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2017 Creative Festivals Material Now Available

The Department of Christian Education has published resources for the 2017 Creative Festivals. Creative Festival categories include Art, Creative Writing, Poetry, Photography and Media.

Several items are available for download to assist you as you introduce the theme, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." (Mark 11:17)

Lesson Plans: The plans are designed for one (or two) 40-minute classes, and written at four levels: Preschool and Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, 4-6, Middle School and High School. More than enough material is offered, choose what will work for your class.

Antiochian Women Announce 2017 Project Theme

The Antiochian Women are excited to announce the theme of our 2017 Project:
“Strengthening the Ministries of our Church." 
This theme is a distillation of the sweeping vision which Metropolitan Joseph readily shared with us at the summer meetings in July, 2016. His Eminence spoke with farsighted boldness and passion about the many challenges and opportunities which lay before our God-protected Archdiocese. His vision is of a vigorous Church actively proclaiming our faith in Jesus Christ and lovingly ministering to the broken world around us. This is already a description of the ministries in many of our parishes, but to keep moving forward while broadening our active ministries, we must reinforce and strengthen our foundations.

(Note to all parishes: Please send the money you collect for the 2017 Project to your Antiochian Women diocesan treasurer by June 1, 2017. See “Additional Directions” file for your diocesan treasurer’s contact information. Thank you.)

Antiochian Archdiocese Mourns Mr. Khalid Jabara

The Antiochian Archdiocese continues to mourn the murder of Mr. Khalid Jabara, a faithful parishioner of St. Antony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma. News coverage of his passing has been extensive. In his letter to the Jabara family, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph said: “We live in a material world that is encouraged to commit evil all the time. ‘Sin no more!’ are the words of Christ’s warning that should be the principle, founding motto, of our human existence.”

Sayidna Joseph has asked the clergy and laity to remember Mr. Jabara in their prayers for the departed for his eternal life, and to remember his loved ones in their prayers for the living, especially within the first 40 days of his falling asleep in the Lord. May God receive Mr. Jabara in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Department of Christian Education to Host Fall Conferences

Where might you find teacher training, support for your church school director, and continuing education on topics of Orthodox interest? At the Regional Pan-Orthodox Education Conferences! Beginning in September, 2016, the Department of Christian Education will host several pan-Orthodox conferences. Each conference will feature a guest presenter, in addition to church school training, all in an enjoyable atmosphere of fellowship and sharing.

The schedule is as follows:

  1. Ottawa, ON, Friday & Saturday, September 23 & 24 – Matushka Jennifer Mosher's topic will be "Christian Education: Forming the Whole Person." Contact: Leslie Atherholt, aodce_events@outlook.com
  2. Brier, WA, Saturday, October 8 – Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick will discuss "Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy." Contact: Anne Beach, anne.slp.11@gmail.com
  3. York, PA, Friday & Saturday, October 14 & 15 – Melissa Tsongranis will speak on "Living the Faith in an Orthodox Home." Contact: Rebekah Yergo, orthodoxyorkedu@outlookcom.

The Beheading of St. John the Baptist + August 29

The memory of the righteous is celebrated with songs of praise, but the Lord’s testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner. Thou wast shown indeed to be the most honorable of the prophets, for in the waters thou didst baptize Him Who had been proclaimed. After suffering with joy in behalf of the truth, thou didst proclaim even to those in Hades the God Who appeared in the flesh, Who takest away the sin of the world, and granteth us the Great Mercy.

—Troparion of the Feast, Tone 2

Listen as Fr. Thomas Hopko discusses the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptizer, John on Ancient Faith Radio: Part 1, Part 2

Read the Patriarchate of Antioch's reflection, Beheading of the Holy and Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

Orthodox Young Professionals Hold Successful Conference with Metropolitan Joseph in New Orleans

View the photos on Facebook

The challenges and the stresses of the workplace seem nonstop, but three inspiring speakers reminded the 188 participants in the Orthodox Young Professionals Conference that God does not abandon them there. Rather, He seeks to use them for His glory, to let their light “shine before men” (Matt. 5:16).

Fulfilling a promise he made two years ago at the last OYPC in San Diego, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided over and interacted with the young adults at the conference sponsored by the Antiochian Archdiocese’s Young Adult Ministry from August 18-21, 2016, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He congratulated them for “dwelling in unity” (Psalm 133:1) to meet the challenges of managing their lives, caring for their families and succeeding in their jobs. But Sayidna Joseph stressed that they will be empty and unfulfilled without Jesus Christ and His holy Church at the center of all aspects of their lives.

