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St. Nicholas Cathedral Concludes Jubilee Year with Joyful Feast

The jubilee year in honor of the 100th anniversary of the repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn reached its apex with the celebration of the Feast of St. Raphael in the Archdiocesan Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, NY, on November 6–7, 2015. St. Nicholas is the first parish community established by the saint in 1895. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided at Great Vespers on Friday evening and Festal Orthros and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning, assisted by Their Graces, Bishops John and Nicholas of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

NY Times Article Features St. Raphael and Brooklyn Cathedral

St. Raphael's funeral (source: St. Nicholas Cathedral)St. Raphael's funeral (source: St. Nicholas Cathedral)On November 5, 2015, The New York Times published an article by reporter Andy Newman, "A Centennial Celebration for Brooklyn's Only Saint." The article noted that on Friday evening and Saturday morning, November 6-7, the community of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral would be marking the 100th anniversary of the death of the beloved Antiochian saint, St. Raphael of Brooklyn. The weekend is the culmination of the centennial year of remembrance and celebration.

"When Bishop Hawaweeny died in 1915," reported the article, "4,000 mourners lined Pacific Street. In 2000, he was canonized at a monastery in Pennsylvania.

"On Friday night," it continued, " St. Raphael's feast will fill St. Nicholas Cathedral, which moved in 1920 to a former Episcopal church on State Street, a soaring, richly painted space of 60-foot ceilings and walls of gold and white and pastel blue."

Read the full story in The Times.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Appoints an Archdiocesan Steering Committee for Syrian Relief

At the recently completed meeting of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees which was held in Van Nuys California, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph appointed a Steering Committee which is expected to plan and coordinate all efforts within the Archdiocese which are directed toward Syrian relief. The actual appointment letter to the committee can be read here.

The Committee members are as follows:

Archdiocese Celebrates Milestones and Achievements in Southern California Meeting

View the photo gallery

Whenever the hierarchs and the Board of Trustees assemble for their annual Fall Meeting, they try to do so in conjunction with celebrations of a parish community within the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The weekend of October 22-25, 2015 was no exception. In fact, the hierarchs and Trustees joined in the celebrations at two parishes in southern California: St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Van Nuys, and St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Los Angeles.

Metropolitan Joseph's Archiepiscopal Directive On So-called "Same-Sex Marriage"

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
October 29, 2015

Christ is in our Midst! 

At the recently concluded meeting of the hierarchs of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, the attached directive was reviewed and approved for distribution to all of our clergy and laity.
 
Prologue

The holy Church offers to her spiritual children the tender and sweet milk of the Gospel and the nourishing and substantive meat of spiritual guidance, encouragement, discipline, and reproof, so that Her children may flourish "in the fatherly adoption." Ours is a Christian culture with all of the components of instruction and guidance, so that no one may depart from the ecclesiastical garden of delights without nourishment suitable for him.

Antiochian.org and Ancient Faith Collaborate on New Podcast Section

A new offering on Antiochian.org features a selection of Ancient Faith Radio's podcasts, providing edification and ease-of-listening access for our visitors. You can find the latest releases on our Antiochian.org homepage sidebar, and in our master collection. The section will be continually updated with episodes of popular programs by men and women from across the Antiochian Archdiocese and beyond, like "Roads From Emmaus" and "Frederica Here And Now".

Technical work was completed by developers from both Ancient Faith Ministries and the Department of Internet Ministry. "While these two departments of the Archdiocese have collaborated closely for years," noted Douglas Cramer, Archdiocese Director of Internet Ministry, "with this project the Archdiocese deepens her ability to share the rich teachings continually offered on Ancient Faith Radio's podcasts."

Leadership of the Antiochian Archdiocese Convenes in Southern California

Woodland Hills, CA

Although they are called the "Fall Meetings," to those assembled therein, they are more than just meetings.

By the grace of God, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has inaugurated a full spiritual weekend for the bishops, clergy leaders, and lay leaders of the Antiochian Archdiocese at the annual Fall Meetings on October 23-25, 2015. The weekend is co-hosted by St. Michael Church of Van Nuys and St. Nicholas Cathedral of Los Angeles.

Joining Sayidna Joseph are his brother hierarchs: Their Graces, Bishop Basil of Wichita and Mid-America; Bishop Thomas of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic; Bishop John of Worcester and New England; Bishop Anthony of Toledo and the Midwest; and Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn.

Ancient Faith Radio Special: "Antioch on the Record"

A special edition of "Ancient Faith Today" on Ancient Faith Radio features an important conversation regarding Orthodox administrative unity, between host Kevin Allen and the Very Reverend Patrick O' Grady of St. Peter the Apostle Antiochian Orthodox Church, Pomona, CA. Speaking as an official representative for His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and the Archdiocese, Fr. Patrick discusses a wide range of issues with Mr. Allen, including the reasons behind the Archdiocese's recent statement to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops at the conclusion of Assembly VI in September, 2015.

