Featured Articles


Fundraising Efforts by Russian Orthodox Church Provide Aid to Syrians

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Russian Orthodox Church's Department for External Relations reported today that with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Service is continuing to coordinate a fund-raising campaign to help those affected by the armed conflict in Syria. Noted the Department's Website, "Among those transferring money are dioceses, monasteries, churches and individuals."

"Surely, we have received such a good response thanks to the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill which was very convincing,” explained The Rev. Vladimir Vigiliansky, rector of the Moscow Church of St. Tatiana. On June 25, 2013, His Holiness addressed the faithful in a letter, in which he stated:

Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us in His Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:29-37) who we should regard as our neighbor: the one who needs help, even if he or she has another views, confesses another faith or lives in another place.

Holy Land Exhibit is Available for Display

By Carole A. Buleza

"Scripture Through the Lens of the Holy Land" is an exhibit is available for rental from the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Christian Education (see below for details). The exhibit is dedicated to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip for his continuing support of Orthodox Christian Education, and to all in the Archdiocese whose roots in the Middle East have given the Antiochian Department of Christian Education the particular privilege of presenting the Holy Land in word and image. Participants at the 2011 Orthodox Institute, "Scripture Through the Lens of the Holy Land" were the first to view the exhibit prepared especially for that event.

St. Joseph of Damascus

Come, ye faithful, let us honor the martyr of Christ, a Priest of the Church of Antioch who by the word of the Word and by his blood and the blood of his companions baptized the land of Damascus, its Church and its people. Being immersed in the light of the Gospel from his youth, he worked and taught and defended the Church of Christ and her flock. O holy Joseph of Damascus, be for us an example, defending us and interceding for us fervently before the Savior.

Troparion of St. Joseph, Tone 5

The Synaxarion

On the tenth of this month we commemorate the Holy Hieromartyr Yousef ibn Jirjis Mousa ibn Mouhana al-Haddad and his Companions. A married man, St. Joseph of Damascus, as he is popularly known, was at first a weaver and then was ordained to the holy priesthood at the age of twenty-four in 1817, and assigned Great Economos of the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos (al-Mariamiyeh) in the heart of the Old City of Damascus.

Metropolitan Philip Blesses the Convent of St. Thekla Property and House

On June 29, 2013, the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the Holy See of Antioch, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip traveled to Glenville, Pennsylvania in York County to bless the property and house which will be the home of the nuns of the Convent of St. Thekla in America.

His Eminence was accompanied by His Grace Bishop Antoun, and several clergy from the area, including Fr. Peter Pier, the host pastor from St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, Pennsylvania.

Approximately 50 people attended the blessing ceremony, many of whom were first time visitors to the convent property. The blessing was followed by a light lunch at the convent, and a dinner in the evening with the members of the Parish Council of St. John Chrysostom Church in York, Pennsylvania.

On Sunday, His Eminence presided at his first Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. John Chrysostom Church in their newly constructed church building.

Allentown Parish Reaches Out to Displaced Syrians of Lehigh Valley

"For I was hungry, and ye gave me food: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: I was naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." Matthew 25:35-36

The faithful of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Allentown, PA have organized in an effort to identify and locate newcomers who are seeking refuge in the United States, reports the Very Rev. Anthony Sabbagh. "The largest Syrian community in the United States is here in the Allentown area," explains Fr. Anthony. "People in Syria are contacting their relatives to come to the United States in order to escape persecution and poverty; their homes are demolished, their jobs are gone. Their families here can apply for them to come since our government has opened the doors for Syrians, who are now coming to Allentown in numbers."

Feast of the Holy, Glorious Apostles Peter and Paul + June 29

Verily, the all-solemn Feast of the two Apostles hath arrived, bringing us salvation. Wherefore, let us mystically exult, crying unto them: Rejoice, O ye who have become luminaries to those in darkness, two rays of the Sun! Rejoice, O Peter and Paul, adamant pillars of the divine doctrines, ye friends of Christ and two honored vessels! Be ye present among us in an invisible manner, and grant immaterial gifts to those who extol your feast with songs.

--Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 6

Our prayers for all of the parishes and faithful who celebrate their namesday with this Feast, the Patronal Feast of the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.

