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Blessed Name's Day to Archbishop Joseph!

Antiochian Archdiocese - Sat, 2015/05/02 - 12:00pm

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

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New Book by Popular Antiochian Author: An Introduction to God

Antiochian Archdiocese - Thu, 2014/08/28 - 1:50pm

Antiochian Orthodox priest Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, rector of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, PA, has released a new book with Ancient Faith Publishing titled An Introduction to God. In his book, the author of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy author and Roads From Emmaus podcaster speaks to non-believers and Christians about creating "a sacred space in which we can encounter God.

The book's description explains that Fr. Andrew's goal is to explain to a new generation what is "...the essence of the traditional Christian faith, addressing the fundamental mysteries of where God is, who God is, why we go to church, and why Christian morality matters."

In an interview with Holy Trinity Bookstore, Fr. Damick comments that as a priest, " I've met many folks who don't come to church or are perhaps not very engaged in church not because they are in rebellion against God but because they just don't see the point. Most of the time, no one ever really tried to explain it to them."

He adds, "This book is an attempt to convey very foundational elements of what it means to be Christian, especially focused on clearing away some of the obstacles to Christian faith."

Order a copy of An Introduction to God.

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Over 500 Attend Parish Life Conference at the Village

Antiochian Archdiocese - Wed, 2014/08/27 - 9:49am

Over 500 faithful from the Eastern Dioceses of New York and Washington, D.C. and Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic participated in the historic 2014 Parish Life Conference (PLC).  Held at the Antiochian Village (AV) in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, it was a testament to the vision of Metropolitan Philip, who founded AV to foster fellowship and spiritual growth in the Orthodox faith. The grace of the Holy Spirit emanated throughout the conference, which was focused on the theme of loving God and neighbor, and was hosted by St. George Orthodox Christian Church of New Kensington, PA, with Fr. Meletios Zafaran.

Participants at the PLC had the unique opportunity to pray at the gravesites of St. Raphael and Metropolitan Philip.  Father Anthony Yazge, the AV host priest and camp director, guided the group on an uplifting tour of the St. Raphael and St. Thekla shrines, and led a Supplication Service to St. Raphael.

 

Attendees were also able to enjoy another one of Metropolitan Philip’s fulfilled visions – The Antiochian Heritage Museum - and the fascinating exhibits currently on display. "The Eternal Spring" exhibit, displaying some of the art created by Leila Chokheli during the Communist occupation, perfectly complemented the presentation given by one of the Keynote Speakers, Leila’s son and world renowned artist, Niko Chocheli.  Niko had received many of these works of art from his mother, along with poetry and prayers, after he had moved to the United States. Mother Justina and Sister Kathrina from the Convent of St. Thekla in Glenville, Pennsyvlania, offered an enlightening presentation.

The dedicated AV staff offered a plethora of choices of entertaining activities unique to the AV venue, including:  horseback riding, challenge course, archery, geocaching, swimming, Flight 93 Memorial Tour, and golf at Champion Lakes.  They lit up a huge bonfire one evening, complete with scrumptious smores, and 4th of July fireworks, and all enjoyed the fellowship of the night.  

The children were delightfully entertained and spiritually engaged at the Children’s Workshop while their parents attended the Conference.  They also cooperated on a service project with the Teen SOYO to beautify the gazebo behind the Conference Center.  The teens painted the gazebo and prepared the grounds around it for the children’s garden.  The children planted ground cover, and decorated the gazebo garden with the beautiful mosaic stones that they had enjoyed creating in the workshop.

Additionally, the teens made power packs which they delivered to Saturday's Kitchen in Johnstown as a service project to the local community.  In between all the organized PLC activities, they enjoyed the freedom to play pick-up games of their favorite sports on the AV grounds.  There was terrific PLC participation by the teens, with 125 registered!

What a treat to resurrect the choir concert of past PLCs.  People enjoyed the music of each of the participating choirs, and especially enjoyed the grand finale where all the choirs joined together to form one big, unified choir, filling the room and the hearts of the hearers with lovely hymns.

