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In an effort to educate Antiochian parish youth workers, the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) is pleased to announce that with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, SOYO will award the first scholarships to Antiochian Archdiocese parish youth workers this fall, specifically for those registered in the St. Stephen Youth Ministry Concentration. The Scholarship Application and Policy statement are available online; the deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 31, 2015.
Currently the Scholarship Fund has $217,095.87 invested (as of April 30, 2015). Teen SOYO raised and gifted $200,000 to establish this Youth Worker Scholarship during the 2013 Archdiocese Convention.
On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, the community of St. George Orthodox Christian Church of Fishers, IN, hosted His Grace Bishop Anthony and area clergy for a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in honor of the Feast of the Holy Great-Martyr George. Bishop Anthony offered an inspiring homily explaining the meaning of the life of St. George, and how we can draw lessons from his life today. "My brothers and sisters, the Church is a military unit," exhorted His Grace. "We have to bivouac in the world, we have to travel in the desert...we have to fire with faith.
"As St. George did when he confessed Christ before the soldiers—he showed them the courage of goodness and the morality of lasting love—that's what the world needs. Unless we face the fact that Christ is risen from the dead, we will never have the courage to live up to the possiblities of our own life. Each of us has a center and gift and unique talent to offer the world."
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, Niagra 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.
In the midst of this Feast, O Savior, give Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of true worship; for Thou didst call out to all, saying: Whosoever is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Wherefore, O Christ our God, Fountain of life, glory to Thee. (Apolytikion of the Feast, Tone 8)
On the Wednesday of the Paralytic, we celebrate the Feast of Mid-Pentecost.
Standing in the midst of the teachers, Christ the Messiah teacheth at Mid-Feast.
Mid-Pentecost is the midpoint of the fifty days between the Feasts of Pascha and Pentecost. In the Divine Liturgy Gospel passage, we read that “in the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the Temple, and taught” (John 7:14).
The feast in question is the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles which commemorates the Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years, when they lived under tents and tabernacles. “Tabernacles” served as the middle link between the Jewish Passover, which recalls God’s deliverance of His people from the Egyptian pharaoh, and the Jewish Pentecost, which remembers Old Israel’s entry into the “promised land” of Mount Sinai. The risen Christ is the link for New Israel as it celebrates the New Passover (Pascha, the Resurrection) and the New Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and apostles. When Jesus had preached in the temple, he had just healed the Paralytic Man—which the Orthodox Church recalled on the previous Sunday—and was about to give sight to the Blind Man—which the Orthodox Church will recall in ten days. The apolytikion of Mid-Pentecost announces the “waters of true worship”, which Christ will give us to drink, just as He gave the Samaritan Woman to drink; we commemorate that event on the coming Sunday. Thus, Mid-Pentecost reveals to the world that Christ will heal all of its infirmities, both physical and spiritual.
O Sovereign Master and Creator of all things, O Christ our God, Thou didst cry unto those present at the Judaic Mid-feast and address forth immortality’s water. Wherefore, we fall down before Thee and faithfully cry out: Grant Thy compassions unto us, O Lord, for Thou art truly the Well-spring of life for all.
With the streams of Thy Blood do Thou water my soul, which is grown dry and barren because of mine iniquities and offences, and show it forth to be fruitful in virtues. For Thou didst tell all to draw nigh Thee, O all-holy Word of God, and to draw forth the water of incorruption, which is living and which washeth away the sins of them that praise Thy glorious and divine arising. Unto them that know Thee as God, O good One, grant from on high the strength of the Spirit, which verily was borne by Thy disciples, for Thou are truly the Well-spring of life for all.
--Kontakion and Oikos of the Feast
May 1, 2015
On his Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Becoming a Healing Presence," host Dr. Albert Rossi recently interviewed Fr. Joseph Purpura, the Archdiocese's chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries. The podcast, titled "Reaching Our Young Adults," discusses how to best communicate with and serve the Church's teens and young people.
"In the Antiochian Archdiocese, we are serious about raising up a generation of disciples and leaders. Our goal in everything we do, is to move our young people closer and closer to Christ. It's always a joy to work with young people; the questions that they have are very deep and serious questions."
He added, "My experience over the past 34 years of doing youth work, is that young people want to do what's right. We see our young people doing really beautiful things, in the name of Jesus Christ....I can't tell you the power, when an adult ask one of our kids to help. They need to know there is a purpose for them there (in the Church)."
Fr. Evan just returned from the country of Georgia where he met Ancient Faith Radio listeners! Here a little about his trip but also listen in as he takes questions from young Justin, Charlie, and David by email. The program ends with a Georgian rendition of the Paschal Hymn Christ is Risen.
Fr. Patrick Reardon from All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, speaks on three points in relation to the healing of the paralytic.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph reads the “Kneeling Prayers” of Pentecost at Holy Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Yonkers, NY in 2010.The Liturgical Texts for May, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.
