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St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra + December 6

The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, a model of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. Therefore thou hast won the heights by humility, riches by poverty. Holy Father Nicholas, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

+Troparion, Tone 4

Thou wast a faithful minister of God in Myra, O Saint Nicholas. For having fulfilled the Gospel of Christ, thou didst die for the people and save the innocent. Therefore thou wast sanctified as a great initiator of the grace of God.

+Kontakion, Tone 3

On December 6, we celebrate St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the fourth-century archbishop of Myra in Lycia (on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey). None of his writings is extant, but his examples of Christian generosity, virtue and love endure to this day. St. Nicholas is the living embodiment of the words "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). He is also the patron and protector of two cathedrals – Brooklyn and Los Angeles – in our Archdiocese.

Metropolitan Joseph Honored at NYC Ecumenical Gathering

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On November 29, 2016, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph was honored along with the recently appointed Syriac Archbishop John Kawak, in an ecumenical gathering at the St. Vartan Armenian Orthodox Cathedral in New York City. The gathering, hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), celebrated the occasion of the enthronements of Metropolitan Joseph and Archbishop John; due to scheduling issues, the event had been postponed several times.

Hierarchs and clergy from throughout the New York area were present, including: His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America; Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Papal Nuncio to the United Nations; Maronite Bishop Gregory Mansour, and many others from various Christian faith communities.

December Liturgical Texts Now Available

St. Barbara of Heliopolis in Syria (left), and St. John of DamascusSt. Barbara of Heliopolis in Syria (left), and St. John of DamascusTwo saints with a strong following and devotion in the Patriarchate of Antioch, as well as the prophets and ancestors of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ Himself, are celebrated in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The Liturgical Texts for December, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

We celebrate two Syrian saints on December 4. Saint Barbara of Heliopolis left the protection of her father's tower and learned of the true Christian faith from pious women. Once St. Barabara accepted Christ, her father martyred her, but a lightning bolt struck his house and killed him.

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

What do American Orthodox do on Thanksgiving? We give thanks, to our Creator and Fashioner and God. The following links offer inspiration and assistance in celebrating this great American holiday in proper fashion, in full eucharistic thanksgiving "for all things of which we know and of which we know not, for blessings seen and unseen that have been bestowed upon us."

The Entrance of the Theotokos + November 21

Today is the prelude of God's goodwill and the prophecy of the salvation of men. The Virgin appears openly in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. So let us cry to her with loud voices: Rejoice, thou who art the fulfillment of the Creator's providence.

+Troparion of the Feast, Tone 4

Today in the Holy Orthodox Church we celebrate the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. Leading the procession into the Temple were virgins with lighted tapers in their hands, then the three-year-old Most-holy Virgin, led by her father and mother. The virgin was clad in vesture of royal magnificence and adornments as was befitting the “King’s daughter, the Bride of God” (Psalm 44:13-15).

Nativity Fast Begins on November 15

Tuesday, November 15, 2016, is the beginning of this year's Nativity Fast. The Nativity Fast is one of the four Canonical Fasting Seasons in the Church year. This is a joyous fast in anticipation of the Nativity of Christ.

In the weeks between now and December 25, Orthodox Christians prepare themselves to celebrate the birth in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we begin the fast, we encourage both believing Orthodox and inquirers to review the reflections and resources in our special Nativity section.

For additional general resources on the Orthodox Christian tradition of feasting and fasting, visit the Feasts and Fasts section of Discover Orthodox Christianity.

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Presents Archdiocese with $25,000 for Syrian Relief

His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (India) Diocese of Southwest America visited St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn on the afternoon of November 8, 2016, to present the proceeds of collections in their diocese for Syrian Relief. Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Archdiocese and Cathedral Dean, received the check on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, who was on an archpastoral tour.

Father Thomas welcomed Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius and thanked him on behalf of those who are suffering and displaced as a result of ongoing Syrian war. This generous gift of $25,000 will be used to help educate the children of those new immigrants who have arrived as a result of the war and have come with nothing or very little. Father Thomas then gave the Metropolitan a tour of the Cathedral and hosted him to lunch before the Metropolitan departed for the airport to return to his headquarters in Houston. The hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese are grateful to Metropolitan Alexios and the entire Malankara Diocese for their thoughtfulness and concern for the displaced people of Syria who have found their way to these blessed shores.

Synaxis of the Holy Archangels + November 8

Supreme Leaders of the Heavenly Hosts, we implore you that by your prayers you will encircle us, unworthy as we are, with the protection of the wings of your immaterial glory and guard us who fall down before you and fervently cry: deliver us from dangers, for you are the commanders of the powers above.

+Troparion of the Feast, Tone 4

O Archangel Michael whose countenance is like lightning, gleaming in an ineffable manner with the illuminations of the Trinity, of exceeding divine brilliancy, thou dost traverse the whole creation like lightning, fulfilling the divine command, watching over, preserving, and sheltering those who joyfully laud thee.

+Exaposteilarion of the Feast, Tone 2

November Liturgical Texts Available for Download

St. John Chrystostom Antiochian Orthodox Church, York, PASt. John Chrystostom Antiochian Orthodox Church, York, PAThe first bishop of the missionary church that would become the Antiochian Archdiocese, the archbishop who gave the Orthodox Church its primary liturgy, a Great Feast of the Theotokos, and a major American holiday fill the celebrations of the Orthodox Church in the month of November. The Liturgical Texts to guide us through services on these holy days, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

Community of St. George Cathedral Celebrates 50 Years in the Gables

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While Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL was actually first established on February 23, 1953 in the city of Miami, August 31, 1966 is no less significant a day, as it marks the signing of the contract to purchase Temple Judea, a Jewish synagogue, in the heart of nearby beautiful Coral Gables. This is where the community would build the Saint George Cathedral of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast as a beacon of faith for the Orthodox faithful and the local community. Fifty years later, hearts of the members of the Cathedral beat no less in celebrating this golden jubilee with love; love for their own Faith and their own Cathedral.

