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January 2015 Edition of The Word Now Available

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

The Speech of His Beatitude Patriarch John X at the Enthronement of His Eminence Joseph (Zehlaoui)

The Address of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

All Power Belongs to God
by His Grace Bishop John

The Cost of Freedom
by His Grace Bishop John

Personhood and an Aging Mind and Body
by Peter A. Kavanaugh

Is Orthodox Christianity Conservative or Liberal?
by Fr. Ignatius Valentine

...and more!

St. Basil the Great & The Circumcision of the Lord + January 1

In all the earth that received thy sayings, thy melody did resound, O righteous father, through which thou didst go about and proclaim, as worthy of God, the nature of creatures, cultivating the character of mankind, O thou of kingly Priesthood, Basil. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.

-Apolytikion of St. Basil, Tone 1

When the Savior condescended for the sake of mankind, He was willing to be wrapped in swaddling clothes, and He Who was eight days old on the side of His Mother, and eternal on the side of His Father did not disdain the circumcision of the flesh. Wherefore, let us cry to Him, O believers, Thou art our God; have mercy upon us.

-Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 8

Many years to His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America on his name's day!

Read Fr. Thomas Hopko's reflection on today's commemorations.

The Tradition of the Vasilopita

Read "Message for the New Year" by Fr. George Shalhoub

Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity

Today is born of the Virgin Him Who holdest all creation in the hollow of His hand.
He Whose essence is untouchable is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a babe.
The God Who from of old established the heavens lieth in a manger.
He Who showered the people with manna in the wilderness feedeth on milk from the breasts.
And the bridegroom of the Church calleth the Magi, and the Son of the Virgin accepteth gifts from them.
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.
Show us also Thy divine Theophany!

2014 Nativity Pastoral Message of His Eminence Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

“Come, O God-inspired faithful, arise and behold the descent of God from on high! He manifests Himself to us in Bethlehem. Let us cleanse our minds and offer Him a life of virtue instead of myrrh. Let us prepare with faith to celebrate His Nativity, storing up spiritual treasure and crying out: Glory in the highest to God in Trinity! His good pleasure is now revealed to men. In his love for mankind He sets Adam free from the ancestral curse”. (Idiomelon for the Sixth Hour of the Nativity)

We greet you with joy as we draw near to the glorious feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ!

The beautiful hymn above embodies the true spirit of Christmas as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. God comes down to us from on high, and chooses to be born as a babe in the most humble of settings, the cave in Bethlehem. We strive to respond to this outpouring of love from God by cleansing our minds from all carnal thoughts and passions. Whereas the Kings of the East offered Him myrrh, our appropriate offering is a life of virtue, free from all of the sinfulness that would separate us from our God.

2014 Nativity Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

By the mercy of God

Patriarch John X, The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

To my brother pastors of the Antiochian Holy Church, and my children throughout the Holy See

"Heaven and Earth are made one today, for Christ is born. Today God is come upon the earth, and man is gone up into the Heavens. Today He Who by nature is invisible, for man's sake is seen in the flesh. For this cause, let us also give glory and cry out to Him: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, which Thy coming hath bestowed upon us; O our Savior, glory be to Thee."

This is what our church chants on this glorious day, the day of the Creator's presence in the flesh: the Nativity of Jesus Christ. 

His presence glows with peace. O Christ, how much we need Thy peaceful presence on earth, from which Thy glad tidings have gone forth unto the whole universe! O Treasure of Mercy, O Sun of Righteousness, how greatly do we need Thy presence, in a land which has grown weary of the drums of war, of dismemberment, and of abduction! The land that welcomed the apostles two thousand years ago lies wounded and hemorrhages!

Historic Boston Convention: "Something for Everyone"

North American Chair of the Order of St. Ignatius and Boston attorney, Mary Winstanley-O'Connor, will have an eventful year in 2015. Along with co-chair Raymond Sayeg, she is serving as co-chair of the committee responsible for the 52nd Antiochian Archdiocese Convention, which will be hosted by her home parish, St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA with The Very Rev. Antony Hughes. Antiochian.org asked her about the plans for the Archdiocese's "family reunion," which will be held in history-rich Boston, and will be led by Metropolitan Joseph for the first time.

