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Diocese of Ottawa News

A Blessed Lent, Holy Week and Pascha at St. Nicholas Church + Montreal, QC

Interior of St. Nicholas ChurchInterior of St. Nicholas ChurchSt. Nicholas Church was established by St. Raphael of Brooklyn and is the oldest Orthodox Community in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. To live an Orthodox life in Montreal is a big challenge, and to keep our churches full on Sundays is a bigger challenge for our Montreal clergy. By the grace of God, however, St. Nicholas Church is undergoing a new revival this year: our Church is full, our youth groups are active, new families are joining our parish and we are, as said by one of our parishioners at one of our recent luncheons, “alive and well.”

We received great blessings this Holy Week when, starting from the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, we were visited by His Grace Bishop Alexander, who brought with him an antique cross with a Relic of the Holy Cross embedded inside it to bless our parishioners following the Divine Liturgy.

The next Sunday was the Feast of the Annunciation and we had a fabulous Mid-Lenten luncheon hosted by our very active Antiochian Women. The Sunday after (St. Mary of Egypt), we were visited by His Grace Bishop Luka from our Patriarchate in Damascus. Bishop Luka asked that we pray for the Syrian people and reminded us about Syria’s rich Christian history.

Following the Divine Liturgy on St. Lazarus Saturday, our youth enjoyed weaving palm crosses for our parishioners to carry on Palm Sunday. And on Palm Sunday itself, we were visited again by His Grace Bishop Alexander and we had a police escort around the block for our parish procession. That day we also had our annual bake sale of Arabic sweets prepared by our Antiochian Women, plus we had a sale of handmade goods by the residents of Al-Kafaat (Lebanon).

2012 Paschal Greetings from Bishop Alexander

His Grace Bishop Alexander writes:


Beloved Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York:

Greetings and blessings on this Feast of Feasts! I share with you what St. Gregory the Theologian writes concerning the Resurrection of Christ:

     On this Great Day Christ is called from among the dead which He had emulated. On this day, He repelled death's sting, laid low the gloomy confines of hell, and granted freedom to the souls. On this day, risen from the tomb, He appeared to people for whom He had been born, had died, and been awakened from the dead, so that we, having been reborn and escaped death, might be resurrected with Him, the Resurrected One. On this bright glorious and great day, the angelic hosts, filled with joy, sing a song of victory.

On this glorious Feast of the Resurrection of Christ I embrace you and cry out with you: Christ is risen! ! ا ق حيسملا م Christ est Ressuscité! Christos Anesti!

May the joy of the Resurrection of Christ fill your hearts and those of your loved ones for many years to come.

Have a blessed Pascha!

In the risen Christ,


Canadian Conference of Orthodox Bishops Meets in Toronto

from the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas:

On March 29, 2012, the Canadian Conference of Orthodox Bishops had a meeting at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto. On the agenda were the reports of the dialogue with the Catholic Bishops, pastoral, canonical and liturgical issues, a Directory of all Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs, jurisdictions and parishes. It was discussed the update on the petition addressed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to approve the constituency of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of Canada. There were also discussed plans for joint-ministry and fraternal cooperation in the future. An important topic was the discussion of the situation of persecuted Christians in the World and the position of the Orthodox in Canada.

The participants at the meeting were: His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios and His Grace Bishop Christoforos of the Greek Metropolis of Toronto, His Grace Bishop Alexander of the Antiochian Archdiocese, His Grace Bishop Job of the Moscow Patriarchate Representation in Canada, His Grace Bishop Georgij of the Serbian Diocese of Canada, His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae and His Grace Vicar Bishop Ioan Casian of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij, His Grace Bishop Hilarion and His Grace Bishop Andrej of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Ilias of the Albanian Diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and His Grace Vicar Bishop Irinee of the OCA.

A date was set for next year's meeting for April 11, 2013.

Lenten Retreat in Hamilton, Ontario + March 31, 2012

Would you like to prepare for Great Lent and Pascha by attending a spiritual talk? If so, come spend an afternoon in Orthodox fellowship, hear a great speaker, enlighten your mind, nourish your soul, do a good deed and get a free book!

On behalf of the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church on Barton Street in Hamilton, you are cordially invited to an Orthodox Retreat. The keynote talk will be on Saturday, March 31st from 1 pm to 5 pm at the Canadian Serbian Community Centre at 1415 Barton St. E. in Hamilton. Registration starts at noon.

The topic is ‘BEATITUDES: A Patristic Look at the 7th, 8th & 9th Beatitudes’. The speaker is Father Demetrios Carellas, Archimandrite, Holy Monastery of the Theotokos, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. This talk will complete the series on The Beatitudes.

