"Let us crown the Church with songs on the falling asleep of the ark of God; for today doth heaven open its bosom to receive her who gave birth to the One whom all cannot contain. And earth doth adorn itself in blessing and splendour, restoring the fount of life." + Vesperal Litiya of the Feast, Fifth Tone
The Great Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos is August 15. In honor of the Holy Virgin Mary, we are making available online this powerful meditation by Bishop BASIL originally published in The Handmaiden, the magazine for Orthodox Christian women from Conciliar Press: Mary, Our Cause for Rejoicing.
OCF Executive Director Fr. Kevin Scherer Presents at Greek Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Clergy Laity Congress
Antiochian Archdiocese pastor and Orthodox Christian Fellowship Executive Director Fr. Kevin Scherer presented workshops on youth ministry at July's Greek Archdiocese national gathering, and the good work of OCF was specifically noted by Archbishop DEMETRIOS in his keynote address.
OCF released the following summary of the news. We encourage everyone in the Antiochian Archdiocese to support this great labor of our Church in America, under the leadership of all our canonical bishops via SCOBA. Learn more about OCF's college ministry on their recently redesigned website!
Jesus went up the mountain with Peter, James, and John and was transformed before their eyes. He appeared to them in His glorified humanity and was illumined with the light of divinity. ... Here we have the whole Bible summed up in this one event. The Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets, point to Christ, the eternal Son come in the flesh. Read more.
This meditation on theosis is appropriate reading for the Great Feast of the Transfiguration, and a sample of the articles available at Discovering Orthodox Christianity, from Antiochian.org and Conciliar Press.
St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church of Van Nuys, California will be hosting the 49th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention at the J.W. Desert Springs Marriott Resort and Spa from July 19 – 26, 2009. There is a guaranteed room rate of $165.00 per night (plus 9.16% room tax). Already, rooms are going fast! If you have not yet made your hotel reservation we encourage you to do so, as soon as possible. You may reserve your rooms online by going to the convention website at www.archdioceseconvention2009.org and clicking on the Online Hotel Reservation image. No phone reservations can be made until August 2008. If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come Receive the Light, OCN's national Orthodox Christian radio program, interviews Fr. Luke Veronis, author of the new book from Conciliar Press, Lynette's Hope. Fr. Luke shares the story and journal entries of Lynette Hoppe, an Orthodox Christian who served as a missionary in Albania, even as she faced terminal cancer with courage and faith. Click here to listen!
Why is Orthodoxy the noted exception when it comes to the declining interest in religion by men? Noted author and speaker Frederica Mathewes-Green tells us in a 45 minute talk available for free listening online via Ancient Faith Radio, part of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Conciliar Media Ministries.
The Word is on their annual July and August hiatus, but while we eagerly await the September issue we can still be fed by this 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. So whether you missed reading an issue (maybe even a few?) in print, or want to discover The Word for the first time, enjoy The Best of The Word.
Some recommendations to get you started: Kevin Allen's Church Growth, Orthodox Style; Gregory Cook's Words We Live By: ORTHODOX and American Ideals In Foundational Texts; Fr. Thomas Gallaway's The Sacred Nature of Sex; Harvey H.H. Homsey's Stewardship: Why My Family Tithes; and Fr. Joseph Purpura's Are We Doing Enough For Our Teens?
The Handmaiden: A Journal for Women Serving God Within the Orthodox Christian Faith is published quarterly by Conciliar Media Ministries of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Readers can sample the latest issue, "Good Stewards of the Earth," with the article A New Heaven and a New Earth: Church and Environment - Theological and Spiritual Insights, by Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis.
"This world is a never-ending movement toward the kingdom. Indeed, it is profoundly and intimately related to the heavenly kingdom. This means that what we do on earth matters for what we believe about heaven. ... We have learned not to treat people like things because they are created 'in the image of God.' We must now learn not to treat even things like mere things because they, too, contain the very trace of God."
His Grace Bishop THOMAS shares with us this article about St. Raphael originally published in the New York Times in 1895, on the occasion of the "Damascus Preacher" arriving in the city. Thank you Bishop THOMAS, and thank you Vera Acker, secretary of St. Philip's Church in Souderton, PA, for transcribing this piece of history.
From The New York Times, September 15, 1895:
MINISTER FOR SYRIANS
Christian Church to be Filled by a Damascus Preacher.
Fr. Patrick, one of the most thoughtful and prolific of today's Orthodox Christian writers, is the author of an important new book from Conciliar Media titled Creation and the Patriarchal Histories: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Genesis.
This week Orthodox Christian Network's Come Receive the Light national Orthodox radio program features Dr. Peter C. Bouteneff, teacher of dogmatic theology at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theology Seminary, speaking about the mystery of death. Dr. Bouteneff teaches, "We do indeed teach and believe in a bodily resurrection. I don't think we have a very clear sign of what that will look like. But we do know that is something we will know and recognize as our own body."