Tell us about your hometown of Boston, and what conference-goers can look forward to this summer?

Boston is the cradle of democracy, rich in the history of the founding of our country, and home of the site of the Boston Tea Party. People are able to walk the Freedom Trail, visit the Old North Church from which the lanterns were hung to warn the troops as to whether the British were coming by land or by sea, and to visit the Paul Revere House.

St. Ignatius of Antioch + December 20

Like a living monument and an animate image, thy yearly feast is come, O God-bearing Ignatius, proclaiming thy mystic teachings and thy heroic exploits, thy resistance for the Faith even unto blood, and those blessed and celebrated words of thine, which said: I am the wheat of God, and in the teeth of beasts shall I be ground up. Wherefore, as an imitator of the Passion of Christ, intercede that our souls be saved.

-Orthros of the Feast, Tone 1

Read more about St. Ignatius the God-Bearer

Learn about the Order of St. Ignatius

December is Order of St. Ignatius Month

Resources for the Nativity Season

Fr. Andrew Damick presents a study of the letters of this second century martyr and the third bishop of Antioch, St. Ignatius, in the podcast, Voice From Antioch: Martyrdom.

Patriarch John Concludes North American Visit with Maryland Patriarchal Liturgy

Metropolitan Tikhon (OCA) and Patriarch John XMetropolitan Tikhon (OCA) and Patriarch John XOn Sunday, December 14, 2014, the final day of his visit to the United States before flying home from Washington, D.C.'s Dulles Airport, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, alongside His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, presided over a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD

Joining them was His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America. (See the OCA's account of the joyous celebration here.) His Eminence Metropolitan Sabba and His Eminence Metropolitan Vasileios also concelebrated at the Liturgy.

Prior to Sunday's Liturgy, the parish of Ss. Peter & Paul hosted Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph for several events. A concert of Orthodox liturgical Christmas music on Friday, December 12, featured selections from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vespers, and Byzantine Nativity selections sung by Archmandrite Elias Bitar, George Theodoritis, and Raseem El Massih. On Saturday night, Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph presided over Great Vespers, and then attended a banquet held in their honor.

Photography from Patriarchal Visit and Enthronement

Photo by Rami DahdalPhoto by Rami DahdalAntiochian.org wishes to extend heartfelt thanks and compliments to the photographers who so beautifully captured the recent events surrounding the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X and the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. Photographers Haitham Fakhouri, Rami Dahdal and Luke Bullock provided a multitude of beautiful images, a treasury by which the Antiochian Archdiocese will long remember these historic services, meetings and celebrations. 

To see more photographs, please visit our complete set of image galleries from the 2014 Patriarchal Visit and Enthronement.

A collection of our favorite images from the week is also available.

OCN Video Interviews of Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph

His Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph were interviewed by Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network at Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ, on Friday, December 5, on the eve of Metropolitan Joseph's Enthronement as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America.

Watch the informative interviews, each about 20 minutes in length, below:

His Beatitude Visits the United Nations, Holds Press Conference

On December 10, during his final day in the New York area, His Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, visited the United Nations and held meetings with a variety of officials. (Watch press conference here.) His first meeting was with the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ian Eliasson. During that meeting, as well as the other meetings, His Beatitude stressed that the only solution to the crisis in Syria is one of negotiations and peace, not of bombs and war, saying “The Syrian people ask for peace and welfare for themselves and for everyone on earth.” He continued by saying that “as a Christian leader, I can also speak on behalf of the Islamic leaders in Syria in that we all reject extremism. In Greater Syria we have been co-existing for hundred of years.” He also relayed in his various meetings that with regard to humanitarian relief the Orthodox Church is helping everyone, regardless of sect or religion. He stressed that, as Christians, we do not want to be considered a minority that needs special protection, but that the Christians are all part of the fabric of the society and are equal citizens in every respect.

