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MEMORY ETERNAL! HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN PHILIP

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, with great sadness, announces the passing unto life eternal of His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America. May his memory be eternal! Details are forthcoming. Read a biography of Metropolitan Philip here. See all information on His Eminence here.

 

OCN Launches "This Week in Orthodoxy"

In response to the demand for Orthodox global news, the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) has launched a weekly news program covering Orthodox events worldwide. This Week in Orthodoxy is unique because it provides coverage of events around the Orthodox world from a single location. It is also OCN's first regularly scheduled video program.

Each program is a 5-7 minute piece filmed in the OCN studio in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. New episodes are posted each Friday evening, and feature 3-5 news stories from all parts of the globe. The show also includes announcements of upcoming news and events, as well as OCN updates.

Producer Seraphim Danckaert is a graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary currently finishing his PhD in Theology under a world-renowned Orthodox theologian Fr. Andrew Louth. Mr. Danckaert brings with him several years of experience working as a journalist and editor, which have provided him with both the necessary theological background as well as connections to key Orthodox thinkers from all jurisdictions.

Watch the latest episode of This Week in Orthodoxy

Please Pray for the Recovery of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip

While in Florida and undergoing tests in the hospital, Metropolitan Philip suffered a minor heart attack on Sunday. He is in an encouraging situation in ICU.

A prayer service for His Eminence will be held this Monday afternoon at the Archdiocese Headquarters. We ask all of you to hold prayer services for his speedy recovery.

Update Tuesday Mar 11: Thanks to your collective and fervent prayers, Metropolitan Philip's status has improved. He is extubated (i.e. the doctors removed the tube from his mouth) and has conversed with his relatives and friends around him. He also conversed with His Beatitude Patriarch John X on the phone.

Please continue to pray for his speedy recovery.

Rejoicing at Release of Captive Nuns

Photo: bbc.comPhoto: bbc.comOn the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 9, 2014, multiple media outlets including a leading newspaper in Lebanon, The Daily Star, reported that the thirteen nuns held in captivity by Syrian rebels for over three months were freed late in the day, as a result of Lebanese and Qatari mediation. Officers from Lebanon's General Security received the nuns on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Arsal. 

Parishioners and clergy at the Archdiocese's mother cathedral, St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, received the joyous news during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in which Bishop Nicholas was presiding. "We learned of the release just prior to commencing Holy Communion, and began ringing the bells of the Cathedral loudly, chanting 'O Lord, save Thy people' and 'To Thee the Champion Leader,'" says Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar-General of the Antiochian Archdiocese. An English translation of a statement from His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch, is being prepared by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East

Lenten Encyclical of Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East

The Great Lent: When Mercy Dries Up, Fasting Suffers Drought

By God's mercy John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Brethren, Pastors of the Holy Church of Antioch;

Beloved children in all dioceses in this apostolic see

Brethren and dearest spiritual children, whose strength and anticipation in God, strengthen ours;

Entering this redemptive period which leads us to the Cross (of Christ) and the dawn of His and thus our resurrection, these days bring to us the anticipation to Jesus and His divine consolation for His beloved humans; for whom He descended from His highest, incarnated in the Virgin, submitting Himself to the human law, willingly walking the path of the Cross, in order to rise from the dead, becoming the first fruit for our resurrection from our earthly misery and tribulation.

Jesus chose the path of the Cross, and drank from the chalice of death to simply tell us that the tribulation of our times will not overshadow our hope for light, and that hardship cannot eclipse the brightness of resurrection.

Antiochian Women's Month Spotlights Role Models

The month of March is designated as Antiochian Women’s Month by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, and is a time when the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America encourage their sisters in Christ to minister in their parishes and their communities. With this in mind, Khouria Suzanne Murphy, Religious Coordinator for the National Board of the Antiochian Women, wrote this reflection about the women saints of the Church.

When I was a little girl, I loved to read stories about brave knights and lovely princesses. By the time I was a mother, societal sensibilities had broadened so that our children not only read about brave knights, but also brave princesses. The Walt Disney company did a good job of coming up with female characters that were both feminine and brave – and they did this without diminishing the virtues of the male heroes. Our Orthodox saints, however, are not fairy-tale heroes. These brave men and women (and children) faced very real horrors – torture, enslavement, and death – with steadfast resolve. 

March 2014 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

Patriarch John X of Antioch and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow Issue Appeal on Syria, pg. 5

Role Models for Women in Antiochian Women's Month, pg. 6
by Kh. Suzanne Murphy

Glory to God for the Antiochian Women, pg. 8
by Kh. Dannie Moore

Some Thoughts Concerning the Dispute over Qatar, pg. 10
by Archpriest John W. Morris

A Missionary's Journey into Orthodoxy in Turkana, pg. 12
by Karen Morrison

Worship: What's the Point, pg. 20
by Chris Humphrey

Food, Sex, and Sports: Idols or Pathways to Salvation?, pg. 23
by Fr. Philip LeMasters

...and more!

Repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn

Several themes emerge as the story of St. Raphael's life unfolds. The first is the mysterious way in which God led him from his native homeland to the shores of the American continent. The second is his submissive attitude to the providence of God. And the third is his love for the people of God. Though during his lifetime he was neither a wonder-worker nor a clairvoyant elder, St. Raphael embraced a life of total abandonment of self for the service of God and his fellow man: a life of true spiritual asceticism.

(from The Life of Our Father among the Saints Raphael Hawaweeny)

Our Father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of  Brooklyn, was the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil. Traveling throughout the continent in the first years of the 20th century, he founded thirty parishes in North America. His feast day is celebrated in the Antiochian Archdiocese on the first Saturday of November. St. Raphael, a man of angelic name and apostolic fervor, was influenced by many cultures. He was born and raised in the Middle East, educated by Greeks at Halki and by Russians at Kiev, and he spent the last nineteen years of his life as a missionary in North America.

In 2015, the Antiochian Archdiocese will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of St. Raphael. The Archdiocese's Creative Festivals will feature the theme, "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America." 

Metropolitan Philip Inaugurates 2014 Food for Hungry People Campaign

Great Lent 2014

Beloved in the Lord:

Greetings and blessings to you as we enter this most holy season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

It is with the greatest joy that I write to you today to inaugurate the 2014 Food for Hungry People campaign. This year marks the 40th anniversary of this charitable drive. When reflecting on the past 40 years, I call to mind the countless charitable organizations and individuals that we have helped because of this fund. Through the efforts of our dedicated and long-standing chairlady, Miss Robin Nicholas, and by your generosity on the parish level, this drive has grown into a strong witness of our Holy Orthodox faith on this continent and throughout the world.

This year holds special significance as we continue to raise funds through various means to help those affected by the war in Syria. Through your contributions to FFHP over the years, we have helped many of the orphanages and other charitable organizations within Syria and throughout our Patriarchate and the entire the Middle East, in addition to our domestic charitable contributions. As we continue to witness the horrors of the war in Syria, please make a special effort this year to use FFHP to raise funds and awareness to the tragedy there so we can help those in need even more.

We urge you, during this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, to be very generous in your contribution to this campaign. As we practice the virtues which cleanse our souls, let us not forget or refrain from what St. John Chrysostom calls the “greatest of the virtues," giving to the poor. As important as prayer and fasting are, they are of no avail to us if we fail to give to those in need.

Great Lent Resources and Readings Offered

As the faithful prepare to celebrate the high point of the Church year—Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha—the Archdiocese highlights our section of resources and reading for the season. Great Lent Resources & Readings is a topical library of links and reflections that presents the meaning and practice of the forty days of prayer and worship of Lent, for both newcomers to the Orthodox Christian Faith as well as for those who are rediscovering the spiritual benefits of the Lenten journey.

Visitors to Great Lent Resources & Readings will find three subsections:

We are grateful to all the various sources who have allowed us to repurpose their material, and we encourage those maintaining Orthodox websites of their own to link to this section.

"For the Sake of Others:" Interview with Katrina Bitar

Katrina Bitar is the North America Program Director for YES, or Youth Equipped to Serve. A ministry of FOCUS North America, YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in urban environments across the U.S. and Canada. A lifetime member of the Antiochian Archdiocese, Katrina began working with youth during her college years and eventually was tapped to head the YES program after graduating from St. Vladimir's Seminary in 2009. A look at her busy calendar for the first half of 2014 reveals that she will be involved with outreach efforts in Philadelphia, Montreal, Oklahoma City, Grand Rapids, Houston, Austin, and St. Louis. Antiochian.org asked her to introduce the work of YES and explain the impact it is having on the Church's youth.

What is your background, and how did you first get involved with YES?

I was born in Burbank, California, but spent most of my life in Little Falls, NJ. I discovered my youth ministry gifts while serving at the Antiochian Village as a counselor during my college years. In 2001, I took a job as a youth director for a parish in Phoenix, AZ that began my full-time youth ministry work. It was through my work as a parish youth director that I was introduced to the YES Program.

February 2014 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

Do We Need to Rethink the Parish Council?, pg. 3
by His Grace Bishop John Abdalah

Christ and the Children, pg. 5
by Fr. Joseph Antypas

Metropolitan Philip's Letter Regarding the Nuns of St. Thekla Convent, pg. 8

New England Parish Council Seminar, pg. 10

Mother Macrina Addresses Women's Retreat, pg. 14
by Dianne Julianna Storheim-Hill

St. Athanasios and His Relevance Today, pg. 17
by Fr. Athanasios Papagiannis

...and more!

"Writing Icons of the Kingdom" is Youth Conference Theme

The 12th Annual Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Workers Conference took place at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA from January 23-25, 2014. Over 80 youth workers from across the United States and Canada gathered together for this year's conference, sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Camps Association and youth departments from different jurisdictions. This year's conference was co-hosted by the Youth and Camping Ministries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. The theme of the Conference was "Writing Icons of the Kingdom: Understanding our Youth as Icons we are Helping to Write."