Archdiocesan Hierarchs, Lay Leaders Conclude Successful 2016 Fall Meetings

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The Hierarchs, Board of Trustees, Governing Council of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, and Antiochian Village Council, all met the weekend of October 28–30, 2016 in Wichita, KS for the annual Fall Meetings of the Antiochian Archdiocese. They gathered under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and through the hospitality of His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. They discussed many issues and topics related to the spiritual growth of the Archdiocese and the administration of the parishes in each diocese. All the hierarchs of the Archdiocese were present.

Simultaneously, the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch held meetings to plan new ways to foster growth; the Order is especially concerned about how to encourage new generations of members for the philanthropic work of the Archdiocese. They considered implementing new giving levels such as a junior level, and instituting a new category of a one-time life membership. The Governing Council also held lengthy discussions on the best way to communicate the various projects and charitable giving to both current and prospective members.

Prayers for Our Hierarchs and Board of Trustees at Fall Meetings

Photo credit: stgeorgecathedral.netPhoto credit: stgeorgecathedral.netYour prayers are requested for our Hierarchs and Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese who are gathering in Wichita, Kansas for their regular fall meetings from October 28–30, 2016. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph is presiding over the meetings, this year hosted by His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America.

The assembled hierarchs, clergy, board members and lay leaders will discuss various matters impacting the life of the Archdiocese. The weekend will conclude with a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas. May God bless all of their endeavors for His glory.

St. Demetrios the Myrrhbearer + October 26

Verily, the inhabited world found thee a great succor in tribulations and a vanquisher of nations, O fight-bearing one. Wherefore, as thou didst demolish the arrogance of Lahosh, and on the battle-field didst hearten Nestor, beseech, O Saint, Christ God to grant us the Great Mercy.

+Troparion, Tone 3

Verily, God, O Demetrius, who granted thee invincible power hath touched the Church with the live coal of thy blood streams, preserving the city unbreached; for it is established by thee.

+Kontakion, Tone 2

Read about the life of St. Demetrios.

Metropolitan Joseph Offers Encouragement, Solutions for Christians Struggling in Holy Land

Although a shadow of death constantly hovers over them as a religious minority in the Holy Land and the Middle East, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph shared a saying of Christians living there: "We live in a land that has already experienced resurrection, so we always have hope." During his recent visit to Washington, D.C., Sayidna Joseph accepted an award for the Antiochian Archdiocese and gave the keynote address to the 18th International Conference of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF).

On Friday night, October 14, 2016, His Eminence gratefully received the "Living Stones Solidarity Award" as HCEF honored the Archdiocese's long history of caring for Palestinian Christians seeking spiritual support in North America. "This award is not bestowed only upon me as a Metropolitan," Sayidna said, "but upon our Archdiocese, which encompasses faithful believers from all cultures, nationalities, and races."

Special Olympics Sunday 2016

On October 16th, 2016, the North American Council of Teen SOYO sponsors the 36th Annual Special Olympics Awareness Day. Every August, Teen SOYO hosts and funds an annual week‐long camp for Special Olympics Athletes at the Antiochian Village. Over the past 35 years, Teen SOYO has fostered a camping experience like no other. Our camp demonstrates a unified environment where teen SOYO members from across the Archdiocese come together with coaches from Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) and enthusiastic athletes for an intense week of sports training and witness to Christ.

Through your generous donations, SOYO Special Olympics Sports Camp has grown immensely through the years. This year, we experienced a record number of athletes in attendance, and have accomplished an astounding 35 years of SOYO Special Olympics Camp. Over these 35 years, we have hosted more than 7,700 athletes and coaches, and over 1,050 of our teens have been blessed by working as SOYO Coaches or Volunteers. It is our pleasure to have the opportunity to serve, pray, and play with these Special Olympics Athletes, and we look forward, with your help, to continuing this important ministry.

Metropolitan Joseph to Receive Award for Archdiocese, Present Keynote Address in D.C.

Being hailed as “an ardent advocate for human rights, social justice, and peace throughout the Middle East,” His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph will serve as the keynote speaker this weekend for the 18th International Conference of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) in Washington, D.C. He will also accept an award in behalf of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

On Friday night, October 14, 2016, His Eminence will receive the “Living Stones Solidarity Award” for the Antiochian Archdiocese, which HCEF has deemed a prime example of giving “its full support to Christians throughout the Middle East” and serving “as a home to many Palestinian Christians in North America seeking spiritual support and a place to belong.”

October 2016: 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 "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." (Mark 11:17)

Metropolitan Joseph Hosted by Metropolitan Tikhon at OCA Chancery

SYOSSET, NY [OCA/AOCA] — On Thursday, September 29, 2016, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America welcomed His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America on his first official visit to the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America. (View the photo gallery)

Accompanying Metropolitan Joseph was His Grace, Bishop John of the Antiochian Diocese of Worcester and New England and Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Archdiocese. In attendance from the Orthodox Church in America were His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey and Secretary of the Holy Synod of Bishops; Protopresbyter Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of the Office of External Affairs and Inter-Church Relations; Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary; and Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, Secretary to Metropolitan Tikhon.

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.

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