Starting Sunday, May 3, 2015, Sayidna Joseph has authorized a correction at the singing of "God is the Lord" in every Orthros service. The refrain will now properly read "God is the Lord and hath appeared unto us. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord." This matches the refrain as sung in Arabic, Greek and all other languages. The Department of Sacred Music has begun to provide compositions to reflect this correction. Parishes are to download them and print them for their books. (Visit Sacred Music's page weekly to collect all eight tones.) This change will also be reflected in all future Archdiocesan service books and publications.
The Liturgical Texts now utilize prosomia ("model hymns") as set by Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Brookline, Mass. Chanters can take the verses marked with asterisks and set them to the music syllable by syllable. Click the links either for books with lyrics or without lyrics.
In May, the Orthodox Church continues the celebration of "Bright Season" of Great and All-Holy Pascha. Parishes are still brightly-decorated and the clergy and faithful continue to sing "Christ is Risen." In the Church of Antioch, there is a dispensation from all fasting, even on Wednesdays and Fridays, as we still celebrate our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ in our midst.
This all continues until the leave-taking of the Feast of Feasts, which this year falls on Wednesday, May 20. On Thursday, May 21, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Great Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven. This year, the Ascension coincides with the commemoration of Saints Constantine and Helen, and so, the Typikon prescribes that we celebrate them together. The Liturgical Texts reflect this combination.
On Sunday, May 31 we celebrate another of the Twelve Great Feasts, Pentecost, on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, giving them new languages so that they could proclaim the resurrected Christ to the entire world. Immediately following Divine Liturgy, or later that evening, parishes must celebrate Vespers with the "Kneeling Prayers" in which we invoke the Holy Spirit to descend upon us as well.
The Online Liturgical Guide, produced by the Department of Liturgics and Translations, provides the official, uniform word-for-word texts to be used for the divine services in all parishes across the Archdiocese. Should you have any questions, please email Subdeacon Peter Samore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
O Thou Who holdest the ends of the earth in the palm of Thy hand, O Jesus our God, Who art co-beginningless with the Father, and Who, together with the Holy Spirit dost rule over all things: Thou didst appear in the flesh, healing infirmities, driving away passions, and giving sight to the blind. And, by a divine word, Thou didst raise up the paralytic, commanding him to walk straightway and to take up upon his shoulders his bed, which had carried him. Wherefore, together with him we all praise Thee and cry: O Compassionate Christ, glory to Thy dominion and might.
--Oikos of the Feast
On this, the fourth Sunday of Pascha, we make commemoration of the Paralytic and, as is meet, we celebrate the miracle wrought for him.
The word of Christ was strength for the paralytic;
And thus this word alone was his healing.
Jesus healed the Paralytic at the Sheep’s Pool, located near the Sheep’s Gate of Jerusalem, where people sacrificed their beasts and washed their insides. The pool had five sides, with a porch and arch on each. A number of people, afflicted with various diseases, passed through them, waiting at the water for an angel to come down and stir it. Once it moved, whoever stepped into the water first was instantly healed. One poor man, whose story is recounted in today’s Gospel lection in the Divine Liturgy, waited 38 years for someone to lower him into the water, because he was unable to move into the water himself. However, the Savior merely commanded the man to get up and walk, and he was healed.
By Thy boundless mercy, O Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.
Hellenic College/Holy Cross President Fr. Nicholas Triantifilou is known to encourage Orthodox Christians to begin the day with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. This symposium honors his 15 years of service to the school and retirement this year by addressing current conflicts and crises around the world from an Orthodox scholarly perspective.
On a new "Ex Libris," the podcast of Ancient Faith Publishing, host Bobby Maddex interviews Nika Boyd and Heather Hayward who are the author and illustrator, respectively, behind the new AFP children’s book H Is for Holy: An Orthodox Christian Alphabet.
Dr. Al Rossi talks with Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry for the Antiochian Archdiocese. Learn about how to best communicate with and serve our teens and young people.
On this last day of April, can you help us reach our donation goal for this month? Please assist us by clicking on the image to the left. As always, we ask that you do not support AFR at the expense of your local Orthodox parish. Thanks!
In this special edition of Ancient Faith Presents, we hear 2 timely interviews related to same-sex marriage. They both discuss the same topic - an Orthodox priest who will no longer sign marriage licenses issued by his state.
From April 23-26, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph visited the parish of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ. The active community is led by the pastor, the Very Reverend Dr. Christopher Salamy, assisted by several other clergy. During His Eminence's days ministering in Phoenix, he presided over a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy commemorating the feast day of the community's patron saint, St. George. Metropolitan Joseph's visit concluded with a celebratory banquet on April 26.
Educate the adults and you won't need church schools!"
