Featured Articles


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.

Benefit Dinner for Special Needs Children in Lebanon

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.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Pascha with Brooklyn Faithful

"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.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Feast.

Paschal Letter of His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Easter 2010

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.

IGNATIUS IV

Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

April 2010 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

The April 2010 issue contains the following articles:

A Spiritual Child is a Happy Child, pg. 4
by Fr. George Morelli

Soul Mates, pg. 11
by Fr. John Winfrey

So Many Calendars, So Little Time, pg. 14
by R. Leo Olson

Synopsis of the St. Stephen's Course of Study in Applied Orthodox Theology, pg. 34

...and more!

Metropolitan PHILIP Writes His Holiness KIRILL, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, with Prayers in Wake of Moscow Terrorism

March 30, 2010
His Holiness, KIRILL
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

Your Holiness:

Greetings to you during these all holy days as we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May God give you strength!

We were horrified to learn of the barbaric attack yesterday on the beloved citizens of Moscow by a group of terrorists. This was especially disturbing as it took place during the Great and Holy Week of the Church. On behalf of all the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, please accept our sincere and deep sympathies to Your Holiness, the Russian government and the Russian people. May the innocent blood which was shed on Calvary wash away our sins and the sins of the entire world.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Palm Sunday with the Faithful of Little Falls, NJ

The parish of St. George, Little Falls, NJ welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP as he celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy there on Palm Sunday, April 28, 2010.

Joined by co-celebrants the Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Deacon Jason Blais from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, His Eminence began the day with the ordination of two Subdeacons from St. George parish – Peter Yazgi and Matthew Chatri. St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd viewing the Liturgy from our large parish hall via a large video screen.

 Sayidna PHILIP spoke about the events in the Gospel of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and while this was not the first time Christ gave life to the dead, it was the most famous. Comparing it to today's world, His Eminence suggested that the event would be on "the headline biggest... the first item of news on TV!"

Experience Great Friday Vigil with Teen SOYO

In order to fully appreciate the wonder of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead, it is important that we understand the significance of his sufferings that we may behold His glorious Resurrection.

An ancient tradition in the Orthodox Church, which NAC Teen SOYO has committed itself to honor, is the Vigil at the Tomb of Christ. After our Lord died on the Cross, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus, bound it in linen cloths with spices and buried it in a new tomb. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat opposite the tomb watching as their Lord was buried. The Church over the centuries has joined with these two women in keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb. The Holy Friday Vigil at Christ’s tomb is our opportunity to help keep watch over our Lord’s body as He descends in to Hell to loosen the bonds of death. What better way to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus than to participate in the Vigil by His tomb?

For more information and materials to assist in organizing a vigil in your own church, please visit www.antiochian.org/great_friday_vigil.

The Church has given us this opportunity to watch and wait with the countless saints and myriads of angels as our Lord conquers death.

OCA and Antiochian Archdiocese Paschal Celebration Website

FeastOfFeasts.org is an Orthodox Christian celebration of Holy Pascha and the Resurrection of Christ. The site was created in 2009 through a joint effort of the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministry and the Orthodox Church in America Department of Communications. We encourage readers to visit the site's collection of articles, reflections and more on Holy Week and the central Feast of our faith.

Antiochian Village Hosts Homeschoolers and Antiochian Women

The past several weekends, Antiochian Village has been a beehive of activity. From March 11-14, over 160 participants from several states traveled to the Village for the Homeschooling Conference. Attendees enjoyed workshops, crafts and creative activities for the kids, corporate worship, and visits by His Grace Bishop Thomas with both the youth and adults. Thanks to the hard work of the Teen SOYO Chapters of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Johnstown, PA, and St. Michael Orthodox Church in Greensburg, PA, children attending the conference participated in a lively carnival complete with activities such as a hula hoop contest, a butterfly hunt, and most memorable of all, visits with "The Bible Guy." 

The following weekend, March 19-21, four Christian groups used the conference center; one of these groups was the Antiochian Women of the East, who came for their annual Lenten retreat and Spring delegates meeting.

Confession: The Healing Sacrament

By Jim Forest

The very word confession makes us nervous, touching as it does all that is hidden in ourselves: lies told, injuries caused, things stolen, friends deceived, people betrayed, promises broken, faith denied—these plus all the smaller actions that reveal the beginnings of sins.

Confession is painful, yet a Christian life without confession is impossible.

Click here to read the article in full.

Antiochian.org thanks Conciliar Press for the use of this and other essays featured on our Discover Orthodox Christianity section.

Antiochian Heritage Museum Opens "Spirit and Whimsy" Chocheli Exhibit

On March 15, the Antiochian Heritage Museum at Antiochian Village is opening a one-of-a-kind exhibit featuring the art of Niko Chocheli. "Spirit and Whimsy" marks the first time that a comprehensive exhibit of Chocheli's work, with examples from each of the books that he has illustrated, has ever been presented.

Niko Chocheli is one of the foremost artists to emerge from the Republic of Georgia, a nation rich in early Christian history. An acclaimed iconographer, illustrator, and award-winning artist, Chocheli draws upon the artistic traditions of both East and West, as well as his Orthodox Christian heritage, creating colorful and expressive paintings which have been shown throughout the world and which are held in many prestigious collections.