The banquet and hufli are always a favorite PLC event.   Participants danced the night away to the entertaining music of David Hakim and his band, and also enjoyed other treasured activities such as creative art projects, oratorical presentations, bible bowl, teen talent show, and vendor displays.

On behalf of Fr. Meletios Zafaran and St. George, heartfelt thanks is offered to the AV staff for their gracious hospitality, and to everyone who participated at PLC 2014.  It truly was a testament to Metropolitan’s vision, bringing his love of Orthodoxy full circle.

 

 

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September 2014 Edition of The Word Now Available

Antiochian Archdiocese - Tue, 2014/08/26 - 5:49pm
Click cover to download:  Download Magazine Date:  09/2014

The September 2014 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:

From Uncertainty to Confidence - Editorial
by Bishop John

Address by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Into the Heart of Antioch: The North American Delegation to the Antiochian Unity Conference
by Douglas Cramer

Our First Interview with Metropolitan Joseph

Bishop Antoun Reflects

The Road to Damascus: My Conversion
by Brett Heide

...and more!

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Patriarch John X Hosts Historic Meeting

Antiochian Archdiocese - Mon, 2014/08/25 - 3:07pm

In a historic meeting on August 17, 2014, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, hosted His Holiness Mar Ignatius Ephrem II, Patriarch of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, along with a distinguished delegation traveling with him. The meeting took place at the ancient St. George Antiochian Orthodox Monastery located in the "Valley of the Christians" in the town of Meshtaye in northwestern Syria. Before his election to the Patriarchate, His Holiness served as Archbishop of the Eastern United States for the Syriac Orthodox Church.

A complete English translation of the welcoming speech by Patriarch John X can be read at Notes on Arab Orthodoxy. Patriarch John X said in part:

It is a great pleasure for me to say to you, "How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together!"

The Psalmist once said this and today your sweet faces and the smiles of your children say this. The stone of this holy monastery say this. If they could speak, they would sing of their longing to see loved ones and would chant welcome to them all as living stones in the body of the Antiochian Church that first sang the name of Christ and spread it to the lips of all humankind. We welcome you most warmly. It is better for us to say: welcome to your home in the Monastery of Saint George. Our meeting today is a message to the world that the seeds of Christian unity will by watered first by us in Antioch, just as Jesus' disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

How good and pleasant it is to meet under the shelter of Saint George, whom the churches of the world know and whose name they take. How beautiful it is to pray in blessed days ruled by the Virgin Mary in the sublimity of her purity and the light of her holiness. How good and pleasant it is to meet in Syria, our homeland and yours, in Syria where they named our ancestors Christians, in this land that has welled forth to the world with the waters of her Euphrates the teaching of Saint Ephrem, the saint of repentance. In this land, Christianity had its infancy and from here the spark of Christian love went out to Rome and all the corners of the earth. This land gave us Ignatius of Antioch, who was bound in the shackles of this present age just as many of us are shackled in these circumstances. However, these shackles did not restrain the determination of faith. These  are the same chains and shackles that will shatter before Syria and her steadfastness, the steadfastness of her leaders, her army and her people. Through the work of her good children, Syria shall rise up and shake off the ruin that has come to us from abroad. She herself will bury in her soil all those who permit themselves to tamper with the eternal monuments of her life. We have said and we will continuously say: our salvation is in dialogue and in the political solution, in word and deed. To the outside world we cry out from here in this Valley: look honestly at what is happening in Syria and Iraq, particularly in Mosul, and in every place that has falsely and deceitfully taken up the mantle of "Springtime". Look honestly at the tragedy of Palestine. Look at Lebanon, which is paying a high price. We have known this land as the birthplace of the alphabet, which is an image of the need to encounter the other. We have not known her to be a hotbed for takfirism, terrorism and kidnapping. We in this Middle East are fed up with language of solidarity and wishful thinking on the part of those who are entrusted with decision and action. We have had enough of slogans while our bishops Youhanna and Paul, our priests and our people are being kidnapped while the world watches. The smile of our children is more precious than the falsehood of the world's slogans. The soil of this land where we were born, live and die is our treasure, our well-being, and our vessel for passage into true life. 

