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Liturgical Texts for May Now Ready for Download

The interior of Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Nish, Serbia, the birthplace of  Emperor Constantine the Great.The interior of Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Nish, Serbia, the birthplace of Emperor Constantine the Great.The Renewal, or Bright, Season following Great and All-holy Pascha continues into the month of May. In the month’s third week, the Orthodox Church celebrates two important saints and a great feast of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. May’s liturgical texts, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

The theme of water runs through the second half of Renewal Season. At the feast of Mid-Pentecost, we ask our Savior to quench our thirsty souls with “the waters of true worship,” coming from Christ Himself, the “Fountain of life” (apolytikion of Mid-Pentecost). The ancient church (and some of our congregations today) would have just celebrated the soul-cleansing baptisms of catechumens on Holy Saturday, and so we all call upon our Lord to refresh us with His wisdom as we maintain our baptismal purity.

Countdown to Miami: 2017 Antiochian Archdiocese Convention FAQ

The community of St. George welcomes you!The community of St. George welcomes you!Summer draws near, and so does the 53rd biennial convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese, July 23-30, 2017 in Miami. The Very Rev. Fouad Saba and the host parish of St. George Cathedral of Coral Gables, Florida took time from their busy schedules to talk about the features of what looks to be a historic gathering of the Archdiocesan clergy and faithful.

Who are the featured and keynote speakers this year?

The Grand Banquet will honor His Grace Bishop Antoun on Saturday night, July 29, where we anticipate our beloved diocesan hierarch will reflect upon his lifetime ministry and experiences in his service to Christ’s Holy Church. Fr. Antoine Melki, professor of computer science and technology at Balamand University in Lebanon, will be the keynote speaker during the General Assembly on Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29, and in other scheduled workshops and events. The host committee is excited to welcome Fr. Melki, who will present interesting insights on the effects of technology in the modern world on the Orthodox Christian family.

Metropolitan Joseph Leads Prayer Service for Kidnapped Metropolitans

On Bright Thursday, April 20, 2017, the Antochian Archdiocese was joined by co-hosts—the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese and the St. John of Damascus Fellowship of New Jersey—in sponsoring a timely prayer service at St. George Antochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, for the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim. Metropolitan Paul and Metropolitan Yohanna vanished without a trace on April 22, 2013, after they drove together in hopes of negotiating the release of hostages in captivity. Metropolitan Yohanna’s deacon escaped, but his driver was killed. 

(Read the Paschal Message of His Beatitude John X, in which he issues a call for the liberation of Metropolitans Paul and Yohanna, and sign the petition that will be presented to the White House and the United Nations, "Help release the kidnapped archbishops of Syria.") 

The Dept. of Homeschooling Announces 2017 St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference

With us everything should be secondary compared to our concern with children, 
and their upbringing in the instruction and teaching of the Lord.  
- St. John Chrysostom

Did you know that homeschooling is becoming more and more popular? It might be the best educational option for your family, or a family you know.

If so, we encourage you to look into the annual St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference, scheduled for April 27-30, 2017 at the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center outside Ligonier, PA. The conference offers workshops for both experienced and beginning homeschoolers alike, with simultaneous activity sessions for children ages three and up.

Metropolitan Joseph's Paschal Greeting, 2017

PASCHA 2017
All creatures have been filled with light, the heaven and the earth, and all that is below the earth. Let all creation, therefore, celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, in which it is strengthened.
Paschal Canon, Ode 3

Beloved in Christ,

CHRIST IS RISEN!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!

Having struggled together through the Fast, we have arrived at the Tomb of Christ and joyfully find it transformed from a place of gloom into a source of brilliance that permeates all the regions "in heaven and on earth and under the earth". (Phil. 2:10).

Send Us Your Photos From This Holy Season!

V. Rev. Fr. Gregory Lazarus Murphy, St. Michael Church, Geneva, NY (photo: Matthew Owen)V. Rev. Fr. Gregory Lazarus Murphy, St. Michael Church, Geneva, NY (photo: Matthew Owen)Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Christ is risen! The team at Antiochian.org is issuing a call for photos from your parish's Holy Week and Pascha celebrations. Send all photos to editor@antiochian.org as JPEG attachments. Please send a maximum of three photos, include a caption for each photo you send, and tell us the name of the parish and priest represented by the photo. Read our submission checklist here.

The Pascha Homily of St. John Chrysostom

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast.
If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in no wise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

Great and Holy Saturday

Epitaphion

Today hell groans and cries aloud: "My power has been destroyed. I accepted a mortal man as one of the dead; yet I cannot keep Him prisoner, and with Him I shall lose all those over whom I ruled. I held in my power the dead from all the ages; but see, He is raising them all." Glory to Thy Cross, O Lord, and to Thy Resurrection.

