News


New Book by Popular Antiochian Author: An Introduction to God

Antiochian Orthodox priest Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, rector of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, PA, has released a new book with Ancient Faith Publishing titled An Introduction to God. In his book, the author of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy author and Roads From Emmaus podcaster speaks to non-believers and Christians about creating "a sacred space in which we can encounter God.

The book's description explains that Fr. Andrew's goal is to explain to a new generation what is "...the essence of the traditional Christian faith, addressing the fundamental mysteries of where God is, who God is, why we go to church, and why Christian morality matters."

In an interview with Holy Trinity Bookstore, Fr. Damick comments that as a priest, " I've met many folks who don't come to church or are perhaps not very engaged in church not because they are in rebellion against God but because they just don't see the point. Most of the time, no one ever really tried to explain it to them."

Over 500 Attend Parish Life Conference at the Village

Over 500 faithful from the Eastern Dioceses of New York and Washington, D.C. and Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic participated in the historic 2014 Parish Life Conference (PLC).  Held at the Antiochian Village (AV) in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, it was a testament to the vision of Metropolitan Philip, who founded AV to foster fellowship and spiritual growth in the Orthodox faith. The grace of the Holy Spirit emanated throughout the conference, which was focused on the theme of loving God and neighbor, and was hosted by St. George Orthodox Christian Church of New Kensington, PA, with Fr. Meletios Zafaran.

Participants at the PLC had the unique opportunity to pray at the gravesites of St. Raphael and Metropolitan Philip.  Father Anthony Yazge, the AV host priest and camp director, guided the group on an uplifting tour of the St. Raphael and St. Thekla shrines, and led a Supplication Service to St. Raphael.

Metropolitan and Hierarchs Prepare for Annual Assembly of Bishops Meeting

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, the representative body consisting of all 53 active, canonical Orthodox bishops in the U.S., will convene for their Annual Meeting on September 16-18, 2014, in Dallas, TX. The meeting will be the first time His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph will fill the role of First Vice Chairman of the Assembly, a position always held by the Antiochian Archdiocese's metropolitan.

Features of this meeting will include a pan-Orthodox Doxology, and a Clergy-Laity Gathering on the evening of Monday, September 15. All clergy and laity are invited to join in prayer during the Doxology, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas. Following the Doxology, a panel of bishops will answer questions related to the work of the Assembly, and fellowship will follow. This is the second Assembly-sponsored clergy-laity event; the first was held in Cleveland, Ohio in October 2013. The gatherings give hierarchs the opportunity to present the work of the Assembly, while opening the floor to the faithful to express their ideas and concerns.

Members of the Assembly represent the following archdioceses and dioceses: Albanian, American Carpatho-Russian, Antiochian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek, Orthodox Church in America, Romanian, Russian, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Serbian, and Ukrainian. The Assembly was established to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox faithful, present a common and unified witness of the Orthodox Faith, and manifest the unity of Orthodoxy.

Download the flyer for the Clergy-Laity Gathering.

Diocese of Charleston Deacons Retreat and Clergy Synaxis

Deacons Retreat
September 26-28, 2014
In conjunction with the St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage
Open to all deacons in the Mid-Atlantic Diocese
Speaker: Archdeacon David Khoury from St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids, MI
For more information, contact Dn. Peter Maris: peter@pgmaris.com

Clergy Synaxis (Retreat)
September 30-October 3, 2014
Open to all clergy in the Mid-Atlantic Diocese
Speaker: His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah) of the New England Diocese
Download schedule (PDF)
Download registration form (PDF)
For more information, contact Fr. Anthony Yazge: franthony@antiochianvillage.org

Two Missions to be Established in PA and MD

His Grace Bishop Thomas announces two new mission parishes being formed in the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic. 

Beloved in Christ,

The Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, is pleased to announce that we are beginning to establish two new missions.

The first is a mission station in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For information about this mission endeavor, you should contact Paul Abernathy (p.abernathy12@gmail.com; 412-334-0917).

A second mission endeavor is being attempted in Talbot County, Maryland. An advertisement offers information about our first meeting, which I plan to attend.

I would appreciate it very much if those of you who are on the East Coast would regularly remind your faithful about both these movements. Those of you who are not in this area, but know people who might live in or travel to this area, please pass this information on.

