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His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Appoints Mr. Paul Jabara to Head the Archdiocesan Department of Sacred Music

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has appointed Mr. Paul Jabara of Montreal QC, Canada to be the new Head of the Archdiocesan Department of Sacred Music, replacing Mr. Christopher Holwey who is finishing his tenure in that position to pursue new opportunities. A brief biographical summary for Mr. Jabara can be found here. His Eminence wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to Chris Holwey for his dedicated service to this department and wish him well in all of his future endeavors. In addition, His Eminence congratulates Paul Jabara on this appointment and wishes him every blessing.

Biography of Paul Jabara

Conductor Paul Jabara was born in Montreal and is a graduate of McGill University. Originally a trombonist, he obtained his undergraduate degree in voice and piano, a Master's degree in choral conducting, and divides his time between conducting and teaching.

Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. George Church + Washington, D.C.

Fr. Joseph Rahal writes:

The week of May 6-11, 2015 was a glorious week for the city of Washington and the Parish of St. George. On Wednesday, May 6, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, accompanied by Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih, arrived in Washington, D.C. for an official visit.

On Thursday May 7, His Eminence, accompanied by the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Pastor of St. George Church of Washington, D.C., the Very Rev. Isaac Crow of Ss. Peter & Paul Church of Potomac, MD, and Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih, attended and participated in the 100-year commemoration of the Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Antiochian genocide that took place in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire in Turkey.

On Friday May 8, His Eminence attended a private dinner with members of the parish council of St. George, their spouses and other prominent members of the Parish at the home of Jamal & Amal Motran in Fredrick, MD.

Summer 2015 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Summer 2015 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Worcester and New England! The issue contains:

  • Messages from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop John
  • A Tribute to "Woman"
  • A message from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor Fr. Edward Hughes
  • A Sincere Word of Thanks by Lucy Hanna
  • Introducing The 2013 - 2015 Board of Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester and New England
  • My Mother's Legacy by Christine Bezreh
  • Happenings Around the Diocese of Worcester and New England

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

Pentecost Letter from Bishop Anthony Encourages Support of Mission Parishes

In honor of the Holy Feast of Pentecost, Bishop Anthony encourages all churches in the Toledo Diocese to support our new missions. Missions are a sign of a living, and vibrant church, and evidence that the same Holy Spirit who descended upon the Apostles is with us today!

May 31, 2015
Great Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost

Beloved Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest:

Christ is in our midst!

We give thanks to God in all things as we enjoyed the blessings of the Great Fast, the Feast of Feasts, Pascha, and now our celebration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

As we read in the Holy Scriptures, our Lord asked the apostles and disciples to stay in the Holy City of Jerusalem until they received "power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8) The Holy Spirit gave them the power and grace to go and preach the Good News of His Resurrection. This "power" has been with the Church since that day and given to us!

This most-joyous feast represents the beginning of the Church's mission to carry the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the four corners of the earth. From that day in Jerusalem, the Apostles followed our Lord's command to make disciples of all nations. This mission continues to this very day.

Of particular importance in the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest is the work of our nine mission parishes and our Diocesan Mission Council. Through our mission parishes, the love of God the Father and the Communion of His All-Holy Spirit in His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church have come to rest in the hearts and on the heads of so many in otherwise geographically and spiritually remote places throughout our Diocese.

"Ancient Faith Presents" Interview with Samer Laham: Conflict and Relief in Syria

Samer LahamSamer LahamListen to the full interview

On May 14, 2015, Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) President John Maddex interviewed Mr. Samer Laham, Director of Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD) for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch in Syria. The Department is a nonprofit organization belonging to and operating from the Patriarchate, located in the old city of Damascus. Mr. Laham was visiting the headquarters of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in Baltimore, MD, and during his visit sat down with Maddex to share his up-to-date account of the dire situation inside his homeland. 

"About 10.8 million people are in need of assistance" due to the civil war conditions in Syria, noted Maddex in his introduction. Additionally, due to the many consequences of the protracted war, "the whole population is really under hard conditions," explained Mr. Laham. Yet those who are working in relief efforts, he continued, persevere with faith, hope, and prayer. "We are the second largest organization on the ground...our vision in the future is to continue our work."

May 17: IOCC Syrian Relief Benefit in Grand Rapids, MI

The Syrian civil war is one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. Over 200,000 people have died including more than 10,000 children. You can help by contributing to an event to benefit the International Orthodox Christian Charities' Syrian Relief Fund. The event takes place on May 17, 2015 at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, MI and will feature keynote speaker Mark Ohanian, who oversees approximately 300 relief workers on the ground in the Middle East including the IOCC's response to the Syrian civil war. Event donations may be made at www.iocc.org/grandrapids.

