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Pilgrims Enjoy Rest and Refreshment at 2012 St. Thekla Pilgrimage

St. Thekla Pilgrimage, 2012St. Thekla Pilgrimage, 2012Pilgrims gathered for the annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage at the Antiochian Village from September 21-23, 2012, joined by presiding hierarch His Grace Bishop Thomas, and the Abbess of the Convent of St. Thekla, Mother Alexandra. The Pilgrimage began on Friday evening with Great Vespers, followed by dinner, a showing of the Oscar nominated movie "The Help," and a discussion led by Fr. Anthony Yazge, Antiochian chair of the Department of Camping.

On Saturday, the Pilgrimage continued with a Hierarchical Liturgy at St. Ignatius Chapel at the Camp, followed by fellowship at brunch and an afternoon of activities which included workshops and discussion on "The Family and the Media" and "The Sacraments." Pilgrims also attended the Supplication Service to St. Thekla with anointing with oil from the Shrine in Maíaloula, Syria, and enjoyed a Chapel tour with Village Director Paul Finley. Afterwards, there was time for prayer, rest and reflection, and an opportunity to tour the Antiochian Heritage Museum.

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston Seeks Full-time Youth Director

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston is seeking a full-time Youth Director, who will be responsible for the overall development and implementation of a comprehensive program designed to meet the needs of the children and young adults of the parish. The goal is to offer a sound religious foundation for youth which promotes Orthodox Christian values of worship, fellowship, service and witness.

The Youth Director will work under supervision of the pastor. He or she must be a committed Orthodox Christian, a highly motivated self-starter who understands contemporary youth culture and who will serve as a good role model for the youth. He or she will be interacting with parents, keeping them informed, and encouraging their support and active participation.

The Youth Director will also work closely with the Parents' Guild and volunteer staff, to design strategies which will improve and expand the parish youth ministry, including the recruitment and training of volunteers to assist in coordinating and staffing.  The Director will set and oversee a youth ministry budget, as part of the general parish budget.

Download the Youth Director Job Description

Download the Youth Director Overview

Download the Youth Director Application

IOCC Aid Reaches Syria's Youngest Refugees

These young Syrian sisters and their mother sought refuge at a camp located far from the intensifying violence in Syria. More than half of Syria's refugees are children, and in great need of basic care items. (Photo: UNHCR/F. Juez)These young Syrian sisters and their mother sought refuge at a camp located far from the intensifying violence in Syria. More than half of Syria's refugees are children, and in great need of basic care items. (Photo: UNHCR/F. Juez)September 24, 2012

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) Hiba, 5, clings fearfully to her mother’s dress round the clock, and wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. Ever since Sami, 4, and his brother Rana, 2, fled Homs with their mother, loud sounds elicit screams and send them diving for cover under tables and beds. The violence that has engulfed Syria is taking a heavy toll on its children. They make up more than half of the 260,000 Syrian refugees pouring into neighboring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, according to United Nations estimates. Many arrive with nothing, not even the most basic belongings. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is attending to the immediate needs of these young refugees and their families with the distribution of emergency relief items such as health kits, infant supplies and bedding.

IOCC Jordan is working with local churches and relief partners to provide basic necessities like diapers, baby blankets and infant clothing to Syrian mothers seeking shelter at Za'atri refugee camp, where 60 percent of the 28,000 refugees are small children and infants.

Conciliar Press Releases Popular Icon Calendar for 2013

Conciliar Press' 2013 icon calendar features icons depicting the work of Christ—seen, unseen, and foreshadowed—throughout the Old Testament.

The 11" X 12" full-color calendar, the latest in a popular series of calendars, features large calendar boxes (1-3/8" X 1-3/4") for recording important date reminders. Major saint and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world are listed, according to the New Calendar. The monthly themes are:

  • January—The Creation of Light
  • February—The Creation of Animals and Man
  • March—Noah and the Ark
  • April—Melchizedek’s Offering to Abraham
  • May—The Hospitality of Abraham
  • June—Abraham’s Offering of Isaac
  • July—Jacob’s Ladder
  • August—Moses and the Burning Bush
  • September—Moses, Aaron, and the Tabernacle of Witness
  • October—The Bronze Serpent Made by Moses
  • November—Jonah and the Big Fish
  • December—The Three Holy Youths in the Furnace

