January 13, 2010
TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT
"You who are strong, help the weak. You who are rich, help the poor. You who stand upright, help the fallen and the crushed. You who are joyful, comfort those in sadness. You who enjoy all good fortune, help those who have met with disaster. Give something in thanksgiving to God that you are of those who can give help, and not of those who stand and wait for it." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus)
Beloved in Christ:
We are all aware of the disastrous earthquake which struck the country of Haiti on Tuesday that destroyed many homes and reduced much of their land to rubble and took many innocent lives. Thousands of homes were destroyed and thousands of people are still missing amid the heaps of ruins. Even the center of the city of Port au Prince, was heavily damaged, including the capital that was completely destroyed. With faith in God, these victims of this disaster are trying to restore some order to their shattered lives.
January 14, 2010
IOCC URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Relief for the Beleaguered People of Haiti
For the people of Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest country, life was difficult enough before the massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.
Since news of the earthquake came to light, IOCC staff have been contacting partners active in Haiti and attempting to reach Orthodox parishes on the island to coordinate our response to the growing need. Like many Haitians who have been struggling to reach their loved ones, IOCC is finding direct communication difficult – symptomatic of the widespread destruction and ruined infrastructure that is now beginning to be revealed.
Given the magnitude of the quake and the poverty that already existed before the disaster, IOCC has mobilized its disaster response team and is preparing to respond to the tremendous needs in close coordination with our Orthodox and ecumenical partners. Listen to Ancient Faith Radio's interview with IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou here.
Please help the people of Haiti!
- Make an online gift to assist the victims of disasters around the world, like the Haiti Earthquake, by giving to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund, at www.iocc.org.
- Assemble hygiene kits and emergency clean-up buckets to be shipped to places like Haiti – or wherever disasters strike. For information on hygiene kits, go to www.iocc.org/kits.
- Pray for the people of Haiti and those who have lost loved ones in this disaster and for the safety of those who are working to assist them. See: http://www.iocc.org/prayers/
Several years after the momentous Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade overturned the laws of all fifty states and essentially legalized abortion on demand throughout the U.S., churches everywhere began observing Sacred Gift of Life Sunday. This event, which always precedes the anniversary of this misguided decision, is a call for Christians everywhere to prayers and activism on behalf of women and their unborn children.
In the Antiochian Archdiocese, our teens are leading the way in asking our parishes to observe Sacred Gift of Life Sunday. With the blessing of Metropolitan Philip, Teen SOYO has compiled a packet of resource materials to help the faithful memorialize the 43 million lives lost to abortion in the last 35 years.
On Sunday, January 17, 2010, the hierarchs of SCOBA have scheduled a national event to support the growth of Orthodox media outreach. Titled “Share the Light Sunday,” it is intended to raise awareness and financial support for the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), a pan-Orthodox media ministry that is also one of the official agencies of SCOBA. OCN uses the power of the radio and the Internet to present our Church to mainstream America--to reach out to everyone, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, with a message that is engaging, accessible and Christ-centered. The Hierarchs of SCOBA have issued a letter calling attention to the ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network, and encouraging the faithful to participate in Share the Light Sunday.
For more information, inluding bulletin inserts, media materials and more, please visit OCN's Share the Light Sunday web page.
On Monday January 4th, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America hosted a meeting with His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).
The meeting was held at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey. Also attending was Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, the OCA Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations.
The two hierarchs discussed several topics of utmost importance to the Orthodox faithful in America. Among the topics discussed were the following two items of special significance:
The January 2010 issue contains the following articles:
Preaching Christ Crucified at Theophany, pg. 4
by Fr. Steven Salaris
The Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord, pg. 14
by Fr. Daniel Griffith
Plus words from the Antiochian House of Studies, the Department of Youth Ministries, Fr. John Abdalah
from NAC Teen SOYO:
Dear Fathers, Parents, Teen Advisors, and Teens:
Greetings in the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ!
I pray this message finds everyone in good health. As Vice President of the North American Council of SOYO and on behalf of the NAC Purity, Virginity, Chastity Committee, (also known as PVC), it is with pleasure that I present to you the official Purity, Virginity, Chastity Educational Packet.
Since late July 2008, the Purity, Virginity, Chastity Committee has been working diligently to formulate this packet you hold today. The NAC has collectively agreed that it is extremely necessary to reach out to our SOYO chapters across the Archdiocese and provide them with an interactive packet addressing these important topics.
Christmas is an opportunity to revive our faith in the One who was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Jesus was born of a virgin to save the world from sin and to lead it towards salvation. God, in the Christmas message, sent His only Son to show us that human nature is neither evil nor transient. For, as God took on human nature, that nature has become noble, and we humans, the carriers of His image, became thereby noble, and touched by the holiness that comes from above.
Christmas means God came to us and for us. Accordingly, we should be ready to do God's will. On this day we beseech the Almighty to open our eyes to see our brethren, and appreciate that the God who created us is the God who created them; they have the right to exist as we do. Otherwise, our faith will be at fault. At Christmas we look at our world and ask God to have mercy on us and grant us His Grace. There are people who are dying here and there; there are millions who are displaced. May the Good Lord give them solace and peace.
I pray to the Child born in a cave in Bethlehem to forgive our sins and look upon you and upon us with His infInite love and boundless mercy.
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies is pleased to announce publication of the latest addition to the Chrysostom Bible Series, "Philippians: A Commentary." In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, presents a reading of Philippians that uses the text "according to its own literary fabric," challenging the reader "to join the community of the Apostle's Philippians while listening to his letter...not to 'fathom' God's kingdom, but to inherit it."
