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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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Prayers for Our Bishops and Board of Trustees at Fall Meeting

Antiochian Archdiocese - Wed, 2014/10/22 - 2:26pm

Your prayers are requested for our Antiochian Bishops and Board of Trustees members preparing to convene in Florida for meetings from October 23-26, 2014. With the blessings of Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and The Right Rev. Bishop Antoun, Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, The Rev. Fouad Saba and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL are hosting the Hierarchs and Board of Trustees meetings. The historic meetings will be the first ones in which Metropolitan Joseph presides for both the Board of Trustees fall meetings, as well as the gathering of the bishops.

On Saturday evening, a banquet will be held honoring the newly selected Metropolitan, and offering tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. A Sunday Hierarchical Liturgy will be followed by "The Stewards Luncheon," with the Board of Trustees as guests of honor.

Submissions for the Program Book for the weekend may include dedications for one or more of the following:

  • "The Love Ball" Welcoming and Honoring Our Father and Metropolitan Joseph
  • Honoring His Grace Bishop Antoun ("Love Ball")
  • Offering "A Tribute of Love" to Our Beloved Father and Metropolitan Philip of Thrice-Blessed Memory ("Love Ball")
  • Honoring the Board of Trustees at the "Stewards Luncheon" on Sunday after Liturgy
  • Blessing and Ribbon-Cutting of newly-renovated Cathedral Hall on Saturday evening

Download the press release, which includes the schedule, hotel information, and a description of the weekend.

Download the information about the Program Book.

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Hotel Contacts for Antiochian Conference Planning

Antiochian Archdiocese - Wed, 2014/10/22 - 2:11pm

The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning is providing the following contact information in order to assist parishes in their  conference and convention planning and bids. The following hotel chains have on file an organization resume that will provide historical data and history for our Archdiocese. The DCCP encourages that these individuals be the first point of contact for events at their respective hotels and resorts.

Marriott Hotels & Resorts (Including the Gaylord Resorts):

Laura D. Wood
Account Executive
Phone: 847-840-0576

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts:

Jeffrey F. Perrin, CMP
Director, Strategic Accounts - The Americas
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
9801 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32819
Phone: 407-370-3351 Cell: 407-230-8888

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Liturgical Materials through December 7th Now Available Online

Antiochian Archdiocese - Wed, 2014/10/22 - 5:50am

The Department of Liturgics has updated its liturgical materials with weekend service texts current through December 7th, 2014. Please visit the Online Liturgical Guide to download texts.

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Annual OCL Program Meeting on Church Unity

Ancient Faith Radio - Mon, 2014/10/20 - 8:10pm
Bobby Maddex interviews George Matsoukas, the Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL), and Alexei Krindatch, the Research Coordinator of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, about the upcoming OCL Program Meeting at St. Vladimir's Seminary.
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Team IOCC Goes The Distance In Baltimore To Race Against Poverty

IOCC News - Mon, 2014/10/20 - 7:00pm
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) - An Orthodox priest, a kindergartner and a retired grandmother joined nearly 30 other supporters of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) at dawn on Saturday to go the distance in the 14th Annual Baltimore Running Festival, and to raise money and awareness about the people it serves worldwide with every stride. More than 25,000 US and international runners and walkers competed in this year's marathon, half-marathon, relay and 5K races. Team IOCC (right) included participants from Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New York, Washington, D.C. as well as IOCC staff from its Baltimore headquarters. The group raised nearly $25,000 to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to families displaced by war, overcoming natural disasters or working their way out of poverty ...

Ebola, Women in the Church, and Prayers for the Dead

Ancient Faith Radio - Sun, 2014/10/19 - 8:40pm
On Orthodoxy Live Sunday night, Fr. Evan took a call from an Orthodox Dr. about Ebola followed by questions from listeners on a variety of topics including the role of women in the Church and prayers for the dead.
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The Ancient Faith Prayer Book

Ancient Faith Radio - Sat, 2014/10/18 - 11:27am
Our sister ministry is pleased to release The Ancient Faith Prayer Book, edited by AFR podcaster and author Fr. Vassilios Papavassiliou. The most ancient and popular prayers of Orthodox Christians, together with some additions that address issues of contemporary life, are rendered in contemporary English and bound in a durable leatherette cover.
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2015 Orthodox Mission Teams Now Available!

OCMC News - Fri, 2014/10/17 - 12:00pm
OCMC is excited to announce short-term mission team opportunities for 2015! Spaces are available for over 120 Orthodox Christians to serve in the coming year by ministering to youth, teaching the...