2015 Icon Calendars Available from Ancient Faith Publishing

Ancient Faith Publishing has released the 2015 version of their popular icon calendar. Featuring icons of the Virgin Mary from a variety of contemporary American iconographers, the 11" X 12" full-color calendar is also available for the first time in a Julian version.

Major saints and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world are listed in both versions of the 2015 calendar. Additionally, other feast days of some of the most popularly venerated saints of the Orthodox Churches around the world are listed in black, regular type.

Order your calendar at Ancient Faith Publishing's web store.

 

Pan-Orthodox Young Professionals Conference in Austin, TX

A note to our young adults from Fr. David Barr of St. Elias Church in Austin, Texas. Father David writes:

Howdy, y'all! We are thrilled to be hosting Austin's first pan-Orthodox Young Professionals Conference. Join us on October 24th-26th, 2014, deep in the heart of Texas, for an incredible weekend, packed full of spiritual and social activities. Get to know and spend time with fellow Orthodox Christians as we learn what it means to live authentically. Explore the concepts of 'Real Life, True Faith' with Dr. George Stavros during the keynote address, as well as during breakout sessions led by both esteemed clergy and theologians. Later on, perhaps you'd like to check out the vintage shops on South Congress, or maybe you'd rather try your luck at paddling on Town Lake. One thing's for sure -- you can't leave Austin without some authentic BBQ! We'll reflect, learn, and worship together, discover Austin's hotspots, and form lifelong connections.

Early bird registration ends on September 1st.

Register on our website: http://peliniko.wix.com/yal-2014-austin
Check us out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AustinConference#!/events/268607640009171
Email us at: youngadultsaustin2014@gmail.com

IOCC Delivers Relief To Gaza's Displaced Families

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Living conditions for thousands of displaced families in the Gaza Strip are rapidly deteriorating as families uprooted from their homes and forced to find shelter now face a shortage of water as well as decreasing access to food. The recent escalation of the conflict has destroyed Gaza's power plant and civilian infrastructure, depriving vulnerable Gazans of the most basic needs and adding to the misery of more than half a million people displaced across the densely populated territory.

Many of the displaced families have sought refuge at schools, mosques, and churches, including St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Christian Church in the Az Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. More than 2,400 displaced children and their parents are sheltering at the church, sleeping in the community center as well as outside in the church courtyard. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) staff is on the ground in Gaza to provide humanitarian relief to families in urgent need of food and basic supplies.

IOCC distributed hot meals to hundreds of displaced families seeking refuge at the church, for many their first hot meal in weeks. "We were not able to provide meals like this," explained Hani, one of the church council members, who expressed gratitude for the critically-needed assistance. "With this support we are able to help feed these people who have come to us for help."

Read the full story on iocc.org.

October 23-26: Hierarchs and Board of Trustees Fall Meeting

With the blessings of Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and The Right Rev. Bishop Antoun, Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, The Rev. Fouad Saba and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL are hosting the Hierarchs and Board of Trustees meetings from October 23-26, 2014. The historic meetings will be the first ones in which Metropolitan Joseph presides for both the Board of Trustees fall meetings, as well as the gathering of the bishops.

On Saturday evening, a banquet will be held honoring the newly selected Metropolitan, and offering tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. A Sunday Hierarchical Liturgy will be followed by "The Stewards Luncheon," with the Board of Trustees as guests of honor.

Download the press release, which includes the schedule, hotel information, and a description of the weekend.

Deadline for House of Studies Registration Nears

Archdeacon Peter Boulukos of the Antiochian House of Studies has been interviewed by Ancient Faith Radio in advance of the approaching 2014 deadline for new students to apply for the next round of programs. 

Listen to Archdeacon Peter speak about the St. Stephen's course and the programs of the House of Studies here.

Learn more about the school, based at Antiochian Village, here.

With affordable tuition and flexible scheduling, the House of Studies offers students, parents, or full-time professionals the ability to pursue an Orthodox theological education.

2015 Liturgical Guide Order Form

Greetings and best wishes to you in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With the Grace of God and the blessings of our new beloved Father in Christ His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, I'm preparing the 2015 Liturgical Guide which I have been preparing every year for the last seventeen years. For the last eight years, with the blessing of our late beloved Father Metropolitan Philip of Thrice Blessed Memory, I took the chance to print and distribute the Guide on my own. I would like to thank every parish and every individual who supported the use of the hard copy of the Guide by purchasing one or more.