This week on Special Moments in Orthodoxy, in an Orthodox Christian Network vaulted interview, Fr. Chris Metropulos interviews His Grace Bishop BASIL on the importance of the Nativity Season and Advent.
"As Orthodox Christians, we're used to our Fast periods being periods of repentance, and rather dark periods. And the period of Advent, the pre-Nativity Fast, is a very different kind of season ... It's more of a preparation, a preparation for a great Feast. And there's joy that permeates that entire Fast." + Bishop BASIL
The true meaning of Christmas is a celebration of God’s gift of love to us through Christ. What better way to celebrate Christmas than to give gifts that allow us to share God’s gifts to a world in need. IOCC’s new Christmas Gift Catalog offers distinctive ideas for gifts that will share the love of God throughout the year with people devastated by war, poverty and natural disasters. The Christmas Gift Catalog is available here online.
1. What was the genesis for this book?
I've had a love for St. Lucia ever since I moved to California in 1992 and was invited to participate in a St. Lucia festival hosted by my friends, Nektarios and Anna Burkett. When the Conciliar Press editorial board (on which I serve) decided they wanted more picture books about women saints, I knew I wanted to write one, and St. Lucia immediately came to mind.
2. Who are the children you had in mind, during the writing process?
Ancient Faith Radio announces “God is With Us!”, a special collection of podcasts reflecting on the Nativity Season
“God is with us! Understand all ye nations and submit yourselves, for God is with us!”
Ancient Faith Radio is collecting episodes from our large family of podcasts that will help make the Nativity season a truly joyful experience. This collection draws from both past and current series and will be updated until Theophany. In addition to this collection, we provide The Path with Fr. Tom Soroka, a wonderful daily resource that will enrich the Nativity season. His daily (M-F) podcast draws on the Epistles and the Gospel readings, both from the Orthodox Study Bible, and is supplemented by rich commentary from the Church Fathers.
*Ncense, a vocal group composed of young men from the Antiochian Archdiocese, has recently released a new CD. Titled "Rising from the East," the new recording contains hymns from the Divine Liturgy for the feast of St. Raphael of Brooklyn. Proceeds from sales of the CD will go to benefit Orthodox camping programs. The project was sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, and follows *Ncense's previous recording "Every Good and Perfect Gift."
On Sunday, December 6, 2009, St. Nicholas Day celebrations at St. John Chrysostom Church in York, Pennsylvania were featured in the York Daily Record. The article highlights the local tradition of the parish's children commemorating the feast day through charitable giving:
...at a local church, children swapped roles with the beloved saint Sunday, presenting him with gifts instead -- gifts that will ultimately be distributed to needy families by Access-York and the Victim Assistance Center.
"I can see you've been teaching the children to love others by giving to the poor," St. Nicholas told the Rev. Peter Pier, pastor of St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in Springettsbury Township...
A member of St. John Chrysostom church suggested the idea of children giving gifts to St. Nicholas years ago.
"It is definitely a good message to the children because they so often hear Christmas is about getting, getting getting," said parishioner Mike Buleza.
In time for Christmas gift giving, SVS Press has released Jane Meyer’s The Woman and the Wheat, the second book in a set that also includes The Man and the Vine. The books tell the story of the making of Eucharistic bread and wine, and are complimented by the artistic skills of illustrator Ned Gannon. To order, click here.
In an interview, author Meyer explained, “the book highlights that time in church when something temporal becomes something eternal.” Read interview here:
The Word magazine is a beloved ministry of our Archdiocese, founded in Arabic in 1905 by St. Raphael of Brooklyn and in 1957 made an English language publication by Metropolitan Antony Bashir. At The Best of The Word, you'll find thought-provoking articles that share the blessed work being done in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and the wisdom of her workers.
Some recently posted recommendations to get you started: Mother Alexandra's The Founding of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village; Bishop THOMAS's Care at the End of Life: What Orthodox Christianity Has To Teach; and Roberta Royhab's The Children Are Not Afraid.
The December 2009 issue contains the following articles:
FOCUS North America, pg. 4
by Charles Ajalat
My Damascus Summer, pg. 8
by Daniel G. Khalil Jr.
Metropolitan PHILIP Hosts Annual Seminarian Dinner, pg. 12
Book Review: Meeting the Incarnate God, pg. 31
Book Review: Patience With God, Pg. 32
Beautiful fall weather greeted approximately 70 wives of clergy from many jurisdictions on the weekend of November 5-7 at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania for what was hopefully the 1st Annual Clergy Wives Weekend. Wives of priests, deacons and seminarians from 17 states and one Canadian province gathered to hear speakers and to share prayer and fellowship at a weekend event arranged in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah, who during her lifetime was an inspirational counselor and friend to many clergy, clergy wives, and countless other people. The idea for the Weekend grew from the desire of Kh. Joanne’s son Joe wanting to find a way to honor his mother’s memory, and a similar idea from clergy wives who knew and loved her, too. It proved a most fitting and successful tribute!
Friday night was a relaxed time to be together in the Lodge building at the Village camp, with dinner, snacks, and a log fire. On Saturday morning everyone gathered in the camp church for a Divine Liturgy on the feast of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, whose shrine could be seen out the church window.
Conciliar Press announces an outstanding sale on all available back issues of AGAIN Magazine and The Handmaiden Magazine. The publications are arranged in groups and are sold as Library Packs at 75% off the original cover price. Both magazines are a great and timeless resource of Orthodox spirituality, and contain content by some of the best Orthodox writers and editors over the last 25 years. It is the hope of Conciliar Press, that this sale will help get the magazines into the hands of all those who loved and enjoyed them over the years and will help to preserve the rich heritage and legacy of the publications.