Antiochian Leaders Meet Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

On Tuesday, December 9, the North American visit of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, continued as he and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph led an Archdiocese group to a meeting, prayers, and reception with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at their New York headquarters.

View a photo gallery of the day's meetings.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Release: New Head of Antiochian Church in America Enthroned; Antiochian Patriarch to Meet with Officials on Issues in Syria

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2014

The second largest Orthodox Christian Church in North America has a new leader, enthroned by the head of one of the oldest churches on earth.

On  Sat. Dec. 6, the Patriarch of Antioch and All of the East, Patriarch John X of Damascus, Syria, enthroned Metropolitan Joseph as new head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in North America at that Church’s national St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.

Metropolitan Joseph was selected by the Holy Synod of Antioch on July 3 to succeed Metropolitan Philip who died March 19 and headed the Antiochian Church in North America for over 48 years. Metropolitan Joseph was formerly the Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.

He now heads the entire Antiochian Orthodox Church in America, with nine bishops, over 400 clergy, 266 parishes and missions, and about 100,000 faithful throughout the United States and Canada. Over the last 40 years, the Antiochian church has received a sizable number of converts to Orthodoxy in the Americas.

The Speech of His Eminence Joseph at His Enthronement as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

Today we commemorate our great father among the saints, Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra, the patron of this holy Cathedral. How greatly loved he is throughout the Christian world! He is even honored in popular culture, a fact well known to you all. Let us focus for a moment on the Troparion for St. Nicholas:

Thy works of justice did reveal Thee
to Thy community as a canon of faith,
the likeness of humility
and the teacher of abstinence.

O, Thou Father and great Bishop Nicholas.
Wherefore by humility
thou didst achieve exaltation,
and by Thy meekness wealth,

Intercede therefore,
intercede with Christ
that He will save our souls.

The Speech of His Beatitude Patriarch John X at the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph,

Brother hierarchs and beloved clergy,

Your Excellencies, and beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,

I address you with the peace of Christ. I address you with the word of the Word who lived among us. "My peace I leave to you, my peace I give to you" (John 14:27). The enthronement of a bishop in the church is the enthronement of peace and love in her midst. Now, the Church expresses her full essence within a community governed with love. O Sayedna, Joseph, in the name of all your brothers in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, I address you personally:

Here, we stand now before the throne of the church. This throne will be honored with your love, covered with your wisdom and ardent with your apostolic Antiochian zeal. Bless this throne, be blessed with this throne through your sacrificial ministry and bless the church entrusted to your paternal care.

Patriarchal Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Sunday, December 7

On Sunday, December 7, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, broadcast live around the world by Noursat television.

View a Photo Gallery of the Patriarchal Liturgy

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Axios! Metropolitan Joseph is Enthroned by Patriarch John X

On Saturday, December 6, 2014, the Feast of St. Nicholas, His Eminence Joseph, Metropolitan of New York and All North America, was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, by His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. May God grant him many, many years!

View a photo gallery of the evening Enthronement.

Listen to audio recordings of the Enthronement remarks of Metropolitan Joseph and Patriarch John X, via Ancient Faith Radio.

View a photo gallery of the morning Divine Liturgy commemorating St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.

View a photo gallery of the evening's Gala Enthronement Banquet.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Watch Enthronement Weekend Services

Update Sunday Dec. 7:

Noursat's global live broadcast of the Saturday Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, and the Sunday Divine Liturgy led by His Beatitude Patriarch John X, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, has now concluded. Recorded video will be made available online as soon as possible in the coming days.

Antiochian Leaders Interviewed

The morning of Friday, December 5, brought media to Archdiocese headquarters for interviews, including John Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio and Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network.

Listen here to an extensive hour-long audio interview by Ancient Faith Radio of Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph, addressing a wide range of subjects including Syria, the Assembly of Bishops, Evangelism, and the future vision for the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Hierarchical Dinner at Archdiocese Headquarters

The North American visit of Patriarch John X continued on the evening of Thursday, December 4, as Metropolitan Joseph hosted a special dinner at Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

View a photo gallery of the evening hereSee our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.