E-Quip - A Free Audio Primer On Orthodoxy

Ancient Faith Radio - Thu, 2014/10/16 - 7:43pm
Have you discovered this valuable resource yet? Each Wednesday a new episode is posted and takes you through the basics of the Orthodox Christian Faith. Lectures from the UK without the travel! Here is the first one. There are four so far and can be found by clicking on the logo to the left.
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"We Can Do Great Work!": Interview with SOYO President Jordan Kurzum

Antiochian Archdiocese - Thu, 2014/10/16 - 7:05pm

Jordan Kurzum is a sophomore Spanish major at the University of Pittsburgh. During the school year, he attends St. George Orthodox Cathedral with Fr. Demetrios Makoul, while staying in touch with his home parish, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, NJ, with Fr. Dimitri Darwich. Jordan oversees all the officers of the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) at the national and regional level, making sure that they have the resources and information they need. He graciously offered some time during the Archdiocese's 2014 Youth Month to talk about what motivates him to be involved in the Church through his SOYO leadership position.

With all the demands on your time, why invest in SOYO?

We are constantly busy, but what's wonderful about SOYO is that it is enjoyable—it's not like school work! I really find it fulfilling, interacting with the other officers and serving the local parishes and dioceses. It's a great contrast to school work, and a break from studying, and it encourages me to stay involved in the Church.

I am interested in getting a greater connection to the Church and her people, and the SOYO NAC commitment is an opportunity to start serving now, at an age when many people aren't involved.

As an Orthodox teen, what are your greatest challenges?
Here is a common theme we hear about; today, we are surrounded by the secular world where everything is driven towards a secular ideal. For me, a big challenge is to differentiate between the world and my faith. It's difficult when all the influences are steering you in the opposite direction.

It's also a challenge to align with the right understanding of Christian faith and practice, for there are many Christian groups. Some seem to project messages of hate and intolerance towards people. While we Orthodox don't endorse deviant behaviors, there's a huge difference between our approach to how we treat people who we disagree with on the issues of our day, like war, or homosexuality. We try to demonstrate our faith through our actions, and through loving others. And it's good that we have Orthodox peers and spiritual fathers, so we can talk about these things and encourage one another.

What's been special to you in your SOYO years?
Right now we just finished the Special Olympics fundraiser. I've been a coach at the Special Olympics camp for four years. With the help of the Order we put on this camp, where the volunteers, athletes, and coaches attend for free! It's an amazing and rewarding week for everyone. The counselors take the campers on trips, to baseball games or amusement parks, and even those special outings are free.

You know, it's difficult for the families who are taking care of kids with special needs. When their children are at Special Olympics camp, the parents can enjoy a one week break and be refreshed.

Another great opportunity for me within SOYO, was to recently serve as a representative for the youth in the Archdiocese at the recent Unity Conference in Lebanon. The Patriarchate was specifically looking for a youth representative from North America and this was really an honor—to have been given the opportunity to represent the youth of our continent was remarkable. It was wonderful to learn how well known SOYO is within the Patriarchate as whole.

If you could tell adults in the Church one thing, what would you want to convey?
Please continue supporting your kids and your teens. Parental support and encouragement to get involved is really key; but also, encourage your teens and don't underestimate what youth can do. We are an active, excited, and determined group of people! We have all this energy, and when we are focused, we can do great work. Don't be surprised when we do amazing things, because we can—give us opportunities!


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Saturday, October 18: Blessing for St. Nicholas Shrine at the World Trade Center

Antiochian Archdiocese - Thu, 2014/10/16 - 2:09pm

October 18, 2014

A Ground Blessing ceremony for the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center is set for Saturday October 18, 2014 at 12:00 noon. The ceremony will include a combined prayer service of blessing of the site (agiasmos), and a doxology (a service of thanksgiving).

Established in 1916, the small Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas was the only house of worship destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 when the South Tower fell and completely obliterated the old church edifice. The new Saint Nicholas National Shrine will be rebuilt only a short distance away from its original location, at 130 Liberty Street and will be overlooking the 9/11 Memorial.

Archbishop Demetrios of America, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America stated: "Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox National Shrine, although destroyed in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 is now, with the grace of God, being resurrected at the new World Trade Center and it will soon rise like a glorious phoenix as a National Shrine and a place of pilgrimage for our Nation. It will be a place of faith, a place of peace and a place of solace and hope."

