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Ecclesiastical New Year + September 1

"O Word of the Father from before the ages, Who, being in the form of God, broughtest creation into being out of nothing; Thou Who hast put the times and seasons in Thine own power: Bless the crown of the year with Thy goodness; give peace unto Thy churches, victory unto Thy faithful hierarchs, fruitfulness unto the earth, and Great Mercy unto us."

--Orthros of the Feast, Tone 3

Listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko speak about the New Year on Ancient Faith Radio.
Read about the Orthodox New Year on Ancient Faith Blogs.

September 2015 Edition of The Word Now Available

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

Patriarch John X and the God Who is With Us
by His Grace Bishop John

His Beatitude John X Addresses the Archdiocese Convention

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Addresses the General Assembly

Archdiocese Convention Homily
by Archpriest Paul O'Callaghan

Greetings From New Antiochian Women President, Dianne O'Regan

August 2015

I send you greetings on behalf of the new officers and coordinators of the North American Board (“NAB”) of the Antiochian Women.  We were blessed to have been sworn in by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 during the Archdiocese Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.

Earlier that same day at the Antiochian Women’s brunch, we were honored to present a check for $142,724.42 to Metropolitan Joseph – in the presence of His Beatitude John X – for our 2014-15 Project:  “Nurturing the Seeds of Orthodoxy Across North America: Regional Camps and Learning Centers and Monastic Communities.”  We also presented His Eminence with a check for additional contributions to our 2013-14 Project to “Help the Orphans of War in Syria,” for a combined total of $300,095.00.  God bless each of you for your magnificent efforts. 

Knowing that we will not allow ourselves rest, Metropolitan Joseph tasked us with a NEW Project: “Hungry Children At Home and Abroad.”  Read information about this very worthy cause from our Vice-President/NAB Project Coordinator, Kh. Suzanne Murphy.

New Vision for Sacred Music Includes Deeper Collaboration with Internet Ministry

Plans are underway to refresh and expand the online resources available to musicians in the Antiochian Archdiocese. In May, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph appointed Paul Jabara of Montreal, Quebec to be the new Chairman of the Archdiocese's Department of Sacred Music. Mr. Jabara will be working closely with the Department of Internet Ministry to update the architecture and design of the Sacred Music website, with the goal of significantly improving the music library through a revamped site map and the addition of new resources.

In a presentation at the 2015 Archdiocese Convention in Boston, Mr. Jabara articulated an expanded vision for the Department of Sacred Music. In addition to upgrading the online Sacred Music Library, the Department plans to build up the youth music ministry program, create a choir outreach ministry, develop a virtual choir, and increase the amount of scholarship money for the Sacred Music Institute (SMI).

Beloved "Little Red Prayer Book" Content is Now Online

A new prayer section was recently launched on Antiochian.org. The section is linked on the Archdiocese website's homepage "Worship & Devotion" sidebar and in the footer navigation, and is available across all devices. This means that the most popular sections of A Pocket Prayer Book, the well-loved Antiochian Archdiocese spiritual resource affectionately known as "The Little Red Prayer Book," are now readily available to Antiochian.org's many weekly visitors.

So far, the collection of online prayers includes: Morning Prayers, Midday Prayers, Evening Prayers, Occasional Prayers, Prayers in Preparation for Holy Communion, Prayers of Thanksgiving After Holy Communion, Self Examination Before Confession, and Prayers After Confession. Other prayers may be added as appropriate.

The original prayer book, containing Daily and Occasional Prayers as well as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, was first published in 1956 and is in its thirteenth printing.

Order a hard copy from the Antiochian Village Bookstore.

St. Vladimir's Seminary to Bestow Honorary Doctorate on Metropolitan Joseph

July, 2015: Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John X, and The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield at St. Vladimir's SeminaryJuly, 2015: Metropolitan Joseph, Patriarch John X, and The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield at St. Vladimir's SeminaryOn September 14, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty of St. Vladimir's Seminary will bestow a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, on His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, at an Academic Convocation beginning at 7 p.m. St. Vladimir's will also award an honorary degree to His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Metropolitan Tikhon serves as President of the Seminary and Chair of its Board of Trustees, and Metropolitan Joseph serves as Vice Chair of the Board. The event is open to the public and will be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Dormition

Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Dormition
August 15, 2015

 In thy birth-giving, O Theotokos, thou didst keep and preserve virginity; and in thy falling-asleep thou hast not forsaken the world; for thou wast translated into life, being the Mother of Life. Wherefore, by thine intercessions, deliver our souls from death. (Apolytikion of the Dormition)

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos!

The Apolytikion quoted above transmits to us the essence of this feast.  The Most Holy Lady Theotokos, in her falling asleep, has shown us the true meaning of the term “falling asleep in Christ”.  We do not focus on her death, but rather her translation from her earthly life to her eternal life in heaven.

