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Fire Tears Through St. Matthew Church in Ohio

Just days before the celebration of its patron, a fire tore through the nave and vestry of St. Matthew Church of North Royalton, Ohio. Damage was so extensive that the pastor, Fr. Andrew Harmon, said repairs could take one year. As a result, the community held divine services for the feast of St. Matthew at a nearby funeral home.

Father Andrew says a ballast in a fluorescent fixture inside the vestry malfunctioned and sparked, causing the blaze on Saturday morning, November 11. Although the flames spread quickly, firefighters had them doused in about 30 minutes. Still, the iconostasis and much of the interior was lost or suffered extreme smoke damage. Altar server vestments and many sacred items also burned.

We Give Thanks to Thee, O Christ Our God

Everlasting King, Thy will for our salvation is full of power. Thy right arm controls the whole course of human life. We give Thee thanks for all Thy mercies, seen and unseen. For eternal life, for the heavenly Joys of the Kingdom which is to be. Grant mercy to us who sing Thy praise, both now and in the time to come. Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age.

Akathist of Thanksgiving

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH asks that parishes try to offer divine services in thanksgiving to God for all of His abundant blessings, both on Wednesday November 22, 2017 for Great Vespers or the Akathist of Thanksgiving in the evening, as well as on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day in the morning, to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Texts from the Department of Liturgics in the Online Liturgical Guide are available.

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Pleading for the Lives of the People of the Middle East: The U.S. Visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X


 

 

 

 


By Subdeacon Peter Samore and Sonia Chala Tower

“The world would assist both Christians and Moslems much better if it spreads the culture of dialogue in our East and wipes away the culture of the sword…” Patriarch John X

Although he brought the love of the Orthodox Church of Antioch from the Middle East to the United States, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East said that he also brought the pain and suffering of the brethren in his native land. From October 21–31, 2017, His Beatitude made several key visits with elected officials and world leaders in Washington, D.C. and New York City to continue pleading for peaceful, diplomatic solutions to end the fruitless, 6.5-year-old war in Syria, the land of the Apostles Paul, Barnabas and Ananias, that has negatively impacted the entire region.

“I Would Fly Away and Be at Rest:" The Last Public Appearance and Funeral of Bishop Antoun

By Subdeacon Peter Samore

On Friday, November 10, the fortieth day of His Grace Bishop Antoun's repose is commemorated, and on Sunday, November 12, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph asks all parishes to hold Trisagion Services.

“Oh that I had the wings of a dove. I would fly away and be at rest.” (Psalm 54:6)

Although the context of the Psalm is tribulation, it holds a different context for His Grace Bishop Antoun, the longest-serving auxiliary bishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese who left this world on the morning of Monday, October 2, 2017. For, as Metropolitan Joseph remarked in funeral address, Sayidna Antoun did not fly away to leave the rest of us behind, because he never betrayed us. Rather, His Grace took up his new abode at the throne of Almighty God to intercede with Him for us, and reunite the clergy and laity he loved so dearly on the Last Day.

Every bishop of the Archdiocese, along with dozens of clergy and hundreds of faithful, gathered at St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida – Sayidna Antoun’s cathedral in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast – to mourn the loss of a man who served them in so many ways since his arrival to the United States in 1959. (View the memorial page for His Grace Bishop Antoun, and view the photo album of the funeral.)

St. Raphael of Brooklyn + First Saturday in November

Several themes emerge as the story of St. Raphael's life unfolds. The first is the mysterious way in which God led him from his native homeland to the shores of the American continent. The second is his submissive attitude to the providence of God. And the third is his love for the people of God. Though during his lifetime he was neither a wonder-worker nor a clairvoyant elder, St. Raphael embraced a life of total abandonment of self for the service of God and his fellow man: a life of true spiritual asceticism.

(from The Life of Our Father among the Saints Raphael Hawaweeny)

Our Father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of  Brooklyn, was the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil. Traveling throughout the continent in the first years of the 20th century, he founded thirty parishes in North America. His feast day is celebrated in the Antiochian Archdiocese on the first Saturday of November. St. Raphael, a man of angelic name and apostolic fervor, was influenced by many cultures. He was born and raised in the Middle East, educated by Greeks at Halki and by Russians at Kiev, and he spent the last nineteen years of his life as a missionary in North America.

In 2015, the Antiochian Archdiocese celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of St. Raphael. 

Exclusive Interview with His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X and His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York, New York --  In this video, His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X of Antioch and His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America share their thoughts about the last ten days of their meetings, talks and events in Washington D.C. and New York City regarding the future of Orthodox Christians in Syria and the Middle East.

The interview is an exclusive with Subdeacon Peter Samore of the Archdiocesan Department of Internet Ministry.

