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We extend our prayers and love to His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, and locum tenens of the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest, on the occasion of his Name's Day on May 4, 2014 (St. Joseph of Arimathea, Second Sunday after Pascha). May God grant him many years!
Learn more about Joseph of Arimathea (Come and See Icons)
Read about Archbishop Joseph
Visit the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West
Visit the Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest
On April 25, 2015, on the National Mall in Washington D.C., people will be gathering from around the U.S. for the March for Marriage. This year's March will include an Orthodox Gathering, sponsored by the group Crown Them With Glory. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has released a letter encouraging the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese to participate. (Download the PDF of His Eminence's letter.)
March 26, 2015
To our Beloved Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy and all of the Faithful of this God- Protected Archdiocese:
Blessings to you during this Holy Season of the Great Fast! On January 16th of this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear four new cases on same-sex "marriage," and "rule on the power of the states to ban same-sex "marriages" and to refuse to recognize such "marriages" performed in another state." More details on the announcement can be found at the Supreme Court's website.
We are writing to communicate the newly established date for the third annual March for Marriage in Washington D.C. on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The march is a peaceful rally and quite comparable to the March for Life. We ask that you would make every effort to attend the rally, and encourage others to do likewise.
A strong, vibrant, and clear message is needed from our Church on the matter of the Mystery of Holy Matrimony, as well as an enumeration upon God blessed sexuality and gender roles, toward the strengthening of family life. This action is necessary in order to dispel confusion which has been stirred up by our secular culture. Such an effort would be blessed by God to the building up of our faith in the hearts of our Orthodox people. This is what our nation's people need to see.
Unfortunately, we are very short on time to get organized.
April 25th is an important date for the March for Marriage because it will fall within days of when the Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on the cases before them that will decide the national legal status of civil same-sex "marriage." We are clearly on the cusp of a historic Supreme Court decision that could mark a powerful affirmation of marriage between one man and one woman, upon which all major civilizations have flourished – or, it can initiate a direction which the Holy Orthodox Church can never embrace.
Throughout the history of our faith our Holy Fathers have led the Orthodox laity to gather in unison to preserve the faith against heresy from within, and against major threats upon societies from without. We are in a unique position as Orthodox Christians in a nation governed as a democratic republic. We still benefit from religious freedoms that would allow us to voice with clarity the gospel message of Christ's love, and the path to salvation.
A growing group of Orthodox clergy and laity have begun to prepare for this event and to assemble resources, and they have established the website www.crownthem.org . We encourage you to visit this website for additional information.
If we have several thousand attendees from the ranks of clergy, monastics, and laity at this peaceful rally, it would immediately be clear that the Orthodox Church is a leading voice for marriage in this nation, sending a clear message to the Orthodox faithful, who being strengthened in the understanding of this mystery, can be prepared to more completely manifest the Gospel message to our nation.
We ask for your prayers and attentiveness to the progress of this effort. May we act now with great labor, asking that the Lord have mercy on us.
May the remainder of your Lenten journey be greatly blessed.
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
On January 16th, 2015 of this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear four new cases on same-sex "marriage," and "rule on the power of the states to ban same-sex [so-called] marriages and to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in another state" (details here).
The March for Marriage is supported by the National Organization for Marriage who is working diligently to communicate the necessity for the defense of marriage between one man and one woman. April 25 represents the third March for Marriage in Washington D.C., and is set to take place within days of when the Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on the cases before them that will decide the national legal status of civil gay "marriage." It is projected that this ruling will seriously impact religious freedom in the USA.
The March is a peaceful rally, comparable to the March for Life. We invite you to make every effort to attend the rally, and encourage your priests, brothers and sisters in Christ, and leaders and members of religious communities in your area to do likewise. Come out in support of marriage between one man and one woman, modeled from our Lord's love for His Bride: the Church. With a blessing to pursue this work from a number of our bishops, many priests believe it is time we had a national pan-Orthodox Christian movement. A strong, vibrant, and clear message is needed from our Church on the matter of the Mystery of Holy Matrimony, as well as an enumeration upon God-blessed sexuality and gender roles, toward the strengthening of family life. This action is necessary in order to dispel confusion which has been stirred up by our secular culture, and most egregiously, even by some of our own clergymen.
