Diocese of Worcester News
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Worcester and New England held its 76th annual Parish Life Conference (PLC) from June 19-22 at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth Harbor. The conference was organized and hosted by the parish of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston. The theme of the PLC was taken from the Gospel according to St. Luke; "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself." With over 300 people in attendance throughout the four days, the PLC proved to be a tremendous success.
Some highlights included lively question and answer sessions led by His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah) as well as daily Bible studies, divine services and inspirational homilies led by our beloved Diocesan clergy. The teens of our Diocese showcased their knowledge and talents at the annual Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals.
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.)
Antiochian.org 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.
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.
Special commendation to the following graduates, who have completed their course of study at an Orthodox seminary this spring:
Fr. Joseph Landino, St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary
Dn. Scott Miller, George Katrib, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, with Metropolitan Silouan and Bishop Nicholas in attendance
Peter Kavanaugh, Majd Akkawi, Christopher Kies, and Nicholas Mamey, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, with Bishop John in attendance
June 20-21, 2014
Given by Honored Guest
His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
"Divine Compassion and the Ministry of Women"
This conference seeks to cultivate a deeper theological appreciation regarding ways Divine Compassion, the eleos of God, affects the participation of women and men in the life of the Church today. The conference builds upon the work of last year’s inaugural conference, "Divine Compassion: Orthodox Christians in Service of Perfect Love."
More information and registration details are available on the St. Catherine's Vision Website.
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.
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 Antiochian.org. 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.
BROOKLINE, MA—As a feature of the Costas Consultation in Global Mission series, Bishop Elia Toumeh of Wadi Al Nassara will give the 7 p.m. Keynote Address as part of the all-day event "Christians in Syria at the Crossroads," Friday, March 28, 1 p.m.–8:30 p.m. His Grace is a professor at the University of Balamand, Lebanon, and he will speak in the Maliotis Center at Hellenic College Holy Cross.
The event also features Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou (Harvard University; former Vice Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom), the presentation of student papers, and the film "Displaced in their Homeland" about Christians in Iraq, produced by Fady Mekhaeel. The 2014 BTI Costas Consultation in Global Mission is presented by the International Mission & Ecumenism Committee of the Boston Theological Institute in partnership with Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
For more information, contact: Josh Cole, 617-850-1217
The start of February, 2014 in New England came with a reprieve from the cold weather and storms which had punished the northeast this winter. The climate instead was perfect for the newly organized innovative program, "Diocesan Family Day." The tagline on the flyers for the event read "bringing together our finest...our people and our traditions" and it certainly came true. For many years in the Diocese of Worcester and New England, the Antiochian Women have sponsored the pre-Lenten retreat, and for five years running young people from the parishes have gathered for Youth Day. So the thought this year was, why not combine them, and why not add more events so everyone in the diocesan family can participate? The Family Day, held at the church of St. John of Damascus in Dedham, was, in a word, "fabulous!"
The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology will host the Boston Byzantine Music Festival at the Maliotis Center on the Holy Cross Brookline, MA campus on February 24–25, 2014. The festival will feature concerts by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir and by the ensemble En Chordais, with lectures by Dr. Emmanouil Giannopoulos, assistant professor at the Higher Ecclesiastical Academy in Ioannina, Greece, and Dr. Kyriakos Kalaitzidis, Faculty of Music Studies, University of Athens.
The festival coincides with the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the New Method of Analytical Notation, a major landmark in the history of Byzantine music.
Individual concert tickets are available for $40.00, or $70 for both concerts. Student tickets can be purchsed for $15.00 per concert. Visit the Festival Website for more information and to order tickets.
Since its inception in 1993 by Charles R. Marge, the Boston Byzantine Choir has endeavored to make Byzantine chant and the Orthodox Christian faith accessible to the English-speaking world. The choir grew out of the rich chanting tradition of St. Mary Orthodox Church with The Very Rev. Antony Hughes, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The choir has sung at universities, parishes and music festivals throughout New England.
In 2007, The Boston Byzantine Choir was honored to participate in "The Ascending Voice," a symposium of sacred a cappella music held at Pepperdine University. The choir has also sung multiple times for Orthodox Education Day at St. Vladimir's Seminary and the Sacred Music Institute of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Boston Byzantine Choir is best known for its five recordings of Byzantine Chant in English, available from Ancient Faith Publishing.
Orthodox Christians from around the U.S. and Canada traveled to Washington D.C. on January 22, 2014 for the 41st March for Life, marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in all fifty states. His Grace Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England represented His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and the Antiochian Archdiocese at the March. After the peaceful march and rally, he wrote:
Only our fingers and toes were chilled; yet our hearts were warmed by the fervor of the crowds, which were not frightened away by the extreme cold and snow. It was an honor to stand and march for life with Orthodox hierarchs including Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Archbishop Nathaniel, and Bishops Michael, Melchisedek, and Mark, and Bishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. It was also a joy to walk with the banners and students from St. Vladimir's and St. Tikhon's Seminaries, and many Orthodox faithful who chanted hymns to the Theotokos as we marched.