Read Patriarch John X's full message of greeting in English.

Read the Arabic original from the Patriarchate.

  

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The New Christendom

Ancient Faith Radio - Sat, 2014/08/23 - 11:11am
In the latest episode of his reflection on the new Christendom of the medieval west, Fr. John Strickland discusses the new approach to theology fostered by scholasticism, contrasting it with traditional Christian theology.
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25th Anniversary in Accra, Ghana

OCMC News - Fri, 2014/08/22 - 12:00pm
This year the parish family of the Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Cathedral in Accra, Ghana, marked the 25th Anniversary of its founding. A Mission Team from the Orthodox Christian Mission Center...

Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph Scheduled

Antiochian Archdiocese - Thu, 2014/08/21 - 6:28pm

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the events related to the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph will take place during the weekend of December 5 through 7, 2014, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. The actual enthronement will take place in conjunction with Vespers on Saturday, December 6.

We will be greatly blessed by the presence of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, who will preside during this weekend.

The details concerning the schedule for the weekend, the hotel accommodations, and the banquet information are still being finalized, and will be communicated to all of you as soon as they are confirmed.

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Metropolitan and Hierarchs Prepare for Annual Assembly of Bishops Meeting

Antiochian Archdiocese - Thu, 2014/08/21 - 12:50pm

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, the representative body consisting of all 53 active, canonical Orthodox bishops in the U.S., will convene for their Annual Meeting on September 16-18, 2014, in Dallas, TX. The meeting will be the first time His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph will fill the role of First Vice Chairman of the Assembly, a position always held by the Antiochian Archdiocese's metropolitan.

Features of this meeting will include a pan-Orthodox Doxology, and a Clergy-Laity Gathering on the evening of Monday, September 15. All clergy and laity are invited to join in prayer during the Doxology, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas. Following the Doxology, a panel of bishops will answer questions related to the work of the Assembly, and fellowship will follow. This is the second Assembly-sponsored clergy-laity event; the first was held in Cleveland, Ohio in October 2013. The gatherings give hierarchs the opportunity to present the work of the Assembly, while opening the floor to the faithful to express their ideas and concerns.

Members of the Assembly represent the following archdioceses and dioceses: Albanian, American Carpatho-Russian, Antiochian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek, Orthodox Church in America, Romanian, Russian, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Serbian, and Ukrainian. The Assembly was established to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox faithful, present a common and unified witness of the Orthodox Faith, and manifest the unity of Orthodoxy.

Download the flyer for the Clergy-Laity Gathering.

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Diocese of Charleston Deacons Retreat and Clergy Synaxis

Antiochian Archdiocese - Wed, 2014/08/20 - 6:23pm

Deacons Retreat
September 26-28, 2014
In conjunction with the St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage
Open to all deacons in the Mid-Atlantic Diocese
Speaker: Archdeacon David Khoury from St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids, MI
For more information, contact Dn. Peter Maris: peter@pgmaris.com

Clergy Synaxis (Retreat)
September 30-October 3, 2014
Open to all clergy in the Mid-Atlantic Diocese
Speaker: His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah) of the New England Diocese
Download schedule (PDF)
Download registration form (PDF)
For more information, contact Fr. Anthony Yazge: franthony@antiochianvillage.org

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Two Missions to be Established in PA and MD

Antiochian Archdiocese - Wed, 2014/08/20 - 2:50pm

His Grace Bishop Thomas announces two new mission parishes being formed in the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic. 

Beloved in Christ,

The Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, is pleased to announce that we are beginning to establish two new missions.

The first is a mission station in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For information about this mission endeavor, you should contact Paul Abernathy (p.abernathy12@gmail.com; 412-334-0917).

A second mission endeavor is being attempted in Talbot County, Maryland. An advertisement offers information about our first meeting, which I plan to attend.