I'm doing the same thing again this year and I'm looking for your support to keep this project alive so we can all have the same and proper liturgical services in our churches. I would like to have the book printed by the middle of October and I only print copies based on the orders.

Enclosed with this letter is the Order Form for the 2015 Liturgical Guide, please complete and send it back to me with your payment as soon as possible so I can have an accurate idea of how many copies I need to print and be able to distribute to you on time. The deadline is January 15, 2015. Any Orders after the deadline will be $2.00 extra per book. Please send your order ASAP.

Please keep me in your prayers,

Yours in Christ,

Very Rev. Fr. Elia Shalhoub

2295 Oklahoma St., West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Phone / Fax: 561-616-8215

E-Mail: elia_shalhoub@yahoo.com

 

Spotlight: Children's Relief Fund Sponsors Needy Children

The Children's Relief Fund (CRF), with Fr. George Rados as National Director, is a charity of the Antiochian Archdiocese that has been supporting the education of needy children in the Middle East through scholarships since 1983. In 2012 alone, the CRF assisted 420 young students with their schooling. Since 2012, the Fund has also been supporting the children of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

The Fund facilitates sponsorships of individual children, and the entire donated gift amount is always distributed to the sponsored child. Sponsors may apply online, and will subsequently receive photos of their children, and information about their families and circumstances. Exchanging letters at Christmas time is encouraged, and for those who can travel to visit their children in Palestine or Lebanon, visits are possible.

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page of the recently remodeled CRF Website offers details on sponsorship, and points out that in addition to individual sponsors, groups such as SOYO may also sponsor children. Stirring testimonials and photos of children are also available.

 

FOCUS Opens Free Health Center in Pittsburgh, PA

The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) recently opened the FOCUS + Pittsburgh Free Health Center. The Center provides free, quality physical and mental health care as well as pharmaceutical and laboratory services to uninsured individuals. Patients are seen by Orthodox physicians and health care providers who volunteer their time. The Center specifically targets and serves people who fall through the gaps in today's health care system: those who don't qualify for government assistance and/or those who don't have employer-sponsored health insurance.

The FOCUS + Pittsburgh Free Health Center is the first fully-accredited Orthodox health center in the United States. Using this model, FOCUS hopes to launch more health centers in areas where Orthodox physicians are available to donate their time and skills to serve the uninsured and working poor. A church hall, Sunday school rooms, an office—any of these can double as a health center in a community, on a weekly or monthly basis. Medical malpractice liability protection under the FOCUS model is provided by the federal government and the Federal Tort Claims Act at no charge, to any physician or medical staffer serving at a FOCUS clinic. Details are available on the Free Health Center's Information page.

 

Metropolitan Joseph Presents 2014 Francis Maria Scholarships

Daniella BattarsehDaniella BattarsehThe following people were recipients of a 2014 Francis Maria Scholarship, a Fund that is managed by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Metropolitan Joseph presented these scholarships on July 19, 2014. Each scholarship recipient received a check in the amount of $2,500.

The Francis Maria Scholarships are available to all students attending an undergraduate accredited degree program in the fall after they submit their application. Applications are due in January of each year, and information may be obtained on the Antiochian.org Scholarship page. A Website dedicated to Frank Maria is also available.

In Time for the Dormition Fast: Taste & See II Cookbook

The Dormition Fast is almost upon us. Now is the perfect time for a new Orthodox fasting and feasting cookbook! Plus, for this month, it's ON SALE! Save $2 on every cookbook ordered by Thursday, July 31. Orders must be placed online via PayPal or mailed and postmarked by July 31 to receive the discount.

Taste & See II: More American Orthodox Cooking is a sequel to the much loved Taste & See Cookbook published in 1999.  With the help of 150 contributors at 63 parishes in 27 states across America, this cookbook has been published by the Women of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The Taste & See Cookbooks have been created to help American cooks prepare meals that conform to traditional Orthodox fasting guidelines while appealing to an American palate. Preparing meals during the fast should be as simple and stress-free as possible to allow ourselves more time for prayer, almsgiving and attending the services.

