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Memory Eternal! Metropolitan PAUL (Bandaly), Archbishop of Akkar

image The Most Reverend Metropolitan PAUL (Bandaly), Archbishop of Akkar, has fallen asleep in Christ. His Eminence's Archdiocese encompasses the northernmost region of Lebanon and the southern portion of coastal Syria (including the port city of Tartous and the mountainous area to the east known as the "Valley of the Christians"). He was born in 1929. May His Eminence's memory be eternal!

A tribute has been published in Arabic in the Annahar newspaper and is available online at

Memory Eternal! Fr. George Sayaf

Fr. George Sayaf fell asleep in the Lord, Tuesday, May 20, 2008 in Cincinnati,Ohio. He was born on November 23, 1939 in Damascus Syria.

He was pre-deceased by his parents: Yousef and Nazira Sayaf, brothers Zaki and Saleem Sayaf and sister in law Kawkab Sayaf .

He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years Eleftheria; His son Dr. Konstantine Sayaf (Anita); His daughter Nazira Sayaf Waldo (Ashley); Grand children Christen George Waldo, Anthony Robin Waldo and Kalista Marie Sayaf. His brothers: Bishara Sayaf (Liala), Tony Sayaf (Riyam), Rev. Fr. Sami Sayaf (Seham) and sisters, The Rev. Mother Pelajia Sayaf, Liala Sayaf, and Nawal Sayaf. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and nephews.

Fr George lived a life of humanity and served many communities in Lebanon, Brazil, and the United States.

Services were held on Sunday May 25,2008, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 6300 Bowden Road, Jacksonville, Florida.

Divine liturgy was held on Monday May 26, 2008, followed by funeral services at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Memory Eternal! Khouriya Joanne Abdalah (updated May 29, 2008)

image Kh. Joanne Abdalah of St. George Cathedral/Pittsburgh, Pa., fell asleep in the Lord on Tuesday, May 27, after suffering with ovarian cancer for more than two years. 

She and Fr. John are the parents of three children: Gregory, a 2008 graduate of St. Vladimir Seminary in Crestwood, NY, Joseph of Houston, TX, and Maria at home. Please remember them all in your prayers.

Among other ministries, Kh. Joanne was co-editor of the WORD magazine and a past president of the North American Board of Antiochian Women.

The funeral arrangements are as follows:

She will be laid out at the Cathedral of St. George in Oakland, PA, Thursday evening, May 29, from 4pm to 8pm.  Immediately after that at 8pm we will have the funeral service.  The internment will be on Friday at the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pa.

Condolences can be sent to the V. Rev. Fr John Abdalah, St. George Cathedral, 3400 Dawson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, or via email at

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the St. George Cathedral Sunday School Building Fund.

Kh. Joanne's obituary may be found in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at:

Messages of sympathy to Kh. Joanne's family may be made by signing the on-line "Guest Book" at:

Memory Eternal! Naseeb Saliba

clip_image001MEMORY ETERNAL!  NASEEB SALIBA of St Nicholas Cathedral/Los Angeles, CA, an honorary member of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees, has fallen asleep in Christ.  Mr. Saliba was preceded in death by his wife Cleo.  He will be buried from St Nicholas Cathedral/Los Angeles with the Funeral Service scheduled for 7:00PM this Wednesday, May 28th.  Condolences may be sent to The Naseeb Saliba Family - 4435 Petit Avenue - Encino, Ca.  91436.  May God grant him rest in the bosom of Abraham, and may He grant you long life.

COCC Sponsors Parish Revitalization Seminar

LIVONIA, Mich. - The Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of Metropolitan Detroit (COCC) will sponsor a seminar on parish revitalization on Saturday, June 7 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at St Thomas Orthodox Church, 29150 10 Mile Road, Farmington Hills.

Entitled "Demythologizing Church Growth: Five common Myths about Church Growth, and How We Can Overcome Them,"  the
seminar will be conducted by the Rev. Jonathan Ivanoff, secretary of the Department of Evangelization of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).

"Parish life and health from 1970 to 2005 can be characterized by one very prominent fact:  Since 1970, literally hundreds of parishes within the OCA have had to deal with the painful and obvious fact of a decline in their overall membership," Fr. Ivanoff said.

The seminar will be an introductory session, according to COCC President Richard Shebib.  If it generates sufficient interest, the COCC will sponsor a complete series of seminars on the subject of parish revitalization, he said.

The seminar is free of charge.  To reserve at seat or obtain further information, contact Shebib at (734) 422-0278 or

The COCC is a 51-year-old clergy and lay association that represents various canonical Orthodox churches in metropolitan Detroit.  Its mission is to promote Orthodox Christianity throughout the area through worship, fellowship, and charitable, educational and outreach

Archbishop Hilarion Is Elected First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

clip_image001May 12, 2008, at 12:00 noon, at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York, His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand was elected Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and shall be elevated to the rank of Metropolitan.