I would appreciate it very much if those of you who are on the East Coast would regularly remind your faithful about both these movements. Those of you who are not in this area, but know people who might live in or travel to this area, please pass this information on.

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Coming to Confession

Ancient Faith Radio - Wed, 2014/08/20 - 11:25am
On a new "Praying in the Rain," Fr. Michael Gillis encourages us to get beyond "scribbling down lists of mistakes" to "allowing your reflection on your sins to break your heart" in preparing for the sacrament of Confession.
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2015 Icon Calendars Available from Ancient Faith Publishing

Antiochian Archdiocese - Tue, 2014/08/19 - 11:22am

Ancient Faith Publishing has released the 2015 version of their popular icon calendar. Featuring icons of the Virgin Mary from a variety of contemporary American iconographers, the 11" X 12" full-color calendar is also available for the first time in a Julian version.

Major saints and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world are listed in both versions of the 2015 calendar. Additionally, other feast days of some of the most popularly venerated saints of the Orthodox Churches around the world are listed in black, regular type.

Order your calendar at Ancient Faith Publishing's web store.

 

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Introducing The Law of the Spirit!

Ancient Faith Radio - Tue, 2014/08/19 - 7:51am
You will love this new video podcast featuring Fr. Maxym Lysack as he tackles questions about the spiritual life. Enjoy the video or the audio version. In this inaugural episode, Fr. Maxym addresses the question "How can we see our sins in humility and how can we fight despair?” Listen to the audio version here or click on the image for the video version.
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29th Sacred Music Institute Trains and Inspires

Antiochian Archdiocese - Mon, 2014/08/18 - 3:24pm

By Christopher Holwey, Chair of the Department of Sacred Music 

VIew SMI YouTube videos and the Flickr photo gallery by Paul Jabara

The Sacred Music Institute (SMI), held this year from July 23-27 at Antiochian Village, has been getting better each year. I'm not being biased simply in my role as the Department Chair. Rather, looking at the SMI's progression from year to year, I see the quality of our instructors, speakers, and program, improving on an academic and spiritual level.

More than ever, this year our speakers were educated and trained musically and theologically, coming from many of our Orthodox jurisdictions. They helped our participants grow in the same way, musically, technically, vocally, and theologically, in their understanding of Orthodoxy and the sacred music of our Church. We learned the hymns of our Church with regard to our theme, "Pascha," and then we presented this music in a concert, utilizing the talents of our Sacred Music Chorale and our newly formed Byzantine Choir.

We also provided this spiritual and musical growth and education to our teens as well in our Youth Music Ministry Program (YMM). They were so excited to be there, they were beaming the whole time, even late at night. They asked us (not we of them) if they could pray Little Compline at 11:00 p.m.; and when they were done, they stayed afterward to sing more hymns of the Church, on their own! It was simply fantastic to watch them, to hear them, and to see their joy for the Faith.

Warm-up exercisesHow was the 29th Annual SMI and 3rd annual YMM Program this year? Simply glorious! I can only imagine how close this experience must be to being in heaven itself, with our bishops, priests, and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially this year, since we were singing the hymns of Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, and learning about all of its various services. It was a real joy to be with old friends again and to meet new ones from all over, celebrating, singing, praying, teaching, learning, laughing, and growing spiritually together in the Faith. People were very excited to be there, to learn more about chanting, singing in a choir, and being the director of the choir.

Our instructors and participants throughout the week all see the improvements to the SMI and YMM Program as well. I was encouraged to hear their positive feedback and to see how we are all learning and growing together, sharing our thoughts and ideas, and helping each other to become more than we ever thought we could be on our own, through the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit working and moving in all of us.