Download the flyer.

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday is May 17

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday is almost here! This year the date is May 17, 2015. Please join in raising awareness and support of the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), an Agency of the Assembly of Bishops, on this day.

Jesus told His sheep: "I was in prison and you came to Me" (Matthew 25:36). Not all of us can go into the prisons directly, but we can all support those who do this work.

What can you do?

·Volunteer to promote OCPM on May 17 in your parish, with the blessing of your parish priest. Your parish should have recently received a packet of OCPM materials.

·Print OCPM materials to hand out to parishioners after the Divine Liturgy. 

·Share the Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday Encyclical, written by Archbishop Mark and Fr Stephen Powley.

·Make a secure donation to OCPM in any amount.

·Tell a friend about OCPM.

Thank you for helping us grow this vital ministry of the Church!

New Scholarship Available for Youth Workers in House of Studies Youth Ministry Program

In an effort to educate Antiochian parish youth workers, the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) is pleased to announce that with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, SOYO will award the first scholarships to Antiochian Archdiocese parish youth workers this fall, specifically for those registered in the St. Stephen Youth Ministry Concentration. The Scholarship Application and Policy statement are available online; the deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 31, 2015.

Currently the Scholarship Fund has $217,095.87 invested (as of April 30, 2015). Teen SOYO raised and gifted $200,000 to establish this Youth Worker Scholarship during the 2013 Archdiocese Convention.

Download the application here.
For a complete listing of scholarships, view our Scholarship page.

Listen: Bishop Anthony's Homily on the Feast of St. George

Listen to the homily here.

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, the community of St. George Orthodox Christian Church of Fishers, IN, hosted His Grace Bishop Anthony and area clergy for a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in honor of the Feast of the Holy Great-Martyr George. Bishop Anthony offered an inspiring homily explaining the meaning of the life of St. George, and how we can draw lessons from his life today. "My brothers and sisters, the Church is a military unit," exhorted His Grace. "We have to bivouac in the world, we have to travel in the desert...we have to fire with faith. 

"As St. George did when he confessed Christ before the soldiers—he showed them the courage of goodness and the morality of lasting love—that's what the world needs. Unless we face the fact that Christ is risen from the dead, we will never have the courage to live up to the possiblities of our own life. Each of us has a center and gift and unique talent to offer the world."

Reaching Our Young Adults: Fr. Joseph Purpura Interviewed on Ancient Faith Radio

May 1, 2015

On his Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Becoming a Healing Presence," host Dr. Albert Rossi recently interviewed Fr. Joseph Purpura, the Archdiocese's chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries. The podcast, titled "Reaching Our Young Adults," discusses how to best communicate with and serve the Church's teens and young people.  

"In the Antiochian Archdiocese, we are serious about raising up a generation of disciples and leaders. Our goal in everything we do, is to move our young people closer and closer to Christ. It's always a joy to work with young people; the questions that they have are very deep and serious questions." 

He added, "My experience over the past 34 years of doing youth work, is that young people want to do what's right. We see our young people doing really beautiful things, in the name of Jesus Christ....I can't tell you the power, when an adult ask one of our kids to help. They need to know there is a purpose for them there (in the Church)."

Listen to the full podcast.

May Liturgical Texts Available for Download

His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph reads the “Kneeling Prayers” of Pentecost at Holy Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Yonkers, NY in 2010.His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph reads the “Kneeling Prayers” of Pentecost at Holy Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Yonkers, NY in 2010.The Liturgical Texts for May, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

Starting Sunday, May 3, 2015, Sayidna Joseph has authorized a correction at the singing of "God is the Lord" in every Orthros service. The refrain will now properly read "God is the Lord and hath appeared unto us. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord." This matches the refrain as sung in Arabic, Greek and all other languages. The Department of Sacred Music has begun to provide compositions to reflect this correction. Parishes are to download them and print them for their books. (Visit Sacred Music's page weekly to collect all eight tones.) This change will also be reflected in all future Archdiocesan service books and publications.

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Patronal Feast with Arizona Community

From April 23-26, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph visited the parish of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ. The active community is led by the pastor, the Very Reverend Dr. Christopher Salamy, assisted by several other clergy. During His Eminence's days ministering in Phoenix, he presided over a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy commemorating the feast day of the community's patron saint, St. George. Metropolitan Joseph's visit concluded with a celebratory banquet on April 26.

(View the Facebook photo album.)

