Antiochian hierarch His Grace Bishop Thomas is among a group of five bishops whose audio interviews have been posted in a special feature on the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America's website. More interviews are planned as the series unfolds over the coming months.
The Assembly site explains that the twelve-member Secretariat of the Assembly, led by His Grace Bishop Basil, initiated these conversations, "a series of audio interviews of the Assembly's fifty-three member hierarchs by Archpriest Josiah Trenham (proïstamenos of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, CA and director of Patristic Nectar Publications) for the purpose of providing a broad swath of perspectives to the Church-at-large on the significance and work of the Assembly."
Along with His Grace Bishop Thomas, the other bishops featured in this first set of MP3 interviews are: Bishop Daniel, Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Bishop Maxim, Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North America, Archbishop Nicolae, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, and Bishop Ilia, Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Please join us at the Antiochian Village from September 23-25, 2011 for the Patronal Feast of St. Thekla Convent. This is the 33rd Annual Pilgrimage at the Village and the 3rd since the founding of the monastery.
As Orthodox Christians, our lives are a type of pilgrimage, so why set time aside to attend the St. Thekla Pilgrimage? The key is in "setting aside." We invite you "to set aside all earthly cares" and to join us in refocusing and refreshing ourselves in our Orthodox life. Like St. Thekla, Protomartyr and Equal to the Apostles, together we will pray at the Divine Liturgy and services, obtain guidance and direction from the Gospels for our lives at home, and enjoy fellowship with other pilgrims.
Through the intercession of Saint Thekla, may this Pilgrimage be blessed!
Speakers and Workshops
The speakers for the weekend are His Grace, Bishop Thomas, who is our guest Hierarch and Mother Alexandra, who will offer a talk on prayer.
There will be four workshop sessions offered concurrently:
Orthodox Family Life
This session will discuss the daily Pilgrimage of Orthodox life in our homes, how faith directs us and how the love of God binds us.
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England, recently wrapped up its 12th annual Summer School session, titled "The Challenge of a Secular Age." (Read Principal David Frost's summary of the week.) The Institute has close ties with the Antiochian Deanery in the United Kingdom, and Antiochian Orthodox Christians from North America have also participated in this distance learning program. Some have even been able to travel to England to attend the summer sessions.
Dr. Michael Basham, an Antiochian member of the Institute's Board and a Parish Council member of St. Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church in Erie, CO., reflects on his participation in the IOCS. “I have been impressed by the number of Antiochian Orthodox Christians enrolled in the Institute’s various programs of study; especially the online course in Orthodox Christian Studies. We Antiochian Orthodox Christians are, for the most part, an inquisitive lot. We love to learn, to grow, and to deepen our spiritual and intellectual life. Moreover, we seek meaning and purpose in what we believe and in what we do. Although we are inquisitive, we are more than just curious. We strive to raise our intellectual awareness while deepening our spiritual growth and in doing so be able to, in the words of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, ‘. . . confront life’s problems without fear or anger.’"
Santa Barbara, CA — The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism is pleased to announce that Valerie Ann Zrake of New York City has won the first-ever Orthodox Elevator Speech Contest. In an on-line poll, Zrake's elevator speech was the favorite of voters out of 10 finalists. As a prize she wins $100 worth of Conciliar Press publications of her choice, compliments of the publishing house. Zrake is a parishioner at St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Brooklyn. Valerie won with this speech:
Orthodox Christianity is the authentic and original Christian Faith founded by Jesus Christ. As an Orthodox Christian you can experience heaven on earth through the Divine Liturgy which is mystical, spiritual, and beautiful, with it's incense, icons, and sacred music. You can transcend time and space while you meditate upon the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. It's the most pure form of Christianity – nothing artificial added. It's the real deal.