Register Now: St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage, Sept. 26-28

Download the Pilgrimage brochure and registration form

Registration is open for the Annual St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage, with His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic presiding. Lodging for both adults and children is available for the weekend, which is an annual event at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and camp in Bolivar, PA.

"Did you know that the Antiochian Village is one of the few places places in the United States where you can visit the grave and shrine of a saint of the Church?" notes Bishop Thomas. Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in the United States, reposed in the Lord in 1915 and was later canonized by the Orthodox Church in America in 2000. Appropriately, since St. Raphael is buried on the grounds of Antiochian Village, the pilgrimage includes a Service of Supplication to him. Other activities include small group workshops, a panel discussion with Bishop Thomas, a special movie showing, and the full cycle of liturgical services.

CD Features Chants for the Feast of the Dormition

An audio CD of the hymns of Great Vespers, the Lamentations, and the Orthros hymns for the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos has been made available in anticipation of the August 15, 2014 feast day. Chanted by Dr. Sam N. Cohlmia, Protopsaltis of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS, the CD is available for $15.00 by contacting Dr. Cohlmia at his email address.

Read an interview with Dr. Cohlmia, and more details about the CD.

St. George Cathedral Raises $100,000 for Charity

"Feed My Sheep"

Cathedral Dean Fr. Fouad Saba reports that in this last year, St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL heard loud and clear this call of the Lord. In less than 10 months, the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast's Cathedral has collected and distributed near $100,000.00 in monetary aid and supplies. Some of the recipients include:

  • IOCC (relief in Syria and Middle East)
  • Al-Kafaat Foundation
  • Miami Rescue Mission
  • Children's Home Society
  • Hope for Women Society
  • Children's Relief Fund (Lebanon and Palestine)
  • IOCC (Hygiene Kits)
  • Orphans in Syria (Antiochian Women Annual Project
  • Miami Department of Children Services
  • Food for Hungry People Program
  • Special Olympics (Archdiocese record collection)
  • Local School (200 Backpacks)
  • Local homeless shelters
  • Local needy families (Good Samaritan Program)

Remembering Archbishop Victor Abo-Assaly

Archbishop Victor Abo-Assaly led the Antiochian Archdiocese from 1924 until his death from cancer in 1934. He is remembered as a saintly leader, one who ministered with prayer and great kindness. In a July 14, 2014 article by Matthew Namee for The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA), readers are reminded of his legacy. Mr. Namee also requests that readers speak with senior members of their parishes in order to glean memories of Archbishop Victor, so that they can be recorded for posterity. Those who know senior citizens who can share memories or photographs, are encouraged to contact Matthew or other members of SOCHA.

"He is is at risk of being forgotten by his spiritual descendants," writes Mr. Namee, since "anyone who would remember him is probably at least 85 or 90 years old now. We've no doubt lost more memories than we can save, but let's get to work now and save what we can while there is still time." 

SOCHA exists to promote the study of the history of the Orthodox Christian Church in the New World; to collect source materials and make them available to researchers and scholars; to disseminate historical information to the public; and to encourage networking among those engaged in the study of American Orthodox history.

IOCC Ministers in the Middle East: Gaza and Syria

The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) continues to alleviate the suffering caused by the ongoing strife in the Middle East, both in the new conflict that has arisen in Gaza, and in Syria, where people have lived for several years under civil war. (Donate through the IOCC's online portal.)

In the Gaza Strip, the most intense violence in nearly two years has claimed over 100 lives, including 23 children, injured more than 800 people, leaving families with damaged and destroyed homes. IOCC representatives are assessing the emerging humanitarian needs of those caught in the conflict, notes the article "IOCC Mobilizes to Provide Urgent Relief for Families Caught in Gaza Conflict."

An article about malnourished Syrian children in Lebanon's refugee camps notes that "since January, IOCC has screened more than 13,000 Syrian refugee children for malnutrition and provided treatment to those in need of emergency nutrition. IOCC's health workers are also taking preventive measures with new mothers...by counseling them on the importance of emergency nutrition and breastfeeding for their young children."