Sheet music for this Feast is available here courtesy of the Department of Sacred Music. Download "The Akathist Hymn to the Holy Apostles" here.

Listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcasts about St. Peter and St. Paul on Ancient Faith Radio.

Read Fr. Patrick Reardon's reflection.

Verily, the all-solemn Feast of the two Apostles hath arrived, bringing us salvation. Wherefore, let us mystically exult, crying unto them: Rejoice, O ye who have become luminaries to those in darkness, two rays of the Sun! Rejoice, O Peter and Paul, adamant pillars of the divine doctrines, ye friends of Christ and two honored vessels! Be ye present among us in an invisible manner, and grant immaterial gifts to those who extol your feast with songs.

Patriarch John X Presides Over His First Synod Meeting

The Holy Antiochian Synod, June 2013The Holy Antiochian Synod, June 2013A Statement issued by the Secretariat of the Holy Antiochian Synod
Balamand, Lebanon, 20 June 2013

The Holy Antiochian Synod assembled between the 17th and 20th of June 2013 in the first ordinary session presided over by His Beatitude John X and attended by Their Eminences the Metropolitans George (Mount Lebanon and its dependencies), Elia (Hama and dependencies), Elias (Saida, Tyre and dependencies), Anthony (Mexico, Venezuela and dependencies), Sergios (Chile), Damaskinos (Brazil and dependencies), Saba (Hauran and Arabia), Boulos (Australia), George (Homs and dependencies), Silouan (Argentina), Basilios (Arkadias and dependencies), Efrem (Tripoli, Koura and dependencies). 

Apologies for the absence were received from their Eminences Spiridon (Zahle and dependencies), Philip (New York and North America), Constantine (Bagdad, Kuwait and dependencies), Youhanna (Lattakia and dependencies), Elias (Beirut and dependencies) and Metroplitan Paul (Aleppo, Alexandretta and dependencies, who though absent on account of his captivity, attended in spirit through the prayers of the fathers of the Synod and their supplications.

Arab Spring or Tornado?

Editorial by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, from the June 2013 issue of The Word:

Since the so-called Arab Spring began in Libya in 2011, we have seen the devastation and destruction of that Arab country by Libyan and NATO forces. This Arab Spring has since spread to Tunisia and Egypt, the most populated Arab country. This fire has burned relentlessly in Gaza and all of Palestine since 1948. It is spreading into Jordan, Bahrain, and Iraq and has caused the most devastation in Syria, where many of us have ancestral roots. Unfortunately, the American and European news outlets are not reporting such stories to the world, neither through the written word nor graphic photographs like the ones you see in this sad issue of The WORD magazine. The WORD has been able to obtain these pictures and information from reliable sources. Syria has been most victimized and experienced the most devastation by this seemingly endless war. The WORD believes that the only country that can bring peace to this most explosive region of the world is the United States of America, because America has leverage over Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Europe.

Antiochian Heritage Museum Exhibits Feature Art and History

Byzantine 1, by Tatiana Nikolova-Houston; acrylic, 2011Byzantine 1, by Tatiana Nikolova-Houston; acrylic, 2011The Antiochian Heritage Museum welcomes two new exhibits this summer! Gracing the center wall of our museum is "Sacred Illuminations," a colorful exhibit inspired by Byzantine and Slavic manuscript design and the Bulgarian heritage of the artist, Tatiana Nikolova-Houston. Inspired by the elaborate and colorful designs of Slavic and Byzantine illuminated manuscripts, as well as the folk art of her native Bulgaria, Nikolova-Houston's artwork is rich in spiritual and cultural tradition. A scholar of religious studies and library science, Tatiana earned both a Master's degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her husband and daughter. After discovering little-known fourteenth-century manuscripts deteriorating under poor conditions in a monastery in Sophia, Bulgaria, and thanks to a generous grant from the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Tatiana was able to spend a year there, working to preserve these rare treasures.

