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Metropolitan Joseph's Letter in Support of March for Marriage

On April 25, 2015, on the National Mall in Washington D.C., people journeyed from around the U.S. for the March for Marriage. This year's March included an Orthodox gathering, sponsored by the group Crown Them With Glory. Prior to the March, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph released a letter encouraging the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese to participate. Given its timeliness, we are reposting that message below.

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.

Ancient Faith Integrates All Ministries in New Design

Ancient Faith Ministries (AFM) announces the re-design of ancientfaith.com, which now features the full integration of all of its divisions: Ancient Faith Radio, Ancient Faith Publishing, Ancient Faith Blogs, and Ancient Faith Films. The new site officially launched on Monday, June 15.

The new site uses a magazine format to feature four different types of content. It will also allow users to search podcasts by "groups," "themes," "authors," "freshness," and "recent episodes." The content on the site is almost fully tagged and categorized, which makes the search function much more accurate and robust. There is also a complete authors list with bios of all contributors of podcasts, books, and blogs.

"Ancientfaith.com is no longer just the home of Ancient Faith Radio; rather, it is the home of each division of Ancient Faith Ministries, combining all of our content—print, audio, video, and retail—into one seamless, integrated, and complementary package," says Ancient Faith Ministries CEO John Maddex.

Feast of the Holy, Glorious Apostles Peter and Paul + June 29

Verily, the all-solemn Feast of the two Apostles hath arrived, bringing us salvation. Wherefore, let us mystically exult, crying unto them: Rejoice, O ye who have become luminaries to those in darkness, two rays of the Sun! Rejoice, O Peter and Paul, adamant pillars of the divine doctrines, ye friends of Christ and two honored vessels! Be ye present among us in an invisible manner, and grant immaterial gifts to those who extol your feast with songs.

--Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 6

Our prayers for all of the parishes and faithful who celebrate their namesday with this Feast, the Patronal Feast of the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.

Sheet music for this Feast is available here courtesy of the Department of Sacred Music. Download "The Akathist Hymn to the Holy Apostles" here.

"Love for our Brethren": AFR Interview Introduces New Program

“Becoming Truly Human” is an eight week course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America to increase effective and relational evangelism, especially towards those who have no religion or church affiliation. The program uses the vehicle of small group discussions and shared meals to help guests to feel loved, listened to, and welcomed.

In a June 24, 2015 podcast, Ancient Faith Ministries President John Maddex interviewed Charles Ajalat, one of the program's founding committee members, about the new outreach. Charles is an attorney, the former chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and a member of the Order of St. Ignatius. As one of the founders of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) North America, Charles is a veteran of start-up efforts, and in the interview he expressed his hopes that this new venture will help people "discuss questions...and then want to go forward into a catechism class with a priest."

Metropolitan Joseph Condemns Charleston Slayings, Calls for Prayer

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America issued a statement yesterday condemning the racially-motivated shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, in historic Charleston, South Carolina. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph expressed his great sorrow and offered his prayers for the nine victims, their families, and the entire community.

"I learned of this tragedy from across the ocean in Lebanon, and am deeply saddened that, in this land of freedom and opportunity for all people, we still find such hatred and racism," noted His Eminence. "May the sacrifice of the nine victims who gathered to do nothing more than pray to the almighty God and study the scripture, inspire all of us to work to eradicate racism from our great nation."

July Liturgical Texts Available for Download

The Liturgical Texts for July, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

This year, the commemorations of two important saints fall on Sundays in July: St. Athanasius of Athos (July 5), one of the founders of monasticism on Holy Mount Athos more than a thousand years ago; and St. Paraskeva (July 26), a second-century martyr who endured many tortures going “from city to city to bring the pagans to the true Faith” (Synaxarion at Orthros).

Every year on the Sunday that falls in between July 13-19, the Orthodox Church commemorates the 630 Holy Fathers who also defended the true Faith at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, convened in Chalcedon in 451.

An Invitation to Become Truly Human

“Becoming Truly Human” is an eight week course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America to increase effective and relational evangelism.

The program was created to help Eastern Orthodox churches grow both spiritually and physically. The idea behind the course was to give local churches a tangible program which would have a positive impact on the local community. The techniques in the small group discussions help guests to feel loved, listened to, and welcomed. They come for many reasons, but they return because they are being treated as "truly human."

