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Diocese of Ottawa News

Liturgical Texts Posted for Canadian Thanksgiving, October 12

The Divine Liturgy at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.The Divine Liturgy at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.Each year, on the second Monday of October, Canada celebrates its Thanksgiving holiday as “a day of general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.” Its origin dates to 1578.

The Antiochian Archdiocese has 18 Canadian parishes. For the holiday, they are encouraged to open and offer worship and thanksgiving to God for all of His gifts. To that end, the Online Liturgical Guide has provided Liturgical Texts of Great Vespers with special hymnography for the holiday, as well as Glory to God for All Things: An Akathist of Thanksgiving, composed in Russia under Communistic oppression as a reminder to the suffering clergy and faithful of God’s blessings in this life and the life to come. Parishes can offer one or the other service on Sunday night, October 11. 

St. Elias Cathedral in Ottawa Celebrates the 85th Anniversary of the Parish and 15th Anniversary of the Cathedral

by Rev. Fr. Nektarios Najjar

The Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, blessed the Clergy and faithful of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa by presiding over the celebrations for the 85th anniversary of the parish and the 15th anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral that took place from September 9-13, 2015.

This historical visit was the first visit of His Eminence to Ottawa after his election as the new Metropolitan. His Eminence arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015. The Very Rev. Fr. Ghattas Hajal, Pastor of the Cathedral, alongside Assistant Pastor Fr. Nektarios Najjar, the parish council, a representative of Ottawa's mayor and the organizing committee of the event welcomed our Father in Christ Metropolitan Joseph at the airport's V.I.P. Salon. 

Metropolitan Joseph Inducts New Order Members in Ottawa

During celebrations for the 85th anniversary of St. Elias Cathedral in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph inducted 22 new members in to the Order of St. Ignatius, including three life members. Celebrations at the Cathedral and the inductions took place over the weekend of September 12-13, 2015.

August 30: Blessed Name's Day to Bishop Alexander!

Many years to His Grace Bishop Alexander!

Set aflame by the love of Christ, O glorious ones, you took up the yoke of His precious Cross revealing yourselves as followers in His footsteps by your way of life, and you became partakers of His divine glory, divinely-wise Alexander, with wonderful John and glorious Paul. As you stand before His throne, earnestly pray for our souls.

Troparion, Tone 8

A Pascha of Love: Celebrating the Ministry of Economos Antony Gabriel

Although the date for the retirement of Economos Antony Gabriel and his last day of service at St. George Orthodox Church in Montreal, Quebec, was set for July 19, the celebration of the Paschal love began since the first minute of the announcement, even though it did not cease all the years of his ministry at our parish.

The announcement raised the congregation to a mystical celebration; private calls, events, lunches and dinners, but the most important was the celebration of Fr. Antony’s 75th Birthday. A private dinner was organized by the Parish Council headed by Ms. Diane Nemer and was held at 40 Westt in Pointe-Claire, Montreal. The attendees who were honored and blessed by the presence of His Grace Bishop Alexander and the Rev. Mark Wyatt of our sister parish St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, felt the ambiance of the peace from above; a peace of spirit and mind, tenderness, and grace, mutual love and respect. Joyful laughter mixed with sadness and tears were in the hearts of the attendees and filled their conversations.

2016 Diocese of Ottawa Parish Life Conference

The 2016 Diocese of Ottawa Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. George Church in New Hartford, New York. Dates are Thursday to Sunday, June 30-July 3, 2016.

Please check back for more information.

Economos Antony Gabriel of Montreal Retires After 54 Years of Parish Ministry

Fr. Antony receives a medal from Queen Elizabeth IIFr. Antony receives a medal from Queen Elizabeth IIEconomos Antony Gabriel, longtime pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in Montreal, Quebec, has retired after nearly 54 years of priestly ministry in the Antiochian Archdiocese. In Fr. Antony's farewell address to St. George's Annual General Meeting on Tuesday June 16, 2015, he thanked the many dedicated people who worked alongside him to create a cohesive community in the heart of this vibrant Canadian city. "I may have led the parade, but you were the the life of St. George," he said gratefully.

In September of 2012, Fr. Antony was honored for his dedication and commitment, when His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presided over a weekend of festivities hosted by St. George in commemoration of Father's 50 years of holy priesthood. Although Fr. Antony is retiring from active parish ministry, he will continue to serve as Chairman of the Antiochian Heritage Foundation.