"A Flood of Musical Splendor": 2016 Sacred Music Institute

By Paul Jabara, Chairman of the Department of Sacred Music, and Emily Lowe, Coordinator of SMI

View the photo gallery

Last year, the Sacred Music Institute celebrated its thirtieth anniversary, and it was truly a banner year. For three decades, the Department of Sacred Music has offered this annual retreat, giving singers, conductors and chanters the opportunity to develop their God-given gifts. Sessions included several informative and entertaining retrospectives; we introduced the brilliant Nazo Zakkak as our new composer in residence, and we held a chanted monastic-style vigil that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. We offered courses on choral conducting and vocal techniques, on Byzantine chant and notation in addition to our numerous rehearsals and presentations. The crowning glory of the weekend was a visit and address by our Father and Metropolitan Joseph, who expressed the utmost encouragement for the work of our department.

Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos + August 15

Shudder, O ye heavens! and, O earth, give ear unto these words: God descended once before for our sake; He descends again today for His Mother.
--from The Lamentations at the Bier of the Mother of God, Tone 5

O thou most Holy Virgin, who knew not wedlock, the heavens rejoice in thy glorious falling asleep, the hosts of angels are glad, and the whole earth crieth out in joy, singing to thee the funeral song, O Mother of the Lord of all, thou who hast delivered human kind from its ancestral condemnation.
--Orthros of the Feast, Tone 4

The Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos: an introduction by Archpriest Ayman Kfouf
Teachings and traditions for the Feast of the Dormition
St. John of Damascus on the Dormition
A Description of the Theotokos by St. Maximus the Confessor
Tender Love and the Dormition: Frederica Mathewes-Green on Ancient Faith Radio
Mary, Our Cause of Rejoicing, by His Grace Bishop Basil

New Leadership Appointed for Department of Missions and Evangelism

V. Rev. John D. FinleyV. Rev. John D. FinleyV. Rev. Joseph HuneycuttV. Rev. Joseph HuneycuttAugust 9, 2016 — Englewood, NJ

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has appointed V. Rev. John D. Finley as the new chairman of the Department of Missions and Evangelism, as well as V. Rev. Joseph Huneycutt as the department’s new vice chairman. Both of these appointments take effect September 1 upon the retirement of the current chairman, V. Rev. Michael Keiser.

Father John is attached to the altar of St. Athanasius Antiochian Orthodox Church in Santa Barbara, California. Ordained to the priesthood in 1997, and elevated to the dignity of archpriest in 2004, he has been an active field staff member of the Department for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America since 1996, establishing and serving many missions and parishes across the United States and Canada.

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

Hotel Registration Opens for the 2017 Archdiocese Convention in Miami

Christ in our midst! He is and ever shall be!
The buzz continues with great excitement as the 2017 Archdiocese Convention is less than a year away!

Hotel Registration opens today, July 28, 2016: visit the Convention website.

Pre-registration began in Boston last summer. Space is filling up fast!

Get connected and "Be an Insider!"
"Like" the Convention Facebook page: Visit Now!
"Subscribe" to the Convention YouTube channel: Visit Now!

Convention Facts:

Audio of Clergy Symposium Now Available at Ancient Faith Radio

Audio of the lectures given by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) at the July 18–22 Archdiocesan Clergy Symposium, convened by Metropolitan Joseph and hosted at Antiochian Village by the Antiochian House of Studies, may now be accessed at Ancient Faith Radio. The three lectures are titled: "Orthodoxy Theology and Western Theology,""Orthodox Psychotherapy in Relation to Modern Western Psychology," and "Biology, Bioethics, and Biotheology."

The interpreter is Anastasios Filippides, Economist (B.A. Yale University, M.A. Georgetown University). Secondary interpreter is Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA and founder and president of Mount Thabor Publishing. Metropolitan Hierotheos serves the Metropolis of Nafpaktos and Agios Vlasios in the Church of Greece. 

Orthodox Young Professionals Conference: Interview with Co-Chair Kyra Pelachik

The second Orthodox Young Professionals Conference is coming up on August 18-21, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. After its great success in San Diego in 2014, the conference, designed especially for career-bound and professional young adults, is expecting even more attendees this summer. Hosted by the newly founded Archdiocese Young Adult Ministry, the conference will offer participants the opportunity to network with other Orthodox Christians from across the country. Antiochian.org asked Co-Chair Kyra Pelachik what makes this year different than 2014, and what participants can look forward to in August.

This will be the second conference of its kind.  Why do you think the first one was so successful?

