By Cindy George
When I was asked to say something about our work in the St. Stephen’s Program of the Antiochian House of Studies, words from St. Paul’s Letter to Romans came to mind. In Chapter 12, Verse 2, St. Paul encourages us and the Romans to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This describes what the St. Stephen’s journey has been for me.
After spending my life worshipping in Protestant churches, running in Protestant circles, participating in the mission field with my Protestant friends here and abroad, and educating my mind with Protestant doctrine in Protestant universities, you can imagine my astonishment when God called me completely out of my comfort zone to enter the Orthodox Church. I did not come gracefully.
My story is not one told by many who have been blessed to walk through the doors of an Orthodox Church to the sound of chanting, to the smell of incense, the beauty of the icons, the reverence and holiness of the Liturgy, ones who knew immediately that they were in the presence of the True God. I came kicking, screaming, crying and protesting; questioning every little thing. I asked: Why does everything have to be sung? Why does the priest dress like that? Who are those people lighting candles and kissing paintings? Why do they kiss a cross? Why is the priest lifting up the bread? Why do you have bread in Church anyway? How can you honestly believe that the bread and wine magically turn into the Christ’s body and blood?
Since 1998, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has offered an internship program to undergraduates and recent college graduates interested in careers in international relief and development. The IOCC Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to gain firsthand exposure to the operations of an Orthodox Christian international humanitarian aid and development organization.
The deadline for the 2013 Internship Program applications is February 28, 2013.
IOCC internships typically require a 10 to 12 week full-time commitment during the months of May – September. In 2013 IOCC is currently offering 2-3 opportunities for US-based interns, but there is a possibility for an overseas internship that would be posted by the end of February. Current US Internship possibilities are:
- Finance intern at our Baltimore headquarters;
- Communications intern at our Baltimore headquarters;
- US Program intern at our Minneapolis field office with travel to home build sites in New Orleans, Houston, Minot, ND, and NY/NJ area.
- US-based interns in 2013 will receive a stipend, BUT will need to find their own housing in the Baltimore area or Minneapolis area.
"Glory be to Thee Who hast shown us the light!" On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, the booming voice of His Grace The Right Rev. John Abdalah, bishop for the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England and the longtime editor of The Word magazine, announced the Feast of the Three Great Hierarchs. Saints Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom are the patrons of the St. Vladmir's Seminary (SVOTS) Three Hierarchs Chapel in Yonkers, New York.
The three hierarchs presiding over the Divine Liturgy included Bishop John (SVOTS Class of '84), His Grace The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn for the Archdiocese, and His Grace The Right Rev. Maxim, bishop of the Western Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America.
On Tuesday January 22 and Wednesday January 23, the Secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America convened for its annual face-to-face meeting. This year's meeting was hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America (ROCOR) at his Holy Virgin Cathedral - Joy of All Who Sorrow in San Francisco, CA, home to the relics of St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco.
Attendees at the meeting included: Assembly Secretary Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (AOCA), Bishop Maxim of the Diocese of Western America (SOC), Bishop Andonios of Phasiane (GOA), Fr. Mark Arey, Fr. Nicholas Ceko, Fr. Josiah Trenham, Hdn. Benedict (Armitage), Pdn. Peter Danilichick, Mr. Alexei Krindatch, Mr. Alex Machaskee and Mr. Eric Namee. Also attending was Ms. Chrysanthe Loizos, the newly-appointed communications officer for the Assembly, and Archimandrite Irenei (Steenberg), director and dean of students of the Sts. Cyril and Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Institute coordinated all aspects of the two-day event.
On Sunday, January 27, 2013, His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, archbishop of Washington and metropolitan of All America and Canada, was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral, the primatial cathedral for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), in Washington, D.C. His Beatitude was elected at the OCA's 17th All-American Council held in Parma, OH on Tuesday, November 13, 2012.
The members of the OCA’s Holy Synod of Bishops and hierarchs from other Orthodox communions in North America and overseas participated in the events of the Enthronement, which included Vespers the evening before and a banquet which followed Sunday's Divine Liturgy and Enthronement. His Grace The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn represented His Eminence The Most Rev. Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, at the weekend's events.
The 2013 Climacus Conference is scheduled for February 22-23 at St. Michael Church in Louisville, KY. In its fourth year, the conference is a pan-Orthodox intellectual and spiritual event featuring scholars and voices across the fields of Theology, Philosophy, Patristics, Classical Education, Literature, History and Politics. It is unique in that it provides an opportunity for people to be enriched by thinking well across disciplines. It furthers the life of the mind through scholarly engagement with the classic liberal arts, but approaches such an endeavor through the spiritual nous, the mind of the heart, enabling our ascension "of the ladder" (κλίμακος), as inspired by St. John Climacus and his Ladder of Divine Ascent.
