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Share the Light Sunday Highlights the Ministry of OCN

From the Orthodox Christian Network website:

Do you benefit from Orthodox Christian Network's ministry? Do you believe in creating a powerful media outreach for Orthodox Christianity? Then please stand with us at OCN as we seek to share our timeless Orthodox Christian Faith with the world!

On January 18th, OCN begins its Share the Light Sunday Campaign for 2015. You and your parish can support OCN in a number of ways:

  • Read the 2015 Encyclical and pass a tray on a Sunday morning.
  • Share with everyone OCN's 10 cent a day campaign. With 100% of donations going to mission, not overhead, you can help us expand and bring comfort, inspiration, and information to Orthodox Christians and seekers worldwide.
  • Add OCN as a line item into your annual parish budget.

Jubilee Year of the Repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn

Letter regarding the Jubilee Year of the repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, to be read from the pulpit, published in church bulletins and newsletters, and posted on parish websites:

January, 2015

Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees and Parish Councils, Department Chairs and Beloved Faithful:

Greetings to you and your families in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray you all enjoyed a blessed feast of Theophany.

2015 is an historic year in the life of our God-protected archdiocese. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the falling-asleep of St. Raphael of Brooklyn as well as the 120th anniversary of our Mother Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn and, therefore, our Antiochian presence on these blessed shores.

Our father in Christ, Patriarch JOHN X, inaugurated this jubilee year during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn on December 7th. Throughout 2015, we will mark this anniversary at various places and locations, including, but not limited to, the Antiochian Village, St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, the archdiocese convention in Boston and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Likewise, the theme of our convention and parish life conferences, as well as the various festivals and contests is centered on, and will reflect on the life of this "good shepherd of the lost sheep in America."

2015 Archdiocese Mid-Winter Meetings


Register online here
Download the tentative schedule

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, the 2015 Archdiocese Mid-Winter Meetings will be held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA, February 6-8, 2015. The Archdiocese and Diocese officers of the Antiochian Women, Fellowship of St. John Divine, and Teen SOYO will gather for their annual Mid-Winter meetings to conduct the business of our Archdiocese organizations. Travel, lodging, and registration information is below. Please contact your NAC/NAB President if you have any questions.

Homily of Patriarch John X for the New Year

On January 1, 2015, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, offered a homily at Maryamiyya Cathedral for the start of the new year. (Arabic original here.)

Brother hierarchs and beloved clergy,

"We are at the threshold of a new year. The newness does not lie in the year. The newness lies in our determination to transform time in favor of the truth, to give time a meaning other than the meaning that we know, for time to be an expression of the holiness of our life and our existence, for us to breathe into it the spirit of God's grace that is within us, so that its eternity will return to it and it will reach the shores of our holiness. The newness does not lie in the year, but in our resolve to shape our being anew... Shaping our being means opening our arms to the poor and the vulnerable in the world, for us to be a force for ending their weakness and liberating them from their humiliation. Shaping our being makes us cream to sate the hungry, a coat to clothe the naked, a right hand to take the lame and guide them to good pastures." —The Homily of Patriarch Elias IV for the New Year, 1971

"'For this the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.' This is the beginning of the preaching career of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is His program and His plan... These words are two thousand years old. These words are ancient but they ring in our ears as though they were spoken today. Christ spoke them two thousand years ago, recalling the wretched, the poor and the broken-hearted." —The Homily of Patriarch Ignatius IV for the New Year, 1997

On this day the hearts of the faithful orient themselves to the Lord, the Creator, that He might grant peace to the world, the whole world.

Theophany of Our Lord + January 6

Tone 4

O Jordan River, why wast thou astonished at beholding the Invisible naked? And he answereth, saying, I beheld Him and trembled; for how shall I not tremble and fear, when the angels trembled at sight of Him, heaven was astounded, earth was encompassed by trepidation, and the sea was bashful, with all things visible and invisible; for Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to bless the waters.

Tone 1

He that encompasseth the heavens with clouds putteth on today the courses of the Jordan; and He that lifteth the sin of the world, cleanseth and purifieth me. Yea, the Spirit hath testified of Him from on high that He is the only Son of the Father on high. Let us, therefore, shout to Him, crying, O Thou Who didst appear and save us, glory to Thee.

Online Liturgical Guide Adds January Texts

St. Andrew Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Pensacola, Florida offers the Outdoor Great Sanctification of Water and “Cross Dive” at Theophany celebrations in 2014.St. Andrew Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Pensacola, Florida offers the Outdoor Great Sanctification of Water and “Cross Dive” at Theophany celebrations in 2014.The liturgical texts for the month of January, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

"For in the preceding feast we have beheld Thee a babe, and in this present feast we behold Thee perfect man, O our perfect God, appearing from the Perfect."

With these words from the Service of the Great Sanctification of Water, the Orthodox Church transitions from the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ (Christmas) to His Epiphany, or Theophany. In this great feast, we celebrate the revelation of our Lord as God. Theophany is also known as the "Feast of Lights" in that Jesus, by His baptism in the River Jordan, enlightened the world. Christ's baptism also marks the renewal of humanity: our Lord is cleansed and He shows us how we must be cleansed of sin by drowning it in the waters which He blessed by entering them.

