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).
The premier weekend for Orthodox Christian educators, the Orthodox Institute, took place at Antiochian Village from October 30 to November 1, 2014. Roberta Sardell, a Sunday School administrator and teacher from St. Stephen Antiochian Orthodox Church in Campbell, CA, submitted the following recap. (Eight of the presentations are available on Ancient Faith Radio.)
When asked why we attended this year's Orthodox Institute, I answered, "Star Power!" This year's conference featured some of the finest speakers and writers of today's Orthodox world. I also relish meeting other Orthodox; those attending represented various jurisdictions, some participating in the Christian Education strand, others seeking adult education, personal inspiration. Two young ladies were so inspired as to begin organizing a network of Orthodox women, intergenerational, for mutual support and spiritual growth.
Archpriest Thomas Zain Interviewed by Ancient Faith Radio on the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph
Fr. Thomas Zain of Brooklyn's St. Nicholas Cathedral, and Vicar General of the Antiochian Archdiocese, reflects in a wide-ranging audio interview on the historic significance of the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph coming on December 6; the visits of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and metropolitans and representatives from across the worldwide Antiochian Church; the process that has unfolded since the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory; specific plans for the weekend; and more.
Saturday, November 15, 2014, 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.
In that perfect harmony rooted in love, Saint George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida joyfully and gratefully offered "A Tribute of Love" during the historic and memorable weekend of October 22-26, 2014.
Saint George Cathedral was honored to host His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, who presided over the Fall 2014 Archdiocese meetings of the Bishops, Board of Trustees, the Order of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, and the Antiochian Village Council.
There are special moments in the lives of men and women that leave an everlasting impression. If we are Orthodox Christians, these moments are those that serve to aid and empower us in our journey towards Christ. This past weekend (October 31- November 2nd) was such a moment in the life of The Basilica of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Livonia, Michigan.
In the presence of our beloved and newly-elected Metropolitan Joseph, our local Bishop Anthony, scores of clergy, and Teen SOYO from around the diocese who were present for the 2014 Fall Gathering, we witnessed with our own eyes the consecration of our holy icons in the dome of our church by His Eminence Joseph's holy hand. This moment will remain forever etched in the minds, hearts, and souls, of the faithful of our parish.
On October 27, 2014, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, delivered the following speech on Mount Athos during extended travels in Greece. (Arabic original here.)
"At night when human voices, movements and tumult are clothed in stillness, enlighten every movement of my soul with Yourself, O Jesus, Light of the Righteous. At the hour when you give rest to the weary, O my Lord, let our thoughts of you be intoxicated with the sweetest dream, O sweetness of the saints. At the time of going to sleep, when the drunk repose through temporary artifice, awaken in us, O Lord, that eternal knowledge.
"At the start of the day, when all are concerned with earthly things, make us worthy, O our Lord, to enjoy following the heavenly path. At the hour when all remove their nightclothes, remove from our heart, O Lord, remembrance of the world that is passing. At daybreak when sailors set out upon the sea of this world, give rest, my Lord, to souls in your haven. In your mysteries, we embrace you every day and receive you in our body. Make us worthy to feel in our souls the hope that we have in the resurrection. Be, O Lord, wings for our mind, so that it will fly in the gentle breeze until by these wings we reach our true nest."
Brothers and beloved,
I could not have found more beautiful words than these by Saint Isaac the Syrian with which to begin my speech here.
The November 2014 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:
by His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah)
The Clergy Symposium: Pastoral Theology and Healing
by The Very Rev. Joseph J. Allen, Th.D.
Baptism and Eucharist: Sacraments of Healing
by Dr. Paul Meyendorff
Antiochian House of Studies
So Much More: Reflecting the Unceasing Worship of the Heavenly Hosts
by Daniel L. Marchant
Antiochian House of Studies
Our Goal: Knowing God
by Sub-deacon Jeremiah Vollman
Antiochian House of Studies
The Kingdom of Heaven and Purity of Heart
by Ronnie Long
Unity in Antioch
by Economos Antony Gabriel
Planning continues for the weekend of December 5-7, and the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. Check our enthronement section for the latest information and resources.
