Interviews from Antiochian.org
The editors of Antiochian.org recently launched a newly improved Liturgical Resources section, accessed on the menu bar of the website's home page. One of the site's most popular destinations, the Resources page now features categories such as "Articles," "Music Resources," and "Podcasts and Audio." An aggregation of the most critical liturgical tools required by chanters, choir directors, deacons and priests, the page is also helpful to laypeople involved in Bible study groups or choir. Browsers can download music, an Akathist, even the Antiochian Archdiocese's well-loved "Little Red Prayer Book."
Recently, Antiochian.org spoke with the Very Rev. Fr. David Barr, respected Antiochian liturgist and Director of the St. Romanos Chanter's Training Program, about the importance of liturgy and music in the life of the Church.
1. Generally speaking, do parish musicians usually need formal training to chant in church? Why/why not? What would you recommend for that musically inclined parishioner who might be interested in chant, but shy?
To chant properly using Byzantine chant, one needs some formal training. Even though a great deal of Byzantine music exists today in western notation, it is important to understand the ethos.
"There is an actual Orthodox Church in Afghanistan. Let me say that again. There is a Church- not just a chapel – here in Afghanistan, which is to our knowledge the only free-standing, permanent Church structure of any kind in the entire country."
Fr. David Alexander, Antiochian Orthodox priest and chaplain described this and other amazing discoveries in his post-Paschal letter to his home parish, St. Anthony's of Bergenfield, New Jersey. "I nearly broke down in tears while reading the sermon of St. John Chrysostom, and again while giving communion to a newly chrismated member of my Battalion for the first time," wrote Fr. David describing his Pascha at Camp Leatherneck.
Recently Antiochian.org interviewed Fr. David, who also reflects on his unique and challenging life in his AFR podcast In the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
1. Can you give us a thumbnail sketch of how you ended up as an Antiochian Orthodox Christian, serving as a chaplain in the middle of the conflict in Afghanistan?
Well, I am a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese serving on active duty as an officer in the Navy Chaplain Corps. Because the Marine Corps is under the Department of the Navy, they have Navy chaplains, doctors, and combat corpsmen (medics) serving with them all over the world.
Conciliar Press has announced a new release of their most popular book, Becoming Orthodox, by Fr. Peter Gillquist. This edition of the best-seller includes an epilogue, "Coming Up on Twenty-Five Years," and will be featured soon as Conciliar's first audio book, read by the author himself. Additionally, the Press is moving into the world of digital publishing and has released their first Kindle book, Dimitri's Cross, the story of Fr. Dimitri Klepinin, an Orthodox priest serving in Nazi-occupied Paris.
Additionally, the two journals, The Handmaiden and AGAIN, will gain a second life in the new Conciliar reading room currently under construction. The Press also plans to provide online periodicals in the future, as CEO John Maddex explained in a recent interview.
1. Recently Conciliar held its annual editorial board meeting. How does your leadership plan to navigate all the changes taking place in the greater publishing world?
This is both an exciting and challenging time for all publishers including Conciliar Press. Exciting in terms of opportunities to harness new technologies to disseminate the life giving message of the Orthodox Faith.
Growing up in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Matthew Namee learned to love the faith, and as he grew older and began to research the Church's history in America, he eventually decided to join with other historians to form the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA). Readers of SOCHA's website, OrthodoxHistory.org, will encounter fascinating articles about, and see archived photos of, events of great interest to Antiochian Christians, such as St. Raphael's consecration, and Metropolitan Antony Bashir's ministry in the early to mid-1900's. They will also discover essays, primary sources, links to podcasts, book reviews, and tidbits discovered in the course of research, that all tell the story of the early years of Orthodoxy in America. Namee also now hosts a podcast with Ancient Faith Radio, titled American Orthodox History.
Recently, Antiochian.org chatted with Matthew Namee about SOCHA's historical sleuthing.
1. Tell us about the Society. What is your mission and purpose?
I’ve been doing research on American Orthodox history for a number of years now, and I noticed early on that there were others like me, doing similar research, but without any knowledge of each other.