January 2015 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The January 2015 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:

The Speech of His Beatitude Patriarch John X at the Enthronement of His Eminence Joseph (Zehlaoui)

The Address of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

All Power Belongs to God
by His Grace Bishop John

The Cost of Freedom
by His Grace Bishop John

Personhood and an Aging Mind and Body
by Peter A. Kavanaugh

Is Orthodox Christianity Conservative or Liberal?
by Fr. Ignatius Valentine

...and more!

St. Basil the Great & The Circumcision of the Lord + January 1

In all the earth that received thy sayings, thy melody did resound, O righteous father, through which thou didst go about and proclaim, as worthy of God, the nature of creatures, cultivating the character of mankind, O thou of kingly Priesthood, Basil. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.

-Apolytikion of St. Basil, Tone 1

When the Savior condescended for the sake of mankind, He was willing to be wrapped in swaddling clothes, and He Who was eight days old on the side of His Mother, and eternal on the side of His Father did not disdain the circumcision of the flesh. Wherefore, let us cry to Him, O believers, Thou art our God; have mercy upon us.

-Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 8

Many years to His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America on his name's day!

Read Fr. Thomas Hopko's reflection on today's commemorations.

The Tradition of the Vasilopita

Read "Message for the New Year" by Fr. George Shalhoub

Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity

Today is born of the Virgin Him Who holdest all creation in the hollow of His hand.
He Whose essence is untouchable is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a babe.
The God Who from of old established the heavens lieth in a manger.
He Who showered the people with manna in the wilderness feedeth on milk from the breasts.
And the bridegroom of the Church calleth the Magi, and the Son of the Virgin accepteth gifts from them.
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.
Show us also Thy divine Theophany!

2014 Nativity Pastoral Message of His Eminence Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

“Come, O God-inspired faithful, arise and behold the descent of God from on high! He manifests Himself to us in Bethlehem. Let us cleanse our minds and offer Him a life of virtue instead of myrrh. Let us prepare with faith to celebrate His Nativity, storing up spiritual treasure and crying out: Glory in the highest to God in Trinity! His good pleasure is now revealed to men. In his love for mankind He sets Adam free from the ancestral curse”. (Idiomelon for the Sixth Hour of the Nativity)

We greet you with joy as we draw near to the glorious feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ!

The beautiful hymn above embodies the true spirit of Christmas as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. God comes down to us from on high, and chooses to be born as a babe in the most humble of settings, the cave in Bethlehem. We strive to respond to this outpouring of love from God by cleansing our minds from all carnal thoughts and passions. Whereas the Kings of the East offered Him myrrh, our appropriate offering is a life of virtue, free from all of the sinfulness that would separate us from our God.

2014 Nativity Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

By the mercy of God

Patriarch John X, The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

To my brother pastors of the Antiochian Holy Church, and my children throughout the Holy See

"Heaven and Earth are made one today, for Christ is born. Today God is come upon the earth, and man is gone up into the Heavens. Today He Who by nature is invisible, for man's sake is seen in the flesh. For this cause, let us also give glory and cry out to Him: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, which Thy coming hath bestowed upon us; O our Savior, glory be to Thee."

This is what our church chants on this glorious day, the day of the Creator's presence in the flesh: the Nativity of Jesus Christ. 

His presence glows with peace. O Christ, how much we need Thy peaceful presence on earth, from which Thy glad tidings have gone forth unto the whole universe! O Treasure of Mercy, O Sun of Righteousness, how greatly do we need Thy presence, in a land which has grown weary of the drums of war, of dismemberment, and of abduction! The land that welcomed the apostles two thousand years ago lies wounded and hemorrhages!

Historic Boston Convention: "Something for Everyone"

North American Chair of the Order of St. Ignatius and Boston attorney, Mary Winstanley-O'Connor, will have an eventful year in 2015. Along with co-chair Raymond Sayeg, she is serving as co-chair of the committee responsible for the 52nd Antiochian Archdiocese Convention, which will be hosted by her home parish, St. Mary Orthodox Church in Cambridge, MA with The Very Rev. Antony Hughes. asked her about the plans for the Archdiocese's "family reunion," which will be held in history-rich Boston, and will be led by Metropolitan Joseph for the first time.

Tell us about your hometown of Boston, and what conference-goers can look forward to this summer?

Boston is the cradle of democracy, rich in the history of the founding of our country, and home of the site of the Boston Tea Party. People are able to walk the Freedom Trail, visit the Old North Church from which the lanterns were hung to warn the troops as to whether the British were coming by land or by sea, and to visit the Paul Revere House.

St. Ignatius of Antioch + December 20

Like a living monument and an animate image, thy yearly feast is come, O God-bearing Ignatius, proclaiming thy mystic teachings and thy heroic exploits, thy resistance for the Faith even unto blood, and those blessed and celebrated words of thine, which said: I am the wheat of God, and in the teeth of beasts shall I be ground up. Wherefore, as an imitator of the Passion of Christ, intercede that our souls be saved.