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Justin Pierce

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of our brother and concelebrant Fr. Justin Pierce, 84, retired at St. Luke Church in Erie, CO, who fell asleep in Christ in hospice care on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012. Condolences may be sent to Khouriya Patricia and the Pierces' two daughters c/o Hierodeacon Mark Berge of St. Luke/Erie at

Divine services for Fr. Justin will be served according to the Western Rite at St. Luke/Erie by Fr. John Connely of St. Mark Church in Denver, CO: Tuesday at 6:00PM Vespers for the Dead; Wednesday at 11:00AM Matins for the Dead followed by the Requiem Mass. God being my Helper, I will be present on Wednesday morning to serve a Trisagion before Matins for the repose of Father Justin's soul. After the Mass, a Meal of Mercy will be served by the Ladies of St. Luke at their parish fellowship hall. Interment is scheduled for 2:30PM.

May God grant our brother Paradise. May He grant Khouriya Patricia and the Pierce family consolation. And may He grant you long life.

St. Stephen's Program Deadline Extended to October 2

The deadline for applications to join the St. Stephen's Certificate Program has been extended to October 2. The course is the most popular program offered by the Antiochian House of Studies School of Orthodox Theology.

Ancient Faith Radio highlights their interview with Archdeacon Peter Boulukos, registrar of the House of Studies.


St. Stephen's Certificate Program

House of Studies

Memory Eternal! + Rev. Deacon Howard Shannon

From the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West:

It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Deacon Howard Shannon of St. Athanasius Church in Goleta, California, fell asleep in the Lord on Friday, September 21, 2012. His Eminence, Archbishop JOSEPH has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Bishop Basil Interviewed by Orthodox Christian Network

His Grace Bishop Basil has been interviewed by Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), regarding the recently concluded meeting of hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.

Listen to the interview here, via OCN.

Fr. George Shalhoub Offers "Meditations on Mercy"

Fr. George Shalhoub, priest at the Basilica of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Livonia, Michigan, recently offered four "Meditations on Mercy" at the 2012 Antiochian House of Studies Residency Program. The talks were presented each evening after the final benediction of Great Vespers during the first week of the program in early September, and were very well received by the 100 students and faithful present. Ancient Faith Radio has posted each talk, as well as an interview with Fr. George.

"I teach Liturgical Practice and I chose a theme every year and speak from my experience as a priest for over 40 years," Fr. George said. "In my talks, I asked, what does it mean when to use mercy with each other? Mercy is to listen, to comfort, to forgive, to strengthen, to encourage, all set in the context of prayer."

Father urged his audience to avoid becoming "professional" priests or deacons, because in doing so "we lose the art of being priests. And this subject can apply to everyone," he added. "In our world today, we find a breakdown occurs when communication dies; we're wired up but we're still not communicating with each other."

Listen to the complete set of meditations.

Eastern Dioceses 2012 Fall Delegates Meeting

Eastern Dioceses 2012 Fall Delegates Meeting
October 12-14, 2012
Diocese of New York and Washington D.C.
Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic
Hosted by St. George Church, Danbury, CT
Event page on Facebook
Download Registration Form (PDF)

Deadline for registration is Friday, October 5, 2012. Please mail a registration form (PDF) with your check to: St. George Orthodox Church Delegates Meeting, 125 Kohanza Street, Danbury, CT 06811.

Saturday night will be an international dinner featuring homemade foods from several different countries, as well as a hafli and dance featuring Arabic and American music.

St. George Church has set aside a block of rooms at the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Danbury, CT. For more information and directions, please download this hotel registration information PDF.

Recent Ordinations and Elevations + September 2012

from the September 2012 issue of The Word:


HATZOPOULOS, Christos, to the holy diaconate, by Bishop JOHN on June 30, 2012, at St. John of Damascus Church in Dedham, Massachusetts. He is attached to the parish.

IBRAHIM, Deacon Michael, to the holy priesthood, by Bishop NICHOLAS on March 4, 2012, at St. George Church, Little Falls, New Jersey. Father Michael is attached to the parish.