Archbishop Demetrios Congratulates Metropolitan Joseph

In a letter dated July 3, 2014, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America congratulated His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph on his election as head of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocse of N. America
P.O. Box 5238
Englewood, NJ 07631-5238

Your Eminence and Beloved Brother in Christ, Metropolitan Joseph,

I greet you in the grace and peace of the Lord and I congratulate you upon hearing the joyous news of the election by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch of Your Eminence as the Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

More than three months have passed since the faithful of the Antiochian Church in America were saddened by the great loss of the falling asleep in the Lord of their spiritual leader, Metropolitan Philip. Today, I believe that this precious flock rejoices as they receive the announcement of your election. I am most confident that through the God-given gifts and natural talents that Your Eminence possesses you will continue to shepherd these holy people of God for years to come.

Moreover, as the presiding hierarch of the Church of Antioch in the United States, Your Eminence also serves as the First Vice-Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. I very much look forward to increasing the work of our Assembly through close cooperation with you and the rest of the member hierarchs.

Metropolitan Tikhon Offers Congratulations to Metropolitan Joseph

In a letter dated July 10, 2014, reports oca.org, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America congratulated the newly elected His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

July 10, 2014

His Eminence Joseph
Archbishop of New York
Metropolitan of All North America
P.O. Box 5238
Englewood, NJ 07631-5238

Your Eminence,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is with great joy that we congratulate Your Eminence on your election as the Metropolitan of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

Memory Eternal! + The Very Rev. Dr. Daniel Matheson

The Very Rev. Dr. Daniel Matheson reposed in the Lord peacefully on July 5, 2014, surrounded by love. He was 99.

Father Daniel was born on the family farm in Pictou county, Nova Scotia. He was the youngest of four children born to Charlie and Annie Matheson. He was predeceased in 2010 by his beloved wife of 68 years, Presbytera Vera. He is survived by his devoted children Mary (Crawford), Neil (Donna) and Peter (Cindy). He was blessed with four grandchildren, Rawni, David, Heather and Danielle. He took much delight in being the great-grandfather of Kate, Sam, Will, Jack and Cullen. Father Daniel received his B. A. in 1940 from Dalhousie University in Halifax. He received his M. Div. degree from Pine Hill Divinity Hall (now Atlantic School of Theology) also in Halifax. In 1967 The United Theological College of Montreal conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa.

He was ordained into the ministry in the United Church of Canada in 1942 and faithfully served congregations in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Ontario. In 1985 Fr. Daniel was received into the Evangelical Orthodox Church where he founded and served the Holy Epiphany Evangelical Orthodox Mission in Ottawa. In 1987 he was ordained to the priesthood of the Orthodox Church. In 1991 he began his ministry in St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa. He was blessed with the love and fellowship of the St. Elias Christian community until the end of his life on earth.

Women's Retreat in Canada Convenes Sept. 19-21

The 14th Annual Orthodox Women's Retreat in Canada will be held at the Entheos Retreat Centre just outside of Calgary, Alberta, on September 19-21, 2014.

"We are thankful to once again be able to offer this weekend filled with spiritual nourishment, and to provide an opportunity for the women in our Church community to worship, learn and to share in each other's lives," notes the brochure, which also includes a registration form and the schedule for the weekend.

Retreat Speaker The Very Rev. David Hovik, pastor of St. Andrew (Antiochian) Orthodox Church in Arlington, Washington, will be addressing the theme, "The Bible: Our Book."

IOCC Volunteers Aid Midwest's Flood Victims

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — In the second half of the month of June, 2014, rivers across the Midwest surged over their banks, flooding cities and sweeping away summer crops as they failed to contain record summer rains that fell during the early summer. Floodwaters engulfed much of Minnesota, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, in some of the worst flooding in decades. The state's governor declared a state of emergency as homes and businesses as well as vast stretches of farmland across 35 counties were submerged under several feet of water. 

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) mobilized to respond to the emergency needs of flood survivors in the region. IOCC Emergency Response Network volunteers as well as the local Orthodox Christian community sprang into action, with more than a dozen teens and adults from St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis traveling to Rock Rapids to roll up their sleeves and help clear out waterlogged debris from flooded homes.

The IOCC is on the scene, helping the victims of disasters in the United States, like the Midwest floods. The United States Emergency Response Fund provides immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need.

Read more at IOCC's website.