The 2015 Orthodox Institute will be held November 5-8 at Antiochian Village. This year's institute will explore the theme Adult Education: Building on the Foundation of Faith, and will include the following presenters:
- His Grace Bishop Thomas
- Kevin Allen
- Gerry Clonaris
- Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick
- Fr. Stephen Freeman
- Fr. Sergius Halvorsen
- Fr. John Oliver
- Fr. Josiah Trenham
- Dr. Anton Vrame
As always, the Orthodox Institute will offer, in cooperation with the Orthodox Christian Education Commission, the Church School Director Seminar, and Advanced Teacher Training taught by the volunteer staff of the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education. Book-signings, and wine-and-cheese receptions add to the wonderful weekend. Fellowship, worship, learning and sharing all come together in a beautiful setting. This year, for some of our sessions, we will have the company of those attending the first Pilgrimage of St. Raphael who will be arriving Friday night.
Registration for the event is $65 and will be handled by the Department of Christian Education. Please download a registration form (coming soon!) and return it with the appropriate fee to the address on the form.
Registration for room and board varies according to how long you will stay and how many people will stay in a room. For example, three in a room for a three night stay, including lodging, meals, coffee service and snacks, will be $308.91 per person. Double and single occupancy will cost $343.56 and $447.51 per person, respectively. One and two night options are also available. Commuters are welcome to purchase meals for the day at $23 for lunch, $12 plus gratuity for breakfast and $23 plus gratuity for dinner. Reservations for your stay at Antiochian Village can be made online at www.antiochianvillage.org/conferences-meetings/events.Kevin Allen
Gerry Clonaris Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick Fr. Stephen Freeman Fr. Sergius Halvorsen Fr. John Oliver Fr. Josiah Trenham Dr. Anton Vrame
Gathering at the Basilica of St. Mary to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Tom Beaudoin)Father George Shalhoub, pastor of The Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, writes:
For almost a half of century, our church community has grown to be a bridge among all people and this is a testimony of other religions and ethnic communities granting our community that honor.
On April 24, 2015, we hosted the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in which over 2500 people gathered in the church, the Activity Center and outside as the relic from 1.5 million men, women and children were killed in 1915. Present was His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Archdiocese, His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel from the Romanian Orthodox Church of America, His Eminence Archbishop Allen Vigneron of the Detroit Catholic Diocese and scores of clergy representing all denominations in our area.
We are honored to be granted this privilege, to share in the suffering of others as our people have suffered for centuries, especially in Syria. Presentations were given to the dignitaries and to me personally as I accepted on behalf of the suffering in Syria.
In the words of Fr. Garabed Kochakian (pastor of St. John Armenian Church in Southfield, MI):
A sincere thank you on behalf of the four Armenian faith communities in Greater Detroit, St. John, St. Sarkis, St. Vartan and the Armenian Congregational Church, we express our profound gratitude to the Rev. Fr. George Shalhoub and the congregation of the Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of St. Mary for opening their sanctuary and entire complex to host the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
Your gracious hospitality and support will be forever an eternal bond of our Christian witness.
Fr. Roman reposed on April 28, 2015, at Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan. Click on the image to left for the schedule of the visitation and funeral services and to read his obituary. Memory eternal!
Khouria Gigi Shadid, wife of Fr. James Shadid of St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX, is a mother of three, a school teacher, and former youth director. Her passion is teaching with music, and she has produced five educational music CDs to date. Several years ago, she developed the Matthew 25 HUGS program, or Hands Used for God's Service, in cooperation with the Archdiocese's Department of Christian Education. The goal of the program is to nurture generous spirits in the children of our church schools, with targeted activities and lessons at every grade level until children graduate from high school. Antiochian.org asked her to explain further.
Where did the idea for the HUGS program come from, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
My cousin, Georgina, is known for giving great hugs. One day, we were talking and she began telling me about how much she wishes she could go to the NICU at a hospital and just hug on the little babies there. I told her that her loving hugs are one of the gifts that God has given her and that she should share those hugs with as many people as she can. As we talked, Georgina expressed a desire to do more with that gift... but what?
The essential question here was: What else can I do with my hands to serve God and to spread His Gospel message of love to my neighbor?
I got to thinking and praying about it, and this HUGS idea was born. We use our hands to give hugs, and we can use our hands in many ways to serve others and give them not only physical hugs, but spiritual hugs as well. Hence, the acronym "HUGS" was born: Hands Used for God's Service. How can we all use our hands to serve others and embody Christ's commission in Matthew Chapter 25, focusing on those who are: hungry, thirsty, naked, prisoners, strangers, and sick?
The mission of the HUGS program is to engage our church school children in acts of service, both small and great, to those in need. We want to instill in our children a spirit of gratitude and service, for Christ said, "Do it to the least of these my brethren and you do it to Me" (Matthew 25:40).