Learn more about this and the other blessed offerings of OCN at their newly designed website, www.myocn.net.
Residents of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, spend their days piling debris outside their ruined homes. One woman who lost everything only cared about not finding her favorite picture of her daughter. “This is a vibrant community, which has been changed forever. People try to go about their daily lives and they can’t deal with a lot of what’s hitting them emotionally right now,” says Father Chris Flesoras, a member of International Orthodox Christian Charities’ (IOCC) Emergency Response Network, known as the “Orthodox Frontline,” which is providing trauma counseling and coordinating resources with other charities on the scene.
Also, learn about the first response team from IOCC to the flood ravaged areas via this Ancient Faith Radio podcast with Fr. Haralambos (Bob) Fox, who is on assignment in Cedar Rapids, IA.
The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East met in mid-June at the Balamand under the presidency of His Beatitude, The Most Blessed Patriarch IGNATIUS IV.
Among the agenda items were elections for the widowed Metropolitical Sees of Western Europe, which is headquartered in Paris, France and formerly headed by the late Metropolitan GABRIEL (Saleeby), and of Akkar, which is headquartered in Halba, north Lebanon and formerly headed by the late Metropolitan PAUL (Bandaly). The secretary of the Holy Synod, The Very Reverend Economos George Dimas, announced the following:
1 - Elected Metropolitan of Akkar on June 17th is His Eminence BASIL (Mansour), 46, former Titular Bishop of Tartous. His enthronement will take place on July 5th.
2 - Elected Metropolitan of Western Europe on June 17th is His Eminence JOHN (Yaziji), 53, former Titular Bishop of al-Hosn. His enthronement in Paris will take place on September 21st.
Many years to Metropolitan BASIL and Metropolitan JOHN!
On Wednesday, June 11, 2008, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP received the newly elected and enthroned Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence, HILARION. His Eminence was elected and enthroned in May as the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City following the death of His Eminence, Metropolitan LAURUS of thrice-blessed memory. Accompanying His Eminence was Protopresbyter Alexander Lebedeff, the Secretary of Inter-Orthodox Relations. Also present from the Antiochian Archdiocese were His Grace, ANTOUN, Bishop of Miami and the Southeast, Archpriest Thomas Zain, Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY and Mr. Charles Ajalat, the Archdiocesan Chancellor. Pictures from this historic meeting follow below.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip joined a gathering of other notable Christian leaders and theologians, including Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev and Catholic author Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, speaking at St. Vladimir's Seminary June 4-8. The event was organized by The Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, and was titled "Rome, Constantinople and Canterbury. Mother Churches?" Ancient Faith Radio has posted audio of all the lectures. Metropolitan Philip lectured on Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council.
June 15 is the Great Feast of Pentecost. "Lo, we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the presence of the Spirit, the fulfillment of the promise and the completion of the hope. How wonderful is this mystery. ... Thou hast renewed for thy Disciples, O Christ, a different kind of tongues, that they might therewith proclaim that thou art the immortal Word and God who granteth our souls the Great Mercy. The Holy Spirit provideth all; overfloweth with prophecy; fulfilleth the Priesthood; and hath taught wisdom to the illiterate. He hath revealed the fishermen as theologians. He bringeth together all the laws of the Church." (The Pentecostarion)
Click here to listen to Fr. Patrick Reardon's homily on Pentecost at Ancient Faith Radio. Children will enjoy listening to Archdiocese Featured Author Chrissi Hart read from a Conciliar children's book about the Feast. The audio can be found here. Finally, here's a good introduction to Pentecost prepared by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
We're rolling out some changes to Antiochian.org that have been in the works for awhile. We apologize in advance for any problems as we iron out the remaining wrinkles in the new design. Now that we've completed our basic reorganization of the website's homepage and menus, we'll be turning our attention to the pages for each diocese, department and organization in the Archdiocese.
We've started redesigning the page for the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. Please take a look, and learn more about the flock of Bishop MARK. And as always, drop us an email at email@example.com any time you have a comment or question.
We've also added our new Featured Authors of the Archdiocese section at the bottom of our homepage, where we'll be continuing to bring you the latest from Fr. Patrick Reardon, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Fr. George Morelli and more. Within the next couple of weeks we'll be offering daily Scripture readings and Saints, with more features coming over the course of the summer. Thanks again for your patience. If you'd like to read more about our vision for Antiochian.org, check out this article, or this article, by our editor, Douglas Cramer.
Listen to the children's Under the Grapevine podcast about the Ascension
Listen to Fr. Pat Reardon's All Saints homily podcast on the Ascension
Why A Fast for Dormition, page 8
Antiochian House of Studies, page 29
Communities in Action, page 32
Update from Fr. Michael Nasser at Project Mexico, page 40
Orthodox Tanzania, page 43