SWEIS, Niphone (Nishan), to the holy diaconate, on July 1, 2012, by Archbishop JOSEPH at St. Nicholas Church in San Francisco, California. He is assigned to the parish.

WOOLLEY, John Saturus, to the holy diaconate by Bishop BASIL on July 1st, 2012, at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas. He is assigned to St. Mark Church in Denver, Colorado.


AARAJ, Priest Antoun, to the dignity of Archpriest, by Bishop ANTOUN on March 4, 2012, at the Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Boca Raton, Florida.

BULLOCK, Priest Gabriel, to the dignity of Archpriest, by Bishop ANTOUN on May 13, 2012, at the Church of St. Nicholas, Myrtle Beach, Florida.

Ancient Faith Today's September 16 Guest is Kyriacos Markides

On Sunday, September 16, the live call-in broadcast Ancient Faith Today will feature host Kevin Allen's conversation with well-known author Kyriacos Markides. Markides' newly released book, The Inner River, chronicles his "pilgrimage to the heart of Christian spirituality," and speaks about his journey from materialism to shamanism, and then back home to the mystical Orthodox Christian faith of his youth.

A professor of sociology at the University of Maine, Markides is the best-selling author of The Mountain of Silence and Gifts of the Desert. "He is a bridge builder between Orthodox and non-Orthodox seekers," notes Ancient Faith Today host Allen. "We'll find out about his views of Darwinism, near-death experiences, universalism, and other topics that are a part of his fascinating inner journey. I'll also have a chance to ask him some of the hard questions that many who have read his books, have wondered about."

The call-in number for Ancient Faith Today is 1-855-AFRADIO (1-855-237-2346), and the link for the chatroom is posted shortly before the time of the program, which streams live at 8 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.

"Back to the Bible:" CE Director Explains 2012-2013 Theme

Carole Buleza, Director, Department of Christian EducationCarole Buleza, Director, Department of Christian EducationDirector of the Department of Christian Education, Carole Buleza, shares her thoughts at the beginning of the 2012-2013 Sunday School year.

Back to the Bible

As our last Festivals theme asserted, the Bible fills us with eternal joy; by my account: eternal and yet ever-new are the lessons it teaches, and joy comes from knowing Jesus Christ can speak to each of us through its words. Lately I have been reading St. Paul’s words in his epistles to the early Churches. In every one of them, his hope is that young Christians learn more and more about the Way of salvation. Even I, a Christian for over half a century, find a lesson each time I pick up my Bible.

As the Director of the Department of Christian Education, I would urge all of us to make the 2012 Creative Festivals theme an abiding theme for our lives. If only for a few minutes, open and read each day. I keep our Bible at the dinner table, and after we pray and everyone is served, I open and read a passage from the Gospels so my family will hear the name of Jesus, and His words, every day. I don’t “unpack” the message, I just read and close the Bible. Sometimes I begin with a phrase like, “Let’s see what Jesus is doing now.”

As a mother, I want my home centered on Christ, and this small effort—sometimes less than two minutes—opens the door so Christ can be present with us at our evening meal. If I could issue a directive to all Orthodox mothers to do the same, I would. If you need help in getting started, let me know:, or via our Facebook page, “Orthodox Christian Parenting.”

OCN Acquires Illumination Learning

Fort Lauderdale, FL  (OCN)–

The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), a not-for-profit online Christian radio and learning portal, announces the acquisition of Illumination Learning, a not-for-profit, online hub for Orthodox Christian education resources.

"Younger generations are increasingly turning to the Internet to learn and engage the original teachings of Christ nurtured and protected by the Orthodox Christian faith," said Father Chris Metropulos, Executive Director of the Orthodox Christian Network. "OCN is ready and eager to expand our education offerings online."

"Illumination Learning has been blessed to engage thousands of students of all ages throughout the world - children, parents, and adults - to access videos, podcasts, and blogs and learn from some of the great minds in Orthodoxy worldwide," said Jennifer Hock, Founder and President of Illumination Learning. "The OCN expands our reach and resources in providing Orthodox Christian education resources."