Update October 31: Our block of hotel rooms at the Brooklyn Marriott is sold out for Friday and Saturday evening. You can try booking directly at marriott.com. You may continue to check the original link as rooms may pop up from time to time if people cancel. You can also check other hotels in the area including the Sheraton Brooklyn.
Update October 27: While seating for the Saturday banquet will be reserved, seating in the Cathedral for the general public for all services will be on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be closed-circuit television in the basement of the Cathedral for the overflow crowd. We plan to live-stream both the enthronement and the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy via antiochian.org and NOURSAT, that will be providing live coverage. Check back for details closer to the weekend.
Jordan Kurzum is a sophomore Spanish major at the University of Pittsburgh. During the school year, he attends St. George Orthodox Cathedral with Fr. Demetrios Makoul, while staying in touch with his home parish, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, NJ, with Fr. Dimitri Darwich. Jordan oversees all the officers of the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) at the national and regional level, making sure that they have the resources and information they need. He graciously offered Antiochian.org some time during the Archdiocese's 2014 Youth Month to talk about what motivates him to be involved in the Church through his SOYO leadership position.
With all the demands on your time, why invest in SOYO?
We are constantly busy, but what's wonderful about SOYO is that it is enjoyable—it's not like school work! I really find it fulfilling, interacting with the other officers and serving the local parishes and dioceses. It's a great contrast to school work, and a break from studying, and it encourages me to stay involved in the Church.
This summer at the Summer Meetings at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph announced the new Antiochian Women Project for 2014-2015 which will incorporate his vision for the Antiochian Archdiocese well into the future. Over the next year, the Antiochian Women will work towards "Nurturing the Seeds of Orthodoxy Across North America".
The Project is two-fold:
- "Regional Camping and Learning Centers" – His Eminence's vision is to offer Orthodox programs throughout all of North America and the ultimate establishment of facilities to house these events.
- "Monastic Communities" – The vision is to make Antiochian Orthodox monastic communities prevalent across our continent.
Throughout our work on this Project, let us recall the parable of the mustard seed where Jesus said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? ... It is like a mustard seed which, ... when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade." (Mark 4:30-32.)
The third Sunday of October, October 18, 2015 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 18th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village in the summer of 2015. This ministry is run by and sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.
English translation of a report (Arabic original here) published by the Patriarchate of Antioch:
Under the presidency of His Beatitude Patriarch John X (Yazigi), the Holy Synod of Antioch held its fourth regular session on October 7, 2014. The following bishops were present:
Spiridon (Zahle and its dependencies), Georges (Jbeil, Batroun and their dependencies), John (Lattakia and its dependencies), Elias (Beirut and its dependencies), Iliyya (Hama and its dependencies), Elias (Sidon, Tyre and their dependencies), Saba (Hawran and Jebel al-Arab), George (Homs and its dependencies), Siluan (Buenos Aires and all Argentina), Basil (Akkar and its dependencies), Ephrem (Tripoli, al-Koura and their dependencies), Ignatius (France and Western and Southern Europe), Isaac (Germany and Central Europe).
English translation of an interview published by the Patriarchate of Antioch on October 4, 2014:
The Syrian newspaper al-Thawra Online met with His Beatitude Patriarch John X Yazigi, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and conducted an open discussion with him that touched upon general issues and the crisis that our country is experiencing. As is his custom, Patriarch Yazigi addressed these issues with all frankness, clarity and transparency. Here follows the text of the discussion:
What role does the Antiochian Orthodox Church play as a part of the social fabric of Syria? What has it done and what will it do?
To start, we would like to direct our warmest greetings to the Syrian people as a whole and our Muslim brothers in particular on the occasion of Eid el-Adha. Many happy returns.
