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Memory Eternal! + Janna Esber Georges

Memory eternal! 

Janna Esber Georges, mother of Khouria Lynn Gabriel, reposed in the Lord on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017. She passed into eternity at home, surrounded by her family: Fr. Antony Gabriel, Kh. Lynn, David, Mark and Tamara, Ryan, Jeanne Habib, and Pam Rosenberg. Touching many lives, she will be deeply missed. Janna was born in Damascus, Syria on January 2, 1920, as Janna Esber. Her church was Ss. Peter and Paul in Maryland, with Fr. George Rados.

At her request arrangements will be private. A woman of great faith, she left in the loving embrace of Christ!  

Blessed Name's Day to Metropolitan Joseph!

We extend our prayers and love to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph on the occasion of his Name's Day on April 30, 2017 (St. Joseph of Arimathea, Second Sunday after Pascha). May God grant him many years!

Learn more about Joseph of Arimathea
Read about Metropolitan Joseph

Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Parish Anniversary of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Canton, Ohio

The community of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Canton, Ohio welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to preside over the 95th Anniversary of the parish from April 21–23, 2017. On Friday, April 21, a benefactors' reception was held in honor of Sayedna Joseph at the residence of Dr. Kaleel and Rhonia Shaheen, who also faithfully and elegantly served as the 95th Anniversary Chairs. The reception recognized the fundraising efforts of the benefactors who sponsored the weekend festivities. After Sayedna gathered and thanked them all for their ministry to the church, everyone listened to beautiful paschal hymns chanted by the Metropolitan's newly ordained deacon, Dn. John Al-Massih. On Saturday morning, Sayedna was greeted by over fifty beautiful children and teenagers of the church to the sounds of church bells and the chanting of the Paschal Troparion. After delivering his message to the youth and answering their questions, all were invited to a special breakfast chaired by Nina Shaheen, Malakh Bechara, Laura Kibler, and Nahi Kaed. (View the photo gallery)

Assembly Releases National Study on Evangelization and Outreach in U.S. Orthodox Parishes

Map of participating parishes in 2017 Assembly of Bishops study on evangelization (click on image for larger view)Map of participating parishes in 2017 Assembly of Bishops study on evangelization (click on image for larger view)The first national study on evangelization and outreach in Orthodox parishes in the United States has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. The report can be downloaded in various formats, as an executive summary, or as a full report.

The report, "Go and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in U.S. Orthodox Parishes," explores the practices and strategies developed by some Orthodox parishes that can be viewed as "exemplary" in their missionary and outreach efforts. Examples of what the readers will find in the report include:

Memory Eternal! + Nabiha (Iqal) Rayan

Father Nicholas Dahdal writes:

Memory Eternal! Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cicero, IL, offers her sincerest condolences to the Rayan Family on the loss of the handmaid of God Nabiha (Iqal) Rayan, who passed into eternal life on Bright Monday April 17, 2017. Condolences are extended to her children Yacoub (Baha), Rayan (Fayrouz), Saliba (Janan), Archdiocese Board Member Mansour (Wafa), Jad (Pam), Ida (†Jiries) Mufarreh, Ghada Rayan, and their families.

Likewise, we extend condolences to her siblings Issa, Boutros, Nasr, Kamel, Widad, Huda, Julia, Offa, and Suad.

Nabiha now joins in eternal life her beloved husband †Oudeh Rayan, and her siblings †Daoud and †Saeed. The Paschal Funeral Service and Burial was held on Bright Thursday, April 20.

Feast of the Holy Great-Martyr George

Blessed Feast Day to our many St. George parishes!

As the deliverer of captives and the protector of the poor, as the physician of the feeble and combatant of kings, holy champion and great martyr George, intercede with Christ our God to save our souls.
+ Troparion of St. George, Tone 4

Thou wast cultivated by God and didst become a most wonderful cultivator of piety, and didst harvest for thyself the sheaves of virtue, for having sown in tears thou didst reap in joy and having withstood to death thou art garnered for Christ. By thy intercessions, O Saint, thou dost obtain for us all remission of our sins.
+ Kontakion of St. George, Tone 4

Read the life of St. George

Access liturgical resources for the Feast of St. George

(If April 23 falls on or before Great and Holy Pascha, the Feast of St. George is translated to Bright Monday.)