His Beatitude Patriarch John to Visit the United States in October, 2017

Patriarch John X (left) and Metropolitan JosephPatriarch John X (left) and Metropolitan JosephEnglewood, NJ   His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, is pleased to announce the visit of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, to the United States on October 21–31, 2017.

(View the full schedule)

The purpose of the visit is to meet with the leadership of the United Nations as well as members of the current administration of the United States to: 1) promote a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, 2) highlight the current humanitarian crisis, and 3) discuss the future of Christians in Syria and the Middle East. His Beatitude will also be an honored guest at the “In Defense of Christians” Summit in Washington, D.C., from October 24–26. The Summit is titled "American Leadership and Securing the Future of Christians in the Middle East."

Memory Eternal! + Bishop Antoun

 




 

 

 

 

Memory Eternal! + Bishop Antoun of Thrice-Blessed Memory

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Is 40:8

Dear Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed members of the Archdiocese Board of
Trustees, and Christ-loving Faithful,

Blessing and greetings to you in the Name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus!

With profound sadness, yet hope in the Resurrection, I announce the passing into eternal life of my beloved brother, Bishop ANTOUN. Words cannot begin to describe our debt of gratitude to His Grace nor our sense of loss at his falling asleep.

Becoming Truly Human: Feature Film in Select Theaters on Nov 8 and 9

The distribution of Becoming Truly Human has begun! Becoming Truly Human is the first Orthodox feature film in North America, and was created with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and the support of the Antiochian Archdiocese. We are pleased to announce that the film will be doing a one-night theatrical release in select cities on November 8 and 9, 2017. Please help us promote these showings: invite your local parish and community. Showings require a sufficient number of advance ticket sales by early November, so get your tickets today!** (View the list of cities and purchase your tickets and watch the trailer.)

** Charges for tickets are pending until the showing is confirmed. If you don't see your city listed, and want to request that the film come to your city, contact Janeal Bernhart at janeal@aspiration.is.

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH's Address at the Funeral of His Grace Bishop ANTOUN

Archieratical Address of His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH
Delivered at the Funeral of His Grace Bishop ANTOUN

Beloved Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, and Christ-loving Faithful:

I embrace all of you with paternal love, as we come together this evening to pray for our beloved Bishop ANTOUN and for his eternal rest.

I return to you from the meetings of the Holy Synod of Antioch, and I bear with me the fervent prayers and heartfelt condolences of our Father-in-Christ, His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X, as well as my brothers, the venerable Metropolitans of our Holy Patriarchate. We belong to one Antiochian family, and I can relay to you that the loss of our beloved Bishop ANTOUN is profoundly felt by all. 

I stand before you this evening with great reverence and immeasurable affection for my dear brother and concelebrant, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the years I was blessed to call him a friend and a mentor.

October 2017: Archdiocese Youth Month

October is the month when the Archdiocese introduces teens to the many opportunities to minister in the Church. The youth "are encouraged to read the Epistle, chant and sing in the choir, assist in church school, and give sermons approved by the priest," explains Department of Youth Chairman The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura. 

Another way teens can get involved in their parishes is to participate in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl, and Oratorical Festivals. This year’s theme, selected by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, is "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42)

Christian Education Department Kicks off Sunday School Year with New Resources

The Christian Education team of the Antiochian Archdiocese, headed by Director Carole Buleza, is passionate about transmitting the faith to the next generation, and the resource-rich Christian Education section on antiochian.org reflects this. An extensive upgrade to the Christian Education pages launched to coincide with the start of the Sunday School year includes an entirely new Creative Festivals 2018 section for 2017-2018.

Highlights of the new material available are:

In the main Christian Education section, the latest teacher training events are featured. 

Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian + September 26

Troparion to St. John the Evangelist, Tone 2

O Apostle John, speaker of divinity, the beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose bosom thou didst lean accepteth thee as an intercessor. Beseech Him, therefore, to disperse the cloud of the stubborn nations, asking for us safety and the Great Mercy.

Kontakion to St. John the Evangelist, Tone 2

Who can tell of thy mighty works, O virgin Saint John? For thou pourest forth miracles, and art a source of healings, and thou dost intercede for our souls, as the Theologian and the friend of Christ.

Metropolitan Joseph Requests Prayers and "Earthquake Appeal" Gifts for Mexico

Leave-taking of the Elevation of the Honorable and Life-giving Cross

Beloved in Christ,

With Archpastoral love, I embrace all of you – my brother hierarchs, reverend clergy, and Christloving faithful. Once again, I write to you in the midst of tragedy, witnessing the results of the devastating earthquake that struck our brothers and sisters in Mexico. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, when "one member suffers, all the members suffer with it."

When I reflect on the heartrending disasters of the last several weeks, I take heart that we have been commemorating the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross. As we raise on high the Cross, we remember the sacrificial love of our Lord Jesus Christ. We remember how He transfigured that instrument of cruel torture and death into a "weapon of peace and trophy invincible." We remember that the tears of mourning shed by the Ointment Bearing Women were transformed into inexpressible joy on the morning of Pascha.

