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Patriarch John X Celebrates Divine Services at St. George Cathedral in Worcester, MA

On Saturday and Sunday, July 18-19, 2015, His Beatitude Patriarch John X celebrated Great Vespers, Orthros and Divine Liturgy at St. George Cathedral in Worcester, Massachusetts. His Beatitude was joined by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, as well as many other Antiochian bishops, clergy and faithful. Following Great Vespers on Saturday, a fundraising dinner was held to benefit the university of Balamand in Lebanon. 

Photo galleries from July 18-19:

Welcoming Patriarch John X to Worcester
Great Vespers
Fundraising Dinner for University of Balamand
Orthros, Divine Liturgy and Luncheon

Update - St. George Cathedral has shared the following videos from the Patriarchal Services this weekend:

Services with Patriarch John X to be Broadcast Live

On July 18-19, 2015, St. George Cathedral in Worcester, MA will welcome His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. Together with His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, His Beatitude will celebrate Divine Services at the Cathedral on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

If you cannot attend in person, consider tuning in to the Live Broadcast, either at www.antiochian.org/live-broadcast-july-2015 or www.acboston2015.com/live for the following scheduled services (Eastern time):

Saturday, July 18th Vespers Service • 5:00 pm
Sunday, July 19th Orthros • 8:45 am
Patriarchal Divine Liturgy • 10:00 am

Patriarch John X Arrives in North America

The Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, His Beatitude Patriarch John X, arrived in North America from Damascus, Syria on Thursday, July 16th, 2015. His Beatitude was greeted at the airport by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, along with other Antiochian clergy and faithful. In addition to visiting his spiritual children of the United States and Canada, the Patriarch's will preside over the 52nd biennial Convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The Convention will be held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts from Monday July 20 through Sunday July 26.

Following his arrival at the airport, His Beatitude visited St. John Chrysostom Chapel at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey.

View a gallery of images of Patriarch John X's arrival.

Reflections on the Becoming Truly Human Program

"Becoming Truly Human" is an eight week outreach course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese that uses the vehicle of small group discussions and hosted meals to share the love of Christ. The following two articles by a layman and priest, tell the story of how this program is changing lives.

~~For many years as a Protestant, I witnessed to others because I thought it was my duty. After all, we had been scripturally mandated by the Great Commission to do so, hadn't we? Unfortunately, try though I might, I can't remember many of the names or personal circumstances of those with whom I shared the Gospel. I mostly thought that my work was finished and the rest was up to God. (Read James Blackstock's reflection.)

~~For many years I have felt that in my parish, and in Orthodox Christian parishes in general, there is a need for an evangelism program that is more than simply posting the time of our services and asking parishioners to invite friends to the liturgy. The Divine Liturgy is definitely very powerful and full of the Grace of God. However, I think that most of our parishioners hesitate to invite others to come to an Orthodox Liturgy without laying some ground work that they often do not feel equipped to do. (Read a reflection by Fr. Michael Byars.)

Race and Ethnicity Issues Explored on Ancient Faith Today

(Chesterton, IN) During the most recent podcast in the program "Ancient Faith Today," host Kevin Allen explored Orthodox Christian teachings on racism, ethnic separatism, and racial profiling. Kevin's guest was Fr. Michael Varlamos, Orthodox priest and historian. On the show, the two discussed why it was that His Eminence Iakovos, archbishop of North and South America for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese from 1959-1996, chose to join the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the historic 1965 march on Selma, Alabama. (Listen to the full program on Ancient Faith Radio)

"Given the recent tragedy of the nine African-American Christians who were murdered during a Bible study at an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, as well as the rising of racial tensions across this country, I wanted to investigate what the Orthodox Church's positions and canonical teachings are, regarding racial and ethnic hatred," said Allen.

"One of the most public and heroic events in the history of the Orthodox Church in the United States," Allen continued, "was when His Eminence Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese joined Dr. King to march nonviolently in Selma, Alabama, potentially risking his own safety.

Response of Assembly of Bishops to Obergefell v. Hodges


July 2nd, 2015

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strongly disagrees with the United States Supreme Court decision of June 26, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court invents a constitutional right for two members of the same sex to marry, and imposes upon all States the responsibility to license and recognize such "marriages."

The Supreme Court, in the narrowest majority possible, has overstepped its purview by essentially re-defining marriage itself. It has attempted to settle a polarizing social and moral question through legislative fiat. It is immoral and unjust for our government to establish in law a "right" for two members of the same sex to wed. Such legislation harms society and especially threatens children who, where possible, deserve the loving care of both a father and a mother.

