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SOYO Focuses on The Sacred Gift of Life

During the month of January, the youth of the Antiochian Archdiocese traditionally focus on two worthy SOYO programs: Sacred Gift of Life, and Purity, Virginity, Chastity. Local Teen SOYO chapters and high school Christian Education classes are encouraged to view and use the resources found on SOYO's website. Some of the materials include a case study on abortion and the sacred gift of life developed by Dr. H. Tristram Engelhardt, leading Orthodox bioethicist; lesson plans with discussion questions about chastity; and essays about the Sacrament of Matrimony and the mystery of marriage. 

The SOYO site explains that "while people may have failed to make good choices in the past on this most important issue of life, SOYO chooses to help educate a generation of teens to make good choices with how they use their body and how they treat life - given as a gift from God." With these resources, teens, under the leadership of their pastors and advisors, will have the material necessary to hold productive discussions which will hopefully further their belief and commitment to the sacred gift of life and to the virtues of purity and chastity. 

OCN Share the Light Sunday is January 20

The Office of the Secretariat for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America recently released an encyclical regarding Share the Light Sunday, 2013. It reads: 

“With Thy light that never sets, shine forth, O Christ, in the hearts of those who in faith sing Thy praises, and grant us Thy peace that passeth understanding: that so, running from the night of ignorance towards the day of Thy commandments, we may glorify Thee who lovest mankind.”

Beloved Clergy, Godly Monastics, and Blessed Faithful:

We greet you during this great and joyous Feast of Theophany. This feast marks the beginning of Christ’s salvific revelation, and it is therefore an appropriate time to remind the faithful of the ministry that Orthodox Christian Network is providing to the world.

 “The night of ignorance,” as stated in the hymn above, bombards us daily through the radio, television, movies, billboards, magazines, and the internet. Orthodox Christian Network stands to help shine the light of Christ to combat the night of ignorance. On this Share the Light Sunday, we ask that you not only make an effort to listen to and watch the programing we offer through our website, but also share this ministry with your friends and family.

Antiochian Village 2013 Coming Soon!

View Antiochian Village's Facebook camp announcement

Summer camp registration: Summer Camp registration is open! Register online or by printing out registration forms. Please don't wait to register - camp fills up quickly. Please note that you are not registered until you have placed the $100 deposit and your receive a confirmation email that indicates you have completed the registration process. Also note that to take advantage of the early-bird discount you must have your camper tuition fees paid in full by March 1st. Register your child today!

January 2013 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The January 2013 issue includes the following articles:

Patriarch Ignatius IV: An Incarnational Theologian, pg. 3
by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip

Letters of Condolence on the Passing of Patriarch Ignatius IV, pg. 10

A Farewell to Patriarch Ignatius IV: A Personal View, pg. 26
by Economos Antony Gabriel

Dying Well: Spiritual Essentials and Practical Advice for the Family, pg. 32
by Fr. Josiah Trenham

...and more!

Report on a Joyous Coral Gables Anniversary Celebration

View the Diamond Jubilee celebration photo gallery

View the Diamond Jubilee Video Slideshow

By Ernestine Ede and Justin Sayfie

On November 16-18, 2012, St. George Cathedral of Coral Gables, FL, began a year-long celebration of her Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary) with a weekend to remember.

The festivities began on Friday evening. Saint George Cathedral was adorned with long ribbons of red and white satin streaming from the center archway of the altar and the bells were joyously ringing in jubilation at the arrival of the Metropolitan’s motorcade at the front of the Cathedral. Our pastor Fr. Fouad Saba, the members of the parish council, and the faithful of St. George Cathedral had for several months eagerly awaited the arrival of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, His Eminence Archbishop Joseph, His Grace Bishop Antoun and His Grace Bishop Nicholas. The Cathedral was also honored to have in attendance The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, Fawaz El-Khoury, the vice chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and Mrs. Mary Winstanley O’Connor, the North American chair for the Order of St. Ignatius.  In addition, a special honor was bestowed on the Cathedral with the arrival of Maronite Bishop Mounir Khairallah of Batroun, Lebanon.

Nativity Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude Patriarch-Elect John X of Antioch

Nativity Letter in English (Following, and as PDF)

Nativity Letter in Arabic (PDF)

With God’s mercy

John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East 

To my brethren, the Shepherds of the Holy Antiochian Church And my children who belong to this Apostolic See

We approach these Holy and Blessed Feasts as we witness the crucial events our Antiochian Church has gone through recently, first and foremost with the departure of our Father, Patriarch Ignatius IVth who ministered the Church with patience and faithfulness for several decades. His memory shall remain alive in our minds and hearts, and shall be eternal before the Lord Whom he served all his life. At this time, our Church and our people are experiencing dramatic situations caused by violence and troubles shaking our region.

The Holy Spirit has willed that I be elected by my brothers, the members of the Holy Synod, to succeed this great Minister, in spite of my unworthiness. However, I rely on God and on you, my brothers and children of my Church, and this shall make me expect, with great hope, divine help, which will enable us to overcome these hard tests and look for a better future.

Synodal Statement on Election of New Patriarch

His Beatitude Patriarch-Elect Youhanna X of Antioch and All the EastHis Beatitude Patriarch-Elect Youhanna X of Antioch and All the EastAn official press release from the Patriarchate of Antioch:
English Version (PDF)
Arabic Version (PDF)

بطريركية أنطاكية وسائر المشرق للروم الأرثوذكس
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch & all the East
Statement issued by the Holy Synod of Antioch

The extraordinary Session of the Holy Synod of the Holy See of Antioch was held at 10.00 on Monday, December 17th 2012, in the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Saba (Esber), locum tenens of the Patriarchate of Antioch, in order to elect the new Patriarch.

The Session was attended by Their Eminences the Fathers of the Synod: Spiridon (Khoury) of Zahle and Baalbek, Georges (Khodr) of Jbeil and Batroun and dependencies, John (Mansour) of Latakia, Elias (Audi) of Beirut, Elia (Saliba) of Hama, Elias (Kfoury) of Tyr, Sidon and Marjayoun, Antonios (Shedraoui) of Mexico, Sergios (Abad ) of Santiago (Chile), Damiskinos (Mansour) of Sao Paulo (Brazil), Paul (Saliba) of Australia and New Zealand, George (Abu Zakhem) of Homs, Paul (Yazigi) of Aleppo and Alexandretta, Silouan (Moussi) of Buenos Aires (Argentina), John (Yazigi) of Europe, Basilios (Mansour) of Akkar, Ephrem (Kyriakos) of Tripoli, Koura, and dependencies, and the Patriarchal Vicar, His Grace Bishop Ghattas (Hazim) and the Secretary of the Synod, Reverend Father George Dimas.

Metropolitan Philip Celebrates Divine Liturgy and Trisagion Prayers in Memory of Patriarch Ignatius IV

View the photo gallery of the Memorial Service

On Sunday, December 16, 2012, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip celebrated the Divine Liturgy and a Trisagion Service in for His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn. The cathedral was filled to capacity with many dignitaries and faithful from the greater New York area. His Grace Bishop Nicholas assisted His Eminence, along with The Very Rev. Thomas Zain, The Very Rev. Dimitri Darwich, Fr. Charles Baz, Fr. Adrian Budica, Archdn. Emile Sayegh and Dn. Andre Elhajj.

His Beatitude Kyrios Kyrios Youhanna X Patriarch-elect of Antioch and All The East

His Beatitude Patriarch-Elect Youhanna X of Antioch and All the EastHis Beatitude Patriarch-Elect Youhanna X of Antioch and All the EastHis Eminence the Metropolitan Archbishop of Western and Central Europe has been elected Patriarch of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East. The Patriarch-elect Youhanna X (Yaziji) was elected by the members of the Holy Synod earlier today, December 17, during a special session held at the Balamand Patriarchal Monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

The Patriarch-elect was born in 1955 in the city of Latakiya, Syria into a pious Orthodox home. His father was Syrian and was a professor of Arabic Language. His mother is Lebanese. He has four brothers, with his brother Paul being the current Metropolitan of Aleppo, and he has one sister who is a nun. During his early studies, he played a key role in the leadership of Orthodox youth, and organized many choirs to sing in the local churches. 

Please Pray for the Suffering in Connecticut

The Archdiocese calls for her members to pray with love and courage for all the victims and those suffering in the aftermath of the violence in Connecticut. As our Metropolitan Philip has written before during great tragedy, "We pray that our risen Lord Jesus Christ, who destroyed death, will grant the families and the entire country the peace and hope that only the empty tomb can provide."

A Prayer in Time of Trouble

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, who brought great joy into the world with your divine birth and salvation through your glorious Resurrection, who shed your precious blood to wash away the sins of man and to revive his spirit. Accept us as we approach your goodness and hear the voice of our petitions. Look with compassion upon your servants who have suffered great tragedy and restore hope and well being to their lives. Let not their faith waver. Permit not their hope to flee. Let not their hope in you fade away. Disperse the cloud of sadness that has encompassed them. Reassure their minds, lift up their spirits and restore their confidence. Open the doors of their hearts to permit the Holy Spirit to enter and abide their and bring renewal and healing to their bodies and souls. For you are the healer of souls and bodies, and reviver of the spirits of all of us, and to you we ascribe glory, thanksgiving and worship to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Metropolitan Philip to Hold Special Trisagion (Memorial) Service in Memory of Patriarch Ignatius IV

St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NYSt. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NYHis Eminence, Metropolitan Philip will hold a Trisagion (Memorial) Service for our departed father of thrice-blessed memory, Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, on Sunday, December 16, 2012 at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY.

Orthros begins at 9:30 a.m. with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy followed by the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy celebrated by Metropolitan Philip and assisted by His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn and the Cathedral clergy beginning at 10:30 am.

Representatives of sister Orthodox Churches and other religious communities have been invited as well as members of the diplomatic corps. For questions regarding the service you may contact the Vicar-General, Archpriest Thomas Zain at For directions to the Cathedral, see the Cathedral website.

Memorial Resources for Patriarch Ignatius IV

Visit the Antiochian Archdiocese memorial section dedicated to Patriarch Ignatius IV. View video of His Beatitude's funeral service, photo galleries, an excerpt from his writings, and more. Resources will continue to be added to this section as they become available.

Archbishop Joseph Leads Delegation to Middle East for Funeral of Patriarch Ignatius IV

His Eminence Archbishop Joseph is leading a delegation from the Archdiocese, including His Grace Bishop Alexander and Very Rev. Economos Antony Gabriel, to the Middle East for the funeral and burial services for His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV. Please pray for a safe and blessed journey.

+His Beatitude Ignatius IV (1920-2012), Memory Eternal!

His Beatitude Ignatius IVHis Beatitude Ignatius IV+ Memory Eternal!

It is with great sadness that we report that His Beatitude Ignatius IV (1920-2012), Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, fell asleep in the Lord today, December 5th, 2012, at St. George Orthodox Hospital in Beirut Lebanon, after having suffered a stroke earlier this week.  

Read a biography of His Beatitude's remarkable life of service and leadership.

Access Arabic language resources at the website of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

Listen to Ancient Faith Radio interview Fr. Thomas Zain on the passing of His Beatitude.

Read a tribute to His Beatitude from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Read about His Beatitude's October 2012 visit to the United States.

We ask the Lord to grant rest to the soul of His servant Patriarch Ignatius IV – May His Memory be Eternal!

Update: Below are listed scheduled events in Lebanon and Syria.

Please Pray for His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV

Patriarch Ignatius IV, New York, October 2012Patriarch Ignatius IV, New York, October 2012We were saddened to learn that His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all The East was taken to St. George Hospital in Beirut yesterday after suffering a stroke. He is currently in critical condition at St. George Hospital. We ask all of the clergy and faithful of this Archdiocese to pray fervently for His Beatitude.

December 2012 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The December 2012 issue includes the following articles:

The Visit of Patriarch Ignatius IV to the United States, pg. 4

Getting Old in a Spiritual Way: Embracing God's Will in Aging, pg. 6
by Fr. Josiah B. Trenham

The Kiss of Peace: A Seal of Reconciliation, pg. 13
by Fr. Bassam Nassif

Conflict in Syria, pg. 20
by Dr. Najib Saliba

The Rise of Social Orthodoxy, pg. 26
by Fr. Ayman Kfouf

Works of the Order in Action: The More You Know Them, The More You Love Them, pg. 32
by Elias K. Hebeka

...and more!

YES Awareness Sunday is December 2

On the first Sunday in December, Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) is inviting all parishes to participate in YES Awareness Day. A ministry of The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS), YES provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in cities around the United States. An upcoming YES weekend, sponsored by St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Pawtucket, RI, is scheduled for Friday, December 14, through Sunday, December 16, in Providence.

Notes Director Katrina Bitar, "We would be so grateful if you took the time to share our ministry with your community and helped to raise funds that will enable us to meet the needs of the people we serve." A letter which can be read in parishes during the YES Sunday observance, reads in part:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we approach the Nativity of our Lord, I am blessed today to have the opportunity to share with you, the YES Program—Youth Equipped to Serve—of FOCUS North America.

Orthodoxy Live with Fr. Evan Armatas Debuts Sunday, November 18

Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) has announced the live broadcast debut of a new call-in talk show, Orthodoxy Live with Fr. Evan Armatas, beginning this Sunday night at 8 pm Eastern. Orthodoxy Live with Fr. Evan Armatas will offer listeners an opportunity to ask pointed questions about the Orthodox Church. The show is aimed at both seekers, converts, and cradle Orthodox Christians and will stream live, allowing listeners to call-in from around the world, on the first and third Sundays of each month, at 8:00 PM Eastern/5:00 PM Pacific, on AFR’s Talk Station.

Ancient Faith Today with Kevin Allen, the first live call-in Orthodox Christian talk show on AFR, began broadcasting earlier this year. It will air opposite Orthodoxy Live with Fr. Evan Armatas on the second and fourth Sundays of each month in the same time slot. Listeners may participate at 8 pm Eastern on AFR by visiting the show's landing page and selecting the “talk” button. 

IOCC Sunday Emphasizes Charity During Thanksgiving Season

Download IOCC Thanksgiving Prayer Card

On Sunday, November 18, as families head into the Thanksgiving holiday, parishes will be remembering the needy on the International Orthodox Christian Charity's (IOCC) "A Day of Sharing." The Assembly of Canonical Bishops of North and Central America has issued an Encyclical calling on Orthodox Christians to support the work of IOCC, especially on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, thus remembering the less fortunate.

"Through IOCC’s close work with the Church," noted the statement, "Greek families are receiving hot meals and medical care; Bosnian entrepreneurs are using micro loans to create jobs and community prosperity, and Zimbabwe’s babies have a fighting chance to reach their fifth birthday because of new medical equipment and adequate medicine to treat infections.

Orthodox Institute 2012 Convenes at Antiochian Village

Orthodox Institute speakers, 2012Orthodox Institute speakers, 2012Despite the appearance of Hurricane Sandy on the eastern seaboard days earlier, the Orthodox Institute 2012, themed "Culture, Morality, Spirituality," successfully convened at Antiochian Village from November 1-4, 2012. The Institute, a project of the Archdiocese Department of Christian Education, focused on surveying current cultural viewpoints, beliefs of the Church, and the moral challenges facing today's youth.

One hundred people attended the conference, which hosted eleven courses related to the theme. Dr. Peter Bouteneff, associate professor of Systematic Theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary, offered the keynote address, "Postmodernism," in which he emphasized that modern man is touched and changed by beauty, rather than by polemics. "It was a a great introduction to postmodernism and religious relativism," noted one attendee. "I feel like I can explain these now."