On September 24, 2009, His Grace Bishop THOMAS, led the Convent and many clergy, present at the Village for a clergy retreat, in celebration of Festal Vespers the evening prior, and Orthos and Divine Liturgy on the Feast at the Saint Peter and Paul Chapel. His Grace was also able to be with us for the beginning of Pilgrimage. We thank him for presiding at the Liturgy and for being with us. Many years, Master!
During the September 25-27 weekend, the Convent celebrated the Saint Thekla Pilgrimage. His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH, arrived on Friday for the Pilgrimage celebration which included daily Vespers, Orthros, and Divine Liturgy. We thank all of the clergy and chanters who served. After the Liturgy on Saturday morning, all processed to the Shrine of Saint Thekla where His Grace led us in a Supplication Service to Saint Thekla. Later in the day, His Grace presided at an Unction Service. Over the course of the Pilgrimage, His Grace presented three spiritually uplifting homilies on our theme, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” and led an “Ask Sayedna” panel.
Memory Eternal! His Grace Bishop ELIAS (Najm), Bishop of Apamea and Abbot of the Patriarchal Monastery of the Holy Prophet Elias in Dhour Shweir, Lebanon
It was with much sadness that we received the news of the falling asleep in Christ of our beloved brother, His Grace ELIAS (Najm), Bishop of Apamea, and Abbot of St. Elias Monastery in Dhour Shweir, Lebanon. His Grace was born in the village of Agmeed Shouf, Lebanon. He came from a priestly family. His father was a priest in the town of Bhamdoun, Lebanon. At the age of 14, he enrolled at the Balamand Seminary. After 5 years at the Balamand, he was sent by the late Patriarch ALEXANDER III (Tahan) to the school of Halki, Turkey, where he studied theology. After graduation he returned to the Patriarchate of Antioch, and was appointed Abbot of St. Elias Monastery where he served until his repose. He was very friendly, humble and loved by all people. We ask our brother hierarchs and beloved clergy and all faithful of this Archdiocese to remember him in their fervent prayers. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and relatives. May his memory be eternal, and may his soul rest in peace.
The October 2009 issue contains the following articles:
Willingness to Change, pg. 5
by Alberto Adan Macapili
Perseverance and Godly Independence, pg. 6
by Very Rev. Joseph Allen
The Ladder of Divine Ascent for Marriage, pg. 8
by Very Rev. Fr. George Morelli, Ph.D.
Can Light Sound Melodious?, pg. 14
by Yacoub Riad Al Sarraf
Doctors and Faith Help Sub-Deacon Overcome Life-Threatening Injuries, Pg. 21
by George J. Tanber
From Ancient Faith Radio: Our canons call for there to be one bishop in one place but here in America as well as other countries of the so called “diaspora” immigration and pastoral concerns have served to violate those canons. To address this issue, the leaders and representatives of all of the autocephalous Mother Churches were convened by HIs All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew first in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and later in Chambesy, Geneva, Switzerland to commission certain Episcopal Assemblies who will in turn develop regional plans to correct this anomaly.
IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) is pleased to offer a new journal for the 2009-2010 school year. Please click here to order!
To order more than one copy, please contact the Department of Religious Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which is partnering with IOCC in the distribution of the journal to parishes of all jurisdictions. You may reach the Department of Religious Education toll-free at 1-800-566-1088. The prayer journal is free, but shipping charges may apply.
This summer, the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies has launched The Chrysostom Bible, a new biblical commentary series for preaching and teaching. "The Chrysostom Bible," writes series editor, Fr. Paul Tarazi, "is not so much in honor of John Chrysostom as it is to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation."
November 5-8, 2009
This year’s theme:
Beyond the Classroom
We are pleased to present two keynote speakers: His Grace, Bishop THOMAS of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic; and Paul Finley, Executive Director of Antiochian Village.
Ancient Faith Radio has provided a page containing audio from the 2009 conference on Missions and Evangelism, sponsored by the Missions and Evangelism Department of the Antiochian Archdiocese. It took place on Labor Day weekend 2009 at Antiochian Village. The theme was Sharing Our Faith Building Our Church.
Recovering from Civil War, Uganda’s Orphans Receive Help from IOCC
September 8, 2009
By Zachary O’Dell/IOCC Ethiopia
Lapainat, Uganda – In the small village in northern Uganda, children play among hundreds of scattered huts with thatched roofs, many of which are now abandoned and deteriorating. Lapainat is the site of a large camp for displaced persons who fled fighting in the region of Gulu between the Ugandan military and a guerilla group. Until recently the area surrounding Gulu was inaccessible and extremely dangerous due to the violence, with most roads, hospitals and schools either damaged or completely destroyed and millions of people displaced from their villages.