One of our instructors, Ruth, summed it up best: "Tears fall down my face as I think of the many personal blessings I received this year at the SMI. ... I am lifted up to continue to work as best I can in whatever circumstances I find myself in my music ministry and along with my fellow musicians at my home parish." These same thoughts were expressed by many of our participants.Chris Holwey, Department of Sacred Music Chair

A highlight was listening to our Keynote Speaker, Bishop Anthony, who stretched our minds and hearts, leadings us to new understanding and spiritual growth. Ruth reflected on his address, saying that "he addressed us on the deep level of knowing who we are in the truest sense of the word, in our relationship to God. One of my favorite quotes was 'It's not good to run from the mystery you can't find.' We need endurance and patience to fight the good fight. We are a mystery to ourselves because sin clouds our perception. We need to understand 'where we came from, who we are, and where we are going' so we do not fall prey to the deceptions of secularism."

One of the great highlights of the week was when we honored Fr. Elias Bitar for all the many years of music, chanting, teaching, and friendship he has given to all of us at the SMI, in our Sacred Music Department, and in our entire Archdiocese. Our concert this year was in his honor, and afterward, we presented him with a photo album of memories from many of his past years with us. He then sang for us the Doxastikon from Vespers of the Dormition, the one that has all eight tones in it! What a joy! God grant you many years, dear Fr. Elias!

Fr. Elias BitarAll in all, it was a most beautiful extended weekend. A tremendous THANK YOU goes out to Paul Jabara, who coordinated it all, and our wonderful staff of gifted instructors, who made it all possible. Thank you, also, to the staff at the Antiochian Village for your warmth and hospitality.

After being so inspired by all of the things that we were taught and experienced, it is now our responsibility to take that spark of Pascha back to our parishes, to inspire each of our parishioners, and even our priests and deacons, to glorify and praise our God in such a way that will inspire others in America to "Come and see" and experience for themselves the rightly-believing Orthodox Church of Christ. I look forward to being there next year, and so should you, to celebrate our 30th year, with even greater beauty and splendor, as we sing the praises of the God, our God, who has given us this most beautiful life.

VIew SMI YouTube videos at the Department of Sacred Music's page.

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Interview with Pres. Renee Ritsi About 2014 and 2015 Mission Teams on Ancient Faith Radio.

OCMC News - Mon, 2014/08/18 - 12:00pm
Ancient Faith Radio's Bobby Maddex interviews Presbytera Renee Ritsi, OCMC's Teams Associate Director and Healthcare Coordinator, about some mission team opportunities for both this year and 2015....

Orthodoxy Live - August 17

Ancient Faith Radio - Sun, 2014/08/17 - 9:02pm
On this episode, Fr. Evan Armatas tackles questions about people who have left their Orthodox roots for Protestant churches, suicide, the anger of Jesus, violence in the Old Testament, and the placement of icons.
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Orthodox Christian Mission Center

Ancient Faith Radio - Fri, 2014/08/15 - 11:37am
Bobby Maddex interviews Presbytera Renee Ritsi, Teams Associate Director and Healthcare Coordinator for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, about some mission team opportunities for both this year and 2015.
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Dormition of the Theotokos

Ancient Faith Radio - Thu, 2014/08/14 - 9:44am
On August 15th, the Church celebrates the Dormition of the Mother of God. Fr. Thomas Hopko explores the theology associated with this Feast and the implications for our own resurrection.
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Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos + August 15

Antiochian Archdiocese - Wed, 2014/08/13 - 2:00pm

Shudder, O ye heavens! and, O earth, give ear unto these words: God descended once before for our sake He descends again today for His Mother.

--from The Lamentations at the Bier of the Mother of God, Tone 5

O thou most Holy Virgin, who knew not wedlock, the heavens rejoice in thy glorious falling asleep, the hosts of angels are glad, and the whole earth crieth out in joy, singing to thee the funeral song, O Mother of the Lord of all, thou who hast delivered human kind from its ancestral condemnation.

--Orthros of the Feast, Tone 4

The Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos: an introduction by Archpriest Ayman Kfouf

Teachings and traditions for the Feast of the Dormition

St. John of Damascus on the Dormition

A Description of the Theotokos by St. Maximus the Confessor

Tender Love and the Dormition: Frederica Mathewes-Green on Ancient Faith Radio

Mary, Our Cause of Rejoicing, by His Grace Bishop Basil

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