On March 1st and 2nd, 2014, Holy Ascension Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania was blessed by the presence of His Grace Bishop Thomas to celebrate the beginning of Great Lent. Bishop Thomas celebrated several services at the parish, including Sunday liturgy.
During the Sunday service His Grace gave a very personal homily where he confessed his own sins to the congregation and spoke of the importance of Great lent as a time of spiritual self-reflection. At the end of the service, Bishop Thomas inducted two parish members into the Order of St. Ignatius. After lunch His Grace meet with the children of the parish and spent time with them. The day concluded with the service of Forgiveness Vespers.
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.
St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida held its Annual Middle Eastern Festival on February 8 - 9, 2014, and a wonderful time was had by all! It truly was a Christian atmosphere and an opportunity for people to "Explore the Middle East in Coral Gables....where family and fun meet!"
To view the full gallery of photos and memories of this year's festival, please visit www.stgmiami.org/festival.html.
The St. George Cathedral Debke Troupe showcased their new and exciting routine which awed those who attended. Children's activities, games for all ages, delicious foods, delightful sweets and much much more truly made the weekend a great one!
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.
AXIOS, he is worthy! With those words Deacon Mark McNary was ordained into the priesthood at St. Basil Orthodox Church in Metairie, Louisiana on December 15, 2013. He is now caring for the Holy Antimins on the altar of St. Peter Church in Fort Worth Texas—the very church where he attended his first Orthodox service in 2007.
On January 19, 2014, His Grace Bishop John, Auxiliary Bishop for Western Rite, officiated at the induction of Fr. Mark as the parish's third rector of the largest Western Rite parish in Texas. Kent Schmedel, senior warden of St. Peter's vestry, presented Fr. Mark with the keys to the sanctuary. Seven parishioners were also received into the Order of St. Ignatius. The parish then hosted a country western luncheon to welcome Bishop John and Fr. Mark to Fort Worth and presented each with his own special "Cowtown" hat.
On Sunday, January 5, 2014, the three Orthodox parishes in Butler, PA got together and served the Great Blessing of the Waters outdoors, at Lake Arthur in the Moraine State Park. The event was covered by journalists from Butler and Ellwood City, and even made the first page of the Butler Eagle!
The parishioners of St. Anthony Orthodox Church (Antiochian), St. Andrew (Orthodox Church in America), and Sts. Peter and Paul (Ukrainian) had grown accustomed to the beautiful practice of worshipping together on their patronal feast days and during Lent, or for the evening Liturgies of the Presanctified Gifts. Yet the outdoor Blessing of Waters was a first. God sent us a relatively mild day in the middle of the famous "arctic vortex" which brought to the area some of the coldest temperatures in decades.
On December 24, 2013, St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was graced by the presence of His Grace Bishop Thomas to celebrate the feast of the Nativity. The cathedral celebrated the Hours of the Nativity, followed by the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil on the morning of Christmas Eve. Later that evening, His Grace celebrated Matins and Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, a blessed service in which Bishop Thomas ordained two men from the parish, Michael Janakis and John Norman, into the sub-diaconate.
During the service, Sayedna Thomas spoke about the significance of the feast, and the importance of being spiritually awake and keeping Christ as the true meaning of Christmas instead of other worldly ideas of the holiday. At the end of the service, Bishop Thomas inducted three very dedicated and inspired people into the Order of St. Ignatius. The congregation broke the fast together downstairs with a meal and much love and joy.
The faithful of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC, were blessed by the archpastoral visit of His Grace, Bishop Antoun, the weekend of October 25-27, 2013. This was Bishop Antoun's first visit to the parish since consecrating the new nave in 2011.
The parish was especially pleased to present to Sayedna the new thronos, which has been installed for him on the south side of the nave, together with the new chanters' stand and stalls. These items were lovingly designed, carved, and assembled by a dedicated group of men in the parish, led by parishioner John Hawranick. This same group designed and built the parish's beautiful iconostasis, Altar Table, Table of Oblation, and Table of Preparation.
By Fr. Philip Rogers
On November 10, 2013, the Sunday closest to the feast of the Holy Archangels (November 8), His Grace Bishop Antoun blessed our community of Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Christian Church in Lafayette, Louisiana with a special hierarchical visit. It was a special visit because during the weekend, our community celebrated the burning of the mortgage of our first permanent building, a momentous occasion!
The faithful of our community came together on Saturday, November 9, to celebrate with His Grace Bishop Antoun and our previous pastor, the Very Rev. Fr. John Badeen. After a memorable dinner and a few remarks from our current pastor, Fr. Philip Rogers, our parish council chairman, Dr. Fadi Malek, Fr. John Badeen and Bishop Antoun, Fr. Philip and Dr. Malek held the mortgage and ceremoniously lit it on fire. All those present cheered as the fire destroyed the mortgage.
His Grace Bishop John visited Holy Trinity Mission in Lynchburg, Virginia over the weekend of November 23-24, 2013. After an unexpectedly prolonged sojourn at the Charlotte, North Carolina airport, Bishop John arrived in time to preach at Vespers after his solemn reception. On Saturday evening, His Grace was guest of honor at a dinner with the lay leadership of the mission. At Sunday Matins and Liturgy, His Grace eloquently wove all the Scripture readings together into their theme of Eucharist, answered questions at a festive coffee hour afterwards, and later treated Fr. Alban Waggener and Kh. Helen to dinner. It was a joyous weekend. We are greatly blessed with Bishop John's leadership and charisma as the overseer of the Western Orthodox churches of the Archdiocese.