Describe the basic components of the program.
Part of the lesson here is for teachers to first discuss and share some important questions with their church school students.
• How can we use our hands and our feet to serve God?
(at home, at school, at church, on the field, at work, etc.)
• What does it mean to give a "spiritual" hug to someone?
• Who are "the least of these"?
Each year, we would like our church school classes to participate in a service activity that we have suggested below. It might be a one-time deal, or something a class can choose to focus on throughout the school year. We must repeatedly ask the key question: "How are we using our hands and feet to serve God?" When we use our hands in various ways of service to our neighbor, we are seeing the face of Christ in them.
Pre-K/K: Give hugs to family and friends
1st Grade: Open doors for others (stranger)
2nd Grade: Classroom canned food drive (choose a month) (hungry)
3rd Grade: Serving drinks (i.e. at home, instill spirit of hospitality) (thirsty)
4th Grade: Phone calls to shut-ins during Sunday School (periodically) (sick)
5th Grade: Write letters of encouragement to those in prison (prisoner)
6th Grade: Clothing Drive (i.e. coat drive – choose a month) (naked)
7th Grade: Cleaning the church sanctuary after services
8th Grade: Serving coffee at coffee hour (i.e. once a month) (thirsty)
9th Grade: Shoe drive, new & used (choose a month) (naked)
10th Grade: Be a Greeter once a month/mentor with ushers (stranger)
11th Grade: Food drive (choose a month) – contest with 2nd grade (hungry)
12th Grade: Visit a nursing home or shut in from church; (sick)
Bring that person holy bread and the bulletin
One goal is that from the time a child enters pre-school to when they graduate high school, they will have participated in a variety of service activities addressing various needs.
Why is the element of service such an important part of the overall Christian Education ministry in a parish? How can we help our children to learn to have an attitude of kindness and caring for others?
As Christians, we are called to reflect the image of Christ by doing one of these two things:
1. Be a martyr and give up your life for Christ, or
2. Love your neighbor.
Since we do not live in a country or age of persecution as many of the martyrs did, most of us will face the judgment seat of Christ answering this question: Did you love your neighbor? Education is so important, and understanding the teachings of the Church helps us to grow in our knowledge of our faith. But knowledge will not save us, love will. That is why teaching our children to have a servant's heart and an attitude of kindness and caring is so important. We can help our children learn to be kind and caring by performing those acts as a class and by encouraging it at home and at school.
Is HUGS only used in the Antiochian Archdiocese or are parishes in other jurisdictions adopting it as well?
For now, HUGS is a new ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese. However, if we embrace this mission of service, and "let our light so shine," we can spread this to other jurisdictions as well. Serving and loving our neighbor is universal and should be a priority for all of us.
Have you received feedback yet on how this is working at the grass roots level?
Before presenting this HUGS ministry to our archdiocese, we piloted it in my home parish and received positive feedback and encouragement. For example, one of our classes made a phone call to a shut in during Church School. The teacher showed her students how easy it was to pick up a phone and reach out to a parishioner. Even if you can't visit the sick in person, a phone call can make someone's day. This ministry is teaching our children that we can do small things with great love. Opening a door for a stranger is something our first graders focused on, and it taught them to think of others. Children love the smiles they receive from performing that small, kind act. Our fifth grade class teacher had concerns about writing letters of encouragement to prisoners, so we teamed up with the director of Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) and he helped to give us guidelines. His letter with instructions is available online for teachers to download and print.
The HUGS ministry has been introduced at national meetings in the past year, and in some dioceses, but we must get the word out to our local parishes. There are excellent grade level HUGS posters that have been made, and once they get into the hands of our local parish teachers, it will help familiarize our teachers and parishes. We hope to spread the word via The Word magazine and other publications.
I pray that this interview, too, will help us spread both the word and the "work" of service to our neighbor. May God bless all of our hands as we use them to give HUGS.
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) - Kathmandu, Nepal's historic capital city lies in rubble. A catastrophic 7.9 earthquake followed by powerful aftershocks on Sunday toppled thousands of homes, claimed more than 3,000 lives and injured nearly 7,000 victims in the valley surrounding Kathmandu. Rescue workers are racing against time to find people believed to be trapped under rubble. The widespread destruction to homes, farmland, and livestock has left millions without access to food, water, shelter and medication. More than 1.4 million children and parents are in need of immediate food assistance. Half of these vulnerable families live near the epicenter in poor quality housing and face homelessness and hunger. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), an ACT Alliance member, is delivering financial assistance to provide critically needed humanitarian relief to survivors of this devastating quake. Through its support of Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and other ACT relief partners on the ground in Nepal, IOCC is providing emergency assistance to families in need, including the distribution of life-saving supplies such as water, food, shelter and medication to people injured ...