A Synaxis of the Antiochian World: A Report on the 52nd Convention

A Synaxis of the Antiochian World:
A Report on the 52nd Convention of the
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Boston, Massachusetts, July 20-26, 2015
By Subdeacon Peter Samore

“O Antioch: lift up your eyes and look around, for your sons came like the pearls shining with the light of God from the West, and the North; from the sea, and the East, glorifying Jesus Christ in you to the ages of ages.” – St. John of Damascus

These words best describe the communion of the apostolic Orthodox Church of Antioch that can never be broken, even if oceans keep her children at a distance from one another. Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ is at the center of the Antiochian communion, manifest by the apostles and their spiritual descendants who proclaimed Christ’s gospel in all corners of the world throughout all ages.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of The Transfiguration

Pastoral Message for the Feast of The Transfiguration
August 6, 2015

“Today hast Thou manifested on Mount Tabor, O Lord, the glory of Thy divine image to the chosen of Thy Disciples, Peter, James and John; for when they saw Thy garments glistening as light, and Thy face surpassing the sun in splendor, and they could no more bear to behold Thine unbearable radiance, they fell to the ground, utterly unable to gaze upon it; and they heard a voice from on high testifying and saying: ‘This is My beloved Son, Who cometh into the world to save man.’” (The Idiomelon for the Feast of the Transfiguration from the Vespers of the feast)

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor.

The text above transmits to us the essence of this feast.  Whereas our Lord Jesus Christ had previously revealed His divine power through His working of miracles, He now physically reveals “the glory of His divine form” to Peter, James and John on Mount Tabor.  The great prophets Moses and Elias appear with deference to the Lord further revealing that the prophets are His servants, and that our Lord Jesus Christ rules as King above all creation.

The Great Feast of the Transfiguration + August 6

"Thou hast been transfigured, O Saviour, on Mount Tabor, indicating the transformation of mankind which shall take place at thy dreadful Second Coming. Moses and Elijah did converse with thee. But thy Disciples, whom thou didst call, when they beheld thy glory, O Master, were dazzled by thy brightness. Wherefore, O thou who didst at that time cause thy light to shine on them, lighten our souls."

+ First Kathisma of the Feast

"O thou holy One who hast sanctified the whole universe by thy light, thou hast been transfigured on a high mountain, and hast shown thy Disciples thy might and that thou shalt deliver the world from transgression. Wherefore, do we cry out to thee, O compassionate Lord, save our souls."

+ Idiomelon of the Feast

August Liturgical Texts Available for Download

Icons of the Dormition of the Theotokos, the patronal feast of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cambridge, MA, host parish of the 52nd Archdiocesan Convention.Icons of the Dormition of the Theotokos, the patronal feast of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cambridge, MA, host parish of the 52nd Archdiocesan Convention.The Liturgical Texts for August, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

This month, the last of the Orthodox Christian liturgical calendar, features two of the twelve Great Feasts celebrated by the Church: the Transfiguration of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ (August 6); and the Dormition, or Falling-Asleep, of the Most-Holy Theotokos, the Ever-Virgin Mary (August 15). Celebration of these two feasts are not limited to one day each, but are expanded to seven days after the Transfiguration, and eight days after the Dormition.

In preparation for the Dormition, many parishes sing the famous Paraklesis Service with the Little Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos.

Dormition Fast Begins on August 1st

The Theotokos, the Virgin Mary, was “blessed amongst women,” and she was chosen “to bear the Savior of our souls.” Orthodox Christians consider her to be the Queen of all the saints and angels.

Knowing that she is eternally present at the throne of God interceding for mankind, we pray for her love, guidance, and protection. Every year the Orthodox Church sets aside the first fourteen days of August in honor of the Virgin Mary. This fast period is climaxed on August 15th, when the Church gathers to celebrate the Great Feast of the Dormition (Falling-Asleep) of the Theotokos.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Hosts Dinner in Honor of His Beatitude Patriarch John X

View the photo gallery

On July 28, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, hosted a dinner in honor of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey.

In attendance were the Antiochian hierarchs who accompanied the Patriarch, the first hierarchs of the Orthodox Churches who are located in the NY/NJ metropolitan area, representatives from the Roman Catholic church, the Syriac Catholic church, local Muslim spiritual leaders, and diplomats representing Syria, Georgia, Lebanon, and Cyprus.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph introduced His Beatitude and spoke about the tireless work of His Beatitude for peace in Syria, Lebanon, and the entire region. (The remarks of Metropolitan Joseph are here).

Patriarch John X Stresses Unity, Peace, at St. Vladimir's Convocation

L to R: Fr. John Behr, Patriarch John X, Metropolitan Tikhon, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Chad HatfieldL to R: Fr. John Behr, Patriarch John X, Metropolitan Tikhon, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Chad HatfieldView the Patriarchate's Facebook photo album

On Monday, July 27, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty Council of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary bestowed a Doctor of Divinity degree honoris causa upon The Most Blessed John X (Yazigi), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East [read the Citation here].