Antiochian Parish Hosts Commemoration: 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Gathering at the Basilica of St. Mary to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Tom Beaudoin)Gathering at the Basilica of St. Mary to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Tom Beaudoin)Father George Shalhoub, pastor of The Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, writes:

Beloved,

For almost a half of century, our church community has grown to be a bridge among all people and this is a testimony of other religions and ethnic communities granting our community that honor.

On April 24, 2015, we hosted the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in which over 2500 people gathered in the church, the Activity Center and outside as the relic from 1.5 million men, women and children were killed in 1915. Present was His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Archdiocese, His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel from the Romanian Orthodox Church of America, His Eminence Archbishop Allen Vigneron of the Detroit Catholic Diocese and scores of clergy representing all denominations in our area.

Department of Youth and SOYO Launch Improved Donation Portal

Fr Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, writes:

Christ is Risen!

The Department of Youth and NAC SOYO have implemented a new donation page that now gives donors the opportunity to select the area of youth ministry they want their donation to be applied.

Donate securely online today to the following ministries:
General Fund (for youth projects)
Department of Youth Ministry
Healthy Youth Program
SOYO Leadership Conference
SOYO Metropolitan PHILIP Youth Worker Scholarship
SOYO Special Olympics
Teen SOYO General Account

Utilize our secure online donation page through the Antiochian Events hosting service.

May our Risen Lord continue to bless all of your good works!

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joseph
frjoseph@orthodoxyouth.com
Twitter: @FrPurpura

Youth Ministry Leaders Meet with Metropolitan Joseph

L to R: Fr. Joseph Purpura, Sandy Mitchell, Fr. Noah Bushelli, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain, Khalil Samara, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Anthony Yazge, Carole BulezaL to R: Fr. Joseph Purpura, Sandy Mitchell, Fr. Noah Bushelli, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain, Khalil Samara, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Anthony Yazge, Carole BulezaOn Tuesday, April 21, 2015, Metropolitan Joseph convened a meeting at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ, with all of the Antiochian Archdiocese Youth Ministry leaders.

In attendance were:
V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura – Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry
V. Rev. Fr. Anthony Yazge – Chair of the Department of Camping and Director of College Ministry
V. Rev. Fr. Noah Bushelli – representing home school parents
Carole Buleza – Director of the Department of Christian Education
Khalil Samara – Fellowship of St. John the Divine (Young Adult Ministry)
V. Rev. Thomas Zain – Spiritual Advisor of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine
Sandy Mitchell – representing Antiochian Orthodox parochial schools

His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn, NY, also joined the group for lunch.

His Eminence set forth his vision for youth ministry in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and called all of those in attendance at the meeting to start working together in their efforts to form the youth of the Archdiocese. He also stressed the importance of increasing our efforts to form our youth in Christ.

"It's time to renew our efforts, not to abolish what has been done," he said. "We must build upon what we have received, what has been delivered to us....We have a great task before us to improve these ministries to our young people across the Archdiocese. It is the right time for change and improvement.

"We cannot bury our talents," he concluded.

Metropolitan Joseph's Public Schedule Updated Through June

The public schedule of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph that is published on the Archdiocese website, has been updated through June, 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

 

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 26, 2015 (St. Joseph of Arimathea, Second Sunday after Pascha). May God grant him many years!

Learn more about Joseph of Arimathea
Read about Metropolitan Joseph

Local News Coverage Features Kentucky Mission Parish

(Austin Anthony/photo@bgdailynews.com)(Austin Anthony/photo@bgdailynews.com)On April 11, 2015, Holy Saturday, a story by reporter Laurel Wilson was posted in the Bowling Green, Kentucky Daily News. In the piece "Vespers commemorates taking Jesus from the cross," Ms. Wilson wrote about Holy Week observances in the Antiochian parish there, Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission, with Fr. Michael Nasser. 

"An important part of Orthodox Holy Week is the Vespers of Holy Friday, a service to remember the unnailing of Jesus from the cross," the article noted, and quotes Fr. Michael as saying that 'It's easy to think we're doing a re-enactment. That's not what we're doing. We stop and we remember ... where they had to take the nails that had been impounded in the body of Jesus. We weren't there and we were not to imagine that we were, but Joseph and Nicodemus were, and we remember that moment for them.'"

Read the full piece here.

Ancient Faith Publishing Releases Paschal Meditations

Meditations for Pascha, ebook versionMeditations for Pascha, ebook versionAncient Faith Publishing recently released a new title to coincide with the joyful liturgical season which follows Pascha. Meditations for Pascha: Reflections of the Pentecostarionby noted author Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou, offers a series of thoughtful essays about the meaning of the "overlooked hymnbook" of the Orthodox Christian Church, the Pentecostarion. 