Memory Eternal! + Eleanor A. Kinan

Eleanor A. Kinan fell asleep in the Lord on April 24, 2015, in Niagra Falls, NY., and was a member of St. George Orthodox Church, Niagara Falls, NY.  She was the daughter of the late Norman and Emmaline Mackarous, sister of Allan Mackarous, Jeffrey (Helen) Mackarous and Norma (Kurt) Schmoelz.  Eleanor was the wife of the late Charles A. Kinan and the mother of Mark (Christina) Kinan and Neal Kinan.  
Fr. Paul Sohlberg said Trisagion Prayers on Sunday, April 25, 2015 and presided at the Funeral Service on Monday, April 26, 2015 at St. George Orthodox Church in Niagra Falls, NY.  
Eleanor served as President of the Antiochian Women North American Board from 1995 - 1997.  As President, she oversaw the publication of a leadership guide and the design and distribution of the Antiochian Women's pins.  Under her leadership the Antiochian Women successfully raised monies in support of two projects given to them by Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory.  The first from 1995 - 1997 for the Antiochian Village Camp Expansion, and the second, from 1996 - 1997 for Theological Education.
Eleanor was also very active holding positions of leadership in her parish, was Director of the Church School and involved in her Antiochian Women's chapter, as well as holding many offices on the Diocesan Level. Professionally, she had been a tax preparer and tax teacher.
May God grant her peace and may her Memory be Eternal.

Building a Dream in Mississauga

"Unless the LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE, they labor in vain who build it" (Psalm 127:1)

On behalf of Rev. Fr. Elias Ayoub and St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, we are honoured and excited to announce the first-time visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, along with our diocesan Bishop, His Grace Alexander, over the Victoria Day weekend (May 16–17). This hierarchical honour is scheduled especially for the Ground-Breaking Ceremony and the Fundraising Gala.

Twenty years ago, our parish purchased a 3.2-acre property, centrally located in Mississauga, just west of Toronto. We continued to rent a local church, and were permitted to offer our Divine Liturgies on Sunday evenings only. We had to endure extra rental fees for all other liturgical ceremonies, and spiritual and social activities. Our parishioners always say "al kaneesa mesh men hajjar, al kaneesa men basher," an Arabic saying that translates roughly to "the Church is not made out of stones; the Church is made out of people." How true that is! While we firmly believe that we are His Church, all members of Christ's Body, we also recognize the practical needs of our community here in Mississauga. Every parish needs a physical church in which to carry out its liturgical, pastoral, educational, and social activities. Therefore we have been working very hard, determined to realize our community's dream: building our own St. Mary's Church.

Youth Equipped to Serve (YES): Fall Ministry Dates

A ministry of FOCUS North America, the Youth Equipped to Serve program, or YES, provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in urban environments across the U.S. and Canada.

Weekend service trips scheduled for the fall are as follows:

YES OTTAWA, ON- October 4th
YES DETROIT, MI- November 7-9
YES PHOENIX, AZ- November 21-23
YES AKRON, OH- December 5-7
YES PROVIDENCE, RI- December 12-14

A list of upcoming YES trips and information is provided on their website. For more information about the program, read an interview with North America Program Director, Katrina Bitar, or contact her via email.

Fall 2014 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Fall 2014 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York, with special dedication to our new Metropolitan Joseph! The issue contains:

  • Metropolitan Joseph's Vision for the Archdiocese
  • Message from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor V. Rev. Iskander Younes
  • A message from Diocesan President Susanne Zeidan
  • Highlights from the 2014 Mid-Summer Meetings at Antiochian Village
  • Introductions to the Diocese of Ottawa's Board
  • Happenings around the Diocese of Ottawa
  • Antiochian Women Visit the Grave of Metropolitan Philip
  • Miracles Are Still Happening by Lianne Nimey

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Memory Eternal! + The Very Rev. Dr. Daniel Matheson

The Very Rev. Dr. Daniel Matheson reposed in the Lord peacefully on July 5, 2014, surrounded by love. He was 99.

Father Daniel was born on the family farm in Pictou county, Nova Scotia. He was the youngest of four children born to Charlie and Annie Matheson. He was predeceased in 2010 by his beloved wife of 68 years, Presbytera Vera. He is survived by his devoted children Mary (Crawford), Neil (Donna) and Peter (Cindy). He was blessed with four grandchildren, Rawni, David, Heather and Danielle. He took much delight in being the great-grandfather of Kate, Sam, Will, Jack and Cullen. Father Daniel received his B. A. in 1940 from Dalhousie University in Halifax. He received his M. Div. degree from Pine Hill Divinity Hall (now Atlantic School of Theology) also in Halifax. In 1967 The United Theological College of Montreal conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa.