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America will preside at the historic event with the participation of the hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  Expected to attend are officials from the City of New York, officials of the States of New York and New Jersey, chaplains and interfaith representatives, family members of victims of 9/11, representatives of Archdiocesan institutions and organizations and many faithful Orthodox Christians.

Faithful from around the country have been invited to attend the Ground Blessing marking the start of the rebuilding of St. Nicholas National Shrine, a Greek Orthodox church, a house of prayer and a place where people of all faiths will be able to visit while touring the 9/11 Memorial and the Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center.  The new church, designed by world renown architect Santiago Calatrava, will be a modern evolution of the Byzantine style church with a dome, and will fit in with the steel and glass structures of the surrounding area. The upper level of the church will include a non-denominational bereavement space, also open to all.

The Ground Blessing event is open to all faithful, however there is limited seating.  Entrance is at the corner of Greenwich and Liberty Streets. Attendees are advised not to bring backpacks or bags. For those unable to attend, the service will be available on satellite and will also be live streamed HERE.


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Dr. Maria Khoury to Visit Boston Area

Antiochian Archdiocese - Wed, 2014/10/15 - 6:29pm

Dr. Maria C. Khoury, author of Christina Goes to the Holy Land, will be in the Boston area and available for book signings and/or discussions about the Christian community in the Holy Land, from approximately April 23 to May 27, 2015.

If your church is interested in hosting a program, please contact Dr. Khoury directly at

Description of Holy Land Presentation:

Maria Khoury uses her personal life experiences living in the West Bank, the Palestinian Occupied Territories, to bring greater awareness of how conditions are on the ground for Christians specifically, and Palestinians in general, who suffer day to day under Israeli military occupation trying to do simple things like going to work, school, etc. She speaks from the perspective of being a woman, mother, an Orthodox Christian and community activist. A sample of her opinions can been viewed on one of the interviews on the multimedia page

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Living in Christ

Ancient Faith Radio - Wed, 2014/10/15 - 11:11am
From October 3-4, 2014, St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Loveland, Colorado, held a parish retreat featuring Dr. Philip Mamalakis, a professor of pastoral care and the Director of the Field Education program at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The title of the retreat was “Living in Christ: Refocusing Our Lives on Christ and His Kingdom, Daily."
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Antiochian Women Project 2014-2015: Nurturing the Seeds of Orthodoxy Across North America

Antiochian Archdiocese - Tue, 2014/10/14 - 4:53pm

This summer at the Summer Meetings at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph announced the new Antiochian Women Project for 2014-2015 which will incorporate his vision for the Antiochian Archdiocese well into the future. Over the next year, the Antiochian Women will work towards "Nurturing the Seeds of Orthodoxy Across North America".

The Project is two-fold:

  • "Regional Camping and Learning Centers" – His Eminence's vision is to offer Orthodox programs throughout all of North America and the ultimate establishment of facilities to house these events.
  • "Monastic Communities" – The vision is to make Antiochian Orthodox monastic communities prevalent across our continent.

Throughout our work on this Project, let us recall the parable of the mustard seed where Jesus said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? ... It is like a mustard seed which, ... when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade." (Mark 4:30-32.)

We as Antiochian Women must help to nurture these mustard seeds, and Orthodoxy, across North America.

We would urge you to read the full description of the Project (PDF), and then download the promotional poster (PDF) to be shared with the contact person at your church or mission. Please ask the women to display the poster in a prominent place and to start planning events that will highlight our Project: "Nurturing the Seeds of Orthodoxy Across North America".

Also remember that March is "Antiochian Women's Month". More information will be forthcoming, but we recommend that you start the planning and fundraising for this Project now. Most importantly, everyone in the parish – men, women and children – should know about the Project.



2015 NAB Project Letter

Your Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, and Sisters in Christ:

Christ is in our midst!

The past year has been overwhelming, for both the Antiochian Woman and for our beloved Archdiocese. In July 2013, Metropolitan Philip challenged the Antiochian Women to raise $200,000 to "Help the Orphans of War in Syria." In March, we then experienced the passing of our beloved Metropolitan into eternal life. The need to reach our goal became even more important so that we could honor his thrice-blessed memory. And, after this period of sorrow, we were blessed with the election of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

A few months ago at the Summer Meetings at the Antiochian Village, NAB President Violet Robbat and I were honored, on behalf of all of the Antiochian Women, to present His Eminence with a check for $283,055.55, the total monies raised to date to "Help the Orphans of War in Syria." This is the largest figure ever raised in the history of the Antiochian Women in just one year. And monies continue to be received! One hundred percent of these funds will be given directly to the Antiochian Patriarchate and be used for the orphans.