Such an effort would be blessed by God to the building up of our faith in the hearts of our Orthodox people. This is what our nation's people need to see: that the Orthodox Church has preserved its timeless teachings on the sacrament of marriage, and, as a place of refuge, the Church offers healing through Christ for us all, boldly proclaiming a blessed path toward salvation.
Thou didst sever with the sword of abstinence the snares of the soul and the passion of the body, O righteous one. And by the silence of asceticism thou didst choke the sins of thought. And by the stream of thy tears thou didst water the whole wilderness, bringing forth for us the fruits of repentance. Wherefore, we celebrate thy memory.
-Vespers of the Feast
On the fifth Sunday of Lent, we commemorate St. Mary of Egypt. By her example, we are reminded of the extraordinary power of repentance and God's mercy, by which even the greatest sinner may be transformed and sanctified.
It was the day after Christmas when the stroke hit. For hours she laid there, no one knows how long, paralyzed by the assault to her nervous system. It wasn't until a neighbor, unable to...
Thursday, March 19, 2015, marked the one year anniversary of the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory. On Sunday, March 22, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph celebrated the Divine Liturgy and one year memorial for Metropolitan Philip at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn. In his eulogy, Metropolitan Joseph spoke about the many accomplishments of Sayidna Philip over 48 years, but in the end reminded the faithful that ultimately his desire to build up the Archdiocese and its institutions was driven by his desire to bring people closer to Christ so that the Orthodox faith could manifest itself on this continent.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America also attended and, after concelebrating the memorial, gave a wonderful homily recalling his many years of working with our late Metropolitan in both SCOBA and the Assembly of Bishops. He remembered both his strong convictions and beliefs as well as his love and ability to cooperate.
His Grace Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester also concelebrated the liturgy and memorial. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon and His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York, both of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) were scheduled to be present but could not due to the funeral of Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko. Likewise, His Grace Bishop John of the Russian Orthodox Church was scheduled to be at the memorial liturgy but was ill. All sent their regrets for not being able to attend.
His Excellency Bashar Ja'afari, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations and Mr. Madji Ramadan, Counsel General of Lebanon in New York, also were present and extended their condolences to Metropolitan Joseph. A memorial lunch was served in the cathedral hall following the liturgy and memorial at which time, Metropolitan Philip's niece, Leslie Saliba Nasr spoke on behalf of the family. (Read her moving reflection.)
Our hierarchs and clergy throughout the archdiocese held similar memorials in every church. May his memory be eternal and may his soul rest with the saints!
+ Read Metropolitan Joseph's letter on the occasion of the one year anniversary
+ Read Metropolitan Joseph's Memorial address
+ Visit the Metropolitan Philip memorial section
+ Read "On the First Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of Metropolitan Philip," by Fr. Joseph Antypas
The Spring 2015 Newsletter (PDF) from the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West is now available for download. The issue contains articles including:
Slowing Things Down by Melody Bahu
A Miracle by Kh. Christine Rogers
Lenten Seasons by Heidi Blair
What I Never Knew I Kneaded by Destinie Winn
Experiencing Iconography by Mary Machnee
Verily, Gabriel did come to thee, disclosing the purpose which was before the ages, hailing thee and saying, Rejoice O unseeded land! Rejoice, O unburning bush! Rejoice, O depth inaccessible to vision! Rejoice, O bridge leading to the heavens! Rejoice, O lofty ladder whom Jacob did behold! Rejoice, O jar of divine manna! Rejoice, O dissolution of the curse! Rejoice, O recall of Adam! The Lord is with thee.
- Vespers of the Feast, Tone 6
Metropolitan Joseph's 2015 Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Annunciation
Click here to read more about the Feast of the Annunciation
Homily on the Annunciation by St. Gregory the Wonderworker
Old Testament Women at the Annunciation: Gleanings from the Western Rite Lectionary by Lynette A. Smith
God's Free Gift, by Fr. Steven Rogers
Rejoice, O Theotokos, O deliverance of Adam from the curse! Rejoice, O chaste Theotokos! Rejoice, O living bush! Rejoice, O lamp! Rejoice, O throne! Rejoice, O ladder and door! Rejoice, O divine chariot! Rejoice, O bright cloud! Rejoice, O temple, O most-gilded jar! Rejoice, O mountain! Rejoice, O tabernacle and table! Rejoice, O deliverer of Eve!