"Illumination Learning offers all of us the opportunity to learn without being limited by geography. Think of all the Orthodox speakers you'd love to hear who haven't come to your city or parish. With Illumination Learning, you can travel and learn without ever leaving your house! You can hear theologians from around the world, experts in fields that matter to you, and spiritual giants who proclaim the Gospel with zeal and love. It is the most readily available, easily accessible, and cost-effective way ever to sit at the feet of the greatest Orthodox minds of our time and experience the faith in a new way," continued Jennifer Hock.

Bishop John Returns to Alma Mater for Festal Liturgy

Bishop John addresses students at St. Vladimir's SeminaryBishop John addresses students at St. Vladimir's SeminarySt. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York, reports:

In his first visit to campus as a hierarch, His Grace The Right Rev. John Abdalah, auxiliary bishop for the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England, presided over the liturgy for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos at Three Hierarchs Chapel on campus.

Bishop John received his Master of Divinity degree with the Class of 1984. For 33 years, he served as a priest of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, before being consecrated as Auxiliary of the Diocese of Worcester and New England on December 11, 2011. He also holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care from Pittsburgh Theological School, a Master's equivalency certificate in Pastoral Counseling from Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.

As a late summer storm blew through the Westchester County campus, bringing wind and rain that relentlessly pounded the chapel, His Grace calmly and joyfully served alongside other Antiochian and seminary clergy.

Memory Eternal! + Paul Saba

MEMORY ETERNAL! Paul Saba, 88, of Largo, Florida, passed away on August 15, 2012. Paul was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 1, 1923 to Gabriel and Pauline (Asha) Saba. Paul was a member of the Order of St. Ignatius and a founding member of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, St. Petersburg, Florida. A veteran of the US Air Force, Paul was currently attending Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Safety Harbor, Florida. He was very active in the Orthodox Church and was president of the SOYO club several times.

Read Paul's complete obituary and view the guest book.

Fall 2012 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Fall 2012 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York, and contains:

  • The Cross in Our Lives by His Eminence Archbishop Joseph
  • News from St. George Church of Montreal

...and more! Click here to download (PDF).

Bishop Basil Blesses Residence for the Disabled

Bishop Basil blesses Sheltering Tree building siteBishop Basil blesses Sheltering Tree building siteOn Saturday August 18, eight Orthodox clergy, future residents and their families, and friends of the Sheltering Tree gathered in an open lot in Bellevue, Nebraska--despite the threat of rain--to pray with His Grace, Bishop Basil of The Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, as he blessed the building site for The Sheltering Tree I, a communal residence for developmentally disabled persons.

The Sheltering Tree I is the result of much faith and prayer and hard work. This first Sheltering Tree will be a home for 10 developmentally disabled persons who will enjoy independence in their own distinct apartments, surrounding common areas for community life. Live-in managers will provide support for the residents. The two-acre site was secured with funding via a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant, The Topeka Federal Home Loan Bank, and many personal offerings--totaling over $2 million.

God’s presence was evident at the blessing when the rainy clouds dispersed and warm rays of sunshine accompanied His Grace’s arrival at the site.

2012 Orthodox Institute Mid-America

The 2012 Orthodox Institute Mid‐America

Saturday, September 29, 8:30‐4:30
St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church
9302 Riverview Ave., Kansas City, KS
Pre-registration required by September 21
Download Brochure (PDF)

The Orthodox Institute Mid‐America is a pan‐Orthodox endeavor for continuing education of the faithful and is coordinated by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission Department of Teacher Training, Myra Kovalak, Director ( Fr. Elias Issa, of the host parish, and event chairperson, Kathy Kelly cordially invite you to the 2012 Institute which will include an exhibit of the Holy Land. You may register by phone, email, or mail. Contact Kathy Kelly, e‐mail:, phone: 816.853.9998. The cost of the event, $35, includes lunch and materials.

The presenters will be Mat. Valerie Zahirsky, Al and Dee Kacere, and Carole Buleza. Participants can choose from three tracks of courses, “Scripture,” “Teacher Training II for Elementary,” or “Teacher Training II for MS/HS.”

For more information and a registration form, please download the event brochure (PDF).

OCF Announces Fr. Michael Ellis Selected As North American Chaplain

Fr. Michael Ellis and familyFr. Michael Ellis and familyBrookline, MA (August 21, 2012) 

The North American OCF Office announces the recent appointment of Fr. Michael J. Ellis to the position of North American Chaplain.