Registration is required in advance via e-mail to reserve a spot. Free Book for those who RSVP. Also, we will be collecting non-perishable food items for the needy via our local food bank. If you are able, your donation is appreciated. Please share this invitation with your friends - all are welcome!

Contact: Zorka Djurdjevic
St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church Education Committee
1415 Barton St. E.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Evenings - 905.547.2926

St. George Antiochian Church of Montreal Hosts Annual Conference for Women

The twenty-first annual conference of the Orthodox Christian Women of Montreal, is titled "Why Do We Need the Creed? The Symbol of Faith in Today's World." St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church is hosting the event on Saturday, February 25, 2012, from 9:30am - 4:00pm. Registration is $40, and this includes breakfast, lunch and refreshments. Archpriest Cyprian Hutcheon is the guest speaker.


Phone: (514) 276-8533


Creative Festival 2010: Diocese of Ottawa

Take a moment for an audio visual meditation on the theme, "The earth is the Lord's and its fullness, the world and all who dwell therein," Psalm 23. This presentation of the photos, artwork, and words of the children in the Diocese of Ottawa from the Creative Festivals 2010 is brought to you by the Department of Christian Education, and the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.

Prison Ministry Convocation, June 28 - July 2, 2011

The annual Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Convocation will be held at the Sheraton Centre Downtown Toronto June 28 - July 2, 2011.

This year's Convocation will gather Orthodox clergy and laity from around the world who are currently involved in prison ministry or are looking to begin outreach to prisoners. These convocations allow clergy and laypeople to exchange ministry ideas, gather for fellowship, and attend presentations on prison ministry. 

Scholarships are available on OCPM's website.

OCPM is the official prison ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Antiochian priest Fr. Stephen Powley, experienced prison chaplain and Assistant Director of OCPM, regularly shares his thoughts regarding prison ministry and the spiritual life in his OCPM blog, An UpWord Glance.

Go here for more information about the Convocation, and to register

2011 Diocese of Ottawa Parish Life Conference

2011 Diocese of Ottawa Parish Life Conference

Hosted by St. Mary Church; Mississauga, ON

June 30-July 3, 2011


Please check back for further information, or contact St. Mary Church.

St. Elias Cathedral Celebrates Its 80th Anniversary

St. Elias Cathedral
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

80th Anniversary Celebration
10th Anniversary of the Consecration of the Cathedral
and the Burning of the Mortgage
September 10-12, 2010
Click here for a gallery of pictures from the weekend

What a week-end!! We had so much to celebrate and be thankful for. We began by welcoming His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, at the airport on Friday afternoon. Fr. Ghattas, Fr. Boulos, Lebanon’s Charge D’affaires, Mr. George Zeid, City of Ottawa Mayor, Mr. Larry O’Brien, along with members of the Parish Council and the Organizing Committee gathered for an enthusiastic welcome. We were so grateful that Metropolitan Philip was able to celebrate this momentous occasion with us.

Saturday’s events began when members of the Organizing Committee were treated to a lovely luncheon with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and His Grace Bishop Alexander at our Parish home. Daniel Abraham, Chairman of The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, was also present with us for the luncheon and all our week-end festivities. Khouriya Helene, as usual, prepared a delicious lunch including the Metropolitan’s favourite - Kibbee Nayeh.

On Knowing God

His Grace Bishop Alexander recently addressed the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York. His remarks were published in the journal, "Diakonia," and are reprinted here for our edification.

In the Gospel we read on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council (John17:1-13), Jesus says in what is commonly known as His High Priestly prayer: And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. The letters of St. Paul are replete with references to knowing God. For example in his letter to the Ephesians 1:17, St. Paul says: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. In Philippians 3:8 he says: Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…and in verse 10, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.

When we think "knowing," we think about head knowledge and data. People of old conceived of "knowing" as an experience or an encounter. Many years ago I was on a bus tour in France and happened to sit next to an evangelical lady from the US. We started talking about Christ and after a long discussion the lady declared to me, "You have met Him (Christ)."

Orthodox Institute Ontario + October 23, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010
St. George Church + Richmond Hill, ON

Download Brochure and Registration Form (PDF)
Download Flyer (PDF)
Registration Deadline: October 10


We are pleased to have, as our special guest presenter, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, Pastor, St. Paul Church, Emmaus, Pennsylvania and originator of the Ancient Faith Radio podcasts, “Heterodoxy and Orthodoxy,” & “Roads from Emmaus.”