The young professionals who attended the first one were there for all the right and same reasons—to grow spiritually, meet other young professionals from the Archdiocese, and to have some fun together.

Metropolitan Joseph Hosts His Eminence Hierotheos (Vlachos)

L to R: Metropolitan Joseph, Metropolitan Hierotheos, Bishop NicholasL to R: Metropolitan Joseph, Metropolitan Hierotheos, Bishop NicholasOn July 15, 2016, Metropolitan Joseph, assisted by His Grace Bishop Nicholas, hosted a lunch at the Archdiocesan Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. The luncheon was held in honor of His Eminence Hierotheos (Vlachos), Metropolitan of Nafpakos and St. Vlasios. Metropolitan Hierotheos traveled from Greece and is the main lecturer at the Clergy Symposium at Antiochian Village from July 18-22.

Equal of the Apostles and Enlightener of the Russian Land, St. Vladimir + July 15

Icon from St. Vladimir Orthodox Church, Halifax, NSIcon from St. Vladimir Orthodox Church, Halifax, NSTroparion - Tone 4

Holy Prince Vladimir, you were like a merchant in search of fine pearls. By sending servants to Constantinople for the Orthodox Faith, you found Christ, the priceless pearl. He appointed you to be another Paul, washing away in baptism your physical and spiritual blindness. We celebrate your memory, asking you to pray for all Orthodox Christians and for us, your spiritual children.

Kontakion - Tone 8

Most glorious Vladimir, in your old age you imitated the great apostle Paul: he abandoned childish things, while you forsook the idolatry of your youth. Together with him you reached the fullness of divine wisdom: You were adorned with the purity of holy baptism. Now as you stand before Christ our Savior, pray that all Orthodox Christians may be saved.

Read about St. Vladimir's life.

Congratulations to St. Vladimir's Seminary on their patronal Feast Day!

St. Joseph of Damascus

Commemorated July 10

Come, ye faithful, let us honor the martyr of Christ, a Priest of the Church of Antioch who by the word of the Word and by his blood and the blood of his companions baptized the land of Damascus, its Church and its people. Being immersed in the light of the Gospel from his youth, he worked and taught and defended the Church of Christ and her flock. O holy Joseph of Damascus, be for us an example, defending us and interceding for us fervently before the Savior.

Troparion of St. Joseph, Tone 5

The Sanctification of Our Parish Life

by His Grace Bishop Thomas

From the very beginning of Our Lord's ministry, when he called the first disciples, Peter and Andrew, the Church has existed both as a community and within a community. In these roles, there are a variety of activities that the parish Church undertakes, both in terms of liturgical services and in charitable work and outreach, both within the parish and out in the larger community as a whole. If any of these are lacking, then the parish has not lived up to the calling of Christ. If there is liturgy without outreach, then we fail, since "faith without works is dead," but if we have outreach without liturgy, we also fail, since "man is not justified by works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ." Therefore, it is necessary for a healthy parish to effectively balance both liturgy and community outreach in order to properly work towards the salvation of each of its members. This requires careful planning and scheduling, as well as the proper delegation of tasks throughout the parish community.

Statement of the Secretariat of the Holy Synod of Antioch + June 27, 2016

From AntiochPatriarchate.org:

Balamand, 27 June 2016

At the end of the seventh extraordinary session which begun on May 25th 2016, the Holy Synod of Antioch convened on June 27, 2016 in Balamand. The Synod was presided by His Beatitude Patriarch John X, with the participation of the Bishops of the Holy See of Antioch.

The fathers congratulated their children on the occasion of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the holy, glorious and all-praised leaders of the Apostles, and the founders of the Holy See of Antioch. This See is where the disciples were called Christians first, and where its children continue to witness for the Risen Christ, especially in our beloved Antioch, and in Syria the martyr, in Lebanon the sufferer, in Iraq the injured, and in all the Gulf countries and the Archdioceses abroad, in the Americas, Australia and Europe. The Fathers recalled their brother Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi), the Archbishop of Aleppo who has been kidnapped for more than three years, amidst willful blindness by all. His Eminence Metropolitan Paul, along with his brother Metropolitan Youhanna (Ibrahim), and all those kidnapped constantly remain present in the prayers and supplications of the faithful and in the daily Church testimony. The fathers lift up their prayers for the repose of the souls of all those martyred because of being called Christian, and ask their prayers before the Divine Throne, that God may strengthen His Church and give His children the power and wisdom to faithfully witness, here and now, Christ Risen from the dead.

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.

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 12, 2017.

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