He was ordained into the ministry in the United Church of Canada in 1942 and faithfully served congregations in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Ontario. In 1985 Fr. Daniel was received into the Evangelical Orthodox Church where he founded and served the Holy Epiphany Evangelical Orthodox Mission in Ottawa. In 1987 he was ordained to the priesthood of the Orthodox Church. In 1991 he began his ministry in St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa. He was blessed with the love and fellowship of the St. Elias Christian community until the end of his life on earth.

Gallery Features Highlights from Unity Conference

From June 25–28, 2014, the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East His Beatitude John X joined with the Fathers of the Holy Synod to call the faithful from around the world to the Hill of Balamand for a conference on Antiochian unity. Appropriately, the Conference concluded with the joyous celebration of the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, patron saints of the Antiochian Church. (Read the text of Patriarch John's homily.) has assembled a collection of photographs highlighting the Unity Conference. Additionally, the Patriarchate of Antioch's website has published photo galleries and written reports of the historic events in both Arabic and English, and galleries are also available on the Patriarchate's Facebook page. The sizable North American delegation, pictured here with Patriarch John X, was composed of bishops, priests, key department heads, and organization leaders. Members of the group will begin returning home on Monday, June 30.

Parish Life Conference Season Begins with a Splash

The first two Parish Life Conferences (or PLCs) for the Antiochian Archdiocese have kicked off the summer PLC season with a splash! From June 11-14 in San Antonio, Texas, host parish St. Ephraim the Syrian Antiochian Church is overseeing a lineup of events for attendees from the Diocese of Wichita, including talks by Keynote Speaker Sister Vassa Larin, as well as excursions to local attractions such as the River Walk and Sea World San Antonio. Also enjoying water access are the faithful of the Diocese of Miami, who are being hosted on June 11-15 by the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando at the Crown Plaza Hotel, with its proximity to lakes and the Atlantic coast. 

Metropolitan Silouan Visits St. Elias Cathedral + Ottawa, ON

On the weekend of May 11-12, 2014, His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan visited St. Elias Cathedral in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Memory Eternal! + George T. Mahshie

Memory Eternal!

George T. Mahshie, 87 of Syracuse NY, passed away at home on May 5, 2014. Mr. Mahshie, a lifelong resident of Syracuse, was the son of Towfick Mahshie and Malakie (Atallah) Mahshie. Mr. Mahshie attended public and parochial schools in Syracuse, graduating from Eastwood High School in 1944. He served from 1944 to 1946 in the U.S. Navy. Upon his release Mr. Mahshie attended Syracuse University where he received his bachelor's degree in 1949. He engaged in various employments and received his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1955. George was an attorney and counselor at law practicing law in New York State Courts, Federal Courts, and United States Supreme Court, maintaining a general practice of law until October 1988. Mr. Mahshie was a member of the Onondaga County, New York and American Bar Associations.

After his law practice Mr. Mahshie maintained a real estate brokerage business during which time he was President of Mahshie Realty and then on a part time basis, until his death working with his wife, Laraine, in the brokerage firms of Mincom 5 Star Realty and eL-M Real Estate. Mr. Mahshie was a member of the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors, the New York State Association of Realtors as well as the National Association of Realtors.

2014 PLC Theme is Love the Lord - Love Your Neighbor

It's time to register for your diocese's regional Parish Life Conference (PLC)!

This year's conferences are spread out across five weekends in June and July. On June 11-15, the Diocese of Wichita and the Diocese of Miami will kick off the PLC season in San Antonio, TX and Orlando, FL. Shortly thereafter on June 19-22, the Diocese of Worcester will convene in Boston, MA. Fort Wayne, IN, will be the site for the final June conference with the Diocese of Toledo's PLC on June 25-29. Finally, the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Eagle River, Charleston and New York, and Ottawa, will all meet from July 2-6, combining Fourth of July celebrations with Parish Life Conferences.  

Visit the Conventions and Conference Planning page for full information.

As always, this year's theme, love for God and neighbor, 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.

To facilitate your parish participation in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals, all resources are available in the Festivals 2014 section of Additionally, ads for the souvenir journals can be purchased and registrations can be submitted through the Department of Conventions and Conference Planning's Antiochian Events pages.



+Metropolitan PHILIP Eulogy+

+Metropolitan PHILIP Eulogy+
Economos Antony Gabriel
March 27, 2014

Your Eminences, Graces, brothers in Christ, the Saliba Family,

We are all gathered this evening as a solemn tribute to our much lamented father in Christ, Metropolitan PHILIP, of Thrice-Blessed Memory: but I must say after 53 years of knowing you, O my Saidna, in the words of Abid Bin Al Abras, “my eyes seep sorrow- water skins with holes”.