Conciliar Press Introduces New Resources

Conciliar Press has announced a new release of their most popular book, Becoming Orthodox, by Fr. Peter Gillquist. This edition of the best-seller includes an epilogue, "Coming Up on Twenty-Five Years," and will be featured soon as Conciliar's first audio book, read by the author himself. Additionally, the Press is moving into the world of digital publishing and has released their first Kindle book, Dimitri's Cross, the story of Fr. Dimitri Klepinin, an Orthodox priest serving in Nazi-occupied Paris. 

Additionally, the two journals, The Handmaiden and AGAIN, will gain a second life in the new Conciliar reading room currently under construction. The Press also plans to provide online periodicals in the future, as CEO John Maddex explained in a recent interview.

1.  Recently Conciliar held its annual editorial board meeting. How does your leadership plan to navigate all the changes taking place in the greater publishing world?

This is both an exciting and challenging time for all publishers including Conciliar Press.  Exciting in terms of opportunities to harness new technologies to disseminate the life giving message of the Orthodox Faith.

March 2010 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

The March 2010 issue contains the following articles:

Ian and the Family of Believers, pg. 4

The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and the Claim of Rome to Preeminence, pg. 6
by Dn. Gregory Roeber

Monasticism: The Angelic Evangelic Life, pg. 12
by Fr. Steven C. Salaris

March is Antiochian Women's Month, pg. 15

...and more!

Metropolitan PHILIP Appeal for Chile Earthquake Relief

Courtesy Mariana Bazo / ReutersCourtesy Mariana Bazo / ReutersMarch 1, 2010

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”  (Acts 2:44-45)

Once again we are confronted with the images of destruction, death and human tragedy in the wake of the severe earthquake that struck Chile on Saturday, February 27th, 2010.  More than 700 are confirmed to have died, with the toll expected to be higher.  More than 1.5 million people are homeless or without shelter.  I have been in touch with my brother, Metropolitan SERGIOS (Abd), the Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Chile.  His Eminence is personally safe and sound, but several of his churches have suffered damage from the earthquake, and the status of some of the faithful is still to be determined.  As the quote above from the Book of Acts reminds us, it has always been the tradition of the Church to help any brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need.  As such, we are asking all of our parishes and missions to appeal for prayers and donations in order to assist those who are in need in Chile.

Church Remembers St. Raphael on the Anniversary of His Repose

St. Raphael's ReposeSt. Raphael's ReposeFebruary 27th, is the 95th anniversary of the repose of our Father among the Saints, St. Raphael of Brooklyn. Holy Hierarch Raphael, pray unto God for us! Read about his passing on OrthodoxHistory.org.

Raphael Hawaweeny was born on November 8, 1860, in Beirut, Lebanon. Raphael attended the Greek Orthodox Theological School in Halki, Turkey; then traveled to Russia to further his studies at the Kiev Theological Academy. He was ordained a priest in 1889 and assigned to pastor the Antiochian Patriarchal Embassy in Moscow. He came know to the Arab communities in America as they sought his leadership. Bishop Nicholas of the North American diocese also went to Russia to recruit him and other missionaries. They arrived in America on November 14, 1895.

FOCUS North America's Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) Program Hosts Los Angeles Weekend

By Charles Ajalat

I’ve just come home from the FOCUS North America YES trip to the Fred Jordan Mission on skid row in Los Angeles and am still so excited I want to capture part of what happened, for the benefit of Orthodox Christians.

 Our group of 23, included Katrina, five older “counselors” or leaders, the young adults (7th graders through high school students), and myself. We started Friday, February 4 at noon with a two hour briefing and training session at a local Orthodox Church by our truly spiritual, truly uplifting and inspiring YES! Director, Katrina Bitar. What rapport she has with the teens and counselors, what humility, what love for the poor, what a model for our young people. God willing, she is in the process of replicating herself .

We are not only more than doubling the YES program this year but, God willing, will multiple it many times over in the near future. Preparation had been made by the staff the day and week before the YES weekend. The trip was well-planned.

Orthodox Historical Society Brings the Past to Life

Growing up in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Matthew Namee learned to love the faith, and as he grew older and began to research the Church's history in America, he eventually decided to join with other historians to form the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA). Readers of SOCHA's website, OrthodoxHistory.org, will encounter fascinating articles about, and see archived photos of, events of great interest to Antiochian Christians, such as St. Raphael's consecration, and Metropolitan Antony Bashir's ministry in the early to mid-1900's. They will also discover essays, primary sources, links to podcasts, book reviews, and tidbits discovered in the course of research, that all tell the story of the early years of Orthodoxy in America. Namee also now hosts a podcast with Ancient Faith Radio, titled American Orthodox History.

Recently, Antiochian.org chatted with Matthew Namee about SOCHA's historical sleuthing. 

1. Tell us about the Society. What is your mission and purpose?

I’ve been doing research on American Orthodox history for a number of years now, and I noticed early on that there were others like me, doing similar research, but without any knowledge of each other.

New Parish Pages Launched on Antiochian.org

The editors at Antiochian.org have launched a dedicated section of pages for parishes under the "Parishes" drop down button in the top menu. In addition to the already existing list of parishes, the three new pages feature news from parishes around the U.S. and Canada, resources for building missions and strengthening established parishes, and help for parish web editors. A centerpiece of the new section is a fascinating roundtable discussion between six mission parish priests, who share what they've learned about effective mission building.

Has your parish hosted a conference or sponsored an outreach event? Did your community just break ground for a new building? Share it with us! Readers of Antiochian.org are encouraged to submit their parish news and photos for posting, as well as suggested resources, via the editor's box: editor@antiochian.org.