Read about Great and Holy Saturday, "The Forgotten Feast", and visit our Pascha pages.

Great and Holy Friday

On Great and Holy Friday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the sufferings of Christ: the mockery, the crown of thorns, the scourging, the nails, the thirst, the vinegar and gall, the cry of desolation, and all the Savior endured on the Cross. "Today He Who hung the earth on the waters is hung on the tree," sing the solemn worshippers. Beginning with the Orthros of Holy Friday on Thursday evening, and ending with Vespers on Friday afternoon, the day is one of solemn observation and strict fasting. The richness of the liturgical actions and hymnography on this day, are unsurpassed.

We worship Your passion and Your burial,
for by them, You have saved us from death!

For more reflections and resources, please visit our Holy Week section. And for more material dedicated to the pinnacle of the liturgical year, visit Antiochian.org/Pascha.

Read more about Great and Holy Friday
St. Theodore the Studite on Holy Friday
Fr. John Finley shares portions of St. Nicholai Velemirovic's homily on Great Friday

Holy Tuesday: The Hymn of St. Kassiane

Listen to the Hymn chanted by the St. Romanos Choir of Beirut

At Bridegroom Orthros on Great and Holy Tuesday, the Church sings the following hymn by St. Kassiane:

O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Thy divinity, fulfilled the part of a myrrh-bearer; and with lamentations she brought sweet-smelling oil of myrrh to Thee before Thy burial. 'Woe is me,' she said, 'for night surrounds me, dark and moonless, and stings my lustful passion with the love of sin. Accept the fountain of my tears, O Thou who drawest down from the clouds the waters of the sea. Incline to the groanings of my heart, O Thou who in Thine ineffable self-emptying hast bowed down the heavens. I shall kiss Thy most pure feet and wipe them with the hairs of my heads, those feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise and hid herself for fear. Who can search out the multitude of my sins and the abyss of Thy judgments, O Saviour of my soul? Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure.

Hymn of St. Kassiani sung by Grace Atherholt, Holy Week 2015 + St. John Chrysostom Church, York, PA

Kontakion on the Raising of St. Lazarus

by St. Romanos the Melodist

O Christ, Thou who knowest all things,
Thou hast asked to learn where the tomb of Lazarus is,
And arriving there, Thou hast raised him up on the fourth day,
O All-powerful One,
Taking pity, Merciful One,
On the tears of Mary and Martha.

The Master, checking the lamentations of Mary and Martha,
Immediately stilled them when He raised up their brother.
It was possible, then, to see marvel of marvels,
How the lifeless suddenly was seen to be alive.

Memory Eternal! His Eminence Metropolitan Elia Saliba

With sadness, and with hope in the Resurrection, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph conveys the news from the Patriarchate of Antioch of the falling asleep in the Lord of His Eminence Metropolitan Elia (Saliba) of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Hama (or Afamia) in central Syria, which he faithfully shepherded since 1984. Metropolitan Elia reposed on Saturday morning, April 1, 2017, at the age of 95.

Sayidna Joseph recalls Sayidna Elia as a dynamic man of God, a gifted theologian, and highly educated. He was a canonist in both civil law and church law who understood the spirit and the depth of the Orthodox Church's canons. He also fondly remembers Metropolitan Elia as his principal in the Orthodox Christian schools of Damascus in the 1950s and 1960s.

Metropolitan Elia served as secretary to His Beatitude Patriarch Theodosius VI before coming to North America. Many of our clergy and congregations will remember Sayidna Elia from the 1970s when, as Titular Bishop of Salamia, he lived in the Archdiocesan Headquarters and assisted His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory in the administration of this Archdiocese.

April 2017 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

The April 2017 issue contains the following articles:

Is it Realistic to Call Myself the Foremost of Sinners?, p. 3
By Bishop John

Coming to Grips with Some of our Holy Week Hymns, p. 13
Fr. Bogdan G. Bucur

The Rich Resources of the Western Rite, p. 19
Fr. Nicholas Alford

Giving: Answering Grace with Grace, p. 26
Fr. Joseph Huneycutt

...and more!