For more information, contact:
David Wright, Climacus Conference Founder and Director
Najebie Assad Aymie of West Roxbury, MA passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at her son George C. Aymie's home in Osterville, MA.
She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1914 and came to Boston, MA in 1932. Since 1936, Najebie was an active member of St. George Orthodox Church in West Roxbury, MA. She was so dearly loved by her family, her friends, and her Church family and was an inspiration to all who knew her. Najebie would have been 99 years of age on July 25, 2013.
Her husband, Charles S. Aymie, her son, Thomas C. Aymie, and her brother, Joseph Assad preceded her in death. She leaves her daughter, Roberta M. and husband, Louis J. Ennis of Bedford, MA; her son, George C. and wife, Pat (Mahan) Aymie of Osterville, MA; and her daughter, Brenda A. and husband, Terry Wiechmann of Bolton, MA and Yarmouth Port, MA. Najebie leaves 11 grandchildren; 21 great grandchildren; one great-great granddaughter, and a nephew, James M. Assad.
Her Funeral Service was held January 23, 2013 at St. George Orthodox Church 55 Emmonsdale Road, West Roxbury, MA 02132.
Contributions in Najebie's name may be made to St. George Orthodox Church.
Najebie was laid to rest with her beloved Charles and Thomas at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Boston, MA.
V. Rev. Anthony G. Yazge, Camp Director at Antiochian Village Camp & Conference Center, writes:
The 2013 Order of St. Ignatius Scholarship letters and forms have been mailed to each parish to the attention of the pastor. These forms must be completed and signed by the pastor and submitted to the office of the Department of Camping by March 1st. We ask that you assign the $700 of scholarship funding on a need basis to the campers of your parish. The scholarship may be used at any of the Antiochian Archdiocesan camps but may not exceed the amount of the camp tuition. Any unused funds as of March 1st will be available for the various camp directors to use for need-base scholarship.
Attention Camper Families!
Each parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese has been granted $700 in camp scholarship funds by the Order of St. Ignatius. These funds are for need-base scholarships. If you are in need of a scholarship, please speak to your parish priest to inquire about the scholarship. In addition to these funds, each camp has a limited amount of additional scholarship funding. You may request an Additional Scholarship Request Form from the appropriate camp director or download one from the camp website. These scholarships are based on need and typically are assigned on a first-come first-serve basis as long as funds remain. For more information, please contact the appropriate camp director through the information available on the Department of Camping website.
There is an urgent need to find a bone marrow donor for Karen Takla, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and must have a bone marrow transplant within the next 50 days. Karen is the great-granddaughter of Fr. Farid Farkouh and the granddaughter of Sally Farkouh Takla who, for many years, was a very active member of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY and, more recently, a parishioner of St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Karen's mother and father are Kathy and Ronald Takla of Closter, New Jersey.
It has been strongly recommended that the Takla family reach out to the members of the Syrian/Lebanese community to be tested because a person's ethnicity is an important consideration when selecting a donor's bone marrow for transplantation. For those living in New Jersey, the Takla family has planned a bone marrow drive on Sunday, January 27 at the Westwood Community Center, 55 Jefferson Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675 from 1 to 5 p.m. At the Center, donors will be swabbed and later tested to see whether their bone marrow is a match for Karen.
Additionally, for those unable to participate in the drive, they will still have the opportunity of being tested by following the instructions on the attached flyer. This allows for a national appeal to those living outside the immediate area of metropolitan New York. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip supports a wide-sweeping effort to aid Karen at this most critical time in her life.
Erwin Christopher Yarnell gently reposed in the Lord on January 17, 2013 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Erwin was born September 19, 1924, in Saticoy, Cailfornia, to Harold and Mabel (Adams) Yarnell. After returning from WWII military service, he and Cherry (Frances) Glaeser enjoyed 40+ years of marriage. They raised two sons, Christopher and Kenneth. After Cherry's death, Erwin married Dorothy Vyse.
Erwin loved God and people. He was quick to give smiles, compliments, words of encouragement, and blessings to those he encountered. He had awe and love for creation, which found expression in care for animals, gardening through his 88th year of life, and countless mountain and backcountry adventures. Forever a student, Erwin loved learning and reading. Although a very learned man with a fascinating variety of life experiences, he lived a simple life with a humble demeanor. Among his experiences were serving in WWII, winning military wrestling championships, and working for the National Park Service as ranger, guide, and lecturer. He taught in California and on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in Arizona. He and Cherry were made honorable members of the Coyote Clan. They both were good friends with White Bear, a Hopi with considerable influence within his clan as well as the tribe. Erwin was given the name White Bull. He also worked as a horticulturist, and as a greeter at the Santa Fe Walmart.