"Far from being merely a 'vacation from fasting,'" notes the publisher, "the Pascha season is a time that, properly understood, can greatly enrich our faith. During the Pascha season, we celebrate and rejoice in our Lord's Resurrection and we prepare for the great feast of the Holy Spirit descending upon us."

Archimandrite Vassilios is the author of several other books with Ancient Faith Publishing: Meditations for Great LentMeditations for Advent, Meditations for Holy Week, and Thirty Steps to Heaven. Meditations for Pascha is also available in four ebook formats. (Find more of Ancient Faith's ebooks here.)

 

Assembly of Bishops Committee Chaired by Metropolitan Joseph Pursues Ambitious Agenda in 2015

Metropolitan Joseph and other bishops at Assembly meeting in Dallas, TX, Sept. 2014Metropolitan Joseph and other bishops at Assembly meeting in Dallas, TX, Sept. 2014
April 16, 2015: From the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America

Can Orthodox weddings be celebrated on Saturdays? Are group confessions permissible? How are catechumens prepared for reception into the Church?

The answers to these questions and others depend on which Orthodox jurisdiction you call home. While there are vast areas of agreement in the Orthodox Church, there are variations in practice across jurisdictions in the United States as pertain to baptism, marriage, confession, and other sacraments of the Church.

As the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strives to manifest the unity of Orthodoxy, it is necessary to develop a common understanding among its member bishops regarding pastoral practice.

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.  Leo felt compassion for him and went in search of a source of water, but found none.  As he was about to cease his search, he heard a voice telling him there was water nearby.  He looked again, and found none.  Then he heard the voice again, this time calling him "Emperor" and telling him that he would find muddy water in the densely wooded place nearby; he was to take some water and anoint the blind man's eyes with it.  When he had done this, the blind man received his sight.

After Leo became Emperor, as the Most Holy Theotokos had prophesied, he raised up a church temple over the spring, whose waters worked many healings, as well as resurrections from the dead, through the intercessions of the Theotokos. From this, it came to be called the "Life-giving Spring."

Ancient Faith Interview: "One on One with Metropolitan Joseph"

On Friday, March 27, 2015, Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) released a special interview with His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, conducted by AFR President John Maddex. Recorded in His Eminence's office in Englewood, NJ, the interview included Metropolitan Joseph's assessment of his first several months as metropolitan. His Eminence also discussed with John his firm commitment to the Mother Church of Antioch, and his views on Orthodox unity.

Listen to the full interview.

Metropolitan Joseph Issues Letter in Support of March for Marriage

On April 25, 2015, on the National Mall in Washington D.C., people will be gathering from around the U.S. for the March for Marriage. This year's March will include an Orthodox Gathering, sponsored by the group Crown Them With Glory. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has released a letter encouraging the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese to participate. (Download the PDF of His Eminence's letter.)

March 26, 2015

To our Beloved Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy and all of the Faithful of this God- Protected Archdiocese:

Blessings to you during this Holy Season of the Great Fast! On January 16th of this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear four new cases on same-sex "marriage," and "rule on the power of the states to ban same-sex "marriages" and to refuse to recognize such "marriages" performed in another state." More details on the announcement can be found at the Supreme Court's website.

We are writing to communicate the newly established date for the third annual March for Marriage in Washington D.C. on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The march is a peaceful rally and quite comparable to the March for Life. We ask that you would make every effort to attend the rally, and encourage others to do likewise.

Photo Gallery: Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Pascha

Christ is Risen! 

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided over the services for Great and Holy Pascha at the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. Assisting in this high point of the liturgical year, were Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Archdiocese and Dean of the Cathedral, and Fr. Adrian Budica.

View the photo gallery by St. Vladimir's seminarian Rami Dahdal.

Antiochian Parish Featured in Toledo Newspaper

The St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Sylvania, Ohio, was recently featured in a newspaper article in The Blade, a premier Toledo publication. Archpriest Ayman Kfouf spoke with Religion Editor TK Barger about the commemorations of Holy Week and Pascha, and queried him for his thoughts about the crisis in the Middle East.

St. Elias is not "an ethnic church that is closed upon itself and that tries to alienate itself from the world," Fr. Ayman said. "Rather, our mission is to unify ourselves with the world and serve the world, because that is the mission of the Orthodox church, and the community. That's what we're doing in Toledo."

Read the full interview.