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December 2009 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

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

...and more!

Clergy Wives Weekend a Success!

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.

Sale on Back Issues of AGAIN and The Handmaiden

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.

Christian Education Department Launches New and Improved Web Resources

The Antiochian Archdiocese’s Christian Education Director Carole Buleza, department web editor Timm Wenger, and the team at, have redesigned and significantly improved the department’s popular web pages this fall. At, browsers can find resources for parents, Sunday School teachers and directors, youth workers and homeschoolers. Curriculum is readily available, and a special section created for small church schools helps instructors in communities where resources are limited. The Department of Christian Education now has a Facebook presence as well, and teachers can log in by clicking the Facebook button for that purpose posted on the web page’s right-hand column.

November 2009 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 


Printed this month are the minutes and reports of the 49th Convention of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, convened at Desert Springs in Palm Desert, California, July 19–26, 2009. The Metropolitan’s Address to the Assembly was printed in the September Issue of The WORD and is available online at

Click here to read the full issue!


Printed this month are the minutes and reports of the 49th Convention of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, convened at Desert Springs in Palm Desert, California, July 19–26, 2009. The Metropolitan’s Address to the Assembly was printed in the September Issue of The WORD and is available online at

Click here to read the full issue!

Orthodox Perspectives on Halloween

For families and teachers, Ancient Faith Radio is featuring several helpful posts about the Orthodox perspective on Halloween.

Fr. George Morelli, Orthodox priest and psychologist, gives frank talk on the origins of Halloween and speaks to how parents can approach the holiday and how the festival can be redeemed in his podcast, “Orthodoxy and Halloween.”

A book for children, titled Halloween Town, by Dennis Eugene Engleman, draws children in with an enchanting story line about the dangers that lie behind the Halloween spirit. Parents can buy the book at the Regina Press website. Children can also listen to a reading of the book on Ancient Faith Radio.

In another insightful reflection, Fr. Peter Bouteneff speaks of the cross and its relationship to Halloween, in his Oct. 19 podcast episode: “Halloween, Demons and the Cross.” 

Metropolitan Philip Presents Ecumenical Patriarch with Engolpion of Ss. Peter and Paul

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip joined other American Orthodox Primates in an audience with His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Most of the Primates had also attended the Ninth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community the previous evening. Present at the audience were Archbishop Demetrios of America (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Philip (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Christopher (Serbian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Nicholas (Carpatho- Russian Diocese); Archbishop Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Jonah (Orthodox Church in America), Metropolitan Constantine (Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA); Bishop Ilia (Albanian Orthodox Diocese) and Archpriest Alexander Abramov (Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA). Archbishop Demetrios welcomed His All Holiness on behalf of the Primates.

The remarks of His All Holiness follow:

Ancient Faith Radio Launches Improved Web Site

Ancient Faith Radio is proud to announce the launch of its new web site. The improved site features better organized content with a new top navigation, better search capability and a simplified site design. AFR hopes that users will find the new site easier to use and a daily resource for the very best in Orthodox Christian music, talk readings and teaching.

Additional new features include:

  • Convenient updates showing recent podcasts and daily resources
  • Podcasts and Specials displayed side by side, with convenient sliders for navigation

Click here and enjoy the new Ancient Faith Radio!

Summary of Decisions Taken by the Archdiocesan Synod and Board of Trustees

November 2, 2009 Update: Order of St. Ignatius photographer Judy Braun has made available online photo galleries from the Houston meetings. Click here for the gallery from the Board Luncheon and here for the gallery from the Board meetings.

October 21, 2009

Summary of the Decisions taken by the Archdiocesan Synod and Board of Trustees as a result of their meetings in Houston, TX – October 16-17, 2009

On October 16th and 17th, 2009, the regular Fall meetings of the Archdiocesan Synod and Board of Trustees were convened in Houston, Texas.