Zrake realized every Orthodox Christian should be prepared with a brief response when asked what the Orthodox Church is, and saw the contest as a good motivation to work out hers.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip writes:
August 8th, 2011
To the beloved hierarchs, clergy, esteemed members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and faithful of this Archdiocese:
Greetings to all of you in the Name of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ! As you all know, the nomination and election of three new Auxiliary Bishops for this Archdiocese took place at our recently concluded Archdiocese Convention which was held in Chicago, IL. The three priests who are now bishops-elect are:
Rt. Rev. John Abdalah - Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Worcester and New England
Rt. Rev. Anthony Michaels - Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Toledo and The Midwest
Rt. Rev. Nicholas lyad Ozone - Auxiliary Bishop for Brooklyn to assist the Metropolitan at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey
On Sunday August 7th, 2011, we spoke by telephone with His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. His Beatitude has been very busy with the consecration of the twelve new Auxiliary Bishops who will serve in various locations within the See of Antioch. He was very pleased with the nomination and election of our three new Auxiliary Bishops, and he expressed the desire that they be consecrated at one of the Patriarchal locations in either Lebanon or Syria in December of 2011. The exact date and location will be determined by His Beatitude, and communicated to us.
Praying that the Lord will continue to bless you all, I remain
Your father in Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
WHEREAS, on June 24, 2011 the State of New York Legislature, following controversial debates, passed a new law legalizing same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed.
WHEREAS, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, under the direct leadership of his Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop PHILIP (Saliba), and the Local Synod of the Archdiocese, continues to shepherd its faithful members throughout all of North America, and as such, are deeply concerned about the recent developments regarding “same sex marriage”.
WHEREAS, the Holy Orthodox Church recognizing marriage to be a fundamental institution and teaching that marriage and sexuality, which are firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, Two thousand years of church tradition, and canon law, hereby holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a women and that authentic marriage is blessed by Almighty God as a sacrament of the Church.
WHEREAS, The Holy Scripture attests that God created man and women in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27-31), that those called to do so might enjoy a conjugal union that ideally leads to procreation. While not every marriage is blessed with the birth of children, every such union exists to create of a man and a women a new reality of “one flesh”. This can only be achieved in a relationship between individuals of opposite gender. “God made them male and female...So they are no longer two but one flesh” ( Mark 10:6-8).
WHEREAS, the hierarchs, clergy and faithful of this God-protected Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America have met as the General Assembly at the 50th Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Convention;
WHEREAS, there exists today in the Middle East serious social upheaval that has greatly affected the economies creating high unemployment rates and resulting in untenable human conditions;
WHEREAS, there is great concern over the present conditions existing in certain of the Middle East states, specifically those of Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, regarding the living conditions and general welfare of its citizens;
WHEREAS, many people in the Middle East have been victimized and suffer greatly from such conditions including poverty, scarcity of food and clean water, inadequate medical care and other such conditions, all in violation of fundamental and basic human rights and dignities;
WHEREAS, the State of Israel has and continues to implement a specific policy toward Judaizing Jerusalem and usurping Arab lands and permitting the illegal establishment of settlements, which have been at the center of much conflict in the Middle East and such policies are supported by United States and Canada;
WHEREAS, the Holy City of Jerusalem is an integral part of the three major monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam;
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, July 30, at the 50th Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip announced that the Synod had elected three archimandrites of the Archdiocese for elevation to the episcopacy.
They are: the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite John Abdalah, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Worcester and New England; the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Anthony Michaels, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest; and the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Nicholas Ozone, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and assist His Eminence at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ.
Please remember these servants of our Lord in your prayers, and may God grant them many years!
The official business of the General Assembly of the 50th Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese concluded Friday, July 29. Much fruitful work was conducted during the two days of the Assembly, highlighted by the announcement Friday by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip that the Synod of the Antiochian Archdiocese will be expanding with the addition of not two (as previously announced) but three new auxiliary bishops. Metropolitan Philip declared that our Synod would be electing auxiliary bishops to serve the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest and the Diocese of Worcester and New England, with a third auxiliary bishop serving to assist His Eminence at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ.
Reports from the various departments and organizations of the Archdiocese were presented and accepted with great enthusiasm, and a number of invited guests honored the gathering with special presentations, including Ms. Myriam Shwayri of the Al-Kafaat Foundation of Lebanon and Mr. Michael Homsey of International Orthodox Christian Charities. Ten new members were elected by general proclamation to the Archdiocese Board of Trustees. Seven timely resolutions were introduced and passed, and will be made public via this website as soon as possible.
The extensive exhibit halls continued to be a popular attraction, the teens of the Archdiocese warmed the hearts of all in attendance with their comings and goings to the program of youth activities, and all benefitted from the opportunity to fellowship with old and new friends alike. Ancient Faith Radio continues to add to their collection of recordings from the Convention, available here for those who would like to listen online.