In accordance with the Act of Canonical Communion signed on May 17, 2007, the Council of Bishops will send the Act of Election,
drawn up by the Counting Committee, to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, with a request from the elected First Hierarch for his blessing to assume the duties placed upon him by his brother archpastors, and for confirmation by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate of his election.

The Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, Primate-elect of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, will be held on Sunday, May 18, 2008.

The schedule of services relating to the Enthronement of the new First Hierarch is as follows:

Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest Posts Parish Life Conference Forms

The 61st Annual Midwest Parish Life Conference, hosted by St. George, Grand Rapids, will be held June 25 to June 29, 2008 at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Download Registration

Download Adult Schedule

Download Teens' Schedule

Download Youth Schedule

Download High School Graduates Invitation

Download Souvenir Journal Information

Come Receive the Light Announces Schedule of Programs for May 2008

Come Receive the Light, the only nationally syndicated Orthodox Christian radio broadcast, is a weekly program that features interviews with noted Orthodox Christian clergy, theologians, and lay leaders on theological, spiritual, pastoral, and modern social issues. Heard on the radio in more than 100 cities in the United States and the Bahamas, this unique weekly broadcast offers the ancient, Christ-centered message of Orthodox Christianity to the modern world. You can listen to past programs on demand and find many other online resources to deepen your faith at


May 2, 2008
Topic: Introducing Orthodox Christianity to Western Christians
Guests: Dr. James R. Payton, Jr. and Rev. Dr. John McGuckin  
This week's episode of Come Receive the Light, THE NATIONAL ORTHODOX RADIO PROGRAM, introduces Eastern Orthodoxy to a Western audience. James R. Payton Jr., author of Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition, and Fr. John McGuckin, an expert in the writings of the Early Church Fathers, discuss different aspects of Orthodox Christian doctrine and spiritual life.

May 9, 2008

Topic: Prayer to the Saints & for the Dead
Guest: Dr. David C. Ford
Ever wonder why Orthodox Christians ask the Saints for their intercessions? Or why we pray for the forgiveness and salvation of those who have already passed away? On this week's program, Dr. David C. Ford, a professor at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, explains why these practices are Biblical and fully part of the ancient Christian faith.

Palestinian Children's Author Reports on Holy Fire in Jerusalem

At the Orthodox Institute this fall Dr. Maria Khoury of Palestine will present the keynote address. Maria is known for her reflections on life in the Holy Land, which circulate to a wide readership by e-mail. Many appreciate her writings as a personal window into the land of our Christian heritage. I received one of her e-mails recently from Ms. Phyllis Onest which describes what is known as the Holy Fire in Jerusalem. I enclose both the introduction by Phyllis, and Maria’s description of the Holy Fire. During her time in the States, Maria will be available to come to parishes and present on life in the Holy Land and her affordable housing project, and to sign her Christina children’s book series. If you are interested in hosting Maria, please contact us at

From Phyllis:

Maria Khoury, author of the Christina book series, and her family live in the last Christian village in Palestine—Taybeh, known as Ephraim in the Scriptures (if my memory serves me correctly). She has been our eyes and ears to the truth of what occurs behind the high walls the Israeli government has built around Gaza to keep the Palestinians "entrapped" in their own land. President Carter refers to the what occurs there as "Apartheid."

There are still Christians attempting to witness to the world that this is the place where Jesus lived and preached and where the Apostles taught and the Church grew. But most have left out of fear for their lives and for a future for their children. There was a time that thriving Orthodox monasteries cared for the Holy sites. Now there are a few monks or nuns.

Council of Orthodox Christian Churches to hold "Saturday Night Laughter" charity benefit May 17

LIVONIA, Mich. - The Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of Metropolitan Detroit (COCC) will hold a charity benefit May 17 at 7 p.m. at SS. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, 750 N. Beech Daly Road, Dearborn Heights.

Entitled "Saturday Night Laughter," the benefit will feature comedian Mrs. Hughes (, musician Rennie Kaufmann (, a silent auction and dancing.

Tickets are $30 per person in advance, $40 at the door.  Admission includes hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine and soft drinks.  The COCC is also accepting donations of money and items for the silent auction.  All proceeds will go to International Orthodox Christian Charities, the official international humanitarian organization of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (

To order tickets, donate money or auction items, or obtain further information, contact COCC President Richard Shebib at (734) 422-0278 or

The COCC is a 51-year-old clergy and lay association that represents various canonical Orthodox churches in metropolitan Detroit.  Its mission is to promote Orthodox Christianity throughout the area through worship, fellowship, and charitable, educational and outreach programs. 

