On Friday April 24th, 2009, a special meeting of the Holy Synod of The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America was held under the chairmanship of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. All of the hierarchs of the Archdiocese were in attendance at the meeting namely:
His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP
His Grace Bishop ANTOUN
His Grace Bishop JOSEPH
His Grace Bishop BASIL
His Grace Bishop THOMAS
His Grace Bishop MARK
His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER
The sole agenda item was a discussion of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was adopted on February 24th, 2009. This decision normalized the status of all bishops across the See of Antioch to be that of Auxiliary bishops.
The hierarchs discussed many issues that have been raised by clergy and laity alike regarding this decision. There was agreement that there are some very serious issues that need attention in order that the healing process can proceed. The hierarchs agreed to take some specific actions that can facilitate this healing.
What is CONNECT?
CONNECT is an academic and cultural exchange program which introduces youth of the world to the environment, culture and heritage of Lebanon, Syria, and the Middle East.
CONNECT aims at offering youth (17 to 25 years of age) a unique learning experience that will enrich their mind and soul, and connect them with their land of ancestry and rich heritage.
The four-week cultural exchange program includes:
- Academic Programs and Interactive Tutorials
- Seminars, Workshops and Discussions
- Trips in Lebanon and Syria (optional)
- Antiochian Heritage: Orthodox Belief; Liturgy; Architecture
- Cultural Activities
- Involvement in Community-based Projects
- Sports and Outdoor Activities, including a beach resort on the Mediterranean Sea
We are please to announce this Bright Week the addition of a new page on Antiochian.org for remembrance of our loved ones who have fallen asleep in the Lord. In particular, we remember this week Kh. Lorraine Husson and Margaret Lois Salaris. Please visit the page and remember these dear ones in your prayers!
Christ is Risen!
On Bright Tuesday, April 21, 2009, His Grace Vladyka MERCURIUS, the Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchal Parishes in the United States visited His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP at the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey.
The occasion was a farewell visit by Vladyka MERCURIUS before he departs for Moscow to assume his new duties as the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Religious Education and Catechism for the Moscow Patriarchate, and Abbot of St. Peter’s Monastery in Moscow.
Metropolitan PHILIP expressed his warm feelings regarding the good relations which he enjoyed with Vladyka MERCURIUS during his stay in the United States over the past 9 years. The two hierarchs exchanged many ideas on the topic of Orthodox unity in America, and the forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Council which will be held in Cyprus later this year. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP expressed his wishes that His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia would exercise a leading role in international Orthodox relations, especially given that His Holiness represents approximately 100 million Orthodox Christians. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP expressed fond memories of his previous two visits to Russia and asked Vladyka MERCURIUS to express his warmest regards to His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL.
|Photo by James Demaria|
As has been the custom every year of his episcopacy, we were blessed to have our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP with us to celebrate the feast of feasts in his cathedral. St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, the mother church of the archdiocese, was filled to capacity on what was a beautiful spring evening in New York. Following the resurrection 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) as they celebrated the feast. Please enjoy the pictures as we celebrate our Lord's resurrection from the dead.
Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!
“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to His own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
“O Christ Saviour, we were but yesterday buried with Thee, and we shall rise with Thee in Thy Resurrection. We were but yesterday crucified with Thee: glorify us with Thee in Thy kingdom.”
(Verse from the Third Ode of the Paschal Canon)
Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy, Trustees, Parish Council Members, and All Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese:
Christ is Risen!
[OCA Communications/Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministry] -- "FeastofFeasts.org," a web site celebrating Holy Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is now live.
Co-sponsored by the Orthodox Church in America and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, the site includes current materials from the two Churches' respective web sites and print media, and new material and resources from both jurisdictions.
Visitors to the site will find articles, photo galleries, and audio files that teach about the significance of the feast of Christ's Resurrection and about how this holy day is celebrated by Orthodox Christians.
On a beautiful Palm Sunday, April 12, 2009, the parish of St. George in Little Falls, NJ was blessed to have Metropolitan PHILIP to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us. Celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence was host pastor The Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Fr. Stephen DeYoung from St. Tikhon's Seminary. As always on Palm Sunday, the St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd of an additional 250 viewing the Liturgy from the Church Hall via a large video screen.
FOCUS North America established to support and build up domestic Orthodox social action ministries.
KANSAS CITY—April 7, 2009—In early 2009, FOCUS North America (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) launched as a network of Orthodox Christian social action ministries that express Christ’s love in North America for those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick or in prison (Matt. 25:35-5). In its first 60 days of operation, FOCUS North America has partnered with dozens of Orthodox agencies and parish initiatives and awarded more than $30,000 in grants.