- Orthros of the Feast, Tone 2
March 25, 2015
Behold, our restoration is now made manifest; God is ineffably joined to man. At the words of the Archangel, error has vanished. The Virgin has received the joyful news, and the things of earth have become those of heaven. The world is released from the ancestral curse. Let the whole creation rejoice, singing a hymn of praise, Lord our creator and deliverer, Glory to You! ~From the Vesperal Aposticha for the Feast of the Annunciation
We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Most Holy Theotokos.
The reading above transmits to us the essence of this feast, which is the action of a loving God which initiates the events by which humankind is saved from the ancestral error of Adam and Eve. The Archangel announces to the woman who will become the Most Holy Theotokos that she has been chosen to be the vessel through which God Himself will take human flesh, become a Man, and dwell among his creation.
Through her complete and unconditional acceptance of the will of God, the Virgin Mary becomes a participant in the transformation of the things of this earth into heavenly things. The womb of the Virgin is destined to contain that which the universe itself cannot contain and she becomes the one who is more spacious than the heavens. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem expresses the relationship of the Virgin to Eve when he says that “through Eve, yet a virgin, came death, there was need that through a Virgin, or rather from a Virgin, life should appear; that as the serpent deceived the one, so Gabriel should bring the good news to the other.” The joining of earth to heaven is also expressed by St. Ambrose who says “By a man and woman flesh was driven from paradise; by a Virgin it was joined with God.”
The great joy of this feast, occurring in the midst of the solemn Season of the Great Fast, causes us to pause in brief celebration before we resume the spiritual struggle which accompanies our Lenten journey. We convey our most heartfelt love to you as we celebrate this joyous feast and we ask our gracious Lord to bless you and to grant that the remainder of the Lenten Season will bring you spiritual rewards.
Yours in Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archidiocese of North America
Father Anthony Yazge, Chair of the Department of College Ministry, reminds all parents, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, parish priests, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) alumni about OCF's First Forty Days program.
Christina Andresen, OCF's manager of Chapter Relations, writes: "It is imperative that we personally contact every first-year Orthodox college student so that they know that an Orthodox family awaits them on campus. This initiative, called the First Forty Days, has our local OCF student leaders, spiritual advisors, and lay coordinators introducing themselves to all incoming students, making sure that they know about Orthodoxy on campus and nearby Orthodox parishes.
We are asking that each parish provide us with basic information about their high school graduates who will be attending college in the fall.
You may submit your student contact information at www.ocf.net/firstfortydays. You will also find there a downloadable spreadsheet for large parishes which can be emailed to us at email@example.com.
We respectfully request that you send us this information no later than July 15, 2015 so that we can organize it for our chapter leaders well in advance of the fall semester.
Please be assured that contact information will only be released internally to our OCF network. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. On behalf of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, I wish to thank you for joining us in this effort."
On tonight's "Faith Encouraged Live," Fr. Tom Soroka, host of the "The Path" and the priest at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in McKees Rocks, PA, joins host Fr. Barnabas Powell to discuss the Feast of the Annunciation and field questions from listeners.
On the Sunday of the Adoration of the Cross, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, priest at St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, discusses Christ's sacrificial priesthood and how that integrates into our evangelism of the world.
Let us honor John, that pride of ascetics, that angel on earth, that man of God in heaven, that adornment of the world, and that bliss of virtues and good deeds; for, planted in the house of God, he flourished with justice; and, like a cedar tree in the wilderness, he caused the flock of Christ to grow, those sheep endowed with speech, in righteousness and justice.
-Vespers of the Feast
On the fourth Sunday in Lent we commemorate St. John, the great seventh-Century ascetic and author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent. As we continue the Lenten fast, we recall St. John's account of the labors necessary to approach God, and we take comfort in the Lord's words: "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt 24:13).