Fr. Michael Keiser Discusses Development of East and West Worship Rites

Listen to a one-hour hour lecture by Father Michael Keiser, who provides an overview of the development of worship rites in both the East and in the West. This lecture was given on December 5, 2007, at St. Elijah Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City.

Click here.

New York Times Reports on Aramaic's Decline in Syria

The NYT has posted an interesting article about the decline of Aramaic in Syria. Click here to check it out (registration required).

New York Times Reports on Growing Strength of Orthodoxy in Russia

The NYT has posted an interesting article about Orthodoxy in Russia. Click here to check it out (registration required).

Bishop JOSEPH Visits 11 Parishes During Holy Week

During Holy Week, Sayidna JOSEPH visited all 11 churches of the Northern California Deanery. Here is the link:

The Very Reverend Father Constantine Nasr Visits St. Tikhon's Seminary

clip_image001On Thursday, April 3, the Very Reverend Father Constantine Nasr, Pastor of St. Elijah Antiochian Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, visited St. Tikhon's Seminary and offered an evening lecture to the community on the subject of: "The Vision and Mission of the Local Parish."

See photos at

Bishop THOMAS Celebrates Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday at the Cathedral

On Lazarus Saturday, Bishop THOMAS joined  members of the Cathedral of St. George (Oakland, Pa.) who celebrated with donkey rides, and again on Palm Sunday at the Divine Liturgy.

Memory Eternal, Archbishop Gregory

clip_image001YOUR PRAYERS are requested for the repose of the soul of the newly departed servant of God ARCHBISHOP GREGORY (Afonsky), retired bishop of Sitka and Alaska of the Orthodox Church in America.  His Eminence reposed April 16.

May His Eminence's memory be eternal.


Submitted by Bishop BASIL.

Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow responds to Muslim theologians

Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has published this response to an open letter to Christian leaders written by 138 Muslim theologians:


I would like to thank all the Muslim religious leaders and scholars who sent an open letter to representatives of Christian Churches and organizations including the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Christians and Muslims have many similar aims, and we can unite our efforts to achieve them. However, this unity will not occur if we fail to clarify our understanding of each other’s religious values. In this connection, I welcome the desire of the Muslim community to begin a sincere and open dialogue with representatives of Christians Churches on a serious scholarly and intellectual level.

Christianity and Islam are engaged today in a very important task in the world. They seek to remind humanity of the existence of God and of the spiritual dimension present both in man and the world. We bear witness to the interdependence of peace and justice, morality and law, truth and love.

As you rightly put in your letter, Christians and Muslims are drawn together first of all by the commandment of the love of God and the love of one’s neighbor. At the same time, I do not think it is worthwhile for us to identify a certain minimum that seems to fix our convergences in faith and to be theologically sufficient for the individual’s religious life. Any doctrinal affirmation in Christianity or Islam cannot be viewed in isolation from its unique place in the integral theological system. Otherwise, one’s religious identity will be obliterated to give rise to a danger of moving along the path of blending the faiths. It seems to be more fruitful, therefore, to study the integral faith of each side and to compare them.

Metropolitan Herman To Attend Gathering Marking Pope Benedict XVI's NY Visit (Orthodox Church in America)

April 16, 2008

NEW YORK, NY [OCA Communications] -- His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, will be among the Orthodox Christian hierarchs attending an ecumenical gathering marking Pope Benedict XVI's first US visit at Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, an historic German parish in New York, NY, on Friday, April 18, 2008.

Accompanying Metropolitan Herman will be Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Moderator of Christian Churches Together in the USA and the OCA’s Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations; Priest John Behr, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY; Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Seminary Chancellor; and Dr. Paul Meyendorff, a member of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation.

Pope Benedict, who arrived in the US on April 15, also is slated to visit Washington, DC before his return to Rome on April 20.

OCMC Mission Specialist Fr. John Erickson Prepares for Service in Tanzania

This month, Fr. John Erickson will journey to Tanzania as an OCMC Mission Specialist to teach seminarians at the Kasikizi Catechetical Center.  Fr. John began teaching at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1973 and is currently the Peter N. Gramowich Professor of Church History.  He is also a well-known expert in Canon Law.

The Orthodox Church in Tanzania has grown tremendously under the leadership of His Eminence Jeronymos, Metropolitan of Mwanza.  In the past 10 years, the number of parishes has more than tripled, and the number of Faithful has more than doubled.  His Eminence has maintained a missionary spirit that helps the Church in Tanzania to thrive.