Ancient Faith Radio announces that it is attending the 50th Biennial Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocesan Convention in Chicago, Illinois, and is posting recordings of speeches, events, and gatherings.
The first post, created on Thursday morning, July 28, is titled "The 2011 Bible Bowl" and the descriptive text reads: "Young people from each Diocese participated in the 2011 Bible Bowl based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew. You will have to listen to the end to learn who the winner was!"
Thursday, July 21, proved to be a day of celebration for many reasons. In addition to being the last day of a sizzling heat wave across the Midwest, an excitement filled the air in the courtyard of St. George Church, Cicero, Host Parish of the historic 50th Archdiocese Convention beginning this Sunday, July 24th. Balloons and banners, posters and streamers, food and music, people young and old, witnessed a great announcement! Fireworks lit up the sky brightening the smiling faces as they all heard:
The Convention begins this weekend!
The Committee gathered to celebrate several years of tireless planning and a very anticipated week-long journey called the Archdiocese Convention. The full schedule is available at www.archdioceseconvention2011.org and awaits the entire Archdiocese.
When asked for a statement summarizing the Parish Life Conference season just ending, Fr. Michael Ellias, co-chair of the Dept. of Conventions and Conference Planning, said humorously, "Thank God they are over!" PLC host parishes breathe a sigh of relief when the conferences are successfully completed, and Antiochian Christians who attend know why: they are a huge undertaking, requiring years of planning and legions of volunteers. This year's lively PLC's, which as always could be described as family reunions but on a large scale, were packed with events, starting with morning services and extending beyond evening vespers. The conferences took place over two long weekends, June 15-19 and June 28-July 3.
Fr. John K. Teebagy, pastor of the Church of St. John of Damascus, host of a PLC in June, describes the Worcester and New England Conference. "This year the Church of St. John of Damascus of Dedham, MA hosted the 73rd Parish Life Conference of the Diocese of Worcester and New England at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis, MA, which is located on beautiful Cape Cod and served as the summer White House for President John F. Kennedy. For the second year in a row, the diocese was pleased and honored to welcome His Grace Bishop Thomas as our presiding hierarch.
Order of St. Ignatius Historian Judy Braun invites you to view her twenty six (and counting!) Antiochian photo galleries, dated from 2003 - 2011. In her public gallery, the albums feature Archdiocese conventions, banquets, Oratorical Festivals, Board of Trustees Luncheons, and even Metropolitan Philip's 80th birthday party.
“I love taking pictures and I love editing them!” notes Judy, for whom photography is a serious hobby. Mother, grandmother, and parishioner at St. Athanasius Church in Goleta, California, Judy often photographs weddings and parish events. Her work can also be viewed on the St. Athanasius website.
Judy plans on adding to the Antiochian Picasa page, as she attends events with camera in tow. Look for many more photos after the Archdiocese Convention, July 24-31, in Chicago.
Troparion - 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.
Congratulations to St. Vladimir's Seminary on their patronal Feast Day!
For those who plan on reserving a hotel room, limited rooms are still available online or by calling 800-266-9432.
All hotel and convention registration information is available at the convention website. The Conference Committee of St. George reminds all those planning to attend that convention registration is mandatory to attend convention events, whether they be workshops, festivals, meetings, or social events. The advance registration is encouraged in order to save valuable convention time, so visitors are urged to register online today.
Transportation reservations to and from the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificant Mile Hotel can be made online by obtaining information here. The fixed rate of $29 per person has been established to allow for those arriving in Chicago's airports to obtain easy and direct transportation to the hotel.