On the evening of April 10, 2009, the Eve of Lazarus Saturday and the Feast of St. Leo of Rome, twenty-six catechumens from the newly formed St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Lewistown, Maryland were chrismated and received into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America at Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, Maryland. The chrismations were conducted by the group’s catechists, including Fathers Nicholas Alford, Patrick Cardine, and Alban Waggener, as well as by the new mission’s interim priest, Father Peter Jacobsen.
On Friday April 10th, 2009, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, hosted His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH, Primate of The Orthodox Church in America for an important meeting at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, NJ.
The April 2009 issue contains the following articles:
Fr. Peter Gillquist Interviews Metropolitan PHILIP, pg. 4
Sharing the Faith: News and Resources from the Department of Christian Education, pg. 19
Address by His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia, pg. 23
From Lent to Pascha: The Journey of the People of God, pg. 31
by Melanie Paulick
If you have reflections on Pascha that you wish to share with the world, we would like to see them. A selection of readers' Paschal thoughts and memories will be posted on www.FeastofFeasts.org, the upcoming Internet collaboration between the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Orthodox Church in America in celebration of the risen Christ.
Please send your Pascha-related submissions to editor@FeastOfFeasts.org. Entries should be relatively brief (less than 300 words), and typed in e-mail only (no PDFs or other attachments, please). We are sorry that we cannot currently accept graphic submissions. Please be aware that we may edit submissions for length and style.
Antiochian.org will be launching a new site design the first week of April. This is the last stage of a series of "under the hood" upgrades to the Archdiocese website, managed by the Department of Internet Ministry, over the past several months. We hope you find the new look refreshing and easier to use, and appreciate your patience with any difficulties with the transition. As always, we value any feedback or requests you have for us, which can be sent via email to email@example.com.
Our new site banner again features the work of Archdiocese iconographer Jan Isham. Jan's beautiful icons are available through Conciliar Press.
by Lucy Hanna, NAB Dir. of Public Relations
The Antiochian Women of North America: Who are they? And what is their Focus and Purpose?
The answer to the first question is simple: Every Orthodox woman 18 years or older who is a member of a parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America-- regardless of ethnicity and whether or not her parish has an organized chapter—she belongs to Antiochian Woman!
The answer to the second question, while also simple, is a bit more lengthy. Women have a natural capacity to love and nurture. This is what His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP recognized when he founded the National Organization of Antiochian Women in 1973. Then, to help us in our ministries he established a focus and purpose for our organization as a roadmap to guide us in a spirit of Christian leadership, awareness and commitment, fostering love through charitable acts and creating a sense of fellowship and understanding of our heritage and traditions.
The Orthodox Church in America and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America are teaming up to launch a web site offering articles, photo galleries, and audio files celebrating Holy Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the "Feast of Feasts."
March 6, 2009
We have heard, to our dismay, that our honored hierarchs, including Metropolitan PHILIP, are upset by a statement, which was recently circulated in the Greater Detroit Area, in support of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch, concerning all bishops in the See of Antioch. This letter is to clarify and articulate the true meaning of that statement. We, indeed, have no intention of hurting and/or intimidating any of our hierarchs. We sincerely apologize for any hurt caused unintentionally. As obedient children of the Holy Church, we accept, with humility, this historic decision with much gratitude. We assure our love and respect to all revered hierarchs, and we pray for a smooth transition for our Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese. May the Lord, our God, guide our steps.
V. Rev. Joseph Antypas
V. Rev. George Shalhoub
V. Rev. George Baalbaki
Rev. Ayman Kfouf
Metropolitan PHILIP writes:
March 4, 2009
Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese, Parish Councils and Faithful of this God-Protected Archdiocese:
Greetings and blessings during this Holy Lenten Season!
There have been some questions raised regarding the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which addressed the status of bishops across the entire See of Antioch. The purpose of this letter is to try to answer these questions so that confusion may be avoided.
The first question deals with whether or not I am supportive of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was taken on February 24, 2009. I am supportive of this decision, for a simple reason. I am convinced that the institutional structure of our Archdiocese here requires it at this time.
Metropolitan PHILIP writes:
To all clergy of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:
We greet you in the spirit of this Great Lent.
Some of our clergy have inquired about hierarchical commemorations in the divine services. In order to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, we would like to direct your attention to the following:
Metropolitan PHILIP writes:
Esteemed Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese,
Beloved Clergy and Parish Councils and all Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese,
Greetings and blessings to all of you in the spirit of this Holy and Great Lent.
Enclosed, please find two copies of the Holy Synod decision regarding all bishops within the Holy See of Antioch. This decision was adopted by the Holy Synod of Antioch which was convened at the Patriarchate in Damascus, February 24th, 2009. The Patriarch and the Holy Synod are the highest authority in our Antiochian Church. You will find enclosed the Arabic text and the English translation which is mine. Since this was a special Synod meeting with only one item on the agenda concerning the bishops, the proposed text of this decision was sent to the members of the Holy Synod, who were not present, for their approval.