We now look forward to a new Project, and a new vision, as tasked to us by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. For 2014-2015, the Antiochian Women will work towards "Nurturing the Seeds of Orthodoxy Across North America".

Our Project is divided into two parts. The first is towards the ultimate establishment of "Regional Camping and Learning Centers". Metropolitan Joseph's vision is to offer programs throughout all of North America that focus on Orthodoxy: our way of life, our worship, and our faith. We must reach out to children and adults of all ages. Our goal is to promote, inspire and develop our Holy Orthodox Faith which, like the mustard seed in Christ's parable, will grow and thrive.

The second part of this Project is the establishment of "Monastic Communities". Monasteries are where the Gospel is lived on a daily basis. The monks and nuns within the walls pray for us and the world unceasingly. Monasteries are also where we go for spiritual nourishment and refreshment and into a place of beauty and holiness. Overseas, Antiochian Orthodox monasteries are plentiful but, in North America, they are sorely lacking. The goal is to make Antiochian Orthodox monastic communities prevalent across our continent.

Metropolitan Joseph's vision is to encourage and inspire us to plant the seeds for this Project. Antiochian Orthodoxy was "planted" in North America over 100 years ago when our blessed St. Raphael (Hawaweeny) arrived in the United States, having traveled as a priest from Russia.

He crisscrossed the United States and Canada and gathered the Antiochian Orthodox faithful into parish communities, which continue to grow to this day. Over the years, the Antiochian Archdiocese has gone from worshiping in individual homes, to missions, to churches. The Antiochians, who came from Syria and Lebanon, have welcomed people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds into the fold. The Archdiocese has grown from a handful of parishes to at least 260 churches and missions as of 2014.

Are we to now sit because we have achieved such magnificent growth? Are we to be satisfied and now give ourselves rest? Of course not! We must use the talents that God gave us by blessing us with the magnificent gift of Orthodox Christianity. Let us spread the word of our faith to the peoples of North America!

We now come to the parable of the mustard seed where Jesus said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? … It is like a mustard seed which, … when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32.) We as Antiochian Women must help to nurture these mustard seeds, and Orthodoxy, across North America.

Also remember that March is “Antiochian Women’s Month.” We recommend that you start the planning and fundraising for this Project now. Everyone in your church – men, women and children – should know about the Project.

As in the past, all monies collected on behalf of the NAB Project should be sent to your Diocesan Treasurer at a date determined by each diocese (we would recommend a deadline of May 1). The Diocesan Treasurer will then forward the funds by May 15, 2015 to NAB Treasurer Anne Bourjaily-Thomas, 590 Solon Road, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022.

As always, I look forward to hearing from my fellow Vice Presidents/Project Coordinators in each diocese. This Project gives us a new and important future for the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. I urge you to embrace this vision.

Yours in Christ,

Dianne O’Regan
Vice President/NAB Project Coordinator
North American Board of the Antiochian Women

AttachmentSize NAB 2015 Project Poster (PDF)243.82 KB NAB 2015 Project Letter (PDF)205.72 KB
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Special Olympics Awareness Day: Sunday, October 19

Antiochian Archdiocese - Mon, 2014/10/13 - 1:04pm

The third Sunday of October, October 19, 2014 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 19th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village in the summer of 2015. This ministry is run by and sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.

This past August (2014) our Special Olympics ministry was our largest program ever, with 327 Special Olympic athletes and coaches participating. Our teen SOYO coaches and volunteers ministered exceptionally well this summer. We thank you for the extraordinary young women and men you sent to serve at our Special Olympics sports camp. You are welcome to view the hundreds of photos from this year's Special Olympics camp to get a glimpse into this beautiful Christ-centered ministry performed by our young people.


Please publicize this day. We have attached two sets of bulletin inserts, one for October 12th and the other for October 19th, as well as versions for those who send out only monthly bulletins. Also attached are a letter of instruction from Fr. Joseph Purpura, a letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to be read from the pulpit, and a Teen SOYO letter to be read by a teen in church on October 19th. Please include these inserts in your bulletin and share this cause from the pulpit. Your enthusiastic promotion of such a worthwhile ministry will go a long way in producing fruitful results from our faithful.