Mother of God of the "Life-Giving Spring"

Mother of God of the Life-Giving Spring by Vasiliki Oldziey of St. Elias Church, Austin, TXMother of God of the Life-Giving Spring by Vasiliki Oldziey of St. Elias Church, Austin, TXThe Feast of the Life-giving Spring which is kept on the Friday of Bright Week has its origins in the 5th century.  It is the feast that commemorates the consecration of the Church of the Life-giving Spring outside of Constantinople.

The very large and beautiful church named in honor of the Theotokos of the Life-giving Spring was built about the middle of the fifth century by the Emperor Leo the Great (457-474 AD), outside of Constantinople.  Emperor Leo was a pious man (he is commemorated on January 20th) and before he became Emperor, he had encountered a blind man, who being tormented with thirst asked him to help him find water. 

Bishop Thomas to Offer Commencement Address, Receive Honorary Doctorate at St. Tikhon's Seminary

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the Board of Trustees of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, and St. Tikhon's Rector His Eminence Archbishop Michael, have invited His Grace Bishop Thomas to deliver the Commencement Address at the Seminary's graduation on May 27, 2017. In his letter of invitation, Archbishop Michael cited His Grace's "faithful, tireless and yeoman service to the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States, and Holy Orthodoxy throughout the world, as well as to theological education in particular." Bishop Thomas will also be awarded an honorary doctorate by the Seminary.

Saint Tikhon's has graciously invited all the faithful to attend the graduation exercises, as well as the entire weekend of festivities that mark the Annual Pilgrimage to St. Tikhon's Monastery. Pilgrimage services begin Friday afternoon, May 26, continue Saturday, and Sunday, and culminate with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Monday morning, May 29.

Memory Eternal! + Chafica Chamoun-Cohlmia

Mrs. Cohlmia with her sons Dr. Samir and George.Mrs. Cohlmia with her sons Dr. Samir and George.Memory Eternal! + Chafica Chamoun-Cohlmia, 82, mother of Dr. Samir Nouhad Cohlmia, Diocesan Protopsaltis for the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, reposed on the evening of Great and Holy Friday, April 14, 2017. She was preparing to attend the divine service. The Paschal Funeral will be served at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS on Bright Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., with interment followed by a meal of mercy on Bright Wednesday beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Condolences may be sent to Dr. Samir and his brother George at SamCohlmia@yahoo.com.

Spring 2017 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2017 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. The issue contains:

  • A greeting from His Grace Bishop Basil
  • A message from Spiritual Advisor Fr. Christopher Morris
  • A message from the Diocesan President Deana Bottei
  • Profiles of diocesan officers
  • Chapter reports, photos and happenings

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

His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph Convenes Second Gathering of Archdiocesan Department Leaders

His Eminence leads the meeting of department and organization heads.His Eminence leads the meeting of department and organization heads.

Following on the success of last year's first-ever exclusive gathering, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph again convened the leaders of the Archdiocesan departments and organizations at the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center in Bolivar, PA, April 5–6, 2017. Together, they examined their ministries and set immediate and long-term goals aimed at building up their ministries, in order to bring the clergy and faithful closer to our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, and His Orthodox Church.

Joining His Eminence were His Grace Bishop Thomas of Oakland, Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic; His Grace Bishop John of Worcester and New England; His Grace Bishop Anthony of Toledo and the Midwest; members of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees; and more than twenty-five department chairpersons and leaders. Each leader reported on his or her current mission and vision for the next several years, accomplishments of the previous year, and any issues that were particular to the specific department in question. Each department head also fielded questions, addressed the audience's concerns, and welcomed new ideas to enhance the work.

Separate one-on-one meetings in which financial projections for the next three years were reviewed were also held between each department head and the Archdiocese finance team, headed by Mr. Salim Abboud, CFO.

The hierarchs, clergy, and lay leaders started each day in Ss. Peter and Paul Chapel with Lenten Daily Orthros, and they partook of Holy Communion on Wednesday night at the Presanctified Divine Liturgy. His Eminence expressed his gratitude to all of the attendees for sacrificing their time to attend this gathering, and he thanked them for all of the good work they do throughout the year.