Erwin was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Mabel, brother Harold, wife Cherry, and wife Dorothy. He is survived by sons Christopher and Kenneth, nephew Richard Douse and great-nieces, Jenny Hall and Shannon Carnegie. He will be lovingly remembered by many.
Established in 1980, the Antiochian House of Studies offers four distinct programs of theological study, attracting students from all over the world, Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike. Using a unique distance-learning structure, which also includes two residency periods at the Antiochian Village Conference Center in Pennsylvania, the program has developed into a world-class international institution of higher learning for theological education.
Visit the House of Studies web section on Antiochian.org.
Memory Eternal! Linda Simon was the longtime secretary for the Fellowship of St. John the Divine in the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, and was also involved in numerous other ministries throughout the Diocese and in her church of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Cleveland, Ohio.
Linda was the wife of Richard (deceased); loving mother of Ruth Lynch, Shirley Dheel (Michael), Richard, Jr. (Kathleen) and George (Christine); beloved grandmother of Jason, Nicole, Joseph, Stephanie, Jaclyn, Jenna, Justin, Sara, Michael, Jeremy and Matthew; cherished sister of Joan DuPuis and Sandra Morgan, and Aunt Linda to all. Interment was at St. Theodosius Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Linda's family suggests memorial tributes to St. George's Sunday School.
The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch
is pleased to invite you to the enthronement ceremony of
His Beatitude JOHN X
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East
The enthronement ceremony will take place in Damascus at the church of the Holy Cross, at 9:30 am, on Sunday, February 10th, 2013.
In this occasion, His Beatitude will preside over the Divine Liturgy in Beirut at Saint Nicolas Cathedral, at 9.30 am, on Sunday, February 17th, 2013.
Please confirm either participation or absence using one of these contacts:
Fax: 00961 6 930 304
Mobile: 00961 3 552 451
His Grace Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, recently spoke with Fr. Chris Metropulos, executive director of Orthodox Christian Network (OCN). The interview is featured on OCN's flagship show, "Come Receive the Light," within the episode titled "Making Choices Concerning Your Children."
In the interview, Bishop Thomas described his experiences as a teacher in public, private, and homeschool settings, and offered his advice to parents on making educational choices for children. He noted that "we shop for everything—things that are of little consequence. This (choosing a school) is extremely important, so I would suggest that in any particiular educational situation parents do some investigation; talk to people who have participated, both parents and teachers to see what the philosophy and theology of the school is." His Grace also discussed the pros and cons of homeschooling, and encouraged parents to avoid "the temptation of isolation."
Sunday, January 13, marks the 40th day of the repose of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch.
The Word magazine has made available a special issue dedicated to remembrances of His Beatitude.
In partnership with the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), Ancient Faith Radio has posted the talks from the 2012 OCF College Conferences as an AFR "Special." Held annually after Christmas at Antiochian Village (East) and St. Nicholas Ranch (West), the conferences draw college students from all part of the U.S. together for several days of workshops, fellowship, and lectures from top-notch Orthodox speakers.
In addition to the podcasts featuring talks on the theme "Trust in the Power and Love of God," the AFR line-up of conference audio includes the program "Orthodoxy Live with Fr. Evan Armatas," who conducted a live call-in show with the students at the College Conference East at Antiochian Village.
From the Diocese of the West:
+ Memory Eternal!
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, The Very Reverend Father Nicholas Habib, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, December 16, 2012.
His Eminence Archbishop Joseph of Los Angeles and the West presided over the funeral service, which was held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening, December 18, 2012, at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in San Francisco.
May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom, and may his memory be eternal!
Peter Lang International Academic Publishers recently announced the release of a new title, a festschrift ("celebration publication") in honor of The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Tarazi, an Antiochian Biblical scholar and professor of Old Testament at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. The Festschrift in Honor of Professor Paul Nadim Tarazi is the third book in a series, "Bible in the Christian Orthodox Tradition," and includes a collection of articles discussing the latest scholarly findings in the field of the Old Testament studies. Scholars from around the world conducting research in the Old Testament text, theology, canon, interpretation, and criticism have contributed their recent findings in the fields of their research and teaching to this volume.
With the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, His Grace Bishop Nicholas and Archpriest Thomas Zain will be leading a pilgrimage to Russia from August 13-27, 2013. They will spend 8 nights in St. Petersburg and 5 nights in Moscow, visiting the various religious and cultural sights in both cities.