The Great Feast of Pentecost

The spring of the Spirit hath come to those on earth, dividing noetically into fire-bearing rivers, moistening the Apostles and illuminating them. The fire hath become to them a dewy cloud, lighting, and raining flames upon them, from whom we received grace by the fire and the water. Verily the fire of the Comforter hath come and lighted the world. + Orthros of the Feast  

Read Fr. Ayman Kfouf's reflection on the significance of the Pentecost icon. (PDF format)

Visit Ancient Faith Radio's Pentecost section, and the festal page of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

The spring of the Spirit hath come to those on earth, dividing noetically into fire-bearing rivers, moistening the Apostles and illuminating them. The fire hath become to them a dewy cloud, lighting, and raining flames upon them, from whom we received grace by the fire and the water. Verily the fire of the Comforter hath come and lighted the world. + Orthros of the Feast  

Read Fr. Ayman Kfouf's reflection on the significance of the Pentecost icon. (PDF format)

Visit Ancient Faith Radio's Pentecost section, and the festal page of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

June 2013 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The June 2013 issue includes the following articles:

Arab Spring or Tornado?, pg. 3
An editorial by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip

Christianity: So Much More than Moral Code, pg. 12
by Daniel M. Manzuk

On Cotton Candy Christianity, pg. 14
by Daniel M. Manzuk

Antiochian Village Tornado Relief Project, pg. 18
by Dianne O'Regan

Praying for the Departed, pg. 36
by Josiah Trenham, Ph.D.

...and more!

Sacred Music Institute Hosts Second Youth Music Ministry Program

By Christopher Holwey, Department of Sacred Music Chair

One of the great things about watching a very good movie, and being on the edge of your seat for the whole two hours or more, is waiting for the sequel of that great movie to come out the following year, and be even better.  Well, that's what we have with our Youth Music Ministry (YMM) Program.  As Paul Jabara, our Sacred Music Institute (SMI) Coordinator, said to the potential YMMers this year, "Once again, and back by popular demand, the Sacred Music Institute will be hosting the second Youth Music Ministry Program at the Antiochian Village, being held from July 10–July 14, 2013. We have listened to your suggestions from last year and promise that this year will be even better, with more singing, more fellowship and more chanting!"

Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

As the angels, O Savior, wondered at Thy strange elevation, and the Disciples were amazed at Thy dread rising, Thou didst ascend in glory, being God, and the gates were lifted up for Thee. Wherefore, the heavenly powers were surprised, shouting, Glory to Thy condescension, O Savior; glory to Thy reign; glory to Thine Ascension, O Thou Who alone art the Lover of mankind.

--Orthros of the Feast

On the fortieth day after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He was taken up into the heavens in a cloud.

Read The Ascension: An Excerpt from The Year of the Grace of the Lord

Read From the Heart: Resting in the Ascension

Read Fr. Theodore E. Ziton on the Ascension

Read St. Leo the Great on the Ascension

View the Archdiocese Mother Cathedral in Virtual Tour

St. Nicholas CathedralSt. Nicholas CathedralSt. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, is the mother cathedral and seat of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. It is also the first community established by St. Raphael of Brooklyn, North America's first consecrated bishop, founder of The Word magazine, and a great evangelist and teacher who planted twenty-nine parishes before his repose in 1915.

The history of the Archdiocese and of St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn are one and the same. St. Nicholas Cathedral is the oldest continuous church in the Archdiocese and its only Mother Cathedral. Its long and illustrious history unfolded through the love, devotion and sacrifices of a venerable hierarchy, greatly respected priests and deacons, and holy people of God who have served and continue to serve.

"We invite you to explore the beauty of our historic mother cathedral through this virtual tour (see below) as well as the photos on the Google Plus page," notes Cathedral Dean The Very Rev. Thomas Zain. "The tour and photos were all created by the same professional photographers. Our building dates back to the 1850s, and we have been worshipping there since 1920. Much of the iconography is recent, having been added in the past 15 years."

Sunday of the Blind Man

Who shall declare Thy might, O Christ? And who shall number the multitude of Thy wonders? For as Thou wast doubly seen in Thy goodness on earth, so didst Thou doubly grant healing to the sick; for not only didst Thou heal the bodily eyes of the man born blind from the womb, but the eyes of his soul also. Wherefore, he confessed that Thou art a hidden God, granting all the Great Mercy.

--Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 8

On this day, the sixth Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the miracle wrought by our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ upon the man who was blind from his birth.

Address of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, at the Phanar

Address of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East at the Phanar, Constantinople, Sunday, June 2, 2013

Your All Holiness and Beatitude, Patriarch of Constantinople - the New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, Most Beloved Brother in Christ our God and our Concelebrant, Kyrios Kyrios Bartholomew.

We embrace you with joy and address your All Holiness with brotherly love, together with the Metropolitans, Bishops and the respectful clergy and the people.

Christ is risen!

I come to you today from Antioch where the followers of our Lord were first called Christians; from Antioch which gathered under her wings men whose faith and stature were acknowledged by all Christians; from Antioch in which the chiefs of the apostles, Peter and Paul, preached, together with St. Ignatius of Antioch, the martyr who enriched the universal Church with his theology rooted in the Gospel of St. John; from Antioch where St. John Chrysostom started his mission and carried a spiritual heritage to Constantinople where some of his relics were brought back to this Church after they were taken away by the Franks; from Antioch in which flourished St. Ephrem and St. Isaac the Syrian who Christianised Syrian thought and left to the world the best of what could be written in spirituality and asceticism.

Parish Life Conference Season Begins June 5

There is still time for you to register for your diocese's "family reunion" this summer, your regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)! The theme for this year, "The End of History...The Last Judgment," will be the focus of the Creative Festivals, a highlight of the conferences. Youth and organizational meetings, spiritually edifying speakers and services, and social events for kids and adults alike, all make the PLCs one of the Archdiocese's most established and popular traditions. Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page for full information.

First up is the Diocese of Wichita PLC, kicking off on June 5 in Kansas City. St. Basil Orthodox Church hosts the PLC at the Westin Kansas City Hotel in downtown Kansas City, "one of America's Best downtowns" according to Forbes magazine.

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

O almighty Savior, Who didst pour forth water for the Hebrews from a solid rock, Thou didst come to the land of Samaria, and addressed a woman, seeking of her water to drink, whom Thou didst attract to faith in Thee, and who hath now attained life in the heavens everlastingly.

--Exaposteilarion of the Feast, Tone 2

On this day, the fifth Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the feast of the Samaritan Woman.

When thou camest to obtain corruptible water, O woman,
Thou didst draw forth living water that washeth away the soul’s stains.

New Cohort Begins Doctorate of Ministry in Eastern Christian Studies

L to R: Fr. Jim King (MI), Fr. Scott Lill ( PA), Fr. David Bleam (FL), Fr. James Coles (AZ), His Grace Bishop Nicholas (NJ), Fr. Joe Allen (NJ), Fr. Paul Matar (IN), Fr. Samer Youssef  (CA), Fr. Kamal Al-Rahil (FL) and Fr. Boksy Harlan (PA)L to R: Fr. Jim King (MI), Fr. Scott Lill ( PA), Fr. David Bleam (FL), Fr. James Coles (AZ), His Grace Bishop Nicholas (NJ), Fr. Joe Allen (NJ), Fr. Paul Matar (IN), Fr. Samer Youssef (CA), Fr. Kamal Al-Rahil (FL) and Fr. Boksy Harlan (PA)By Fr. James Coles, St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church, Mesa, AZ

A new, and lively, cohort of doctoral students gathered May 19-24, 2013 at the Antiochian Village to begin a three-year journey toward, as St. Gregory The Theologian put it, "hieratiki syneithesis" (priestly consciousness) in the D. Min. program through the Antiochian House of Studies. Under the tutelage of Director The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Allen, and with the wonderful opportunity of the participation of The Right Rev. Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn as a fellow student, we spent five days delving deep into the knowledge and love of God the Father.

Summer's Almost Here: Sign Up Your Kids for Camp!

Calling all parents! June is just around the corner, and for schoolchildren, the long awaited season of summer is about to begin. Throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese, the counselors, cooks, and clergy of our church camps are preparing for another busy season. You are urged to sign up your child now since some of the camps fill up quickly, and Antiochian Village sessions are nearly full. If sending a child off to camp is new to you, refer to these Resources for Parents from Antiochian Village's website. More details are also available from the Department of Camping.