Lent, 2017: Bishop Anthony's Talks at St. George Orthodox Christian Church

Recently, His Grace Bishop Anthony gave two talks at St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers, Indiana, pastored by Fr. Nabil Hanna. The two talks are titled, "The Second Coming of Christ," and "We are made in the image of Christ."

Fidelity in the Life of Christ: A Lenten Reflection by Bishop Thomas

by Bishop Thomas (Joseph) and Peter Schweitzer
April 5, 2017

In my last article, I wrote about the notion of the Orthodox Church as the Ark of Salvation whose mission concerns the salvation of its members. In so doing, I dismissed the notion that the Church functions as a corporation concerned with the smooth administration of an institution. The corporate mentality has no place in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. This affirmation leads to the next issue--what does it mean to be a member of the Church?

At first glance, one could reasonably assume that membership requires a fidelity to the Church’s teachings and, on the local level, participation in the life of the parish. Of course, this is true and a necessary first step but it doesn’t capture entirely what membership in the Orthodox Church implies. Just as a child who is initiated into the Church through the mysteries of baptism, chrismation, and Holy Eucharist must continue to be nourished throughout life by the regular and consistent participation in the Mysteries and the services of the Church, adult members can’t claim fidelity to Christ and His Church without the same.

Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Fifth Annual Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service

Read the article in the Post-Gazette.

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided at the fifth annual Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service, held this year at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. His Grace Bishop Thomas was in attendance, along with other Antiochian clergy and hierarchs and clergy from other jurisdictions. The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee organized the service and dinner. 

The money will be distributed to programs that aid displaced Syrians internally, as well as to relief efforts that assist refugees in Lebanon, Greece and Jordan, said IOCC spokeswoman Kristen Fianni.

The Christopher Elias Memorial Scholarship Now Available to High School Seniors

Applications for a new Antiochian scholarship, The Christopher Elias Memorial Scholarship, are now available to qualified applicants. To qualify for consideration, the applicant must:
1) be a graduating high school senior
2) a member of an Antiochian Orthodox parish in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America  
3) accepted by an accredited institution of higher learning and
4) entering as a freshman in the fall of 2017.

To request an application, email Dr. Anthony Bashir at: anthony_bashir@emerson.edu, and an electronic copy of the application will be sent. The completed application is due by June 15, 2017 in hard copy, and sent by regular post. Recipients will be announced and awards made during the 53rd Antiochian Archdiocesan Convention in Miami, Florida, on July 23–30, 2017.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Officially Begins National Search for Executive Director

BROOKLINE, MA — Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is officially accepting resumes from interested candidates for the position of Executive Director.

OCF is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and is the official campus ministry for the twelve Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that the Assembly represents. Its mission is to transform the lives of college students in the U.S. and Canada by guiding them along the path to Jesus Christ through His Church, cultivating a campus community of worship, witness, service, fellowship, and education.

Save the Date! 2017 Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry are July 12-16




 

 

 

SAVE THE DATE!

  • Summer Sacred Music Institute  (SMI) and Youth Music Ministry, ages 14-18 (YMM)
  • July 12-16, 2017
  • Antiochian Village

For more information, please contact Paul Jabara for the SMI, at sacredmusic@antiochian.org; or Chris Farha for the YMM, at chrisfarha@cox.netLook for preliminary schedules and registration forms after Pascha.

Read about the 2016 SMI and YMM at Antiochian Village

Indiana Deanery Parishes Welcome Bishop Anthony for Pastoral Visits

His Grace Bishop Anthony has been visiting in the parishes of the Indiana Deanery during the 2017 Lenten season. Stops along the way have included St. Mary of Egypt Church in Greenwood, IN; St. Ananias Church in Evansville, IN; and St. Nicholas Church in Urbana, IL.Bishop Anthony with the community of St. Mary of Egypt in Greenwood, INBishop Anthony with the community of St. Mary of Egypt in Greenwood, IN

 

IOCC and Patriarchate of Antioch Minister to Syrian Children at Risk

Photo: iocc.orgPhoto: iocc.org(Baltimore, Md.) – After six years of conflict, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is urging continued support for programs to meet the needs of Syrian children and adolescents who face food insecurity, lack access to education, and bear deep psychological scars. Children displaced by the conflict in Syria as well as those who are now refugees outside of the country require support to address all aspects of their health and wellbeing.

