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Message of the Episcopal Assembly Of the Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North and Central America, May 26-28, 2010

We glorify the name of the Triune God for gathering us at this first Episcopal Assembly of this region in New York City on May 26-28, 2010 in response to the decisions of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Switzerland, from June 6-12, 2009, at the invitation of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Gathered together in the joy of the Feast of Pentecost, we humbly recognize our calling, in our unworthiness, to serve as instruments and disciples of the Paraclete, who “holds together the whole institution of the Church” (Hymn of Vespers of Pentecost).

We honor and express gratitude to the Primates and Representatives of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches who assembled at the Ecumenical Patriarchate from October 10-12, 2008 to affirm their “unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church” (Chambésy Rules of Operation, Article 5.1a) and emphasized their will and “desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements” (Message of the Primates 13.1-2)

We call to mind those who envisioned this unity in this region and strove to transcend the canonical irregularities resulting for many reasons, including geographically overlapping jurisdictions. For, just as the Lord in the Divine Eucharist is “broken and distributed, but not divided” (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), so also His Body comprises many members, while constituting His One Church.

Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Historic Episcopal Assembly on First Day

(File Photo)(File Photo)EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLY - MAY 26, 2010

"Your Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Brother Bishops:

My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, “Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together.” How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of SCOBA for his hard work to make this gathering possible.

The literature which we received from Chambesy via the Greek Archdiocese of America, raises some important questions.

ONE, Despite the vitality and the dynamic nature of Orthodoxy in North America, no member of SCOBA, not even the chairman of SCOBA, was consulted about what was discussed in Geneva. We received rules from our brothers in Switzerland which we have nothing to do with. We have been on this continent for more than two hundred (200) years. We are no longer little children to have rules imposed on us from 5,000 miles away. Orthodoxy in America has its own ethos. We have our own theological institutions, and we have our own theologians, authors, publications and magazines. We do not intend to be disobedient to the Mother Churches; we just want to dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to know us and understand us.

Working Committees, Archdiocesan Synod, and Board of Trustees Complete Their Meetings

On Wednesday May 19th The Constitution Reconciliation Committee met in Englewood, NJ under the chairmanship of His Grace Bishop JOSEPH.  The goal for this committee is to reconcile any remaining differences between the current Archdiocesan Constitution (approved by our General Assembly at a special meeting which was convened in Pittsburgh, PA in July 2004), and the Constitution that was approved by the Holy Synod of Antioch in October 2004.  The Committee conducted a line-by-line “read-through” of a document that highlighted the differences between the two constitutions.  The committee noted several areas where the changes introduced in the version approved by The Holy Synod of Antioch are acceptable, and should be recommended for inclusion in the Archdiocesan Constitution.  The committee also noted several areas where the changes need to be clarified and perhaps modified in light of the Self-Rule status that was granted to this Archdiocese by a Resolution of the Holy Synod of Antioch on October 9th, 2003.  The committee will meet again to finalize the recommended amendments.

Al-Kafaat Founder Honored by Archdiocese

Mr. Nadim Shwayri accepts Antonian Gold MedalMr. Nadim Shwayri accepts Antonian Gold MedalThe founder of the Al-Kafaat Foundation, Mr. Nadim Shwayri, with his wife Lily and daughter Myriam, visited His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP on Monday, May 24th for dinner. The Al-Kafaat Foundation in Lebanon provides services and housing for people with disabilities from all backgrounds; the word Al-Kafaat itself means "abilities." Mr, Shwayri has dedicated most of his life and finances to establishing the foundation that cares for these "least of my brethren" free of charge, from the cradle to the grave.

Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries Announces Two New Brochures

In conjunction with Conciliar Press, the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family MInistries has released two much-requested brochures for Orthodox Christians. "Crowned with Glory and Honor," a free, downloadable brochure, presents readers with a set of helpful guidelines for Orthodox marriage preparation, including such concepts as the meaning of crowning, and the purpose of the Betrothal Service. Readers will even learn about the wedding almonds: "The white coating symbolizes purity; the egg shape represents fertility and new life that begins in marriage. The hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage, and the sweetness of the sugar encourages the hope of the sweetness of future life together. Giving of three almonds signifies the union is indivisible, just as the bride and groom will remain undivided in their union with each other and with Christ."

