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Stories on the Church of Antioch and the Middle East

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America is an archdiocese of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. It traces its roots to first century Antioch (modern-day Antakya, Turkey), the city in which the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). The Patriarchate is led by His Beatitude John X from Damascus, Syria. In addition to its continuing presence in Syria and Lebanon, the Antiochian Patriarchate has archdioceses in Europe; Asia; North, Central and South America; and Australia and New Zealand.

The Church of Antioch was established by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas in 42 A.D., with St. Peter serving for the next eight years as its first prelate. The Church of Antioch is one of the five ancient Patriarchates of the Christian Church, along with Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Rome. Antiochians are in full communion with other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Orthodox Church in America, as well as many other Orthodox jurisdictions around the world.

 

Latest News

Antiochian Women Surpass Goal to "Help the Orphans of War in Syria"

At the July 2014 Archdiocesan organizational meetings at the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America (AOCWNA), represented by North American Board President Violet Robbat, and Vice President/Project Coordinator Dianne O'Regan, announced the total contributions received to date for the 2013-2014 Project: "Help the Orphans of War in Syria." On behalf of the Antiochian Women across North America, these women were honored to present a check to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for $283,055.55, the largest amount ever raised in a single year during the forty year history of the Antiochian Women!

Middle Eastern Violence and the Place of Christians in the Region Addressed in Patriarchal Statements

The Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has issued two statements regarding, first, the violence in Iraq, Syria, and Gaza, and second, the place of Christians throughout the region.

The first statement, dated July 23, 2014, reads (official Arabic versionofficial English version):

At a time when Syria's wounds have been bleeding for more than three years, amidst the wounds of Iraq, which has experienced conflict since the 1980's, amidst the unrest that is sweeping countries near and far, and amidst the world's indifference to Palestine's wounds, which have not healed in almost seventy years, these days in particular we are witnessing a multiplication of these wounds in the expulsion of Mosul's Christians and the all-out assault on Gaza amidst a disgraceful international silence.

The cycle of violence sweeping Iraq and Syria, expelling peaceful citizens has not let up, as recent events in Iraq and specifically in Mosul have completed the series of murder, religious prejudice, and terror.

We strongly condemn attacks on any segment of society in this Middle East and we especially condemn the attack on the Christians of Mosul and their being compelled by force of arms to change their religion under the penalty of paying the Jizya or abandoning their homes and having their property confiscated.

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.

 

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."

Statement of the July 2014 Meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch

The following official translation has been provided by the Patriarchate of Antioch:

The Third Ordinary Session of the Holy Synod of Antioch was held between 1 and July 4, 2014. His Beatitude Patriarch John X presided over the meeting, with the participation of Their Eminences, the Metropolitans: Spiridon (Archdiocese of Zahleh and dependencies), Georges (Archdiocese of Mount Lebanon and dependencies), Youhanna (Archdiocese of Lattakia and dependencies), Elias (Archdiocese of Beirut and dependencies), Elia (Archdiocese of Hama and dependencies), Elias (Archdiocese of Tyre, Sidon and dependencies), Antonio (Archdiocese of Mexico, Venezuela and dependencies), Sergios (Archdiocese of Chile), Damaskinos (Archdiocese of Brazil and dependencies), Saba (Archdiocese of Houran and All Jabal Al Arab), Paul (Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand), Georges (Archdiocese of Homs and dependencies), Silouan (Archdiocese of Buenos Aires and all Argentina), Basilos (Archdiocese of Akkar and dependencies), Ephrem (Archdiocese of Tripoli, El- Koura and dependencies), Ignatius (Archdiocese of France, Western and Southern Europe) and Isaac (Archdiocese of Germany and Central Europe). 

Statement of the Archdiocese in Response to the Circulating “Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action"

Regarding the forthcoming press conference scheduled for May 7, 2014 by Congressman Frank R. Wolf and Congresswoman Anna G Eshoo, during which a statement entitled “Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action on behalf of Christians and Other Small Religious Communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria” is to be released, this statement constitutes the official response of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (the “Antiochian Archdiocese”), an archdiocese of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East (the “Church of Antioch”). 

We appreciate all efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and urge all concerned with the situation experienced by Christians in the region to use every effort to bring peace to the region for all citizens of these nations. To those who have expressed willingness to listen to the voices of Christians of the Middle East and to respond to their concerns, we draw their attention to the Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, gathered in Turkey, 6-9 March 2014, in which they unanimously adopt the views of the Church of Antioch.

Assembly of Bishops Statement on the One-Year Anniversary of the Bishops Abducted in Syria

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has issued the following statement:

1. We, the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, representing millions of Orthodox Christians, express our grave concern over the escalation of unrest and ongoing violence in countries throughout the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

2. Our Assembly denounces any and all attacks—whether by means of violence, kidnapping, torture or killing—on all fellow human beings, irrespective of their race, ethnic origin, and religion. Moreover, we deplore the destruction of all places of worship or their forced conversion from their original intent.

Pastoral Letter of His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan in Tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo

Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo Celebrating PaschaMetropolitan Paul of Aleppo Celebrating PaschaThe Hope That Never Fails

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;
and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ;
if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him."
(Romans 8:16-17)

Beloved in Christ,
Hierarchs, clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees and faithful
Of this God-protected Archdiocese:

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

I am writing to you on the Holy day of the resurrection of our Lord, not only to greet each one of you and convey my personal salutation, as well as those of our clergy and parishioners in Argentina, but also in order to address you upon the one year anniversary of the abduction of our beloved brother Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, Alexandretta and Dependencies.

Video of the Palm Sunday Homily of His Beatitude Patriarch John X

The Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has released the following video of the remarks of Patriarch John X on Palm Sunday, April 13 2014, in Arabic with English subtitles.

Memory Eternal! + Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka of Antioch

Memory Eternal! It is with great sadness that the Archdiocese learns that Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch, died Friday aged 81 after 34 years as head of the Syriac Orthodox Church. 

On Friday night, the general secretariat of the Holy Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch issued a statement saying:

"In this time of mourning and grief, the general secretariat of the Holy Synod declares that the time of the funeral will be appointed later when the procedures of transfer of his saintly body from Germany to Lebanon and then to Syria, are completed. We commend that this coming Sunday, 23 March 2014, be consecrated to offer prayers and celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the peaceful rest of his pure soul and we will announce the procedures and dates of the funeral, burial and condolences when ready."

Source: Ahram Online