In his remarks following the ceremony, His Beatitude underscored the bonds of unity—past, present, and future—between the Church of Antioch and the seminary, He also captivated the hearts of the more than 200 people who had gathered to honor him, as he passionately called for peace for all peoples in his homeland of Syria and its neighboring countries in the Middle East.

“I am very thankful for two important facts,” His Beatitude began, “first, for the numerous Antiochian priests and bishops who received their theological formation at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and second, for the longstanding relationship that exists between the [Antiochian] Archdiocese and the seminary, a relationship fostered by the late Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory, which continues to be strengthened today by my brother [in Christ], Metropolitan Joseph.

Festive Patriarchal Divine Liturgy Concludes Antiochian Archdiocesan Convention

By Subdeacon Peter Samore

With one patriarch, fifteen metropolitans and bishops, scores of clergy, two large choirs and nearly 2,000 faithful, the 52nd Convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America concluded, as is tradition, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 26, 2015. This year, leading worship inside Boston's Hynes Convention Center Auditorium – converted into a church for the gathering's purposes – was the father and chief shepherd of the ancient Orthodox Christian see of Antioch, His Beatitude the Most Blessed Patriarch John X. He described the partaking of the "Lamb of God" as "the fulfillment of the work of this convention."

"You are the children of God, as St. Paul tells us," His Beatitude said in his sermon, referring to Sunday's Epistle lection from Galatians (3:23-4:5). "This directs us to the dignity that is our relationship to the likeness of the Father. This is a means of strength, to be called the children of God, but it should also give us a sense of humility."

The Address of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to the General Assembly of the 52nd Archdiocesan Convention

The Address of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to the General Assembly of the 52nd Archdiocesan Convention 
July 24, 2015, Boston, Massacusetts

Listen to His Eminence's address on Ancient Faith Radio

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Your Beatitude and Beloved father in Christ Patriarch John X, brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, beloved monastics, honored guests, and delegates to this 52nd Archdiocesan Convention:

I greet you with great joy as we gather together as one unified Archdiocese of the Church of Antioch to do the work of the Lord. Our joy is increased a hundred fold by the presence of our Father in Christ, His Beatitude Patriarch John X who is presiding over this Convention. We welcome him with love and prayers for the great burden which he carries to be the father of all of his spiritual children throughout the vast expanse of the world where we find the Church of Antioch. We bear in mind that His Beatitude has spiritual children around the world, from the Middle East to Europe, from North America to Central and South America, and from Australia and New Zealand to the Philippines. Wherever he is present, he is ever mindful of the needs of his spiritual children everywhere, and he never ceases to search for ways to bring comfort to them. May our gracious and loving Lord bless him and his ministry to all of us.

The Address of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch to the General Assembly

The Address of His Beatitude Patriarch John X to the General Assembly of the 52nd Archdiocesan Convention
July 23, 2015

Listen to His Beatitude's speech on Ancient Faith Radio

Your Eminence, Your Excellences, Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ:

I am so happy to be among you. And I take the opportunity to greet all of you expressing the love of the one and unique Antiochian Church. Such a church extends their wings over the sea drawing an eternal image of its testimony to Jesus Christ in all the world.

Syria Update from the 2015 Boston Antiochian General Assembly

A video highlighting the situation of the Church in Syria which was presented at this morning's General Assembly:

Historic Boston Convention is in Full Swing

After the opening of the 52nd Antiochian Archdiocese Convention on Monday, July 22 in Boston, MA, a full day of events on Tuesday found His Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph addressing a variety of archdiocesan groups. (View the gallery by Antiochpatriarchate.org)

At 11:30 a.m., following the 9 a.m. Divine Liturgy, the two held a special session for clergy. Patriarch John spoke of the meaning of the priesthood, and also stressed that the Antiochian Church is working hard within extremely difficult circumstances, to bring peaceful solutions and dialogue to the troubled Middle East.

Patriarch John X Visits Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

On Monday morning, July 20, 2015, His Beatitude Patriarch John X visited Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. His visit to the beautiful campus included an extensive tour of the grounds, a service in the Holy Cross Chapel, and a luncheon. Patriarch John was hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and accompanied by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and other distinguished hierarchs, clergy, and lay leaders.

During the luncheon, several seminarian scholarships were announced, in honor of the Patriarch and Metropolitan Joseph, and in memory of Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. His Beatitude was also presented with gifts, one of which was a hand painted icon of the Apostle Paul in honor of Patriarch John's brother, Metropoltian Paul of Aleppo, whose whereabouts remain unknown following his abduction two years ago.