The Patriarchate and our Orthodox Christian people are a fundamental part of our country. We are Syrians, the children of this nation. We were born here, as were our fathers and grandfathers. Christianity started out here and we feel that we are one family with all the country’s communities. Throughout history, the Patriarchate has been—and we hope it shall remain—a fundamental factor for common life in dignity, for reinforcing all the national and historical foundations that have brought us together ever since Christianity appeared in these lands. Ever since the coming of Islam, we have lived together and have built a common history. There is no doubt that our future is one.
The October 2014 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:
The Visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X and the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
In Praise of New Martyrs
by Fr. John W. Fenton
The War Within
by Richard Zakka
It's Time to Wake Up
by Fr. Timothy Ferguson
The Conference on Antiochian Unity
by Violet K. Robbat
October is the month when the Antiochian 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 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn and focuses on his contributions to Orthodoxy in America, and is titled "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America."
- Learn more about Special Olympics and the Awareness Day on October 19.
- Visit the Department of Youth, and the Teen SOYO section.
- Read Bp. John Abdalah's reflection, "What Can We Do for God's Youth Today?"
- Read All Things are Possible Through Christ, the speech awarded "Judges Choice" at the 2014 Oratorical Festival
To honor Metropolitan Joseph on the auspicious occasion of his enthronement as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, a commemorative journal is being prepared. If you would like to express your congratulations to our new Metropolitan and welcome our father in Christ John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, you can place an order for a journal entry via the online order form available here. We thank the Antiochian Events team for constructing this secure and simple order form.
The journal will be published and distributed to all attendees and contributors. The journal will include greetings from the Archdiocese, Dioceses, Parishes, parishioners, and contributors. Since this is a journal commemorating His Eminence's enthronement and not a typical souvenir journal, only messages welcoming His Beatitude, Patriarch John X and/or congratulatory messages to His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph will be accepted.
The Department of Christian Education's premier weekend for spiritual renewal and training, the Orthodox Institute, will be featuring a stellar group of speakers and presenters on the theme "Theosis: Your Life With God." Planned for October 30 - November 2, 2014 at Antiochian Village, the Institute's Keynote Addresses will be offered by Fr. Anthony Coniaris, founder of Light and Life Publishing and the pastor-emeritus of St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Dr. Kyriacos Markides, renowned author of The Mountain of Silence and professor of Sociology at the University of Maine. Three core courses for Christian educators will be taught by Dr. Harry Boosalis, professor of Dogmatics at St. Tikhon's Seminary.
"Truly, this will be a weekend for spiritual renewal," notes Director Carole Buleza. "Joining us also is Rev. Dr. David Hester, whose expertise is the Jesus Prayer. Father John Oliver will speak on “The Holy Spirit and the Monastery” at Valaam, and Fr. Michael Gillis will present Isaac the Syrian’s expression of theosis. Mother Christophora will discuss whether the quest for theosis is different for women, Martha Condra will help us with fasting, and Elizabeth White will lead us back to 'wonder,' where we first met God."
The full schedule is now available for the weekend of December 5-7 and the events of the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Preparations are under way and hierarchs and guests will be attending from across the world.
The following is the public schedule for the weekend:
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America wrapped up its fifth annual meeting on September 18, 2014, by issuing a significant "Statement on the Middle East," and a second substantive "Final Statement" of conclusions and goals.
Convening in Dallas, TX, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, the Assembly tackled a number of topics in their three-day meeting, including the plight of Christians in the Middle East.
Summarizing the discussion, they wrote in their Statement that, in concert with His Beatitude Patriarch John X of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East as well as the other Patriarchs of the East, "we lament and denounce the egregious and barbarous incidents in the area, including religious intolerance and fanaticism, that erode the social fabric and unity of the region, destroying churches, shrines and monuments, which are the common heritage of all Christians and, indeed, all humanity."