An Introduction to Becoming Truly Human by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
How Do We Define Success?, Editorial by His Grace Bishop John

Our lives in this modern world become so busy that we are constantly distracted from asking ourselves the fundamental questions and reflecting on the importance of their meaning in our lives.

2015 Department and Organization Convention Reports

Reports from the Departments and Organizations of the Antiochian Archdiocese prepared for the 2015 Archdiocese Convention are now available online in PDF format.

Click on each link to access a PDF file that may be viewed online, downloaded or printed.  Adobe Reader is required to view PDFs, and may be downloaded for free at get.adobe.com/reader.

June 2015 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The June 2015 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:

How Do We Define Success?
by His Grace Bishop John

Antimins or Antimension?
by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Becoming Truly Human
by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

An Invitation to Become Truly Human

The Beauty of the Church: Its Place and Purpose
by His Grace Bishop Anthony

Apostles' Fast Begins

From the second Monday after Pentecost until the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29th, Orthodox Christians celebrate the Apostles' Fast. This year, the fast commences on Monday, June 8, 2015.

To learn more about the Orthodox approach to fasting, visit the Feasts and Fasts page of Our Discover Orthodox Christianity section.

Read "Fast of the Holy Apostles" by Archpriest Ayman Kfouf 

Akathist to Saints Peter and Paul

Read a reflection about the two saints from The Word

Annual Spring Meetings at Antiochian Village

This past weekend, May 29-31, 2015, the hierarchs and leaders of the Antiochian Archdiocese met at the Antiochian Village for their annual spring meetings. Our bishops met on Friday morning and the Archdiocese Board of Trustees met on Friday evening and Saturday morning. In addition, several other meetings took place including the Village Council and the newly formed cemetery committee.

During the bishops' meeting, our hierarchs discussed various issues relating to their respective dioceses, upcoming clergy transfers and other issues. They also heard a report from Fr. Thomas Zain and Mr. Khalil Samara, the NAC Fellowship of St. John the Divine Spiritual Advisor and President, about the proposed changes to the Fellowship and the newly formed Young Adult Ministry. The hierarchs wholeheartedly endorsed the new concept and one of the NAC officers will attend each of the Parish Life Conferences this year to explain the restructuring of the organization to the faithful of each diocese.

June Liturgical Texts Available for Download

Inside Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Potomac, MDInside Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Potomac, MDThe Liturgical Texts for June, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

The season of the Pentecostarion that began with Great and All-Holy Pascha concludes this year on June 7 with the Sunday of All Saints, who “shone forth throughout all the world, North and South, East and West” (Synaxarion of Orthros). In imitation of the Apostles who received “tongues of fire” on Pentecost to preach the Gospel in all corners of the globe, Orthodox Christians realize their calling on this day to do the same and become the holy ones of Jesus Christ. That is why, on the following day (June 8), they undertake the Apostles Fast, in order to spiritually prepare themselves for this witness.

The Great Feast of Pentecost

The spring of the Spirit hath come to those on earth, dividing noetically into fire-bearing rivers, moistening the Apostles and illuminating them. The fire hath become to them a dewy cloud, lighting, and raining flames upon them, from whom we received grace by the fire and the water. Verily the fire of the Comforter hath come and lighted the world.
+ Orthros of the Feast  

Visit Ancient Faith Radio's Pentecost section, and the festal page of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

Read Fr. Ayman Kfouf's reflection (PDF) on the significance of the Pentecost icon.

Read Fr. Stephen Freeman's Pentecost reflections
 Pentecost and Creation
 The Fire of Pentecost in Orthodoxy

Children will enjoy listening to Chrissi Hart read from a Conciliar children's book about the Feast.

The Legacy of Saint Raphael

Procession with the relics of St. RaphaelProcession with the relics of St. RaphaelOn May 29, 2015, the Antiochian Archdiocese marks the fifteenth anniversary of the glorification of our beloved St. Raphael of Brooklyn. This article by Rosemary Shumski of the Department of Christian Education, was first published in the September 2000 issue of The Word magazine.