As Orthodox Christian bishops, charged by our Savior Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock, we will continue to uphold and proclaim the teaching of our Lord that marriage, from its inception, is the lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman. We call upon all Orthodox Christians in our nation to remain firm in their Orthodox faith, and to renew their deep reverence for and commitment to marriage as taught by the Church. We also call upon our nation's civic leaders to respect the law of Almighty God and uphold the deeply-rooted beliefs of millions of Americans.

Metropolitan Joseph's Letter in Support of March for Marriage

On April 25, 2015, on the National Mall in Washington D.C., people journeyed from around the U.S. for the March for Marriage. This year's March included an Orthodox gathering, sponsored by the group Crown Them With Glory. Prior to the March, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph released a letter encouraging the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese to participate. Given its timeliness, we are reposting that message below.

To our Beloved Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy and all of the Faithful of this God- Protected Archdiocese:

Blessings to you during this Holy Season of the Great Fast! On January 16th of this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear four new cases on same-sex "marriage," and "rule on the power of the states to ban same-sex "marriages" and to refuse to recognize such "marriages" performed in another state." More details on the announcement can be found at the Supreme Court's website.

Ancient Faith Integrates All Ministries in New Design

Ancient Faith Ministries (AFM) announces the re-design of ancientfaith.com, which now features the full integration of all of its divisions: Ancient Faith Radio, Ancient Faith Publishing, Ancient Faith Blogs, and Ancient Faith Films. The new site officially launched on Monday, June 15.

The new site uses a magazine format to feature four different types of content. It will also allow users to search podcasts by "groups," "themes," "authors," "freshness," and "recent episodes." The content on the site is almost fully tagged and categorized, which makes the search function much more accurate and robust. There is also a complete authors list with bios of all contributors of podcasts, books, and blogs.

"Ancientfaith.com is no longer just the home of Ancient Faith Radio; rather, it is the home of each division of Ancient Faith Ministries, combining all of our content—print, audio, video, and retail—into one seamless, integrated, and complementary package," says Ancient Faith Ministries CEO John Maddex.

Feast of the Holy, Glorious Apostles Peter and Paul + June 29

Verily, the all-solemn Feast of the two Apostles hath arrived, bringing us salvation. Wherefore, let us mystically exult, crying unto them: Rejoice, O ye who have become luminaries to those in darkness, two rays of the Sun! Rejoice, O Peter and Paul, adamant pillars of the divine doctrines, ye friends of Christ and two honored vessels! Be ye present among us in an invisible manner, and grant immaterial gifts to those who extol your feast with songs.

--Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 6

Our prayers for all of the parishes and faithful who celebrate their namesday with this Feast, the Patronal Feast of the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.

Sheet music for this Feast is available here courtesy of the Department of Sacred Music. Download "The Akathist Hymn to the Holy Apostles" here.

"Love for our Brethren": AFR Interview Introduces New Program

“Becoming Truly Human” is an eight week course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America to increase effective and relational evangelism, especially towards those who have no religion or church affiliation. The program uses the vehicle of small group discussions and shared meals to help guests to feel loved, listened to, and welcomed.

In a June 24, 2015 podcast, Ancient Faith Ministries President John Maddex interviewed Charles Ajalat, one of the program's founding committee members, about the new outreach. Charles is an attorney, the former chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and a member of the Order of St. Ignatius. As one of the founders of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) North America, Charles is a veteran of start-up efforts, and in the interview he expressed his hopes that this new venture will help people "discuss questions...and then want to go forward into a catechism class with a priest."

Metropolitan Joseph Condemns Charleston Slayings, Calls for Prayer

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America issued a statement yesterday condemning the racially-motivated shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, in historic Charleston, South Carolina. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph expressed his great sorrow and offered his prayers for the nine victims, their families, and the entire community.

"I learned of this tragedy from across the ocean in Lebanon, and am deeply saddened that, in this land of freedom and opportunity for all people, we still find such hatred and racism," noted His Eminence. "May the sacrifice of the nine victims who gathered to do nothing more than pray to the almighty God and study the scripture, inspire all of us to work to eradicate racism from our great nation."

July Liturgical Texts Available for Download

The Liturgical Texts for July, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

This year, the commemorations of two important saints fall on Sundays in July: St. Athanasius of Athos (July 5), one of the founders of monasticism on Holy Mount Athos more than a thousand years ago; and St. Paraskeva (July 26), a second-century martyr who endured many tortures going “from city to city to bring the pagans to the true Faith” (Synaxarion at Orthros).

Every year on the Sunday that falls in between July 13-19, the Orthodox Church commemorates the 630 Holy Fathers who also defended the true Faith at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, convened in Chalcedon in 451.

An Invitation to Become Truly Human

“Becoming Truly Human” is an eight week course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America to increase effective and relational evangelism.