The Convention's mailing address is:
50th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention
1220 S. 60th Ct.
Cicero, IL 60804
Telephone: (708) 656-2927
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its 2011 meeting 25-27 May in Chicago, IL, with forty-five of its current fifty-two members present (of the seven members who were absent, five were attending meetings of their respective Holy Synods overseas, one was incapacitated due to serious illness, and another was unable to attend because of a death in his immediate family). At the closing session His Eminence Archbishop Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A., who serves as treasurer of the Assembly of Bishops, offered the following comments and resolution:
“Our esteemed first vice-chair Metropolitan Philip was born in 1931 which means His Eminence will be celebrating his 80th birthday next month - on June 10th. He entered into the Balamand Orthodox Theological Seminary at the age of fourteen. At the age of eighteen he was ordained to the holy diaconate. By the age of twenty-one, he was already a lecturer and a student advisor at the Balamand Orthodox Theological Seminary. He came to the United States in the 1950s and continued his education at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in Brookline, MA, at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and continued on to receive his M.Div from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary Seminary in Crestwood, NY. In 1966 he was consecrated to the episcopacy and thus will be marking the 45th anniversary of his episcopal consecration this coming August.
Fr. Joseph Antypas, the Archpriest of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Troy, Michigan, has released Reflections on the Field of a Local Parish. In his book, Fr. Antypas speaks not only from a deep theological knowledge of the Church, but also from a lifetime of pastoral experience of over 35 years of ministry. The book tackles various theological, liturgical, pastoral and contemporary topics of interest for every clergy and laity. Fr. Antypas examines such topics, not only in a theologically profound approach, but also in pastoral and practical manners.
Says His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, "The topics which the V. Rev. Father Joseph Antypas discusses in his book...are of utmost importance. St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his letter to the Ephesians, speaks about the harmony and perfect Christian relationship among the members of the Church. As a matter of fact, the congregation must work together, like a symphony, in order to ascend harmoniously to the Throne of God and bask in His Eternal Light. It is not enough to be baptized in the Church. Your baptism is a process of renewal which must permeate your soul all your life."
The Antiochian Village Camp is now much more than a summer camp! In the fall of 2010, an Environmental and Outdoor Education Program was founded. The Antiochian Village Camp has continually been improving facilities and practices in order to incorporate “green” practices and sustainability. The Environmental and Outdoor Education Program is another step that we are blessed to take in our commitment to stewardship. The mission of the Environmental and Outdoor Education Program is to increase understanding and awareness of our environment, stimulate critical and creative thinking, develop the ability to make informed decisions on environmental issues, and instill the confidence and the commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment. The program is available from September through May for any interested group.
The primary focus of the Environmental and Outdoor Education Program is, as our mission statement states, to ultimately increase participants’ knowledge and awareness surrounding our environment.
Recently, Antiochian.org spoke with Department of Sacred Music Chair Chris Holwey about how this essential department provides support, training, and encouragement to parish musicians throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese.
1. Chris, summarize for us the ministry of the Department of Sacred Music in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and your role within the Department.
First of all, let me say thank you for offering me this opportunity to speak about the Sacred Music Department, which I believe is one of the most important departments of the Archdiocese. Officially, the department was established back in 1968 when Metropolitan Philip appointed Fr. James Meena as its first chairman. Unofficially, though, the Archdiocese began publishing music well before that, closer to the beginning of the last century. If anyone wishes to read about our history, Dr. Michael Farrow, our Vice-Chairman, has compiled it all in a wonderful article which is located in the Information and Resources section of our website. But to be more specific about the ministry of our department, I cannot say any more than is already said in the Mission Statement of our department: "The mission of the Department of Sacred Music is to provide leadership to the parishes of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, drawing from the talents of the faithful in order to serve as a resource for the publication of music, to organize workshops and seminars, to build strong ties of communication throughout the Archdiocese, to support the work of missions, and to be a positive influence in the creation of new works of liturgical music for the glory of God and the Holy Orthodox Faith."
June 7, 2011
To: Venerable Hierarchs, All Reverend Clergy, Archdiocesan Trustees, Parish Councils, and Faithful of our Archdiocese
Greetings and Blessings in the Name of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ!
This letter serves as the official notice of our intention to ask the delegates to the upcoming 50th Archdiocese Convention in Chicago, Illinois to cast their ballots for the nomination of candidates to fill the positions of two Auxiliary Bishops.
You will find attached a list of the names and biographies of the candidates for the office of Auxiliary Bishop. Each delegate will vote for two candidates, and the results of this voting will be submitted to the Archdiocesan Synod who will elect the two new bishops.
Praying that our Lord will bless your preparations, and your travel to Chicago, I remain
Your father in Christ,
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America