"We must keep the long view," notes Fr. Patrick in the interview. "Unity cannot be achieved superficially, but through knowledge of one another.

"Organization without the deeper foundation of shared evangelical values, is building a house on sand...history can teach us a lot, if we can take the time to learn," he adds.

Listen to the full interview, "Antioch on the Record: Orthodox Administrative Unity in North America."

Complete Epistle and Gospel Readings Available in Enhanced Calendar

The team at antiochian.org, in cooperation with the Department of Liturgics and with the blessing and support of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, has launched an enhanced Daily Scripture Readings Calendar for use in parishes and homes across the Antiochian Archdiocese. Along with daily references, the complete Scriptural texts are now published in full for added convenience and spiritual enrichment. The readings can be accessed in the homepage sidebar, "Today's Scripture Reading," to the right of the Feature column.

"Creation of a complete calendar has long been a priority of His Eminence, who since his enthronement has wanted the clergy and faithful to be able to access the full Epistle and Gospel readings for both corporate and private worship," noted the Archdiocese's Director of Internet Ministry, Douglas Cramer. "Our Daily Calendar uniquely includes readings in honor of Antiochian saints, such as Ss. Sergius and Bacchus (October 7), and St. Abercius (October 22). Now our readers will be able to follow the annual liturgical guide of the Patriarchate of Antioch."

The readings will soon be published daily on the Archdiocese Facebook page as well.

Youth Music Ministry Has New Web Presence

Young musicians and their leaders in the Antiochian Archdiocese, now have their own designated web page on Antiochian.org. The Youth Music Ministry (YMM) section is housed within the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Sacred Music's website, and offers resources for the training and development of youthful parish music leaders.  

For the last several years, Youth Music Ministry Coordinator Chris Farha has been overseeing a growing outreach to young musicians. The Ministry convenes an annual summer gathering that functions under the umbrella of the Sacred Music Institute, albeit with its own independent youth-friendly track. "The mission of the Youth Music Ministry is to bring together young Orthodox Christians with a love for music and a desire to serve their Church, to work toward the common goal of understanding and living the theology of Orthodox hymnography to the Glory of God," writes Chris.

Special Olympics Awareness Day 2015

The third Sunday of October, October 18, 2015 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 18th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village in the summer of 2015. This ministry is run by and sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.

This past August our Special Olympics ministry was our largest program ever, with 327 Special Olympic athletes and coaches participating. Our teen SOYO coaches and volunteers ministered exceptionally well this summer. We thank you for the extraordinary young women and men you sent to serve at our Special Olympics sports camp. You are welcome to view the hundreds of photos from this year's Special Olympics camp to get a glimpse into this beautiful Christ-centered ministry performed by our young people.

We Need YOUR HELP!

New Interactive Exhibit at Antiochian Village: "Saint Raphael, Scholar and Shepherd"

From The Word, October 2015

In honor of this year's One Hundredth Anniversary of the Repose of Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the Antiochian Heritage Museum recently opened an all-new exhibit about Saint Raphael, which includes an interactive touchscreen presentation. With the support of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, the museum partnered with Wiant Design Works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to create the updated display. The exhibit was unveiled during the meetings of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees held at the Antiochian Village in May.

Titled "Saint Raphael: Scholar and Shepherd," the museum's new touchscreen exhibit offers highlights from the theological thesis which St. Raphael wrote as a young seminarian, and which was recently translated from its original Greek into English by the Rev. Dr. Patrick Viscuso. In addition to excerpts from the thesis, the touchscreen also explores highlights from the life of St. Raphael – from his youth in Damascus through his ministry as a priest and bishop in the United States.

Lecture Highlights Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

On Tuesday September 29th, 2015 at the Museum of the City of New York, the former Director of the Department of Philanthropy of the Patriarchate of Antioch, Samer Laham, addressed a crowd of nearly 200 people regarding the devastating impact of the humanitarian crisis in Syria upon Orthodox Christians in the Middle East as well as Syrians of all faiths. His Eminence Archbiship Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America were in attendance and offered Archieratical responses to Mr. Laham's multimedia presentation. The lecture was sponsored by the Order of St. Andrew, the Order of Saint Ignatius of Antioch and the IOCC as the relief agency of the Assembly of Bishops.

View a gallery of photos from the event (Photos by J. Mindala)

October 2015: Archdiocese Youth Month

Fr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Dept. of Youth and Parish Ministries, with Special Olympics coachesFr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Dept. of Youth and Parish Ministries, with Special Olympics coachesOctober is the month when the Antiochian Archdiocese introduces teens to the many opportunities to minister in the Church. The youth "are encouraged to read the Epistle, chant and sing in the choir, assist in church school, and give sermons approved by the priest," explains Department of Youth Chairman The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura. 

Another way teens can get involved in their parishes is to participate in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl, and Oratorical Festivals. This year’s theme, selected by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, is "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

Department of Sacred Music Welcomes Composer in Residence nazo zakkak

The Department of Sacred Music is thrilled to announce our first ever Composer in Residence, Mr. nazo zakkak. nazo stunned the attendees at last summer's Sacred Music Institute with his beautiful compositions of Antiochian Orthodox church music.