The lessening of evil breeds abstinence from evil; and
abstinence from evil is the beginning of repentance; and
the beginning of repentance is the beginning of salvation; and the beginning of salvation is a good resolve; and
a good resolve is the mother of labors. And
the beginning of labors is the virtues; and
the beginning of the virtues is a flowering, and
the flowering of virtue is the beginning of activity. And
the offspring of virtue is perseverance; and
the fruit and offspring of persevering practice is habit, and
the child of habit is character. And
good character is the mother of fear; and
fear gives birth to the keeping of commandments in which I include both Heavenly and earthly. And
the keeping of the commandments is a sign of love; and
the beginning of love is an abundance of humility; and
an abundance of humility is the daughter of dispassion; and
the acquisition of the latter is the fullness of love, that is to say, the perfect indwelling of God in those who through dispassion are pure in heart, for they shall see God.
And to Him the glory for all eternity. Amen.
(from Step 27)
“When you see a poor person, remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ by which He declared that it is He, Himself who is fed. For though that which appears be not Christ, yet in that person’s form, it is Christ Himself who receives and begs.”
--St. John Chrysostom, “Homilies on Mathew” #78.
His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph writes:
Beloved in the Lord:
Greetings and blessings to you as we enter this most holy season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
During this time of the Great Fast, we once again turn our attention to the Food for Hungry People Program of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. For more than 40 years, this campaign has had a tremendous impact throughout the world to help alleviate hunger and the numberless tragedies caused by poverty. With the many tragic events in our own country and throughout the world that happen each day, we continue to have a great need for almsgiving every day. As such, this special program of our Archdiocese helps with both large catastrophes or when smaller needs arise in any given year.
St. John Chrysostom, perhaps the greatest preacher in the history of the Church, once said: “Although fasting is more difficult than this, nothing is so strong and powerful to extinguish the fire of our sins as almsgiving. It is greater than all other virtues. It places its lovers by the side of the King Himself, and justly. For the effect of fasting is confined to those who fast, and no other is saved thereby. But almsgiving extends to all, embracing the members of Christ, and actions that extend their effects to many are far greater than those which are confined to one.” Through your generosity to the Food for Hungry People campaign, you embrace the world with the love of Christ, saving yourself as you literally save others.
We urge you, during this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, to be very generous in your contribution to this campaign. As we practice the virtues which cleanse our souls, let us not forget or refrain from the “greatest of the virtues.” As important as prayer and fasting are, they are of no avail to us if we fail to give to those in need.
Praying that the Holy Spirit will strengthen us as we embark on our journey to Pascha we remain,
Your Father in Christ,
FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE
In the autumn of 1974, an international conference was convened in Rome, Italy, to formulate a program aimed at alleviating world hunger. The members of SOYO, compelled by their love of God and His Creation, met in Wichita, Kansas the following winter, and unanimously adopted a program which would afford every individual in our Archdiocese an opportunity to personally help bring food to their hungry brothers and sisters throughout the world. Presented by Archpriest James Meena, of blessed memory, the first, "FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE" campaign was planned for the Great Lent of 1975.
Through your generosity and prayers, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been distributed to the hungry and poor in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. All of the funds collected have been used to meet the needs of hungry people.
We are now witnessing the world of hunger, poverty and homelessness in our own neighborhoods. Hunger is one of the world's most pressing problems now affecting over one billion people, and next year it is projected that hunger will affect 4.5 million people in the United States alone. Behind this grim statistic are children and families loved by God, who are deprived of their right to a full of life because they do not have enough to eat. Whenever there is a need to help anyone, or any emergency, we are there to help. Over the years we have extended ourselves to thousands of men, women, and children in an attempt to improve their lives and help alleviate their suffering.
God Bless you and thank you again for caring and sharing a part of your lives with those less fortunate than ourselves.
WAYS TO GIVE
You can give your gifts to the hungry in honor of a loved one on any occasion such as a birthday, baptism, anniversary, thank you, retirement or any other special event. “A Gift from the Heart” is also a thoughtful memorial. We will send a personalized icon card to the person you designate to inform them of the gift you gave in their honor.
You may give by sending a check along with a personalized donation form to:
“Food For Hungry People”
c/o Robin Lynn Nicholas
4237 Dundee Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Thursday, March 19, 2015 marks the one year anniversary of the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory. Listen below to special call-in program recorded shortly after his falling asleep. The host was Kevin Allen and the program was Ancient Faith Today.
Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, 75, dean emeritus of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York, and noted Orthodox Christian priest, theologian, preacher, and speaker, fell asleep in the Lord on March 18, 2015.
Father Thomas was the beloved husband of Matushka Anne [Schmemann] Hopko. They were married on June 9, 1963. Together, Fr. Thomas and Anne are the parents of five children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
"Father Thomas was a good friend of the Archdiocese," reflected Vicar-General and St. Nicholas Cathedral Dean Fr. Thomas Zain. "He helped educate many of our clergy over the years, and often gave lectures and led retreats in our parishes throughout the country."
Thomas John Hopko was born in Endicott, NY, on March 28, 1939, the third child and only son of John J. Hopko and Anna [Zapotocky] Hopko. He was baptized and raised in St. Mary's Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek-Catholic Church, and educated in Endicott public schools, graduating from Union-Endicott High School in 1956.
Father Thomas graduated from Fordham University in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in Russian studies. He graduated with a theological degree from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1963, from Duquesne University with a master's degree in philosophy in 1969, and earned his doctorate degree in theology from Fordham University in 1982.
Ordained to the Holy Priesthood in August 1963, Fr. Thomas served the following parishes as pastor: Saint John the Baptist Church, Warren, OH (1963–1968); Saint Gregory the Theologian Church, Wappingers Falls, NY (1968–1978); and Saint Nicholas Church, Jamaica Estates, NY (1978–1983). Father Thomas was honored with the clerical rank of Archpriest in 1970 and the rank of Protopresbyter in 1995.
Beginning in 1968, Fr. Thomas began his long service to Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Over the years, Fr. Thomas held the following positions: Lecturer in Doctrine and Pastoral Theology, 1968–1972; Assistant Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1972–1983; Associate Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1983–1991; Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1991–1992; Dean, Rector of Three Hierarchs Chapel, and Professor of Dogmatic Theology, 1992–2002.
During his years of priestly ministry, Fr. Thomas authored numerous books and articles. Most well known of these publications is The Orthodox Faith: An Elementary Handbook on the Orthodox Church. A prolific speaker and preacher, he spoke at conferences, retreats, public lectures, and Church gatherings of all kinds, many of which were recorded. Fr. Thomas performed countless duties on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, including representing the Church at intra-Orthodox gatherings and ecumenical meetings.
Upon retirement, Fr. Thomas and Anne moved to Ellwood City, PA, where they lived near the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, and Fr. Thomas began a new ministry: internet-based Orthodox Christian radio talks. Since 2008, Fr. Thomas has produced well over 400 podcasts for Ancient Faith Radio.
Father Thomas exercised untiring and loving pastoral care on behalf many who sought him out for spiritual guidance. His greatest desire was that every person would respond to these words of Jesus Christ: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
Father Thomas is survived by his wife, Matushka Anne, and their five children: Archpriest John Hopko and his wife Macrina, of Terryville, CT; Juliana and husband Gregory Thetford, of Ellwood City, PA; Catherine and husband Raymond Mandell, of Clearfield, PA; Mary and husband Archpriest Nicholas Solak, of East Stroudsburg, PA; and Alexandra and husband Joseph Sedor, of Ellicott City, MD. He is also survived by two sisters, Mary Ann Macko, of Endwell, NY, and Barbara McPherson, of Sayre, PA, and Frostproof, FL. Additionally, Fr. Thomas is survived by sixteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, as well as many, many other dear relatives, colleagues, and friends.
Funeral arrangements will follow.
Father Thomas's family wishes to thank all those who ministered to him so lovingly during his long final illness. Special thanks are extended to Mother Christophora, Abbess, and the entire sisterhood of The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration for their constant support and help, the Very Reverend Father Michael and Matushka Susanne Senyo, Protodeacon Michael Wusylko, M.D., and Good Samaritan Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY; The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA; Ancient Faith Radio and Good Samaritan Hospice of Concordia, Wexford, PA.