The increasing growth of the Church has resulted in the need for more qualified priests and catechists.  In 2006, there were only 34 Tanzanian priests serving the more than 41,000 Faithful. The Kasikizi Catechetical Center, located in the Tanzanian Metropolis of Mwanza, seeks to meet this need, offering both seminary classes and seminars for those who desire to learn more about the Faith and to continue the work of the Gospel. 

Fr. John said of his mission in Tanzania, “I expect to learn as much as I am going to teach.”  He went on to describe the importance of not just knowing about Orthodoxy or of doing Orthodox things, but of being Orthodox.  Please pray for Fr. John during his time in Tanzania.

OCMC anticipates future opportunities to support theological education in the field.  There are currently twenty- one open missionary positions to meet immediate needs identified by Hierarchs.  If you are interested in exploring these opportunities further, please contact the OCMC Missionary Department at 1-877-463- 6784.

Memory Eternal, Fr. John Kahle

The V. Rev. John Kahle, the retired pastor of St. Paul Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pa., departed this life on April 6. (St. Paul's is part of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.)

The schedule of services for Fr. John follows.  All services will occur at St. Paul's in Emmaus:

Thursday night (April 10) @ 7 PM:  Priest's Funeral Service

Friday morning (April 11) @ 10 AM:  Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts in the presence of Fr. John, followed by the General Funeral Service.  The internment will follow these services.

Letters of condolence may be sent to his family at 172 Harrison St., Emmaus, PA 18049.

Please remember Fr. John in your prayers.  May his memory be eternal.

About Fr. John

Father John Kahle was born July 19, 1928, in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, to James and Rachel (Ludwig) Kahle. He attended the elementary and high schools in his home town, and graduated Class Orator in 1946.

After serving four years with the United States Army, he began a 14 year career with Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., serving as Supervisor of Plant Safety, Plant Planning Manager, and Manufacturing and Engineering Estimator. In 1964 he left Air Products and opened Kahle's Music Store in Emmaus, which he owned and operated with his family until 1995 when he retired from business.

Encountering the Mystery - New Book by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Now Available

encountering Written with personal warmth and great erudition, ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY illuminates the rich culture and soul of Orthodox Christianity. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I traces the roots of Orthodox Christianity to its founding 2000 years ago, explores its spirituality and doctrine, and explains its liturgy and art. More especially, in a unique and unprecedented way, he relates Orthodox Christianity to contemporary issues, such as freedom and human rights, social justice and globalization, as well as nationalism and war.  Order your copy from the Greek Orthodox Marketplace at

The Principal's Story from Lebanon

A Dedicated Educator And New Equipment From IOCC Make the Difference for A Lebanon Public School

Beirut, Lebanon — In Ain al Remaneh, an East Beirut suburb, there is a public school principal who will do anything for her 300 students. On a day of heavy winter rains, Principal Marie Chahine, bundled in a heavy coat, relates to visitors in her office some of her exploits at the K-9 Chiah Public School for Girls. She convinced her optician son to give the girls free eye exams. She wouldn't admit a development organization into the school until they first repaired all 16 dilapidated bathrooms. And her connections with the municipality have ensured electricity for the school, even during Beirut's now frequent blackouts.

Chahine's creative maneuvering is "survival of the fittest" in a country whose crumbling public schools are hobbled by bureaucracy and a lack of investment by the central government. "If I so much as want to purchase pencils it requires a special letter of permission to the Ministry of Education," says Chahine. A lover of learning, Chahine began her 34-year teaching career in Ain al Remaneh and continued teaching "under the bombs" when Lebanon's civil war began, and the school found itself along the notorious Green Line which separated the eastern and western sectors of Beirut.

During recess in the school's courtyard her visitors see veiled and unveiled teenage girls dressed in sweat pants line up to run a race. First graders dressed in pink uniforms stand huddled together against the cold as they watch the older girls. Ain al Remaneh had been a predominantly Christian area, but many families fled the civil war. "Today, you will find students of all faiths here,” says Chahine, “Shi’a, Sunni, Orthodox, Druze, Maronite — and, thank God, no conflicts between them."

Frederica To Speak in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. - Event Postponed


Frederica's speaking event at St. Mary's in Wilkes-Barre for April 5th has been canceled. The event will be rescheduled for the fall 2008. Date and time to be announced.

St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, 905 S. Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., announces a Lenten speaker event. Frederica Matthews-Green, will share about an Orthodox Lenten Journey on Saturday, April 5, 2008.

Reception: 5 PM
Vespers: 6 PM
Speaker: 7 PM

For more information please contact event coordinator Freida Skaff at email address: or phone number 570-824-5016.

Bishop MARK Attends Funeral for ROCOR Hierarch

At the request of Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop MARK of Toledo represented the Archdiocese at the funeral of the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan LAURUS on Friday March 21, 2008 in Jordanville, NY.

For more information on Metropolitan LAURUS please visit