Parish Life Conference Season Ends With A Bang on July 4

Bible Bowl winners with His Grace, Bishop JosephBible Bowl winners with His Grace, Bishop JosephFor the Dioceses of Toledo, Ottawa, Charleston and New York, and Los Angeles and Eagle River, the Fourth of July holiday weekend ushered in the long-planned for Parish Life Conferences. With the Creative Festivals, liturgical worship, fellowship, and special speakers as the reward, the faithful of each diocese traveled long distances to convene over the holiday weekend. In Tucson, Arizona, the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West met at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, thanks to the hard working parishioners of Fr. Philip Nixon's parish, Holy Resurrection. Attendees were also able to sign up for day tours to two sacred Arizona sites, St. Anthony's and St. Paisius' Monasteries.

St. George in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Welcomes Home Seminarian Todd Mokhiber

St. George Parish in Niagara Falls, N.Y.  welcomed home Subdeacon Todd Justin Mokhiber from his first year at St. Tikhon's Seminary in Pennsylvania. On Sunday, June 6th, Todd gave a wonderful homily that included insights and experiences from his year. Here is his homily:

"In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Glory to Jesus Christ, Glory forever. It is truly a blessing to be back here at St. George Niagara Falls for a few months. Fr. Paul asked me to share a few words about my experience at seminary.

Back in August of last year I was embarking on a journey that would change my life forever. I would leave everything that was comfortable and familiar to me. I would be leaving Niagara Falls for the first time in my life for more than a couple of weeks for vacation or a business trip. Needless to say I was very nervous about leaving my job, home, family, friends, and of course our beloved St. George parish. So many things happened in the process of going to seminary. My brother was very ill, my car died, and I had/have no health insurance since I left my job. Many things were going wrong and I felt like abandoning the idea of going to seminary. I never truly lost hope because of the support of many people that encouraged me and I knew that Christ was calling me to ministry.

Bishop Basil Reflects on Historic Episcopal Assembly

Recently, Bishop Basil spoke with AFR correspondent Matthew Namee about the historic assembly of bishops which took place in the week following Pentecost. His Grace was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Below are excerpts from the interview, which can be found here in full:  

"The bishops delighted in being together and doing the work of the Church."

"The ultimate task was to prepare the Orthodox (Church) of this constitute itself as a canonical, single Church.…It is a huge task, one that a vast majority of Orthodox Christians in America have been praying for, hoping for, talking about, for a long, long time."

"It’s as if the Mother Churches have said to us, ‘Look, you have been asking for this. Before we give it to you, we would like to know, what is your plan?’"


"We were blessed by the work of SCOBA….the work of the Episcopal Assembly was made quite easy by the 50 years of preparation."

"The Episcopal Assembly is comprised of every Orthodox bishop, not just the primates. We had 55 in attendance, (in New York) where the maximum of SCOBA members would have been 8."

Ancient Faith Radio has also posted an extensive interview with Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA, titled Unraveling the Episcopal Assembly. Additionally, has compiled a summary of online Assembly articles.

Elevation and Ordinations at St. George Church + Niagara Falls, NY

l-r:  Fr. Paul Solberg, Reader Kevin Boddecker, Bp. ALEXANDER's Assistant and His Grace Bishop ALEXANDERl-r: Fr. Paul Solberg, Reader Kevin Boddecker, Bp. ALEXANDER's Assistant and His Grace Bishop ALEXANDERSt. George Church in Niagara Falls, New York was truly blessed to welcome His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER during the weekend of April 9-11, 2010.

A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was concelebrated on Sunday by Bishop ALEXANDER, with four priests, five deacons and two subdeacons in the nave of the church, which was filled to capacity with the faithful.  During the Liturgy, the parish celebrated three joyous events: Fr. Paul Solberg was elevated to the dignity of Archpriesthood, Deacon Raphael Barberg was ordained into the Priesthood and Kevin Boddecker was tonsured as a Reader.  

Sayedna Alexander's visit also included meetings with the Order of St. Ignatius, the Antiochian Women, and Teen SOYO and concluded with a banquet luncheon at Antonio's Restaurant in Niagara Falls.

Online Registration Available for 2010 Diocese of Ottawa Parish Life Conference

Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York
57th Annual Parish Life Conference

hosted by
St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church
Montreal, Quebec CANADA
July 1st to July 4th 2010

Online information and registration is now available at the conference web site. For more information, please contact PLC2010@STNICHOLASMTL.ORG.

Bishop ALEXANDER Visits Camp Transfiguration

On August 17-18, 2009, His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER visited Camp Transfiguration, which was held this year at a new location central to our diocese, at Camp Kenebec in Arden, Ontario. On Wednesday, August 19, His Grace celebrated the Divine Liturgy assisted by Fr. Joseph Purpura and Fr. Iskandar Younes. Other clergy from our Diocese that were present that day are Fr. Boulos Moussa, Fr. Gregory Murphy, Fr. Mark Arsenios Wyatt and of course Fr. Michael Shaheen who stayed at Camp Transfiguration throughout the whole duration of camp (August 16 to 22). Fr. Ghattas Hajjal also visited the camp later on Friday. Fr. Anthony Bahou from Dallas, Tx, made a surprise visit from Wednesday to Friday.