The North American Chaplain works across all Orthodox jurisdictions, providing resources and assistance to the chaplains who work directly with the students on campus. Fr Michael will be coordinating the OCF Chaplaincy Network of regional,district and local OCF chaplains and handling ecclesiastical/spiritual issues brought to his attention from both the staff of the OCF North American Office and the local OCF chapters.

Fr. Michael and his wife Presvytera Jesica, both originally from upstate New York, currently reside in Mansfield, OH with their two children Alexander and Sophia.

Fr. Michael is a graduate of the State University of New York, College at Brockport where he completed his undergrad work, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications Studies, emphasis Interpersonal and Organizational Communications.

Sunday, Sept. 2: Ancient Faith Today Looks at "Evangelical Orthodox" Legacy

On Sunday, September 2, the live, call-in radio program of Ancient Faith Radio featured the theme, "Back to the Future: A Reflection on the Past and Future Legacy of the 'Evangelical Orthodox' in Canonical Orthodoxy."

The guest was the V. Rev. Jon Braun, ex-Campus Crusade for Christ Regional Director and former leader of the Evangelical Orthodox Church. Fr. Peter Gillquist of blessed memory was originally scheduled to be interviewed on this program as well. As a tribute to his life and legacy, Conciliar Press has made Fr. Peter's booklet Finishing the Race available as a free download.

The call-in number for Ancient Faith Today is: 1-855-AFRADIO (1-855-237-2346), and it streams live at 5:00 pm Pacific, 7:00 pm Central, and 8:00 pm Eastern every other Sunday.

Listen to the complete podcast with Fr. Jon.

Memory Eternal! + Nabiha Nasr

Fr. Fouad Saba writes:

Glory to Jesus Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life! Glory forever!

St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida is saddened to inform you of the passing into eternal life of the handmaid of God, Nabiha Nasr, early this morning, August 29, 2012, at the age of 94. Nabiha, late widow of Jules Nasr, and matriarch of the Nasr family, was mother to five children, twelve grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. St. George Cathedral offers her sincerest condolences to her children, Michel (Cathedral Council President), Aimee, Mouna, Gretta, Sally, and their families. May the loving God who gave His only Son, grant rest to his handmaiden, Nabiha, with the Saints, and may He bless and comfort the Nasr family with his Grace.

The following arrangements have been made:

2013 Archdiocese Convention in Houston Open for Registration

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, TX is honored to be the convention host! The site of the convention is Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston. 


  • International Welcome Reception
  • Country Western BBQ & Dance
  • Mardi Gras Masquerade
  • 21/40 Camp Reunion
  • Daily Kid's Club
  • AND MORE!!!


  • Events
  • Hotel Reservations
  • Souvenir Journal
  • Vendor Tables
  • Sponsorship Opportunities

Visit the Convention website to register today!

Longest Serving Board Member Celebrates 100th Birthday

Abe Abraham, the longest serving member of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, celebrated his 100th birthday on August 21. A celebration was held on Saturday August 18 with Vespers at St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids and a gala dinner at The Cultural Center at St. Nicholas. Almost 300 guests attended the tribute to Abe.

Abe was born in 1912 in Rashaya Al Wadi in Lebanon. At the age of nine, he and his mother, Zahia, crossed the Atlantic to meet up with his father, Sleyman, who had established a home and business in Towanda, KS. Abe three siblings were born in Kansas, the family returned to Lebanon for several years before returning to America and settling in Grand Rapids, MI. There, Sleyman established a retail candy and “five and dime” store. With the help of his sons, the business grew into a tobacco and candy wholesale distribution company. Today the company distributes groceries to convenience stores in eight Midwestern states.

New OCMC Videos Highlight African Ministry

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) recently uploaded a variety of videos to YouTube featuring the ongoing growth and progress of Orthodox churches in Africa.

Viewers can catch glimpses of African Orthodox Christians worshipping in liturgy, singing welcome greetings to visiting missionaries and clergy, dancing in community celebrations, and working on construction teams for church buildings.

Fifteen OCMC mission teams from May through December of this year will serve in Africa as well as other far flung locations such as Albania and Mongolia.

View the OCMC YouTube page here.