Recently, the editors at Antiochian.org spoke with Fr. Christopher Metropulos, the Executive Director of the Orthodox Christian Network, about several new initiatives OCN is introducing at the start of Great Lent.
1. OCN is launching a new all talk internet radio station called "The Anchor." Who will be hosting this, what is his/her background, and what kinds of topics will you be addressing? We understand that both the host and the programmer are members of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Yes, we are launching the Anchor Internet Radio Station. Our new talk stations will have a multitude of programs around this sacred time of the year encouraging and inspiring the faithful on their spiritual journeys. We welcome Konstantin (Kosta) Rysyanin as the new Program Director, and Scott Allen Miller as the host of the station, to our OCN staff. Both are members of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
In a recent virtual conversation, Antiochian.org asked several Antiochian mission priests to talk about their experiences in mission building. Responding are:
- Fr. John Oliver, St. Elizabeth Mission, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
- Fr. Ignatius Valentine, St. Raphael of Brooklyn Mission, Iowa City, Iowa
- Fr. Boniface Black, St. Andrew the Apostle Mission, Lewes, Delaware
- Fr. John Atchison, St. Nicholas Mission, Springdale, Arkansas
- Fr. Gregory Horton, Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women Mission, Bonners Ferry, Idaho
- Fr. Christopher Rigdan-Briscall, Christ the Savior Mission, Waterloo, Ontario.
1. In your experience, what types of outreach have been the most effective in bringing people to the mission so as to grow (i.e. newspaper advertising, website, word-of-mouth, scheduled seminars, radio/TV, etc.)?
Fr. Gregory: By far it has been word of mouth. People who are excited about the Faith and bring other people to the church services and activities are the greatest single evangelical asset available to the parishes today. We have had some limited success in identifying newspaper, yellow pages and website contacts (especially first contacts) with potentially interested persons, but the effectiveness has proven somewhat limited. Newspaper ads, for instance are GREAT when highlighting specific events but lose their punch when repeated for many weeks and months in a row. Websites can be used in a variety of ways and I know this medium to be effective for "general community interest" in the Orthodox Church when people that meet us might be curious as to who we are. But, let me stress again, there is NOTHING that beats personal contact and enthusiasm...word of mouth...that is the gauge for how excited parish members are about their church home.
Recently, Antiochian.org caught up with busy Conciliar Media Ministries CEO John Maddex, to get his perspective on the recent Conciliar warehouse move to the Chicago area.
1. Over the holidays, Conciliar Press moved to a new warehouse location. Tell us first of all, where you are now, and how things are coming along as you resettle your books into a new space.
Maddex: We have relocated to the Chicago area using the services of a professional fulfillment center which serves dozens of publishers. We began filling orders from the new location on January 4 and officially shut down operations in Ben Lomond, CA on January 15. I want to add here that our faithful staff in Ben Lomond worked valiantly with wonderful attitudes to help prepare for the transition all the way to the last day when the truck left for Illinois. They are a wonderful group of people.
2. Can you give us a little background as to why Conciliar decided to relocate?
Maddex: As part of our long term strategy for streamlining and efficiency, it made sense to get out of the fulfillment business and allow a service who does nothing but fulfillment to better serve our customers. This translates into longer hours, savings from the economy of scale on things like packaging materials, picking and packing, large scale relationships with the major shipping companies and a more centralized part of the country to ship to and from.
1. What was the genesis for this book?
I've had a love for St. Lucia ever since I moved to California in 1992 and was invited to participate in a St. Lucia festival hosted by my friends, Nektarios and Anna Burkett. When the Conciliar Press editorial board (on which I serve) decided they wanted more picture books about women saints, I knew I wanted to write one, and St. Lucia immediately came to mind.
2. Who are the children you had in mind, during the writing process?
In time for Christmas gift giving, SVS Press has released Jane Meyer’s The Woman and the Wheat, the second book in a set that also includes The Man and the Vine. The books tell the story of the making of Eucharistic bread and wine, and are complimented by the artistic skills of illustrator Ned Gannon. To order, click here.
In an interview, author Meyer explained, “the book highlights that time in church when something temporal becomes something eternal.” Read interview here: