The 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.
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.
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)
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.
"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.
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
Antiochian 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?!'
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!
Christ 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 email@example.com and we'll add them to our collection. Click here to enjoy the photos.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On May 22, 2010, the Antiochian Archdiocese will hold a Gala Dinner to benefit children with special needs at The Al-Kafaàt Foundation at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City (Park Avenue on Grand Central Station). Proceeds from the dinner will be used to complete construction of a new compound at Al-Kafaàt, in The Village Center of the Foundation. This new compound will host population of 250 children with mental challenges. Excavations have already started in Beirut and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.
"Christ is Risen!" "Al-Maseeh Qam!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn New York, in the early morning hours of April 4. After a long and cold winter in the Northeast this year, the dark and short days of the season gave way to the day that knows no night and the celebration of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. Once again, our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, returned home to celebrate the Feast of Feasts and the season of seasons in his cathedral, the mother church of the North American Archdiocese. The Cathedral was filled to capacity on the beautiful New York evening.
Following the Paschal services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children and adults in celebration of the Feast.
Christ is risen.
Christ is risen from the dead. He arose victorious as He trampled down Death and shattered its shackles. His victory was accomplished through love and gentleness, not through the sword. Hence, His victory will be understood only by those who come to Him with love and the gentleness of a lamb. It is through love that Christ will prevail in the world.
This is the Day of our Lord, let us celebrate it with joy. This is the Day of our Victory. This is the Day in which Death, with its terrible power, was trampled upon and humiliated. And the sun has shone with its brilliant light, and all things are transformed by shedding their old and antiquated forms. Today, there is no more reason to grieve because the great enemy has been crushed, and the Kingdom of God has prevailed for all time. The Church today is made ecstatic by the Resurrection of Christ. The angels in heaven and the faithful on earth all proclaim in jubilation “Christ is risen, praise the Lord – Christ is risen. Glory be to Thy Holy Resurrection.” Let all humanity proclaim with us “Indeed, He is risen.” In this spirit, I am pleased to greet you and to share with you the joy of this great feast of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Let us with joy celebrate a new beginning.
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East