-Orthros of the Feast, Tone 1

Read more about St. Ignatius the God-Bearer
Learn about the Order of St. Ignatius
December is Order of St. Ignatius Month
Resources for the Nativity Season
Fr. Andrew Damick presents a study of the letters of this second century martyr and the third bishop of Antioch, St. Ignatius, in the podcast, Voice From Antioch: Martyrdom.


Patriarch John Concludes North American Visit with Maryland Patriarchal Liturgy

Metropolitan Tikhon (OCA) and Patriarch John XMetropolitan Tikhon (OCA) and Patriarch John XOn Sunday, December 14, 2014, the final day of his visit to the United States before flying home from Washington, D.C.'s Dulles Airport, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, alongside His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, presided over a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD

Joining them was His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America. (See the OCA's account of the joyous celebration here.) His Eminence Metropolitan Sabba and His Eminence Metropolitan Vasileios also concelebrated at the Liturgy.

Prior to Sunday's Liturgy, the parish of Ss. Peter & Paul hosted Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph for several events. A concert of Orthodox liturgical Christmas music on Friday, December 12, featured selections from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vespers, and Byzantine Nativity selections sung by Archmandrite Elias Bitar, George Theodoritis, and Raseem El Massih. On Saturday night, Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph presided over Great Vespers, and then attended a banquet held in their honor.

Photography from Patriarchal Visit and Enthronement

Photo by Rami DahdalPhoto by Rami wishes to extend heartfelt thanks and compliments to the photographers who so beautifully captured the recent events surrounding the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X and the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. Photographers Haitham Fakhouri, Rami Dahdal and Luke Bullock provided a multitude of beautiful images, a treasury by which the Antiochian Archdiocese will long remember these historic services, meetings and celebrations. 

To see more photographs, please visit our complete set of image galleries from the 2014 Patriarchal Visit and Enthronement.

A collection of our favorite images from the week is also available.

OCN Video Interviews of Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph

His Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph were interviewed by Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network at Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ, on Friday, December 5, on the eve of Metropolitan Joseph's Enthronement as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America.

Watch the informative interviews, each about 20 minutes in length, below:

His Beatitude Visits the United Nations, Holds Press Conference

On December 10, during his final day in the New York area, His Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, visited the United Nations and held meetings with a variety of officials. (Watch press conference here.) His first meeting was with the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ian Eliasson. During that meeting, as well as the other meetings, His Beatitude stressed that the only solution to the crisis in Syria is one of negotiations and peace, not of bombs and war, saying “The Syrian people ask for peace and welfare for themselves and for everyone on earth.” He continued by saying that “as a Christian leader, I can also speak on behalf of the Islamic leaders in Syria in that we all reject extremism. In Greater Syria we have been co-existing for hundred of years.” He also relayed in his various meetings that with regard to humanitarian relief the Orthodox Church is helping everyone, regardless of sect or religion. He stressed that, as Christians, we do not want to be considered a minority that needs special protection, but that the Christians are all part of the fabric of the society and are equal citizens in every respect.

Antiochian Leaders Meet Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

On Tuesday, December 9, the North American visit of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, continued as he and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph led an Archdiocese group to a meeting, prayers, and reception with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at their New York headquarters.

View a photo gallery of the day's meetings.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Release: New Head of Antiochian Church in America Enthroned; Antiochian Patriarch to Meet with Officials on Issues in Syria

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2014

The second largest Orthodox Christian Church in North America has a new leader, enthroned by the head of one of the oldest churches on earth.

On  Sat. Dec. 6, the Patriarch of Antioch and All of the East, Patriarch John X of Damascus, Syria, enthroned Metropolitan Joseph as new head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in North America at that Church’s national St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.

Metropolitan Joseph was selected by the Holy Synod of Antioch on July 3 to succeed Metropolitan Philip who died March 19 and headed the Antiochian Church in North America for over 48 years. Metropolitan Joseph was formerly the Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.

He now heads the entire Antiochian Orthodox Church in America, with nine bishops, over 400 clergy, 266 parishes and missions, and about 100,000 faithful throughout the United States and Canada. Over the last 40 years, the Antiochian church has received a sizable number of converts to Orthodoxy in the Americas.

The Speech of His Eminence Joseph at His Enthronement as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

Today we commemorate our great father among the saints, Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra, the patron of this holy Cathedral. How greatly loved he is throughout the Christian world! He is even honored in popular culture, a fact well known to you all. Let us focus for a moment on the Troparion for St. Nicholas:

Thy works of justice did reveal Thee
to Thy community as a canon of faith,
the likeness of humility
and the teacher of abstinence.

O, Thou Father and great Bishop Nicholas.
Wherefore by humility
thou didst achieve exaltation,
and by Thy meekness wealth,

Intercede therefore,
intercede with Christ
that He will save our souls.