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April 2014 Memorial Edition of The Word Now Available

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The April 2014 issue of The Word is devoted to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory:

Christ is Risen! Editorial, pg. 3
by Bishop John

Memorial Homily on His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, pg. 5
by His Beatitude Patriarch John X

Memorial Address for the Repose of Metropolitan Philip Saliba, pg. 12
by Archbishop Joseph

We Bid You Farewell: Eulogy, pg. 14
by Economos Antony Gabriel

Memory Eternal, Master, pg. 17
by Fr. Timothy Ferguson, Protosyngellos of our Archdiocese

The Life of Metropolitan Philip, pg. 22

Letters of Condolence, pg. 30

...and more.

Statement of the Archdiocese in Response to the Circulating “Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action"

Regarding the forthcoming press conference scheduled for May 7, 2014 by Congressman Frank R. Wolf and Congresswoman Anna G Eshoo, during which a statement entitled “Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action on behalf of Christians and Other Small Religious Communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria” is to be released, this statement constitutes the official response of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (the “Antiochian Archdiocese”), an archdiocese of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East (the “Church of Antioch”). 

We appreciate all efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and urge all concerned with the situation experienced by Christians in the region to use every effort to bring peace to the region for all citizens of these nations. To those who have expressed willingness to listen to the voices of Christians of the Middle East and to respond to their concerns, we draw their attention to the Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, gathered in Turkey, 6-9 March 2014, in which they unanimously adopt the views of the Church of Antioch.

Pascha in the Antiochian Archdiocese, 2014

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! ~Paschal Troparion

As this historic Great Lent 2014 concluded, and commemorations for the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory continued, the Antiochian Archdiocese's parishes around the United States and Canada commenced the services for Holy Week and Pascha.  Communities in cities and small towns alike held daily services leading up to the climactic days of Holy Saturday and Pascha on April 19-20. View our photo gallery of services and celebrations, and if your parish isn't represented yet, send your photos to editor@antiochian.org, and we'll include you!

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

Assembly of Bishops Statement on the One-Year Anniversary of the Bishops Abducted in Syria

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has issued the following statement:

1. We, the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, representing millions of Orthodox Christians, express our grave concern over the escalation of unrest and ongoing violence in countries throughout the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

2. Our Assembly denounces any and all attacks—whether by means of violence, kidnapping, torture or killing—on all fellow human beings, irrespective of their race, ethnic origin, and religion. Moreover, we deplore the destruction of all places of worship or their forced conversion from their original intent.

Pastoral Letter of His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan in Tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo

Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo Celebrating PaschaMetropolitan Paul of Aleppo Celebrating PaschaThe Hope That Never Fails

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;
and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ;
if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him."
(Romans 8:16-17)

Beloved in Christ,
Hierarchs, clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees and faithful
Of this God-protected Archdiocese:

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

I am writing to you on the Holy day of the resurrection of our Lord, not only to greet each one of you and convey my personal salutation, as well as those of our clergy and parishioners in Argentina, but also in order to address you upon the one year anniversary of the abduction of our beloved brother Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, Alexandretta and Dependencies.

Pascha 2014 Pastoral Letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan

How to resurrect with Christ

"If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1)

Beloved in Christ

Hierarchs, clergy and faithful,

Of this God-protected Archdiocese

Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!

Christ defeated death! We are no longer subject to it; rather we are Christ's, who gave us "the right to be God's children" (John 1:12) and to be His "friends" (John 15:15)! What great news! What a great gift! What a great reality! An eternal bond is granted to whoever believes in Christ as Savior from death - divine adoption in Christ's name!

From now on, the Lord commissioned us to be victorious not only over death "from outside," but also over death "from within," that is, over our own selfishness. He also commanded us to be messengers of the Good News and heralds of His victory - and ours, too - over any kind of death. He asked us, as Christians, to abide by love rather than by hate, by hope rather than by despair, by faith rather than by logic, by justice rather than by injustice, by forgiveness rather than by resentment, by humility rather than by vanity and arrogance, and by sacrifice rather than by self-interest.

Holy Friday Pastoral Message from His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan

How to be crucified with Christ

"I have been crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20)

Beloved in Christ,
Hierarchs, clergy and faithful
Of this God-protected Archdiocese:

The mystery of Christ is very simple. Yet in order to embrace it in our lives, we need a mind and a heart as humble as His. The mystery of His love to humankind is such that it surprises us, whenever we meditate on it and are conscious of it. It surprises us because it reveals the love He has for us. He "is love" (1 John 4:8), isn't He?