The second brochure, "A Guide to Parish Etiquette," lists everything parishioners need to know about respectful and reverent behavior while in liturgy. Department Director Khouria Maggie Hock encourages all parishes, couples and families to make use of these valuable, free resources.

Saints Constantine and Helen + May 21

O Lord, thy disciple Emperor Constantine, who saw in the sky the Sign of Thy Cross, Accepted the call that came straight from Thee, as it happened to Paul, and not from any man. He built his capital and entrusted it to Thy care. Preserve our country in everlasting peace, through the intercession of the Mother of God, for Thou art the Lover of mankind.

+ Troparion of Ss. Constantine and Helen, Tone 8

"Constantine's legacy can be seen in Christianity's transformation from a private sect into a public church that encompassed the whole of society. He put it on an institutional footing, which enabled the Church to be the leading cultural force in the ancient world."

(From Robert Arakaki's Constantine The Great: Roman Emperor, Christian Saint, History's Turning Point)

Improved Liturgical Resources Page Launched

The editors of Antiochian.org recently launched a newly improved Liturgical Resources section, accessed on the menu bar of the website's home page. One of the site's most popular destinations, the Resources page now features categories such as "Articles," "Music Resources," and "Podcasts and Audio." An aggregation of the most critical liturgical tools required by chanters, choir directors, deacons and priests, the page is also helpful to laypeople involved in Bible study groups or choir. Browsers can download music, an Akathist, even the Antiochian Archdiocese's well-loved "Little Red Prayer Book."

Recently, Antiochian.org spoke with the Very Rev. Fr. David Barr, respected Antiochian liturgist and Director of the St. Romanos Chanter's Training Program, about the importance of liturgy and music in the life of the Church.

1. Generally speaking, do parish musicians usually need formal training to chant in church? Why/why not? What would you recommend for that musically inclined parishioner who might be interested in chant, but shy?

To chant properly using Byzantine chant, one needs some formal training. Even though a great deal of Byzantine music exists today in western notation, it is important to understand the ethos.

Working Committees, Archdiocesan Synod, Board of Trustees, and North and Central American Episcopal Assembly to Meet

May 17, 2010, Englewood, NJ

Over the course of the next two weeks, several meetings that are critical to the future of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and all Orthodox faithful in North and Central America, will take place.

Beginning on Wednesday May 19th and Thursday May 20th, two working committees of this Archdiocese will meet in Englewood, NJ. Both committees were appointed by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP in October 2009, and are chaired by His Grace Bishop JOSEPH. The Constitutional Reconciliation Committee will meet on Wednesday May 19th. The goal for this committee is to reconcile any remaining differences between the current Archdiocesan Constitution (approved by our General Assembly at a special meeting which was convened in Pittsburgh, PA in July 2004), and the Constitution that was approved by the Holy Synod of Antioch in October 2004. The second committee is chartered to study the current “Manual of Hierarchical Duties and Responsibilities” (originally approved by the Archdiocesan Synod on June 4, 2004, and amended on July 23, 2008). The committee will recommend changes to this manual in light of all of the events that have transpired since the last amendments were made.

The Archdiocesan Synod of Bishops will convene their regular Spring meeting in Englewood, New Jersey on Thursday May 20th in the evening, and will continue on Friday May 21st in the morning. Among the agenda items to be discussed will be the North American Episcopal Assembly which will convene in New York City on May 26th. In addition, each of our hierarchs will give a report on important developments in his diocese since the last meeting.

Antiochian Chaplain Ministers in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Orthodox TempleAfghanistan Orthodox Temple"There is an actual Orthodox Church in Afghanistan. Let me say that again. There is a Church- not just a chapel – here in Afghanistan, which is to our knowledge the only free-standing, permanent Church structure of any kind in the entire country."

