As the parishioners of St. Mary Church in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania were concluding their observance of the Dormition Fast in preparation for the Great Feast of the Dormition, their parish nameday, Bishop Thomas arrived in Chambersburg to celebrate with them.
Fr. Ted Pulcini, St. Mary’s pastor, drove His Grace into Chambersburg during the afternoon of Friday, August 12. That evening Bishop Thomas presided over the final Paraklesis service of the fast, leading a group of parishioners in their supplications to the Mother of God.
The next morning, Fr. Ted accompanied Sayyidna to the St. Seraphim Center, a FOCUS-affiliated ministry conducted by the parish to feed the needy in the Chambersburg area. The Center serves lunch to some 35 to 45 guests twice a week (on Thursdays and Saturdays), complementing the lunch schedule of the local Salvation Army. The Center will be observing its second anniversary this fall and is now well recognized as a welcoming community center in the Chambersburg area. Since last fall, the Center has also offered recycled articles of clothing, free of charge, to men, women, and children who need them. Bishop Thomas commended the work of the Center and gave his enthusiastic blessing to its continued efforts.
Recently, St. Patrick Orthodox Church was featured in the Warrenton, Virginia, Lifestyle magazine. Part of a series about local houses of worship, the colorful article presented the life of the community of St. Patrick in both text and photographs.
The author writes, "St. Patrick's Orthodox Church is strongly committed to being a vibrant witness of the Orthodox faith for their community. The congregation is made up of seniors, young singles and couples, families and many children, In Orthodoxy, the path of salvation is clear: we confess our sins regularly, we partake in our Lord's Body, we read (and sing) the Scriptures, we feed and clothe the poor, we fast, and we pray that we may be continually more filled with love for God and man."
The authors of the Taste & See Cookbook, parishioners at St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church, have announced that the newly improved version is complete and ready for purchase and shipment.
This cookbook contains 500 all new recipes and is 66% larger than the original Taste & See Cookbook. 85% of the recipes conform to traditional Orthodox fasting guidelines.
The Taste and See website explains that "a minimum of 10% of the funds raised will be donated to the Antiochian Women and their various charity efforts."
For more information about the project including ordering information, visit the Taste & See website.
Thursday, July 21, proved to be a day of celebration for many reasons. In addition to being the last day of a sizzling heat wave across the Midwest, an excitement filled the air in the courtyard of St. George Church, Cicero, Host Parish of the historic 50th Archdiocese Convention beginning this Sunday, July 24th. Balloons and banners, posters and streamers, food and music, people young and old, witnessed a great announcement! Fireworks lit up the sky brightening the smiling faces as they all heard:
The Convention begins this weekend!
The Committee gathered to celebrate several years of tireless planning and a very anticipated week-long journey called the Archdiocese Convention. The full schedule is available at www.archdioceseconvention2011.org and awaits the entire Archdiocese.
May 27-29 was a weekend like no other! For months we prepared for this holy consecration event…not knowing what to expect. But we knew we had to be ready! We built a new iconostasis! We had new icons written for the occasion! We re-constructed the altar area to be suitable for Orthodox worship! And we built a new altar table! And now the weekend was upon us. Sayidna Philip was to consecrate the Church of the Virgin Mary in Alsip, Illinois!
Words cannot express the extent of our happiness at having His Eminence, Sayidna Philip consecrate our Holy Church. It was the wishes of our Pastor, the Rev. Father Mousa Haddad, and the entire congregation that he visit us. Also, since this would be his first visit to our community, it was befitting that he would consecrate our house of worship. Committees worked hard to prepare for this holy and historic visit. We welcomed Sayidna Philip and we were honored to have Sayidna Antoun also join us for this historic weekend. Also, we were grateful for the presence and assistance of Archdeacon Hans El-Hayek.
With great joy the congregation of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Beckley, West Virginia and its priest, Fr. Samuel Haddad, were pleased to receive His Grace Bishop Thomas for a visit to the parish on the weekend of the Fourth Sunday of Pascha, May 13–15, 2011.
The busy weekend schedule got underway Friday evening when Sayidna met with the parish council. Members had the opportunity to tell His Grace about progress that St. Nicholas has made during the previous year, including the installation of a beautiful Christ Pantocrator icon written by iconographer Matthew Garrett, new carpeting for the church, and continued growth of the congregation. Parish council members also discussed the ongoing work of various parish organizations, including the Women of the Holy Myrrh Bearers. The women’s group operates a soup kitchen called Carpenter’s Corner on the first Monday of each month, offers financial support to the local crisis pregnancy center, helps gather food for a nearby food pantry, and undertakes many other charitable endeavors, seeking whenever possible to provide assistance to those in need. In addition, the Myrrh Bearers contribute substantially to the Parish Building Fund and support all these efforts through organizing and leading the parish’s annual baklava baking project.
"Christ is Risen!" "Indeed He is Risen!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn New York, in the early morning hours of April 24. After a long and cold winter in the Northeast this year, the dark and short days of the season gave way to the day that knows no night and the celebration of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. Once again, our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, returned home to celebrate the Feast of Feasts and the season of seasons in his cathedral, the mother church of the North American Archdiocese. The Cathedral was filled to capacity on the beautiful New York evening.
Following the Paschal services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children and adults in celebration of the Feast.
Video of portions of the service is also available, provided by Fr. Thomas. Click here to view the Pascha video on YouTube.
It has been become a tradition and a blessing that Metropolitan Philip celebrates Palm Sunday with the parish of St. George, Little Falls, NJ. This year, like the others in recent memory, the rainy April skies cleared for beautiful Sunday, perfect for a procession with palms. Celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence was host pastor The Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Fr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary. As always on Palm Sunday, the St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd of an additional 250 viewing the Liturgy from the Church Hall via a large video screen.
Following the Gospel reading, Saidna addressed the congregation briefly then invited Fr. John Behr to deliver the homily for the day. Following the Eucharist, His Eminence and the gathered clergy led a procession of 500+ parishioners around the church, ending with the reading of the Gospel while the young children of St. George sat at the altar steps. Finally, Saidna gave the blessing and expressed his fondness for our parish, Christine Lynch and the St. George Choir, and thanked all those who chanted, served and participated in this Feast Day.
Claire Brandenburg, founder of Holy Annunciation Chapel and manager of the Heavenly Ladder Bookstore in Taos, New Mexico, speaks with Bobby Maddox about her efforts to spread Orthodoxy in northern New Mexico and about a new CD featuring the writings of Archpriest Sergius of Kasimov.
On March 19, 2011, His Grace Bishop Thomas visited the congregation of St. Patrick’s Western Rite Orthodox Mission in Warrenton, Virginia. Since the establishment of the mission, Sayidna Thomas has been a great encouragement, always offering his time, guidance, and love. He is a true shepherd and spiritual father of the community. After greeting and giving his blessing to a group of smiling children, Bishop Thomas prayed alongside Fr. Patrick Cardine during Solemn Vespers. In the midst of worship he spoke with ardent love about our Most Holy Mother’s betrothed husband, St. Joseph. As though recounting the life of a dear and close relative, Sayidna told the story of St. Joseph’s deep faith, humility, and trust in God. His words could not have painted more clearly the reality that our Holy Church is truly one large family. Indeed, “we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses”!