women Officers Elected at Archdiocese Convention in Boston

Metropolitan Joseph installs new officers (R to L): His Grace Bishop John (Spiritual Advisor), Dianne O’Regan, Kh. Suzanne Murphy, Fadia Juzdan, and Melinda Bentz. (Missing: Sheryl VanderWagen)Metropolitan Joseph installs new officers (R to L): His Grace Bishop John (Spiritual Advisor), Dianne O’Regan, Kh. Suzanne Murphy, Fadia Juzdan, and Melinda Bentz. (Missing: Sheryl VanderWagen)The following officers of the North American Board (NAB) of the Antiochian Women were elected for the 2015-2017 term at the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese Convention in Boston:

President:  Dianne O’Regan from the Diocese of Toledo & the Midwest (doregan@stites.com)

Vice-President/NAB Project Coordinator:  Kh. Suzanne Murphy from the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, & Upstate New York (suzannem@rochester.rr.com)

Recording Secretary:  Sheryl VanderWagen from the Diocese of Toledo & the Midwest (gvwagen@charter.net)

Treasurer:  Fadia Juzdan from the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, & the Mid-Atlantic (fjuzdan@gmail.com)

Public Relations:  Melinda Bentz from the Diocese of Los Angeles & the West (melbentz@yahoo.com)

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest Louis Mahshie

Memory Eternal! Archpriest Louis Mahshie, longtime proistamenos at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Akron, OH, reposed early this morning, August 27, 2015. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. Father Louis is survived by his wife Khouria Corinne and their children and grandchildren. Condolences may be sent to mail@stgeorgeakron.com
 
FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
His Grace Bishop Anthony will preside at all services, which will take place at St. George Orthodox Church, 3204 Ridgewood Road, Akron, OH 44333, or call (330) 666-7116.

Monday, August 31st
Visitation 3-8pm
Funeral for Clergy at 7pm

Tuesday, September 1st
Visitation 9-10am
Divine Liturgy followed by the Funeral Service 10am
A Meal of Mercy follows (a private, family interment takes place after the meal)

Overnight accommodations can be made at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn; call 330-867-5000.
For more information or questions, please contact assistant Pastor Fr. John Al-Assaf, yohanna-1965@hotmail.com.

Memory Eternal! + Nicholas Hamaty

Memory Eternal! Nicholas Hamaty of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Washington, D.C., passed away on Thursday August 20, 2015, at the age of 90.
 
Nicholas Hamaty served the church his entire life. However it was in 1954 that he undertook his first major task when he, along with several others, organized the St. George Choir. The choir was the stepping stone in building the SOYO organization of Washington, D.C., which elected Nick to be its first and second president. Nick was also elected as President of the Eastern Region SOYO during his second term as President of D.C. SOYO. He held this office for two terms, and for his faithful service His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony Bashir of thrice blessed memory awarded him the highest honor presented by the Archdiocese to a layman at that time, the Certificate of Meritorious Service.
 
Nick went on to be elected to NAC SOYO as an Eastern Region Delegate. In 1958 and 1959 he was elected to the offices of Treasurer and Vice President of NAC respectively. He continued to be active at St. George Church his entire life, serving on the parish council for many years and being active in all areas which supported the health and promotion of the Orthodox Church. In 2005 he was appointed by the parish council as a Life Member with voting rights, the only one to hold this position in the entire 107 years history of St. George of Washington, D.C.
 
One of the greatest rewards of Nick's work in the Church was meeting Joyce Farrah. In 1957, Nick and Joyce were married . He was a beloved husband for 58 years, as well as father, grandfather and uncle. His family, friends and his church were his life. He was loved by all who met him and he will be greatly missed. "Well done, thy good and faithful servant."

Village to Host Annual Clergy Wives Weekend: October 23-25, 2015

Mother Christophora, speaking at a previous Clergy Wives RetreatMother Christophora, speaking at a previous Clergy Wives RetreatThe 2015 Clergy Wives Weekend will take place October 23-25, 2015 at Antiochian Village. This pan-Orthodox gathering was established in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah, who was concerned about the well-being of women married to clergy. A balanced life was how she envisioned the best way to live in God's grace through all that life brings to clergy wives and their families. In that spirit, the Weekend seeks to provide time for fellowship, time for prayer, time for leaning, and time to just relax.

We are very happy to be welcoming back this year's speaker: Mother Christophora, the Abbess of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA.

The information sheet and Registration Form can be downloaded here. Questions can be directed to Kh. Stefanie Yazge, by sending email to ClergyWivesWeekend@gmail.com.

October 28-30: Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity Conference, "Speaking to Secular America"

Fr. Luke Veronis, Board Member for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, writes:

Please mark your calendars for a special conference that touches upon an extremely relevant topic for all our churches. On October 28-30 at Hellenic College Holy Cross, the Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity will hold the conference "Speaking to Secular America: How the Church is Reaching Out to the Non-Religious of our Society," which will be held in conjunction with the Installation of the 21st President of HCHC, Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos.

Speakers and Topics include:

"Speaking to Secular America" Keynote Address by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America

"Hellenic College Holy Cross Reaching Out to the World" Inauguration address offered by V. Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos, DMin, as the 21st President of Hellenic College Holy Cross

"Welcome and Introduction to 'Speaking to Secular America'" Fr. Luke A. Veronis, Director of the Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity, Adjunct Instructor at Hellenic College Holy Cross, Priest of Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Webster, MA

Congratulations, Francis Maria Scholarship Winners!

Scholarship winner Justine Younes, SOYO President of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New YorkScholarship winner Justine Younes, SOYO President of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New YorkOn behalf of Metropolitan Joseph, SOYO, and the Department of Youth & Parish Ministries, The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura announces the winners of the 2015 Francis Maria Scholarship recipients.

Each of the following people were awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,500, on July 25, 2015 at the Archdiocese Convention in Boston. Congratulations!

2015 Francis Maria Scholarship Winners

Elizabeth Waters
Thomas Joseph Perry
Mary Catherine Huneycutt
Layla Najjar
Steven Andrew Pisarchuk
Nicole Nassif
Anastasia Trenham
Natalie Saliba
Justine Younes
Emily Webster
Gabriel Z Smith

Get Ready for the Church School Year! Christian Ed Materials and Order Form Now Available for Download

The updated Christian Education Materials and Order Form is available from the Antiochian Archdiocese Publications Center, now managed by the Antiochian Village Bookstore.

 
Resources are listed for students from preschool ages all the way through high school. There are also supplementary materials, resources for youth work, adult education study texts, catechism materials, and a selection of Bibles. Be sure to see the revised Billing and Shipping/Handling sections of the Order Form.