Click here for more pictures from Sayyedna's visit...

4th Annual Diocesan Clergy Retreat

4th Annual Diocesan Clergy Retreat of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York

Clergy Group Photo

His Grace, Bishop ALEXANDER, invited the clergy of his diocese to gather at the Manoir D’Youville, a retreat and conference center located south of Montreal on the Ile Saint-Bernard, for a time of spiritual renewal, theological education, and companionship on September 16-19, 2008.

The special guest lecturer was Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics and Liturgical Theology at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.   His presentation was based on readings from the collection of letters and spiritual counsel of St. Silouan the Athonite, compiled by St. Silouan's spiritual son Elder Sophrony of Essex.  Archimandrite Sophrony, the spiritual elder of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist at Tolleshunt Knights, England, was also the spiritual father of Dr. Veniamin.  Dr. Veniamin spent much of his adolescent years visiting and praying with the brothers at St. John’s, seeking the true theology of praxis during his school holidays and summer vacations.  In our retreat, he used the technique of reading passages from the book St. Silouan the Athonite to the gathered clergy as a way of encouraging discussion of the deep spiritual meanings which underlie the seemingly simple words of the text.

The Diocese of Eastern Canada and Upstate New York hosts Bishop BASIL of Wichita

IMG_3820-web During the weekend of August 17, 2008, His Grace Bishop BASIL of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America visited St. Elias Cathedral in Ottawa, Canada. His Grace was invited to co-officiate along with our Bishop ALEXANDER at the wedding of Camille Baba and Ramia Ibrahim. Bishop BASIL presided over vespers at the cathedral on Saturday and concelebrated the divine liturgy on Sunday with Bishop ALEXANDER. They were assisted by Fr. Ghattas Hajal, the dean, deacon Dimitri Choueiry and several clergy in attendance for the wedding. The liturgy was chanted by the Byzantine choir of the cathedral, headed by Nader Hajjar, guest chanter Rasim Almaseeh and others who came for the wedding.

Bishop ALEXANDER Visits Camp Transfiguration

image On August 5, 2008, the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration, Bishop ALEXANDER visited Camp Transfiguration, in its new location about an hour and 20 minutes from Montreal. It is nestled in the Laurentian mountains on the banks of a lake, and His Grace has provided the pictures below to share the beauty of this uplifting visit. By the grace of God, the direction of Alex Younes and Khalil Samara and the spiritual guidance of Fr. Michael Shaheen the camp has 108 participants, a good number of counselors and volunteers. The kitchen is headed by Salome Tannis, whose family donated the food. The campers are having a good time praying, fishing, sailing, playing ball and doing arts and crafts. Endless thanks go to every one who made this camp happen.

Inshallah next year we can increase the numbers and build more fellowship among our young ones. Pictures follow below.

Bishop Alexander Visits Camp Transfiguration 2007

On Thursday afternoon August 9, 2007, Bishop Alexander, accompanied by Deacon Dimitri Choueiry, made his annual visit to Camp Transfiguration which is the official camp for the Diocese of Eastern Canada and Upstate New York.

The camp is located about an hour drive north west of the city of Montreal. Bishop Alexander was met by Fr. Michael Shaheen, Khalil Samara, Alex Younes, David Jacobs and Gregory Abdallah along with a number of campers and counselors who rushed to take his blessing. His Grace then proceeded to the guest house for some refreshments prepared by the matron of the camp, Salomeh Tannis. This was followed by a lenten supper with the campers and then vespers. " Bishop Alexander had to forfeit a canoe trip offered by Alex Younes due to the lateness of the hour but took a raincheck for the following year.

His Grace was delighted to be with the youth of the diocese who came mostly from Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. All in all, it was a wonderful trip on a beautiful afternoon.

A la prochaine....




Pictures of Bp. Alexander's pilgrimage to Russia

Between June 6 and 25, 2007, Bishop Alexander went on pilgrimmage to Russia. Bishop Alexander visited Moscow, St. Petersburg and the ancient city of Novgorod. In Moscow His Grace was guest of Bishop Niphon, the representative of the Patriarchate of Antioch in Moscow. On June 10, along with over 75 metropolitans and bishopsfrom the Russian Church, Bishop Niphon and Bishop Alexander served the Divine Liturgy with His Holiness Alexei II, Patriach of Russia, at Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Enthronement of His Grace Bishop Alexander

Enthronement of His Grace Bishop Alexander

Bishop of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York







St. Elias Cathedral, Ottawa