From the family: "Fr. Thomas reposed peacefully today, March 18, shortly after 3 pm. The last of his five children, who had not been able to visit him at the hospice until today, arrived this morning. She told him that she came, and now he could go. And, by the mercy of God, he reposed after spending much of the day with her. No funeral plans yet. They will be posted as soon as they are available." View obituary »
From Carole A. Buleza, Director of Department of Christian Education:
In the Old Testament, a jubilee year occurred at the conclusion of the seventh cycle of seven years—in other words, every 49 or 50 years. It was a year of mercy, holiness and celebration. For our Antiochian Archdiocese, this is a Jubilee Year in celebration of St. Raphael, and to add to the celebration the Department of Christian Education will give away our Holy Land Posters and the St. Raphael Posters at the Parish Life Conferences. Parishes will have carrying tubes reserved with their names for collecting the posters they desire. Let's make our classrooms holy places filled with art—take advantage of this opportunity!
St. Patrick's Day is not about shamrocks and wearing green. Enjoy the day but celebrate the man who evangelized Ireland and put Christ above everything.
The Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos, depicted on the apse of Holy Trinity Antiochian Orthodox Church of Santa Fe, New Mexico
The fifth week of Great Lent serves as a preview of sorts for Great and Holy Week in the Orthodox Church, for it also offers a multitude of beautiful, spiritually transforming divine services. The liturgical texts for them, blessed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.
Usually, on the Wednesday night of the Fifth Week of Great Lent, the Orthodox Church offers Little Compline and recites "The Life of St. Mary of Egypt" by St. Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem along with the Great Canon of Repentance by St. Andrew, Archbishop of Crete. However, in a rare occurrence this year, this day coincides with the great feast of the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos, March 25.
Rather than try to celebrate these divine services all in one day, the Typikon ("rule book") directs the Church to reschedule some of them so that worshippers can celebrate all of them fully and properly, so that the theology contained in them can permeate their souls.
In 2015, the famed Little Compline service is transferred to the fifth Monday night of Great Lent, March 23. Before that, parishes can offer Lenten Daily Vespers with the twenty-four penitential stichera associated with the Great Canon and its hundreds of prostrations. The Great Canon artistically includes the entire history of the Old and New Testaments into one sacred song to urge us to return to God through repentance. "The Life of St. Mary of Egypt" serves as our model.
Then, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation on March 25, starting with Great Vespers the night before. Sayidna Joseph will allow parishes a choice to celebrate the Divine Liturgy: either in the morning, or that evening with the Vesperal Divine Liturgy. In ancient times, the latter option was the proper way to celebrate the Annunciation because it followed the pattern of fasting all day before receiving the Holy Eucharist in the evening, just like the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. Celebrating a morning Festal Divine Liturgy is a recent custom from Greece, which also celebrates its Independence Day on March 25. Following either Liturgy, we are permitted to eat one semi-festal meal with fish, wine and oil.
Parishes can access a wealth of liturgical resources for Great Lent by clicking here. Sayidna Joseph has also blessed all of these, along with the liturgical texts for the remainder of March.
The Online Liturgical Guide, produced by the Committee on Liturgics, 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 contact Subdeacon Peter Samore at email@example.com.
Images courtesy of Andrew J. Frishman, used by permission.
Homeschool conference attendees from a previous yearAnother year has rolled on by and it's time, once again, for the St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference, hosted by Antiochian Village. The 2015 conference dates are set for April 23–26, and registration materials are available on the Village's website.
The evening Keynote Speaker is Fr. Andrew Steven Damick, pastor of St. Paul Orthodox Church of Emmaus, PA, author of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy and An Introduction to God, and host of the "Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy" and "Roads from Emmaus" podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio. Other distinguished speakers and workshop leaders are: Lori Peterson Branch, professor of English at the University of Iowa; Theodore (Ted) Federoff, homeschooling dad and a board certified emergency medicine physician currently working in Jersey Shore, PA; Shell Keim, experienced homeschool mom and the Director of Education at All Saints Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC; Andrew Kern, founder and president of the CiRCE Institute; Charlotte Riggle, of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, Tacoma, WA and seasoned home educator; Dr. Christopher and Anna Veniamin from St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary and Mount Thabor Publishing; and Barbara Shukin, art professor and gallery director.