Fr. David Alexander, Antiochian Orthodox priest and chaplain described this and other amazing discoveries in his post-Paschal letter to his home parish, St. Anthony's of Bergenfield, New Jersey. "I nearly broke down in tears while reading the sermon of St. John Chrysostom, and again while giving communion to a newly chrismated member of my Battalion for the first time," wrote Fr. David describing his Pascha at Camp Leatherneck.

Recently Antiochian.org interviewed Fr. David, who also reflects on his unique and challenging life in his AFR podcast In the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

 

1. Can you give us a thumbnail sketch of how you ended up as an Antiochian Orthodox Christian, serving as a chaplain in the middle of the conflict in Afghanistan?

Well, I am a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese serving on active duty as an officer in the Navy Chaplain Corps. Because the Marine Corps is under the Department of the Navy, they have Navy chaplains, doctors, and combat corpsmen (medics) serving with them all over the world.

Heavy Flood Damage to Holy Apostles Mission in Bowling Green, KY

Holy Apostles Mission in Bowling Green, Kentucky has received heavy damage to its mission chapel from the recent flooding in the region. No further services are planned in the current location. Weekly Bible studies and Vespers on Saturday evening will be held in members' homes. The Mission is currently working to secure a new location for services.

Donations to may be sent directly to the Mission:

c/o Kevin Burt (Mission chairman)
357 Cedar Ridge Rd.
Bowling Green, KY 42101

Read about the flooding and see pictures in the Bowling Green Daily News

Antiochian Author and Speaker Fr. Joseph Huneycutt Records Syrian Pilgrimage

Metropolitan SABA and Fr. Joseph HuneycuttMetropolitan SABA and Fr. Joseph HuneycuttAntiochian Orthodox priest and author, Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of Houston, made a pilgrimage to Syria visiting Metropolitans, monasteries, and ancient churches from April 11-24. Father shares his journal here, and in his Ancient Faith Radio podcast "The Blindside."

The airport: It was a 16-hour flight from Dubai to Houston, having left Damascus the previous day.  The lines to get through American Customs were long.  When it finally came my turn, I approached the counter to see a sight not seen in my two-week absence:  a very white woman with red hair and freckles.  “Where you coming from?” she asked.  “Dubai,” I said, “I’ve been traveling in Syria.”  “Syria!  On business?” she asked.  “No, I was visiting the holy sites,” I replied.  The fair skinned Customs Agent looked at me as if I had six heads and said, 'Why Syria?!'

May 2010 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

The May 2010 issue contains the following articles:

Let Christ be in Our Midst: Keeping Young People in the Church, pg. 5
by Corinne M. Cassis

St. Vladimir’s and St. Herman Seminaries Create Program in Missiology, pg. 7

7 Summer Programs for Everyone from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, pg. 26

Finding Scott Hakim, pg. 28
by Fr. David Alexander

...plus reports from the Order of St. Ignatius, the Dept. of Youth Ministries, Antiochian House of Studies and more!

Antiochian Parishes Celebrate Pascha

Fr. John Oliver, St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church, Murfreesboro, TNFr. John Oliver, St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church, Murfreesboro, TNChrist is Risen! Across the United States, in the Canadian Provinces, and around the world, Antiochian priests and laity joined together in the triumphant Paschal hymn, "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!" The editors of Antiochian.org have assembled a photo gallery picturing Pascha as it is celebrated, in parishes from California to New York, and Calgary to Florida. If your parish has photos to share, send them to editor@antiochian.org and we'll add them to our collection. Click here to enjoy the photos.

Diocese of the Midwest Antiochian Women's Retreat + May 14-16, 2010

The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest invite women to the fifth annual retreat Friday-Sunday, May 14-16, 2010 at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery located at 3389 Rives Eaton Road in Rives Junction, Michigan. 