Bishop John met with clergy and Parish Council members of ten of the eleven parishes of the Diocese of Worcester and New England on January 11, 2013 at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lowell. After a beautiful liturgy led by the bishop surrounded by all of the presbyters and deacons, Bishop John offered some remarks about the role and mission of the Parish Council. This was followed by a workshop led by Fr. Timothy Ferguson about Orthodox Christian Leadership, oriented to who we are as persons and Christians. The group then brainstormed a list of parish council etiquette for better and more productive parish council meetings.
After a short break to serve lunch, our workshop continued with an open discussion with the bishop concerning the challenges facing our councils today as we minister to a post-Christian world. The group asked for more regular gatherings of the councils of the Diocese and future workshops about stewardship, outreach, evangelism and parishioner commitment.
Download some highlights and notes of the day or select "Read More" to view more photos.
On Monday, November 4, 2013, His Grace Bishop John hosted a retreat given by Archbishop Joseph, Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, for the clergy of the Diocese of Worcester and New England. His Eminence shared his view of the role of bishop, priest and deacon, and explained how the orders interact with each other during his first session.
Following the lunch prepared by Bishop John, His Eminence spoke candidly and personally about the current situation in Syria, it's effect on the Church of Antioch, and the background and history of our Mother Church. The day was beneficial and edifying for the clergy, and provided an opportunity for fellowship and a strengthening of relationships.
Featuring performances by:
- St. Romanos the Melodist Byzantine Choir
- Antiochian Diocese of New England Choir
- Holy Resurrection Bulgarian Orthodox Church Choir, Allston St. Kassia Byzantine Choir
- Hellenic College Holy Cross Chorus
Maliotis Cultural Center Auditorium
Hellenic College Holy Cross
50 Goddard Avenue
For more information, please contact Constantine Limberakis at 617.731.3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 7, 2013, His Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita and Mid-America addressed the 430 guests gathered for St. Vladimir's Seminary's 75th Anniversary Gala, a black tie dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees at Glen Island Harbour Club, New Rochelle, NY. A 1973 alumnus of the Seminary, Bishop Basil noted that in speaking for the event, he had come home to "the place that made me all that I am."
The Seminary, he continued, has had a "sustained impact in Orthodoxy throughout the world." Most of the Archdiocese's hierarchs are alumni of St. Vladimir's Seminary, and the current student body numbers many Antiochian students as well.
St. Vladimir's launched the "Bishop Basil Program in Byzantine Liturgical Music" in 2010, when the Board of Trustees presented His Grace with an honorary doctorate and announced the creation of the program in his name. The Seminary's Alumni Association Board Chair Gregory Abdalah (Class of '08) has noted that, "Bishop Basil has had a great influence on the development of Byzantine Music in English.
A conference titled "Divine Compassion: Orthodox Christians in Service of 'Perfect Love'" is being held next month at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology on Thursday November 14 through Saturday November 16, 2013. The conference is being co-sponsored by Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, and Saint Catherine's Vision, a pan-Orthodox association of women theologians and other lay-leaders.
The gathering will provide the opportunity for Orthodox Christians to understand more deeply the reality of Divine Compassion, the eleos of God, and how we are called to bear witness to it within the Church and society.
The Conference will bring together persons who relate a theocentric and philanthropic theology with the real needs of persons. These include clergy, theologians, philanthropists, educators, pastoral care-givers, counselors, first-responders, chaplains, Philoptochos members, health care providers, and students.
By Bishop John Abdalah, Diocese of Worcester and New England, and Editor of The Word
The theme for the Conferences this new Church Year is from the Gospel of Luke: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). God calls us to give all, but only after He has given all! He gives all for us. After God created all, He sent His only begotten Son to redeem the world and share His own love with us. He has joined us to Himself. He calls us to do likewise, sharing His word and Spirit and His love. In so doing, we are joined to be one with Him and one with each other. What our neighbors need most is what we need most: Jesus Christ. What a pity that most of the world still doesn't understand what God has done for the world and what He calls us to be! Calling us to love, with all of our heart, soul and strength, ultimately requires us to be love, as He is love. Loving in God's way allows us to be joined to God in the love of the Holy Trinity. Loving our neighbor means sharing ourselves, sharing God's love, sharing His Oneness. This love leads us to share God with our neighbors. Rather, this love allows us to share God who is in us with each other. Ministering to one another allows us to share in God's own ministry. This ministry is loving with all our heart, soul and strength.