AttachmentSize 2014 Special Olympics Letter from Metropolitan Joseph (PDF)135.6 KB 2014 Special Olympics Letter from Fr. Joseph Purpura (PDF)499.65 KB 2014 Teen SOYO Special Olympics Letter (PDF)1.8 MB October 12, 2014 Bulletin Insert 7"x8.5" (PDF)1011.9 KB October 12, 2014 Bulletin Insert 8.5" x8.375" (PDF)1.03 MB October 12, 2014 Bulletin Insert 8.5"x11" (PDF)1.03 MB October 19, 2014 Bulletin Insert 7"x8.5" (PDF)769.77 KB October 19, 2014 Bulletin Insert 8.5" x8.375" (PDF)770.87 KB October 19, 2014 Bulletin Insert 8.5"x11" (PDF)774.06 KB October 2014 Monthly Bulletin Insert 8.5" x8.375" (PDF)1.03 MB October 2014 Monthly Bulletin Insert 8.5"x11" (PDF)1.03 MB
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Icons And Orthodox Spirituality

Ancient Faith Radio - Sun, 2014/10/12 - 9:22pm
Fr. Barnabas Powell address the question of iconography in the Orthodox Tradition. How essential are they in our Christian faith? Do we worship them? Learn about what icons teach us and their significance in understanding the Incarnation of Christ.
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Orthodox Free Clinic - A Model Which Can Be Replicated

Ancient Faith Radio - Sun, 2014/10/12 - 9:09pm
Nick and John talk about the plight of the poor who desperately need health services but cannot afford it. Learn about the new Health Care Clinic operated by FOCUS North America. You can then replicate this model in your community with the help of FOCUS.
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October 2014 Statement of the Holy Synod of Antioch

Antiochian Archdiocese - Fri, 2014/10/10 - 6:21pm

English translation of a report (Arabic original here) published by the Patriarchate of Antioch:

Under the presidency of His Beatitude Patriarch John X (Yazigi), the Holy Synod of Antioch held its fourth regular session on October 7, 2014. The following bishops were present:

Spiridon (Zahle and its dependencies), Georges (Jbeil, Batroun and their dependencies), John (Lattakia and its dependencies), Elias (Beirut and its dependencies), Iliyya (Hama and its dependencies), Elias (Sidon, Tyre and their dependencies), Saba (Hawran and Jebel al-Arab), George (Homs and its dependencies), Siluan (Buenos Aires and all Argentina), Basil (Akkar and its dependencies), Ephrem (Tripoli, al-Koura and their dependencies), Ignatius (France and Western and Southern Europe), Isaac (Germany and Central Europe).

The patriarchal vicar, Bishop Ephrem Maalouli, secretary of the Holy Synod, was in attendance, along with the Synod’s record-keeper, Economos Georges Dimas.

The following bishops were unable to attend: Antonio (Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Islands of the Caribbean), Sergio (Santiago and Chile), Damaskinos (Sao Paulo and Brazil), Paul (Australia and New Zealand), and Joseph (New York and North America). Metropolitan Paul (Aleppo, Alexandretta and their dependencies), absent on account of his captivity, was present in the prayers and supplications of the fathers of the Synod.

His Beatitude briefed the fathers about his pastoral visit to the regions of Wadi al-Nasara and Safita, which concluded in the Archdiocese of Akkar, where he had the opportunity to meet with his children and become familiar with their aspirations, concerns and anxieties.

His Beatitude expressed his great happiness and pride for his children, who are bearing witness to Christ risen from the dead in this part of the world and transmitting their faith from generation to generation in faithfulness to tradition and openness to the future, rooted in the land and holding fast to the values of the Gospel.

His Beatitude thanked His Eminence Metropolitan Basil (Akkar), the bishops and the priests for their pastoral care of their children in this region, along with all the faithful who worked hard for the success of this visit, which allowed our father the Patriarch to meet with his children in an atmosphere of love, intimacy and simplicity.

The fathers reviewed the results of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue that was held in Amman, Jordan this past September. They stressed the necessity of serious work in order to remove all the obstacles to this dialogue and to the hoped-for unity in a spirit of love and openness, that the Christian world might be able to realize prayer of the Lord “that they may be one.”

The fathers likewise reviewed the work of the preparatory committee for the great Orthodox council which met in Chambésy, Switzerland at the beginning of October, 2014 and took note of the working paper that it prepared regarding the relationship between the Orthodox churches and the Christian world.