Christ manifested His love to us in a very particular way: the way of a bridegroom with his bride. The Church preserved from the Lord's last moments before death the image of a marriage. The "picture" she took of this wedding has been expressed in two different ways in our celebrations on the first days of Holy Week. In fact, we chant at Matins of these holy days: "Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night...", and "I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me." We also make a procession with the icon of the "bridegroom" with the inscription, "Behold, the man!" (John 19:5). It is the icon of the Lord of the "utmost humility," the whole image of His passion, a snapshot of His unconditional love for us. It was the last picture taken of Him before His death on the Cross. It is the best picture ever taken of Him. The Church raises in front of our eyes this "picture" in order that we recall today in our hearts His love and humility, and commit ourselves again to follow Him on the way of the Cross.

Great and Holy Wednesday

The woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Thy divinity, O Lord, fulfilled the part of a myrrh-bearer; and with lamentations she brought sweet-smelling oil of myrrh to Thee before Thy burial. "Woe is me," she said, "for night surrounds me, dark and moonless, and stings my lustful passion with the love of sin. Accept the fountain of my tears, O Thou who drawest down from the clouds the waters of the sea. Incline ot the groanings of my heart, O Thou who in Thine inneffable self-emptying hast bowed down the heavens. I shall kiss Thy most pure feet and wipe them with the hairs of my head, those feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise, and hid herself for fear. Who can search out the multitude of my sins and the abyss of Thy judgements, O Savior of my soul? Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure."

Tone 8, by Kassiani the Nun

Greetings and Visitation Information from Metropolitan Silouan

His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan, Metropolitan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina, and Patriarchal Vicar of New York and all North America, writes:

Buenos Aires, April 12th 2014

Very Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy,

Honorable Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees
and Beloved Faithful
of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

I wholeheartedly greet you on Lazarus Saturday, having experienced the tranquillity of the company of the Lord to His closest friend, and having shared His imperishable promise to Lazarus´ sisters, Mary and Martha, that He is the resurrection for whoever believes in Him!

Last Wednesday, I arrived back in Buenos Aires in order to celebrate Holy Week and Pascha with our parishioners in Argentina. Nevertheless, I did not stop working for your beloved archdiocese, and I will do until my functions as a vicar come to fulfilment, when the Holy Synod of Antioch elects a new Metropolitan in order to succeed to His Eminence, our beloved Metropolitan Philip of eternal memory.

I would like to share with you some aspects of my experience, during the two weeks I have spent with you, from Monday March 24th (arrival to the Archdiocese´s Headquarters) until Tuesday April 9th (Departure to Buenos Aires).

Archdiocesan Leadership Meetings and Special Nominating Convention

The Archdiocese communicated the following details regarding historic May and June meetings to all clergy and parishes on April 8, 2014:

The dates and location have been set for a special Archdiocesan Synod Meeting, Board of Trustees meeting and the Special Nominating Convention. The location will be Chicago, Illinois, in order to facilitate air travel from all parts of the Archdiocese. The specific hotel will be announced, and all meetings will take place at that hotel. (See here for hotel and registration updates from April 29.)

The new date and location for the Special Board of Trustees and Archdiocesan Synod meetings were motivated by the need to convene the Special Nominating Convention. This makes it necessary to cancel the meetings which were originally scheduled at the Antiochian Village for the weekend of May 29-31.

The schedule of meetings is as follows:

Tuesday May 13, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Special meeting of the Archdiocesan Synod.

Wednesday May 14, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. – Special Board of Trustees Meeting.

Wednesday June 4, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Meetings of the Archdiocesan Synod and/or Archdiocesan Board of Trustees (as needed)

Thursday June 5, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Special Assembly to nominate candidates for the office of Metropolitan

Holy Week Resources for Ministry and Personal Enrichment

As the summit of the liturgical year approaches, Antiochian.org offers a variety of resources to enrich the experience of personal and corporate worship. Holy Week: Journey to the Empty Tomb, offers reflections and information about the specific days and traditions of Holy Week such as the Hymn of St. Kassiane sung on Holy Tuesday, and the Sacrament of Holy Unction.  

Clergy and choir directors will find all the music needed for Holy Week and Pascha catalogued in the Department of Sacred Music's online library, and can refer to the Online Liturgical Guide for information as well. Throughout the Department of Christian Education's section, teachers and parents will find craft and activity suggestions for the season, appropriate for use in home and Church School.

Metropolitan Philip Memorial Service Photography

Memorial services for our departed Metropolitan Philip were held at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, March 26, to March 30. His Eminence was laid to rest at Antiochian Village on Monday, March 31. May his memory be eternal!

An extensive collection of photography from the memorial events has been assembled here. Our thanks to all who submitted photography. The galleries presented here will continue to be expanded over the coming days to include additional images from Brooklyn and from the Antiochian Village.

Prayers for Metropolitan Philip's Repose

We ask for your continued prayers for the repose of our beloved Primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, as he is laid to rest today at Antiochian Village in Bolivar, Pennsylvania, after almost 50 years of leadership. Learn more about the life and legacy of Metropolitan Philip here. Video, photography and written material regarding the memorial services of the past days are being prepared for release. We ask for your prayers as well for safe travels for all those returning from the events honoring Metropolitan Philip. Memory eternal!