At their meeting on October 16th, the Bishops of the Archdiocesan Synod approved the following:

1.  The appointment of a committee to review the current in-force Manual of Hierarchical Duties and Responsibilities and to recommend changes that will increase the effectiveness of the Manual as a tool for clearly delineating the responsibilities of the Bishops and the Metropolitan.  The goal will be to present the final draft of the Manual to the Archdiocesan Synod for approval at their regular meeting in the Fall of 2010.  The members of the committee are as follows:

Announcing Land and Covenant from OCABS Press

The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies is pleased to announce the publication of "Land and Covenant," the latest in a series of books to be released this year by Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi. Personally commissioned by +Archbishop Philip Saliba, "Land and Covenant" addresses the root cause of Palestinian suffering—and Middle Eastern strife generally—through a stunningly comprehensive analysis of the Biblical story.

In his preface to Fr. Tarazi’s book, +Metropolitan Philip writes: "If you have lived in the Middle East since the inception of the state of Israel, or if you are a student of twentieth century Middle East history, you cannot help but take part in the debate which has produced many books on the ongoing conflict between Jews and Arabs, especially Palestinians...[Tarazi addresses this conflict] not from an historical point of view, but strictly biblical...Land and Covenant is a very scholarly and interesting biblical study, and I recommend it to all who seek the truth, objectively and without any prejudice."

October Meetings of the Archdiocesan Synod and the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees

During this coming weekend, the regular Fall meetings of the Archdiocesan Synod of Bishops and the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees will be convened in Houston, Texas.  The Archdiocesan Synod will meet during the morning of Friday October 16th, 2009. The Board of Trustees will convene for its first session during the evening of Friday October 16th, and its second session during the morning of Saturday October 17th.

In anticipation of these most important meetings, we ask all of the faithful to pray that the participants will travel safely and will participate in fruitful deliberations.

Jason Barker Launches is not only the online home for the Orthodox Life Tips podcast, but it is also the central gathering place for all the podcasts, studies and other resources created by Jason for different Orthodox groups, including Antiochian Archdiocese youth programs, Ancient Faith Radio, and Orthodox Christian Network, as well as articles he writes specially for

Holy Synod Meets in Damascus

His Grace Bishop BASIL passes along the news that THE HOLY SYNOD of our Patriarchate of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East convened today, Tuesday - October 6th, at the Patriarchal Residence in Damascus, Syria for its fall meeting. 

In attendance were His Beatitude PATRIARCH IGANTIUS IV (Hazim), the president of the Synod, and the following seventeen Metropolitans: GEORGE (Khodre) of Mount Lebanon, CONSTANTINE (Papastephanou) of Baghdad of Kuwait, ELIAS (Audi) of Beirut, JOHN (Mansour) of Latakiya, ELIAS (Kafoury) of Tyre and Sidon, ANTONIO (Chedraoui) of Mexico, Venezuela and Central America, DAMASKINOS (Mansour) of Brazil, SERGIOS (Abad) of Chile, SABA (Esber) of Hauran and Jabal al-Arab, GEORGE (Abu Zakham) of Homs, PAUL (Yaziji) of Aleppo, PAUL (Saliba) of Australia and New Zealand, SILOUAN (Moosy) of Argentina, JOHN (Yaziji) of Western and Central Europe, and BASIL (Mansour) of Akkar, ELIA (Saliba) of Hama, and SPYRIDON (Khoury) of Zahleh.

AXIOS!  During its first session the Holy Synod elected the renowned and highly respected spiritual elder ARCHIMANDRITE EPHREM (Kyriakos), abbot of the Holy Monastery of the Archangel Michael in Biq'aata, Lebanon, for the archepiscopal throne of the recently widowed Archdiocese of Tripoli, al-Koura and Dependencies. Click here for a brief biography.

A First: The Convent of Saint Thekla Celebrates the Feast of Saint Thekla

After Sunday Liturgy, His Grace Bishop JOSEPH with Father Anthony Yazge, Mother Alexandra, Mother Miriamne and Father George AlbertsAfter Sunday Liturgy, His Grace Bishop JOSEPH with Father Anthony Yazge, Mother Alexandra, Mother Miriamne and Father George AlbertsOn 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)

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.

October 2009 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

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

...and more!

Ancient Faith Radio Special: Unraveling Chambesy - Administrative Unity In Our Time

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 Releases 2009-2010 Prayer Journal

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.

Announcing The Chrysostom Bible from OCABS Press

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."

Orthodox Institute 2009

November 5-8, 2009
Antiochian Village

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.