Ruling Hierarch of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese His Grace Bishop Gregory of Nyssa was the keynote speaker. In his first address, Bishop Gregory spoke about the unity required of us in youth ministry in order to effectively "write" icons for the kingdom. For his second address His Grace stepped aside for a very special presenter, Protopresbyter Mark Leasure, his priest from St. George Church in Taylor, PA, who brought the myrrh-streaming icons of the Mother of God that reside in his parish.

Common Statement by Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

On January 30, 2014, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East concluded his five-day visit to Russia, and the following Common Statement with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was released (translation provided by the Russian Orthodox Church):

At the invitation of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East John X paid his official visit to the Russian Orthodox Church from January 25 to 30, 2014. The Patriarchate of Antioch is going now through difficult times because of the violence committed in its homeland and its tragic consequences of the political crisis for its people. This visit has given the two sister Churches the opportunity to discuss several disturbing issues affecting their witness and ministry. The two Churches feel the need to state the following:

1. The important mission of a Church in a society is to bear witness in word and deed to God's love for each person, regardless of his or her religious belief or national identity. Following the words of Christ "Blessed are peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt. 5:9), we proclaim peace and respect for the human dignity and rights. Every human being is an object of Divine Compassion; it is because of God's love that the Incarnation took place and that the Holy Spirit continues to work in our midst. This basic principle inspires the two sister Churches in their actions, service and cooperation.

Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs + January 30

Let all who love their words come together and honor with hymns the three luminaries of the light-creating Trinity: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and renowned John of golden speech, who have enlightened the world with the rays of their divine doctrines, and are mellifluous rivers of wisdom who have watered all creation with streams of divine knowledge; they ever intercede with the Trinity for us.

-Troparion, Tone 1

Thou hast taken the sacred and divinely inspired heralds, the crown of Thy teachers, O Lord, for the enjoyment of Thy blessings and for repose. For Thou hast accepted their sufferings and labors above every burnt offering, O Thou Who alone dost glorify Thy Saints.

-Kontakion, Tone 2

His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East Visits His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

Meetings are underway in Russia between His Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. In addition to the general report below, a joint statement has been issued appealing for peace in Syria.

The Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church reports:

On 25 January 2014, at the Patriarchal and Synodal Residence in St Daniel's Monastery, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, who is currently visiting the Russian Orthodox Church.

The delegation accompanying His Beatitude Patriarch John X on his visit includes Metropolitan Basilyos of Akkar; Metropolitan Ephrem of Tripoli; Archbishop Niphon of Filippopolis, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; archimandrite Philip (Yazegi); archimandrite Parthenius (Allati); archdeacon Gerasimus (Kabbas); and a number of lay people.

Bishop John Participates in March for Life

Orthodox Christians from around the U.S. and Canada traveled to Washington D.C. on January 22, 2014 for the 41st March for Life, marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in all fifty states. His Grace Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England represented His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and the Antiochian Archdiocese at the March. After the peaceful march and rally, he wrote:

Only our fingers and toes were chilled; yet our hearts were warmed by the fervor of the crowds, which were not frightened away by the extreme cold and snow. It was an honor to stand and march for life with Orthodox hierarchs including Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Archbishop Nathaniel, and Bishops Michael, Melchisedek, and Mark, and Bishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. It was also a joy to walk with the banners and students from St. Vladimir's and St. Tikhon's Seminaries, and many Orthodox faithful who chanted hymns to the Theotokos as we marched.

Help the Orphans of War in Syria

from the January 2014 edition of The Word:

Syria! The name itself inspires awe and wonder. Archaeologists have proven that Syria was the cradle of civilization, and where agriculture and trade routes appeared for the first time. Its capital – Damascus – is widely considered to be the world's oldest city. Antioch was also part of early Syria and was invaded by the Roman armies in 64 B.C., making it the third-largest city in the Roman empire. Syria continued to grow and become a major center of trade and industry in the ancient world.

After the ministry, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ, it was in Syria where a young man named Saul (who later took the name Paul) was converted on his way to Damascus. It was in Antioch where St. Paul set off on many of his journeys to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Antioch, "the disciples were first called Christians" (Acts 11:26).

Register Today for the Mid-Winter Meetings

Holiday Inn Express, Scottsdale, AZHoliday Inn Express, Scottsdale, AZWith the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, the 2014 Mid-Winter Meetings will be hosted by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, and will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 7-9, 2014. The Archdiocese and Diocese officers of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, the Fellowship of St. John Divine, and Teen SOYO will gather to conduct the business of our Archdiocese organizations. Please contact each individual organization's president for specific questions.

Travel, lodging, and registration information:

Hotel Reservations

  • Group rate of $129.00/night at the Holiday Inn Express Scottsdale North
  • Conveniently located just 4 miles (10 minute drive) from the church

Village Hosts Retreat: "The Marital Safe Haven"

Orthodox Marriage Enrichment Retreat at Antiochian Village

February 14-17, 2014

"The Marital Safe Haven: Making Marriage a Thriving Place of Spiritual Growth Insight & Healing"

With Fr. Demetrios Makoul, dean of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Cathedral of St. George in Pittsburgh and licensed professional counselor

  • Enjoy time with each other during this special weekend designed to give healthy married couples assistance in becoming "one"
  • Attend to your marriage away from the distractions and "busy-ness" of daily life