In this regard, the fathers expressed their hope that the preparatory work for the great council will be effective for a united Orthodox witness in today’s world which thirsts for a word of life.

The Holy Synod likewise took note of the recommendations brought to it by the committee that it delegated to reviewing the work of the general Antiochian conference held in June 2014. It decided to charge His Beatitude with forming a specialized committee to put into place a medium-term strategic plan that will take into account what recommendations can be implemented according to Antioch’s priorities, available human and financial resources. This plan should also anticipate the dangers that implementation could face and ways to avoid them.

As soon as it is prepared, the plan will be presented to the dioceses for comment. It will then be presented in its final form at the next session of the Synod in order to take necessary action.

Concern for Jesus’ little brothers was not absent from the fathers of the Synod, who reviewed the relief work being undertaken by the Patriarchate in order to lessen the impact of these evil days upon the needy.

The fathers praised the efforts being made in this regard and blessed those undertaking them. They praised those who are giving generously to help those in difficult circumstances and called on their children to work together to lessen the impact of these difficult days in response to the commandment “bear one another’s burdens”.

The fathers of the Holy Synod decided in this regard to conduct a survey and ecclesiastical census at the level of the See of Antioch in all dioceses in the homeland and the diaspora with the goal of better pastoral care and communication with them.

The fathers reviewed the situation in the dioceses, especially the vacant diocese of Baghdad and Kuwait. They elected Bishop Ghattas Hazim as metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Baghdad, Kuwait and their dependencies.

They also elected Archimandrite Gregory Khoury-Abdallah as an auxiliary to His Beatitude the Patriarch with the title of Bishop of the Emirates and Archimandrite Qais Sadek as an auxiliary bishop to the patriarch with the title of Bishop of Erzurum.

The fathers lingered with great sorrow and regret on the mystery that still surrounds the case of Metropolitans Yuhanna (Ibrahim) and Paul (Yazigi), who were kidnapped a year and a half ago, amidst the world’s blind eye and silence about this legitimate humanitarian issue.

In this regard, the fathers called upon world and Arab society to work seriously to uncover the fate of the bishops, priests, soldiers and civilians who have been abducted.

The fathers lingered on the ongoing tragedies that are afflicting the Middle East and attempting to tear apart its social fabric, wipe out its ancient cultures and enslave its people to violence, fear, misery and ignorance. They stressed that Christians are children of the Middle East and its builders, not visitors or newcomers there. They affirmed that they will remain there as witnesses to Christ because they believe that God embraces all and that He is able to lift them up from this historic impasse that they are experiencing.

The fathers likewise reminded their children that Christ who rose from the dead and conquers death by death is alone the true guarantor of their existence. They called on them not to approach the crisis sweeping their countries from a sectarian or minoritarian logic because this crisis is not a confrontation between religions, but rather between the interests of the powers of this world who exploit religions as a vehicle for their whims, while the religions are innocent of them.

The fathers affirmed that the active Christian presence in the Middle East remains a presence open to Muslims and constantly struggles alongside them for freedom, peace, true citizenship and human dignity and development. It is a presence that rejects extremism and terrorism and clings to this land that was formed by the blood of its sincere children and watered with the blood of the saints who lived there. They laud the positions recently issued by Muslim intellectuals and call on them to realize the necessity of developing a clear teaching that recognizes freedom of religion.

The fathers prayed for Syria and Lebanon and encouraged the international community to work seriously for peace in Syria, whose people are paying an exorbitant price to the language of interests, killing, terror and takfir. They encouraged members of the Lebanese Parliament to elect a president for the Republic who will ensure the constitutional regularity of work there. They prayed that the language of peace will replace the language of confrontation in Iraq, Egypt, Palestine and all parts of the Middle East.

The Antiochian presence throughout the western world was not lost on the fathers. They expressed their appreciation for their constant, living witness rooted in their home countries and especially their solidarity with their brothers in the Middle East during these delicate and fateful circumstances.

The fathers praised the singleness of spirit that brings all together and the constructive work in which the mutual spiritual, human and cultural complementarity between them is made manifest.


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From Scroll To Book To Net: The Web Of Knowledge

Ancient Faith Radio - Thu, 2014/10/09 - 10:32pm
Fr. John Behr, author of academic, popular, and spiritual works, presented the keynote address at this year's Education Day at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Fr. John highlighted the symbiotic relationship between Christianity and books, and described how the development of the internet has changed the way people read.
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