The situation of more than 5.6 million children inside Syria, where IOCC has maintained an active presence since 2012 in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch's Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (GOPA-DERD), remains the most desperate.

Bishop Nicholas Visits Ss. Peter & Paul, Presides at Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers

The parish of Saints Peter & Paul in Potomac, MD celebrated the first weekend of Lent with a pastoral visit by the Diocesan Bishop, His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn, who also presided over the Pan-Orthodox Vespers for the Sunday of Orthodoxy of the greater Washington, D.C. area. His Grace was accompanied by Deacon Andrew Honoré, who is a seminarian at St. Vladimir’s Seminary.

Sayyidna began his visit by presiding over the Akathist, or Madayeh, service. Sayyidna’s remarks following the service reminded the faithful of the significance of the Sundays that led to the beginning of Lent, and of the purpose of Lent. The service was followed by a potluck dinner during which the faithful greeted His Grace.

On Saturday morning, His Grace met with the Church School children. He engaged the children in a fun and thoughtful discussion about the purpose of coming to church, as well as the Bible’s teaching on the life of Christ. A Lenten lunch was served for His Grace, the Sunday School children, the Parish’s teen SOYO members, and several visiting teen SOYO members from St. George’s Church in Washington, D.C. and St. Mary’s Church in Hunt Valley, MD.

Metropolitan Joseph, Bishop Thomas to Attend IOCC Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee will hold a prayer service and fund raising dinner that will benefit our suffering Syrian brothers and sisters. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Thomas will be in attendance, along with other Antiochian clergy, as well as hierarchs and clergy from other jurisdictions. The Syrian Relief gathering will be held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. All Orthodox Christians are cordially invited to attend in support of IOCC's aid efforts in Syria. The recent conflict has been devastating, resulting in the displacement of a substantial percentage of the population which is now hungry, homeless, and lacking essential items. 

During the past four years, four similar Syrian Relief gatherings have been held; approximately 600 people attended last year. These gatherings have been efficient and productive, because the community prepared and donated much of the food and supplies for the events. Over the past four years, $210,000 has been raised, and a net amount of $201,000 has been sent to IOCC. 

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Ancient Faith Publishing Releases New Edition of Bestselling Book, Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy

Ancient Faith Publishing is re-releasing Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Finding the Way to Christ in a Complicated Religious Landscape in a new, fully revised and significantly expanded edition. Authored by The Very Rev. Archpriest Andrew Stephen Damick, pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, the bestselling book now includes several new features: a full chapter on Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movements, and two new appendices, "Relations with the Non-Orthodox" and "How and Why I Became an Orthodox Christian." More detail and more religions and movements have been included, and the book is now addressed broadly to both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, making it even more sharable than before. 
 

Preorder the book

From the Department of Youth: Bible Bowl and Oratorical Website Launched

Attention, youth leaders, parents, and Sunday School teachers: a new Bible Bowl and Oratorical website is up and running, at orthodoxyouth.org!

The following resources are available now:
+Team Registration for Bible Bowl Teams
+Registration for Oratorical Contestants
+Bible Bowl Practice Questions
+Rules and Manuals for both the Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals

St. George Church in Cleveland Hosts 2017 Spring Gathering

The Diocese of Toledo is pleased to announce our Spring Gathering, which will be hosted this year by St. George Church in Cleveland, Ohio, March 17–19, 2017. Bishop Anthony will be our keynote speaker.

Please see the attached flier, registration form, parental consent form, and schedule.

Memory Eternal! + John Roman

John Roman (3rd from left) at the 2015 Archdiocesan ConventionJohn Roman (3rd from left) at the 2015 Archdiocesan ConventionMemory Eternal! John Roman, son of the late Daniel and Olympia Roman of Tucson, AZ, reposed yesterday, February 15, 2017, after a valiant battle with cancer. John, a member of Holy Resurrection parish in Tucson AZ, was a past president of NAC Senior SOYO during the year 1978-1979.