The program was created to help Eastern Orthodox churches grow both spiritually and physically. The idea behind the course was to give local churches a tangible program which would have a positive impact on the local community. The techniques in the small group discussions help guests to feel loved, listened to, and welcomed. They come for many reasons, but they return because they are being treated as "truly human."

An Introduction to Becoming Truly Human by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
How Do We Define Success?, Editorial by His Grace Bishop John

Our lives in this modern world become so busy that we are constantly distracted from asking ourselves the fundamental questions and reflecting on the importance of their meaning in our lives.

2015 Department and Organization Convention Reports

Reports from the Departments and Organizations of the Antiochian Archdiocese prepared for the 2015 Archdiocese Convention are now available online in PDF format.

Click on each link to access a PDF file that may be viewed online, downloaded or printed.  Adobe Reader is required to view PDFs, and may be downloaded for free at get.adobe.com/reader.

June 2015 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

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

How Do We Define Success?
by His Grace Bishop John

Antimins or Antimension
by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Becoming Truly Human
by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

An Invitation to Become Truly Human

The Beauty of the Church: Its Place and Purpose
by His Grace Bishop Anthony

Apostles' Fast Begins

From the second Monday after Pentecost until the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29th, Orthodox Christians celebrate the Apostles' Fast. This year, the fast commences on Monday, June 8, 2015.

To learn more about the Orthodox approach to fasting, visit the Feasts and Fasts page of Our Discover Orthodox Christianity section.

Read "Fast of the Holy Apostles" by Archpriest Ayman Kfouf 

Akathist to Saints Peter and Paul

Read a reflection about the two saints from The Word

Annual Spring Meetings at Antiochian Village

This past weekend, May 29-31, 2015, the hierarchs and leaders of the Antiochian Archdiocese met at the Antiochian Village for their annual spring meetings. Our bishops met on Friday morning and the Archdiocese Board of Trustees met on Friday evening and Saturday morning. In addition, several other meetings took place including the Village Council and the newly formed cemetery committee.

During the bishops' meeting, our hierarchs discussed various issues relating to their respective dioceses, upcoming clergy transfers and other issues. They also heard a report from Fr. Thomas Zain and Mr. Khalil Samara, the NAC Fellowship of St. John the Divine Spiritual Advisor and President, about the proposed changes to the Fellowship and the newly formed Young Adult Ministry. The hierarchs wholeheartedly endorsed the new concept and one of the NAC officers will attend each of the Parish Life Conferences this year to explain the restructuring of the organization to the faithful of each diocese.

June Liturgical Texts Available for Download

Inside Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Potomac, MDInside Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Potomac, MDThe Liturgical Texts for June, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

The season of the Pentecostarion that began with Great and All-Holy Pascha concludes this year on June 7 with the Sunday of All Saints, who “shone forth throughout all the world, North and South, East and West” (Synaxarion of Orthros). In imitation of the Apostles who received “tongues of fire” on Pentecost to preach the Gospel in all corners of the globe, Orthodox Christians realize their calling on this day to do the same and become the holy ones of Jesus Christ. That is why, on the following day (June 8), they undertake the Apostles Fast, in order to spiritually prepare themselves for this witness.

The Great Feast of Pentecost

The spring of the Spirit hath come to those on earth, dividing noetically into fire-bearing rivers, moistening the Apostles and illuminating them. The fire hath become to them a dewy cloud, lighting, and raining flames upon them, from whom we received grace by the fire and the water. Verily the fire of the Comforter hath come and lighted the world.
+ Orthros of the Feast  

Visit Ancient Faith Radio's Pentecost section, and the festal page of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

Read Fr. Ayman Kfouf's reflection (PDF) on the significance of the Pentecost icon.

Read Fr. Stephen Freeman's Pentecost reflections
 Pentecost and Creation
 The Fire of Pentecost in Orthodoxy

Children will enjoy listening to Chrissi Hart read from a Conciliar children's book about the Feast.

The Legacy of Saint Raphael

Procession with the relics of St. RaphaelProcession with the relics of St. RaphaelOn May 29, 2015, the Antiochian Archdiocese marks the fifteenth anniversary of the glorification of our beloved St. Raphael of Brooklyn. This article by Rosemary Shumski of the Department of Christian Education, was first published in the September 2000 issue of The Word magazine.

View photos of the glorification day

On Sunday, May 29, 2000, my family and I had the privilege of attending the glorification of Bishop Raphael at St. Tikhon's Monastery. Although we have lived in another part of the state for many years, my husband and I were born and raised in northeastern Pennsylvania. In the past, we had driven by St. Tikhon's many times, but had never actually visited.