Photos from Friday March 28 Memorial Services for Metropolitan Philip

We are grateful to the community of St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY and all those who have labored to organize and record the memorial events honoring the repose of our beloved Primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. Following are photographs from the Friday, March 28, funeral for a bishop. Many more photos are being prepared for release, including from Saturday's main funeral service, now concluded. May his memory be eternal!

Watch Metropolitan Philip Funeral Coverage Online

Our thanks to Noursat, Reach Media, and the community of St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, for the broadcast of the memorial services for Metropolitan Philip. Some technical difficulties with Noursat's online video stream began at approximately 1:30 p.m. EST; our apologies to those who have not been able to watch the conclusion of the services after several hours of continuous coverage. The television broadcast has continued and is being recorded, and will be made available online in its entirety within a few days.

Sayidna Philip Arrives at the Cathedral March 26

St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY Mar 26St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY Mar 26

Annunciation Feast and Funeral Preparations at St. Nicholas Cathedral

As hierarchs and clergy begin arriving for the wake and funeral of our beloved Metropolitan Philip, His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan, the Patriarchal Vicar, and His Grace Bishop Anthony celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Annunciation this morning. After the liturgy, the hierarchs and clergy went to the funeral home to vest Metropolitan Philip in his hierarchical vestments. Memory eternal!

See this page for all details regarding this week's memorial services for Metropolitan Philip.

Additional pictures available below.

Tributes to Metropolitan Philip

The Archdiocese is deeply grateful for the wide range of tributes to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip which have begun to follow his repose. This collection of tributes from religious leaders, media outlets, and international sources will continue to be expanded.

We also offer in tribute this memorial photo gallery of Metropolitan Philip's life and work, which will also continue to be expanded. Our thanks to all of those who have contributed photography. Also available is a gallery celebrating His Eminence's dedication to the youth of our Archdiocese.

Below, we highlight three videos of His Eminence. The first is from Pascha 2011 at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. The second video was prepared in honor of Metropolitan Philip's 80th birthday, and was presented with these remarks by Fr. Anthony Gabriel at the 2011 Archdiocese Convention. The third was originally prepared by Fr. Ayman Kfouf of St. George Church of Troy, MI in honor of Metropolitan Philip's historic 2013 visit. This video was played during the last official, celebrational pastoral visit of His Eminence before his falling asleep.

On the Passing of Metropolitan Philip

The Archdiocese communicates with a heavy heart as we struggle with the news of the falling asleep in Christ of Metropolitan Philip. May his memory be eternal!

We express our sincerest appreciation to our Father in Christ, His Beatitude Patriarch John X, for his pastoral care and love. His Beatitude was in continual contact with us, and with Metropolitan Philip during his hospital stay, and showed his love and concern for his spiritual children in North America. For this, we are most grateful. May the memory of Metropolitan Philip be eternal, and may God grant many years to His Beatitude Patriarch John.

The schedule for all events associated with the falling asleep of Metropolitan Philip is available here. All events will be held at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York unless another location is specified. In lieu of flowers for the funeral, donations can be made to the Archdiocese for the benefit of the Retired Clergy Fund.

Attached you will find letters from His Beatitude Patriarch John X, both the Arabic original and an English translation in two parts (Letter to Archbishop Joseph; Patriarchal Decision).

Both letters appoint Metropolitan Silouan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina as the Patriarchal Vicar until such time as a new Metropolitan is elected by the Holy Synod of Antioch. The Patriarchal Vicar is responsible for the administration of the Archdiocese until a new Metropolitan is elected. Archbishop Joseph will serve as the Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese. Archbishop Joseph will arrive in New Jersey on Friday March 21, and Metropolitan Silouan will arrive on Monday March 24.

Remembering His Eminence Metropolitan Philip

Visit the Metropolitan Philip Memorial Page of Antiochian.org for information on the life, work and passing of our beloved Primate. A biography, news archives, reflections on and by Metropolitan Philip, links to video and audio, photo galleries and more are currently available or being prepared.

Listen to a historic Ancient Faith Radio interview from 2009 of Metropolitan Philip conducted by Fr. Peter Gillquist, of blessed memory. Metropolitan Philip talks candidly about such things as Orthodox unity, music, our witness to the world, and his most memorable accomplishments.

Read a tribute to Metropolitan Philip's life and legacy from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, where His Eminence served as Board of Trustees Vice President and Vice Chairman.

The Archdiocese is grateful for this account of the prayers of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on behalf of Metropolitan Philip. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, presided at the Panikhida celebrated for the repose of Metropolitan Philip’s soul.