View photos of the glorification day

On Sunday, May 29, 2000, my family and I had the privilege of attending the glorification of Bishop Raphael at St. Tikhon's Monastery. Although we have lived in another part of the state for many years, my husband and I were born and raised in northeastern Pennsylvania. In the past, we had driven by St. Tikhon's many times, but had never actually visited.

Sign up Today: Camp Season is Just Around the Corner!

One of the best opportunities for children to grow spiritually and in friendship, is through summer camp. In addition to Antiochian Village, there are seven outstanding regional camps in the Antiochian Archdiocese across the United States and Canada, serving hundreds of children throughout the summer. The Department of Camping explains that each program is overseen, "to insure that the highest safety guidelines are followed, a consistent program is presented at all of our camps, accreditation is maintained, and oversees the distribution of the Order of St. Ignatius Scholarships to each camp." (Find the list and more information here.)

Contact the The Order of Ignatius, your parish priest, or your diocese camp, to learn about scholarships.

Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

As the angels, O Savior, wondered at Thy strange elevation, and the Disciples were amazed at Thy dread rising, Thou didst ascend in glory, being God, and the gates were lifted up for Thee. Wherefore, the heavenly powers were surprised, shouting, Glory to Thy condescension, O Savior; glory to Thy reign; glory to Thine Ascension, O Thou Who alone art the Lover of mankind.

--Orthros of the Feast

On the fortieth day after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He was taken up into the heavens in a cloud. 

"The cloud which today envelopes Jesus and ascends with him to heaven represents the smoke of the sacrifice rising from the altar to God. The sacrifice is accepted, and the victim is admitted to God's presence where it will continue to be offered in an eternal and heavenly manner. The work of our salvation has been accomplished and is blessed."

 From The Year of the Grace of the Lord

30th Anniversary of the Sacred Music Institute

The Department of Sacred Music is thrilled to announce the Thirtieth Anniversary Sacred Music Institute (SMI), which will be held at the Antiochian Village from July 8-12, 2015. This year is promising to be the best ever! Whether you love Byzantine or 4-part choral music, there is something for everyone, from theoretical classes to private lessons in voice, chanting, conducting and vocal technique; instruction in Byzantine chant and choral conducting; special presentations and concerts from the Sacred Music Chamber Choir and the Sacred Music Byzantine Chamber Choir; and even our 30th Anniversary Musical Review!

The Sacred Music Institute has it all. This very special and memorable weekend will be attended by our Keynote Speaker His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

Sunday of the Blind Man

Who shall declare Thy might, O Christ? And who shall number the multitude of Thy wonders? For as Thou wast doubly seen in Thy goodness on earth, so didst Thou doubly grant healing to the sick; for not only didst Thou heal the bodily eyes of the man born blind from the womb, but the eyes of his soul also. Wherefore, he confessed that Thou art a hidden God, granting all the Great Mercy.

--Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 8

Metropolitan Joseph's Call to the Convention

Letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph regarding the 2015 Archdiocesan Convention to be published in the church bulletin and distributed to all parishioners:

May 14, 2015

To: Our Beloved Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Archdiocesan Trustees, Department Heads, Organization Presidents, Parish Councils and Faithful of this God-protected Archdiocese:

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

It is with this joyful proclamation of the Risen Lord that we send to you this official Call to the 52nd biennial Archdiocesan Convention. We direct your attention to the following matters:

Metropolitan Joseph Participates in Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide

Metropolitan Joseph, seated in the first row, listens as the President of Armenia delivers his speech.Metropolitan Joseph, seated in the first row, listens as the President of Armenia delivers his speech.Press release: By the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Washington, DC
Friday, May 8, 2015

On Thursday, May 7, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph was a participant in the ecumenical commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The service was held at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. as a part of the National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial coordinated by the Diocese and Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Churches of America, East and West.

Accompanying His Eminence were the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Pastor of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Washington, DC; the Very Rev. Isaac Crow, Pastor of Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Potomac, MD; and Subdeacon Rassem El Massih. The delegation was seated on the first row facing the altar.

In the Armenian Genocide, over 1.5 million Armenians, Antiochians, Syrians and Assyrians perished at the hands of Ottoman Turks from 1915-1923.