“Both my parents were killed during the violence,” explains 16-year-old Patricia, who is the fourth of nine children. “My brothers and sisters and I were taken in by our uncle, but without much salary he cannot afford school fees.” Without the money to purchase basic supplies such as books, uniforms, and food, Patricia’s dream of studying to become an accountant seemed like it would never come true. Of the estimated 1.6 million left displaced or homeless by the fighting, nearly 80% are women and children, and 80% of the population aged 7-18 has never attended school – a majority of them girls like Patricia.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is creating opportunities for children throughout Uganda just like Patricia. In partnership with the Ugandan Orthodox Church and with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan JONAH and financial support from the St. Nektarios Fund, IOCC is building a secondary school in Lapainat for about 300 students. The Orthodox Church, which will run the school, has been active in northern Uganda since the late 1990s, and has established a Deanery overseeing multiple parishes in areas that were hit hard by the conflict.
In the opening program of a new series of interviews, Dr. Bradley Nassif, theologian, author and life-long member of the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America, speaks with The Illumined Heart host Kevin Allen about the “The Nature and Mission of the Bishop in the Orthodox Church.” You can also read Dr. Nassif’s one-page piece on the topic referred to in the interview.
The September 2009 issue contains the following articles:
The Founding of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village, pg. 12
The St. Thekla Pilgrimage, pg. 15
by H. Paul Finley
Homeschooling: The Encouragement and Challenge of St. Emmelia, pg. 20
by Fr. Noah Bushelli
Wrecking a Marriage, Pg. 21
by Fr. George Morelli
From the Diocese of Los Angeles web site:
Update Sep. 7: Containment efforts are moving slowly at the Station fire in the Angeles National Forest, due to unfavorable weather conditions over Labor Day weekend. A scheduled controlled burn to build more fire lines on Monday was scrapped. The blaze is almost two weeks old and has scorched 157,200 acres (246 square miles) and approximately 75 homes, but it is 56% contained. Full containment is still expected on September 15. No further deaths or injuries have been reported. Not all evacuations have been lifted, though some members of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles who live near the fire have been able to return home. Fire officials are continuing their arson investigation.
Please continue to pray to the Lord God for the souls of the firefighters who lost their lives last week, for all those who have been harmed or impacted by the Station fire and for the inferno’s speedy extinguishment. For the latest fire information, log onto the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website.
Archdiocese member and Order of St. Ignatius Historian Judy Braun has put together a collection of photo albums open to all Antiochians. On her Public Gallery, browsers can currently find eight albums from the Archdiocese convention. Headings include the Oratorical Festival, the Board of Trustees Luncheon, and the Grand Banquet. All can be viewed at: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/AOCAphotos
“I love taking pictures and I love editing them!” notes Judy, for whom photography is a serious hobby. “Originally, I had 1,500 photos of the Convention that needed editing.” Mother of three and grandmother of two, Judy attends St. Athanasius Church in Goleta, California, where she often photographs weddings and parish events. Her work can also be viewed on the St. Athanasius website.
Judy plans on adding to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (“AOCA”) Picasa page, as she attends and photographs different events in the life of the Archdiocese.
Come Receive the Light - The Nationally Syndicated Land Based Radio Program - On this week's CRTL podcast: Fr. Chris speaks with Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of St. George Church in Houston, Texas on his book Defeating Sin: Overcoming Our Passions and Changing Forever. The Fathers describe this essential effort as the path to godliness--"theosis" in the Orthodox faith. You won't want to miss this powerful message! In a short segment, Gigi Shadid talks about her music, faith and teaching. Gigi Shadid is an educator, a Khouria, and a musician with two CDs of Orthodox children's music.
On July 28, 2009, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, the official prison ministry of SCOBA, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, convened its first convocation for Orthodox prison workers in Denver, Colorado.
In attendance were 52 Orthodox prison chaplains and volunteers representing 22 states and many Orthodox jurisdictions.
At the 2009 Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, attendees were treated to the excellent speeches prepared by the diocesan oratorical festival winners. An expert panel of judges deliberated before choosing the grand prize winner for the Senior Division, Joel Schaefer.
The Oratorical Festival is a program sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. It was designed to serve as an avenue for our youth to learn, enhance and share the knowledge of their faith based on a given topic by giving an oration. For some youth, it is a door into the life of the Church, and for others, it is an expression of their continuing experience of Christ and His Church.
FOCUS North America is excited to announce the extension of its domestic outreach to the poor by receiving the highly acclaimed “Orthodox Youth Outreach” (OYO) program from the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Youth Ministry and Teen SOYO. Added to FOCUS North America’s diverse ongoing operations and partner ministries, the addition of the OYO program strengthens its domestic ministry to the homeless and hopeless by involving youth in urban service learning opportunities and social action leadership training.
“FOCUS North America, its Board of Directors and Staff are honored to receive OYO as part of its ongoing operations, extending and maximizing our programs to minister to the poor and raise up the next generation of Orthodox Christian servant-leaders in North America,” said Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director and CEO of FOCUS North America.
August 5, 2009
Mr. Charles Ajalat
Greetings and blessings to you, Marilee, the children and grandchildren in the spirit of this Holy Dormition Fast.
I am in receipt of your correspondence dated August 2 and August 3, 2009, and it pains me very much to accept your resignation as Chancellor of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. I want to thank you for your kind words and the love which you have expressed to me in your letters.