Hellenic College Holy Cross celebrated its 75th Anniversary name day feast with a four-day Jubilee September 12–15, 2013. The event focused on celebrating the history of the community while continuing to highlight the School's significance as, in the words of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, "the heart and the mind of our Church in America." Over the course of the 75 years of the school's existence, many Antiochian students have prepared for the priesthood or lay ministry in the Church through their studies at Holy Cross.
His Eminence presided over festal services as crowds overflowing from the Holy Cross Chapel watched on high-definition video screens under a tent. In the Vespers service on Friday evening, second-year seminarians received their crosses and Masters of Divinity candidates entering their final year of studies received their rasso [cassocks] as families, trustees, and Jubilee visitors came together in prayer, thanksgiving, and celebration.
September 26th is the celebration of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian and the name's day of His Grace Bishop John. May God grant him many years!
Apolytikion of St. John, Tone 2
O Apostle John, speaker of divinity, the beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose bosom thou didst lean accepteth thee as an intercessor. Beseech Him, therefore, to disperse the cloud of the stubborn nations, asking for us safety and the Great Mercy.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip was interviewed this week by Boston's NPR radio station for their Here and Now program concerning the plight of the ancient Orthodox Christian communities of Syria. The interview is available for listening, and as a written transcript, both available here.
His Eminence in particular highlighted his concern for the Monastery of St. Thekla in Maloula, Syria. (Read an appeal for the monastery from the Patriarchate of Antioch here.) Metropolitan Philip said in part:
"My concern is about St. Thecla's Convent and other holy places in Syria, which are threatened. The people of Ma'loula still speak the language of Christ, the Aramaic language, and this is the uniqueness of this town, and we are worried about its destruction. Already 400 families have left from Ma'loula. They fled to Damascus."
The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology & Religion (OCAMPR) has announced the theme of its 2013 Conference in Falls Church, VA at St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church on November 1-2, 2013: "The Clinical and Pastoral Care of the Aging Patient."
Speakers include The Right Rev. Bishop John, Diocese of Worcester and New England, Dr. Helen Kales, geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan, Dr. Brenda O'Reilly, a clinical psychologist in private practice, and The Rev. Dr. Anthony Ugolnik, Emeritus Professor of Ethics and Humanities at Franklin and Marshall College.
The 75th Parish Life Conference will be held from June 27-30, 2013, at the Wyndham Hotel in Andover, MA. Buy your tickets early and book your hotel rooms by May 30. Go HERE to register
Online Registration available for Event Registration, Sponsorship or General Donations by clicking Here: www.antiochianevents.org/96
**Note the Parent Consent and Teen’s Code of Conduct forms are required regardless if the minors’ parent(s) is at the conference or not! These forms must be completed, signed and turned in at registration in order to receive their Conference Badge, which is required to participate in any Conference activity. Forms are available on the Saint George Lowell website: http://www.SaintGeorgeLow...
Also, get your tickets for New England's Got Taste and Talent by May 10. Tickets will NOT be sold at the door. They are $20 for Adults and $10 for Children under 12. Please send in the ticket purchase form along with your checks; download the form HERE.
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.
[Yonkers, NY/ SVOTS Communications] From May 26 to June 26, 2013, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will be offering six continuing education programs, of varied and unique interest, including a class for academic credit. Register before May 15, 2013, to have the $50 registration fee waived!
Sunday, May 26–Sunday, June 2, 2013
“A Journey in the Sacred Arts: Iconography Workshop for College-Age Youth,” designed for college-age students and endorsed by Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), — Khouria Erin Kimmet, Annunciation Press Icons, iconographer and workshop leader
Friday, May 31–Saturday June 1, 2013
“Conference on Poverty” — The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, SVOTS chancellor/CEO and conference coordinator’ and participants Jay Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and Susan R. Holman, adjunct lecturer at Episcopal Divinity School and senior writer at Harvard Global Health Institute
April 16, 2013
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Within hours of the deadly series of explosions that left three people dead and more than 100 injured at yesterday's Boston Marathon, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston called upon International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Frontliners – the emergency response network of IOCC – to be dispatched to several Boston crisis counseling centers set up overnight. Four Frontliners, Orthodox clergy experienced and trained in emergency response, will take on the task of assessing the needs of those affected by the tragedy and providing crisis counseling at local emergency care centers set up throughout the city.
Bishop John Abdalah, Diocese of Worcester and New England, expressed his thanks to Metropolitan Philip and all of the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese for their support and love. "Many of our faithful were running and participating in the marathon while others watched the events develop through the media," he noted. "All of us in New England are grateful for the love and support of our Archdiocese."
"Let us not be deterred by this cowardly act of hatred," said Metropolitan Methodios, "but stand united in the exercise of freedom and justice, as we pray for peace and love to reign in our society."
IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou will continue to coordinate the emergency response; all the Orthodox faithful have been asked to assist in the emergency response by donating blood at the local Red Cross donation centers throughout the region.