If our most beloved Metropolitan PHILIP were to give his spiritual Children a farewell address, I’m sure that he would have said what St. Paul said to his own spiritual children in Corinth:

Ye Brethren, I beseech you, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye are to speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (I Corinthians 1:10)

Heart & Soul Fundraiser at St. George Church + Montreal, QC

It's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" - St. George Church in Montreal, Quebec, Canada is pleased to report that several members of the parish and beyond teamed up to stage a first-time fundraising evening that would bring the community together, raise funds for the Church and have everyone "Dancing in the Streets."

Close to 250 fun-loving guests attended Heart & Soul – A Motown Tribute on February 1st at the elegant Le Crystal Reception Hall and were treated to a fabulous night of social mixing, sit-down dinner, dancing, and a scrumptious late night buffet featuring Montreal's famous smoked meat and poutine. Musical entertainment by the electrifying R&B/Soul band The Freddie James Project keep everyone on the dance floor well into the late hours. Popular Montreal radio morningman Andrew Carter graciously emceed the evening.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre Visits St. George Church in Montreal

On Sunday January 26th, 2014, St. George Church in Montreal, Quebec, Canada celebrated Godparents’ Sunday. It is a special day where Godparents, parents and grandparents get together with all the children for a special procession and blessing during Liturgy, followed by a get-together elongated coffee hour.

At the invitation of Economos Antony Gabriel, Pastor of St. George Church, his worship Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal, attended the Divine Liturgy on this special day. The mayor was accompanied by Mrs. Anie Samson, Mayor of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension Borough; Aref Salem City Councilor of St. Laurent Borough; and Joseph Daoura, City Councilor of Town of Mont-Royal. They were warmly received by a full attendance. At Fr. Antony’s request, the Mayor read the Epistle in French and then delivered a short speech in which he thanked the pastor and the parishioners for their kind hospitality, stressing that with hard work and perseverance, the city will improve its performance in attending to the interests and needs of its citizens and in fighting corruption.

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest George Aswad

MEMORY ETERNAL! Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of the newly-departed servant of God, brother, and concelebrant Archpriest George Aswad, pastor emeritus of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Niagara Falls, NY, who fell asleep in Christ early on the morning of January 31, 2014. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

Condolences may be sent to his wife Khouria Grace and their children and grandchildren care of the parish email address,

Visit this Website to add your memories and read reflections and tributes for Fr. George.

(From His Grace Bishop Basil)

St. George, Richmond Hill, ON Sponsors Theology Thursdays

Where: St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in the basement

What: "Heaven, Hell & the Hereafter" Series 

When: Begins Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.




51st Archdiocese Convention Kicks Off in Houston

The city of Houston, and Fr. James Shadid and the parish of St. George Orthodox Christian Church, are hosting the Antiochian Archdiocese Convention this week at the Hilton Americas hotel. The largest legislative body of the Archdiocese, the General Assembly meets in convention biennially. In addition to the business meetings, liturgical celebrations, exhibits, youth activities, and department meetings  are central to each convention as well.

There will also be special events that emphasize the uniquely Southern character of this year's gathering. Families will enjoy the Country Western Dinner and Dance on Thursday evening, while on Friday evening convention goers can attend the Mardi Gras Masquerade Dinner/Dance; visits to several of Houston's tourist venues are planned. The culmination of the week is the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday with Metropolitan Philip and all eight Auxiliary Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese presiding. 

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.

Montreal Parish's Palm Sunday Service Featured in News

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, MontrealSt. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, MontrealReporter Billy Shields of Global News, the news and current affairs division of Global Television Network in Canada, posted a news story on April 28, 2013 titled "For Arab Orthodox church, Middle East turbulence hits home." The news post noted that St. George's recent Palm Sunday celebration was dampened by the concerns of the faithful for the kidnapped bishops and the ongoing turbulence in Syria.

The parish, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, is headed by Economos Antony Gabriel of the Antiochian Heritage Foundation. “Today I asked for the people when they made their procession, to pray for peace, to pray for these bishops,” said Fr. Antony. ”We don’t want to see the church destroyed, and we don’t want Christians to leave the Middle East.” Reporter Shields noted that some of St. George's parishioners "...hail from the area Aleppo, where bishops Paul Yagizi and Yohanna Ibrahim were kidnapped."

Read the full article on Global News.