Feast of the Elevation of the Cross + September 14

Let all the trees of the wood, planted from the beginning of time, rejoice; for their nature hath been sanctified by the stretching of Christ on the Tree. Wherefore, now, we worship Him, lifted up, and magnify Him.

+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 8

By the mere planting of thy Cross, O Christ, the foundation of death did shake; for him whom Hades did swallow eagerly, it delivered up with trembling; for verily, thou didst reveal to us thy salvation, O holy One. Wherefore, do we glorify thee, O Son of God. Have mercy upon us.

+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 6

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross. Two events connected to the Honorable Cross of our Lord are commemorated this day: first, the finding of the Cross by the Empress Helena in the Holy Land; and second, the return of the Cross from Persia to Jerusalem in the year 628.

Historical background of the Feast

Metropolitan Joseph Urges Prayer and Practical Assistance in the Wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT AND PUBLISHED IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN

Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos+

Beloved in Christ:

Greetings to you and your families on this Feast Day.

We have all witnessed with a heavy heart the catastrophic destruction and massive flooding in Southeast Texas, Western Louisiana and now Florida as a result of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I urge the entire Archdiocese to pray for the safety of the residents of Florida and all those in the wake of Hurricane Irma and direct our parishes to offer up special prayers at Sunday's Divine Liturgy for the safety and quick recovery of those affected. Some of the scenes of suffering have been beyond words. I have been in constant contact with our clergy and the parishes of the affected areas and am waiting for an assessment from them in order to help in any way we can. Although things are still unfolding, we want to be proactive in our appeal to all of you so we can respond as quickly as possible.

As people of God and the Church of Christ, we feel compelled to help our brothers and sisters in need. Therefore, I am asking every parish and mission of the Archdiocese to appeal to their faithful and hold special collections throughout the month of September so that we can alleviate a little of the pain and suffering the good people of that area are enduring.

Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos + September 8

This is the day of the Lord; wherefore, rejoice ye nations; for behold the chamber of Light, the scroll of the Word of life hath come forth from the womb; the gate facing the east hath been born. Wherefore, she awaiteth the entrance of the High Priest. And she alone admitted Christ into the universe for salvation of our souls.

+ Doxastikon of the Feast, Tone 6

Read Fr. Andrew Damick's reflection on the Theotokos, the Ark of the New Covenant
Listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko speak on the Nativity of the Theotokos on Ancient Faith Radio

September 2017 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The September 2017 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:

Metropolitan Joseph's Address to the General Assembly
by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Bishop Thomas Addresses St. Tikhon's Seminary
by His Grace Bishop Thomas

From the Hearth: Preserving our Most Precious Gifts
by Keidi Lewis

Old Heresies in the 21st Century
by Fr. Dan Daily

Forgotten No More
by Fr. Stephen Powley

...and more!

Letter From His Beatitude Patriarch John X to the Texas Faithful

Damascus, Syria

Your Eminence Metropolitan Joseph,
Beloved brothers and sisters in Texas State:

From the Mariamite Cathedral in Damascus, I greet you in the name of our Lord; and heartily express my deepest sympathy and compassion during this devastating time where the destructive Hurricane Harvey hit Texas State.

Despite the sufferings of your brothers and sisters in Syria and all the Middle East, you are in their thoughts and prayers, and along with St. Paul, we repeat: "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulations, be constant in prayer" (Romans 12:12).

You are people of faith, and by God's will, you shall overcome this sad event stronger and united under the parental care of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. You all remain in the heart and prayers of your Patriarch.

May God, the Lord of mercy and compassion protect all of you, help the affected, heal the wounded and bless the souls of those who rested in peace.

Transferring to you all the love, prayer, and compassion of every Antiochian faithful and sending you the Apostolic blessing of the Apostles Peter and Paul, we pray to God to strengthen you and keep you under the maternal protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary.

†JOHN X
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Metropolitan Joseph Urges Prayer and Practical Assistance in the Wake of Harvey

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT AND PUBLISHED IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN

Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner

Beloved in Christ:

Greetings to you and your families as we prepare for the beginning of a new Church year.

We have all witnessed with a heavy heart the catastrophic destruction and massive flooding in Southeast Texas (and now Western Louisiana) as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Some of the scenes of suffering have been beyond words. I have been in constant contact with our clergy and the parishes of the area and am waiting for an assessment from them in order to help in any way we can. Although things are still unfolding, we want to be proactive in our appeal to all of you so we can respond as quickly as possible.

As people of God and the Church of Christ, we feel compelled to help our brothers and sisters in need. Therefore, I am asking every parish and mission of the archdiocese to appeal to their faithful and hold special collections throughout the month of September so that we can alleviate a little of the pain and suffering the good people of that area are enduring.