The first of nazo's commissions will be the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom which will be premiered at the 2016 Sacred Music Institute being held from July 13-18 at the Antiochian Village.

We wish nazo many years of health, happiness and music making! (Please note that nazo has asked that his name be spelled in lower casing.)

Biography of nazo zakkak

www.nazozakkak.com

Born in San Francisco and raised in San Diego, Lebanese-American composer nazo zakkak began piano lessons at an early age. He graduated with a BM in Jazz Studies from San Diego State University in 2009 with a Music Student of the Year Award, and Summa cum Laude with an MFA from the innovative ICIT program at UC Irvine in 2011.

October Liturgical Texts Available for Download

His Grace Bishop Basil and the community of St. Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church of Erie, CO.His Grace Bishop Basil and the community of St. Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church of Erie, CO.The Liturgical Texts for October, blessed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

Every year, on the Sunday that falls from October 11-17, inclusive, the Orthodox Church celebrates the 350 Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, convened in Nicaea in 787. They refuted the Iconoclast heresy, whose camp believed that all depictions of Christ, His Mother and the saints should be destroyed. The council decreed that the veneration of icons was not idolatry because the honor shown to them is not directed to the wood or paint, but passes to the prototype depicted therein.

St. Elias Cathedral in Ottawa Celebrates the 85th Anniversary of the Parish and 15th Anniversary of the Cathedral

by Rev. Fr. Nektarios Najjar

The Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, blessed the Clergy and faithful of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa by presiding over the celebrations for the 85th anniversary of the parish and the 15th anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral that took place from September 9-13, 2015.

This historical visit was the first visit of His Eminence to Ottawa after his election as the new Metropolitan. His Eminence arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015. The Very Rev. Fr. Ghattas Hajal, Pastor of the Cathedral, alongside Assistant Pastor Fr. Nektarios Najjar, the parish council, a representative of Ottawa's mayor and the organizing committee of the event welcomed our Father in Christ Metropolitan Joseph at the airport's V.I.P. Salon. 

St. Vladimir's Seminary Awards Honorary Doctorates to Metropolitan Joseph and Metropolitan Tikhon

Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor/CEO, drapes Metropolitan Joseph with the doctoral hood (Photo: Jasmine Yedigarian)Fr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor/CEO, drapes Metropolitan Joseph with the doctoral hood (Photo: Jasmine Yedigarian)[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] 

On Monday, September 14, 2015, the Board of Trustees and Faculty of St. Vladimir’s Seminary bestowed a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, on His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. (View the photo gallery)

Additionally, His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was awarded with an honorary doctorate as well.

“We have the great honor today of being able to bestow the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, not upon one, but two worthy recipients—two leading hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in this country—the President and Vice President of the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Seminary,” noted the Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, Dean. “Both hierarchs, although only appointed to their positions in recent years, have distinguished themselves through many years of ministry. Your Beatitude and Your Eminence, you truly honor us today by your presence and acceptance of the degree to be awarded.”

Introduction to the 2015-16 Church School Year

Dear Directors and Teachers,

Greetings and blessings as you begin the 2015 Church School year!

We have a few new resources for you. As you can see above, if you are thinking of using the GOA texts as well as those of the OCEC, there is a document that compares text by text. Don't press print before reading it as it is 23 pages. In years past, we have had the request for the 100 educational standards from the 8th grade text, The Way, The Truth, and The Life; these questions and answers have been prepared according to the order in which they appear in the text. In addition, we have prepared flashcards of these same questions. These can be used with high school classes for brief reviews of the material. They can be used in a jeopardy-style game, or as simple flash-cards. Another new item is found under Resources, the listing, "Online Resources for Parents and Teachers" compiled by Kristina Wenger who does the AODCE Social Networking Ministry. All of our social network ministry sites are listed in the Convention Report, see below.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross

Pastoral Message for the Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross
September 14, 2015

"As the Cross is lifted up, it urgeth all of creation to praise the immaculate Passion of the One Who was lifted up thereon. For by means of the Cross, He slew him that slew us; and He made the dead to live again, making them beautiful, granting them the Heavens as dwelling-place, because He is compassionate, in the unsurpassed and unspeakable excess of His goodness. With joy, then, let us all exalt His Name, while magnifying His infinite condescension toward our race."

(From The Vesperal Stichera for the Elevation of the Cross)

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross. The Sticherion from the Vespers of the feast which is quoted above transmits to us the essence of this feast. The lifting up of the Cross upon which our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ was crucified draws us near to His passion, and reminds us that He has defeated Satan and all his power once and for all. By His Passion He brought life to those who were in the tombs, restoring them to the beauty with which they had when God created them and opening up the heavens as their dwelling place. Lastly, He did this not only for those who were in the tombs, but for all of us who place our hope in Him.