Download retreat flyer (PDF)

Mother Abbess Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village will present the retreat, “Create in Me a New Heart,” focusing on the Holy Spirit in our lives.  She will bring together reflections on the actions of the Holy Spirit through salvation history from the Scriptures and the Fathers with emphasis on our practical, daily synergy with the Holy Spirit.

University of Balamand Announces CONNECT 2010 Cultural Exchange Program

Connect 2010
July 1-July 28, 2010
Register now! Spaces are limited!

Connect 2010 brochure and application (PDF)

 

The University of Balamand is sponsoring CONNECT, its popular cultural and academic exchange program for the seventh year.

CONNECT aims at offering youth (17 to 25 years old) a unique learning experience that will enrich their mind and soul, and connect them with their land of ancestry and rich heritage. The program extends over a period of 4 weeks, from July 1 to July 28, 2010. Based at the University's main campus in the peaceful hills of North Lebanon, CONNECT offers a fun-packed program that is sure to leave participants with lifetime memorable experiences.

The deadline for application is June 1, 2010. For more information, log on to www.balamand.edu.lb/connect, or e-mail connect2010@balamand.edu.lb.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates St. George’s Day in Boston

By Elisabeth Lourie

St. George Church in Boston was doubly blessed and honored the weekend of April 17th and 18th with a visit from His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, and the ordination of Subdeacon Stephen Mathewes to the Holy Diaconate. For as long as anyone can remember, His Eminence has visited St. George to celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, St. George.

The weekend, coordinated by St. George Weekend Chairperson Douglas Howdy, began Saturday morning with Youth Day at the church. Children and teens of all ages gathered for fun and games in the church hall, and enjoyed lunch with Sayedna PHILIP. His Eminence took time to meet with the youth answering their questions and asking a few of his own. “It’s always a delight to see our Father in Christ with the children gathered around him,” said V. Rev Timothy J. Ferguson, pastor of St. George, “as an image of the icon of Christ gathering the children to Him.”

Support Orthodox Media through OCN's Share the Light Sunday

Share the Light Sunday was designated by our SCOBA hierarchs to be on January 17, 2010. Due to the Haitian Earthquake, response was extremely low. Please make every effort to support the SCOBA agency, Orthodox Christian Network, the media ministry of the Orthodox church.  For a Share the Light Sunday package, click here.

Antiochian Orthodox Faithful Assist Haitian Earthquake Relief with Donation to IOCC

On Wednesday April 14, 2010, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, on behalf of the faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, presented a check for $150,000 to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou, in the presence of His Grace Bishop ANTOUN, Order of St Ignatius of Antioch chair Dan Abraham, and IOCC board members the Very Rev. Michael Ellias and Anne Glynn Mackoul at Antiochian Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, N.J. The gift was a result of the generous response of the Antiochian Orthodox faithful to the appeal that was made by His Eminence immediately after the earthquake struck Haiti.

Art of Niko Chocheli On Display at Antiochian Village

Niko Chocheli, a native of the Republic of Georgia, is so highly regarded as an artist that, in 1997, he was granted permanent resident status by the U.S. government because of his "extraordinary ability in the arts." It's a recognition shared by the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The exhibition "Spirit and Whimsy," at the Antiochian Heritage Museum, Ligonier, focuses on his illustrations for children's books. The 75 paintings exhibited were selected from those made for seven books and are being shown together for the first time.

Read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For more information on the exhibit, please contact Antiochian Village.

Visit Niko Chocheli's web site to learn about the artist and see more of his work.

Register for Antiochian Village Summer Camp 2010

Give your child a memorable experience this summer at Antiochian Village Camp under the leadership of our Head Counselors - Chris Shadid and Johanna Said! Register your children for camp for the summer of 2010 and let them build life-long friendships that are rooted in the Orthodox Faith and Jesus Christ. The summer of 2010 promises to be an unforgettable one at the Antiochian Village.

For more information on camping opportunities across the Archdiocese, visit the Department of Camping.