Highlights in St. Petersburg will include St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St. Isaac Cathedral, Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan and the Church of the Spilt Blood. The Hermitage, the Yusupov Palace, the summer palaces of the Czars and the Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress. Also included is a day trip to the ancient capital of Novgorod where we will visit the St. George Monastery and the Kremlin. In Moscow, highlights will include visits to the St. Sergius-Trinity Lavra (Monastery), which is the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church, Christ the Savior Cathedral, the Kremlin museums and Cathedrals, the Butovo Firing Range and several monasteries.
The group will be limited to between 16-22 people to keep the pilgrimage small in size. For a brochure containing more detailed information, please contact Fr. Thomas Zain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is the New Year’s letter offered to the teens of the Antiochian Archdiocese by Fr. Joseph F. Purpura, the chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry. In it, he describes his hopes and prayers for the youth of the Archdiocese in this new season.
As we enter the year of our Lord 2013, a flood of thoughts flow through my mind concerning you the young people of this great archdiocese. For many years I have been blessed to lead the youth efforts across this North American Archdiocese. First as a Regional Spiritual Advisor from 1981-1985, then as the North American Council of SOYO Spiritual Advisor from 1985-1991 and then as Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry from 1990 to present. In each of these thirty-five years of priesthood and youth work, I have been keenly aware of three things:
First, that our task is to pass the faith down to each of you.
Second, to instill in you a love for Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church and to enable you to live a righteous life in Jesus Christ.
Third, to raise generations of disciples and leaders for Christ’s Holy Orthodox Church and these North American nations in which we reside.
With each passing year and with each successive generation of young persons placed before us, I continue to be amazed and filled with joy at just how blessed our archdiocese and Holy Orthodox Church here in North America is to have so many dedicated, loving, and Christ-centered young persons in our midst. So often the media is filled with all that is wrong in our society, especially among young people, yet all we need to do is look at you, the youth of this archdiocese, and know that God is present and working in you.
From the Diocese of the West:
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Father Polycarp Whitcomb, Pastor of St. Athanasius Church in Sacramento, California, fell asleep in the Lord on Friday, January 4, 2013. 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. The funeral arrangements will be announced once they are set. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.
Des Plaines, IL – More than 60 parents, clergy and youth leaders attended a breakfast forum titled “How To Talk To Your Kids…and save your child from substance use/abuse” on Saturday, December 8 at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago. Sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY), the forum hosted people from seven Orthodox jurisdictions representing fifteen parishes in the Greater Chicago area.
Following a prayer and welcome from OCCHY Director Fr. Nicholas Dahdal, and brief introduction to OCCHY by Project Coordinator Gordana Trbuhovich, the program began with a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) video presentation, featuring Dr. Nora Volkow. Three dynamic speakers followed, beginning with Fr. Athanasios Papagiannis, LCSW, a licensed social worker and assistant priest at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago. Father Athanasios stressed positive and spiritual relationships in his presentation, “You and Your Child." “The way you bend the young branch,” Father stated, “is the direction in which the tree will grow."
The Western Rite Vicariate announces the publication of ORDO 2013. This booklet is the official liturgical guide for all Western Rite parishes in the Vicariate. It contains directions for reciting the Divine Office and celebrating the Mass according to the calendar and use of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. It contains rubrics for both the Rite of St. Gregory with the Monastic Diurnal, and the Rite of St. Tikhon with The English Office.
The ORDO 2013 is available in both print and electronic formats. Copies may be purchased at the St. Luke’s Priory Press Store on Lulu: www.lulu.com/spotlight/frfenton.
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — The conflict that rages on in Syria has severely crippled the country's power plants as well as damaged major roads needed to transport heating fuel during the coldest time of year, while violence, sanctions and instability in the region have led to critical fuel shortages. As thousands of displaced families and elderly throughout Syria struggle to stay warm on nights that dip below freezing, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding with winter relief to more than 30,000 Syrian families.
Through your generous support and support from the ACT Alliance, IOCC in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA) distributed diesel stoves and electric heaters to several areas in Syria. Families living in areas with access to fuel but no power received diesel stoves, while families facing fuel shortages but still have electricity received electric heaters.
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — More than 80 representatives of the nation's Orthodox Christian service organizations joined together at the White House on December 14, 2012, to discuss strategic service alliances with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The White House Conference on Orthodox Christian Engagement was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement in conjunction with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and facilitated by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC).
Present to discuss the role of Orthodox Christians in social outreach, disaster response, and community development in the United States were Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas and liaison to IOCC from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America.