Keeping the Vigil at the Tomb of Christ on Holy Friday

The Archdiocese's Department of Youth Ministry announces that resources are available for the beloved tradition of keeping vigil at Christ's tomb from the end of Holy Friday Vespers until the Rush Liturgy of Pascha. This year's dates will be April 14 and 15, 2017, and teens and the faithful from our parishes from across North America will be signing up for times of meditation and Scripture reading. Participants will read from the book of Psalms in front of the tomb of Christ after Great Friday Vespers until the Liturgy of Holy Saturday morning, after which service they will read from the Book of Acts until the start of the Rush Service held on Saturday night for Pascha.

Great Friday Vigil Pamphlet as well as one sheet flyer, can be downloaded for use in parish communities. Please encourage your teens and faithful members to host and attend the Great Friday Vigil!

Fourth Sunday in Lent: St. John of the Ladder

Let us honor John, that pride of ascetics, that angel on earth, that man of God in heaven, that adornment of the world, and that bliss of virtues and good deeds; for, planted in the house of God, he flourished with justice; and, like a cedar tree in the wilderness, he caused the flock of Christ to grow, those sheep endowed with speech, in righteousness and justice.

-Vespers of the Feast

On the fourth Sunday in Lent we commemorate St. John, the great seventh-Century ascetic and author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent. As we continue the Lenten fast, we recall St. John's account of the labors necessary to approach God, and we take comfort in the Lord's words: "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt 24:13).

Read the life of St. John of the Ladder
Listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko on St. John of the Ladder

Letter from Metropolitan Joseph Regarding the Third Anniversary of Metropolitan Philip's Repose

March 14, 2017

Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy of this God-protected Archdiocese:

Greetings and blessings in the Name of our Lord during this third week of the Great Fast.

Sunday, March 19, 2017 will mark the third anniversary of the repose of our beloved Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory. As such, all of the parishes and missions of this Archdiocese are directed to do the following on that day, the Third Sunday of Great Lent:

1. During the Proskomedia, the priest shall commemorate “His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory and eternal repose” as the first among the departed.

2. During the Great Entrance, the priest shall commemorate “His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory and eternal repose” as the first among the departed.

May his memory be eternal and may your ongoing journey through the Great Fast be spiritually rewarding.

Your Father in Christ,

+JOSEPH
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

Third Sunday in Lent: Adoration of the Holy Cross

Rejoice, O life-bearing Cross, O bright paradise of the Church, O Tree of incorruption, thou who didst bring forth for us the enjoyment of glory everlasting, through whom the hosts of devils are driven out, the ranks of angels rejoice together, and the congregations of believers celebrate, O unconquerable weapon and impregnable foundation, the triumph of kings and the pride of Priests, grant us to apprehend the Passion of Christ and his Resurrection.

--Vespers of the Feast

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph on the Sunday of the Holy Cross
Alexander Schmemann on the Sunday of the Holy Cross
Psychological Barriers on the Way to the Cross, by Fr. George Morelli
The Cross: Central Theme of Our Christian Religion, by Fr. Michael Baroudy
Listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko discuss the Sunday of the Holy Cross on Ancient Faith Radio
Read more about this Sunday's feast on our Lenten Calendar page.
Visit our full section on Great Lent.

Summer Will Be Here Soon: Sign Up Your Kids for Camp!

Calling all parents! Summer will be here before we know it. For schoolchildren, that means summer camp! Throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese, the counselors, cooks, and clergy of our church camps are preparing for another busy season. You are urged to sign up your child now since some of the camps fill up quickly. If sending a child off to camp is new to you, refer to these Resources for Parents from Antiochian Village's website. More details are also available from the Department of Camping. Note: Antiochian Village sessions are closed, as they are full and have waiting lists.

SOYO Day of Service is Saturday, March 18

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Department of Youth will observe the annual SOYO Day of Service. SOYO Day of Service is a day when teens across the Archdiocese will come together with their Teen SOYO group to serve in their parishes and communities. Even though this is a Lenten emphasis for the entire month of March, SOYO groups are especially encouraged to do their service projects on March 18 in solidarity with one another.

Teens are encouraged to take pictures of each service effort and tag the SOYO leadership on instagram (@nacsoyo) with the hashtag #SOYOdayofservice. All instagram contributions will be entered in a drawing, and the winning SOYO will receive $100 for a pizza party and an opportunity to be featured in The Word magazine!

SOYO Day of Service Flyer

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY

On March 5, 2017, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph celebrated the Divine Liturgy and then in the evening, pan-Orthodox Vespers for the Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. His Eminence arrived at the Cathedral for Orthros and was greeted by the Cathedral Dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain. Visiting hierarchs included: His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and His Grace Bishop John of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England. (View the photos by Subdeacons Daniel Cripe and Andre Christoforides.)