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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
During the last week of August, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Camp St. Innocent (CSI) took place, the first ever Antiochian camp in Western Canada. The camp took place at the Gull Lake Centre, an excellent facility located about eighty-five miles south of Edmonton, Alberta.
The camp was sponsored by St. Philip Church in Edmonton and Annunciation Church of Calgary, but campers also came from Saskatoon, and Vancouver. There were 23 campers in total, which for a first camp seems to be a pretty good turnout. This is especially true if you consider the long distances some of the campers had to travel to come to camp. The campers from Saskatoon drove for over seven hours and the campers from Vancouver about twelve hours.
Although the travel times were long, the camp was worth it. The campers got to swim and canoe in the sparkling and warm waters of Gull Lake, they also spent one afternoon rock climbing, and on the rainy day played games in the very large gymnasium. And did I mention the food? From carmel oatmeal in the morning to build-your-own burritos and roast-your-own hot dogs over an open fire, everyone had plenty of good food to enjoy. As I heard one camper remark as he was going up for seconds: "But it's still not as good as my Mom's."
Three clergy attended the camp and provided morning and evening liturgical services and daily teaching for the campers along with lots of cheering and support during the game times. During the daily teaching time, the clergy spoke about the meaning of Faith, as the theme of the camp was "CSI: Investigating the power of faith." In addition, some of the clergy were even seen playing soccer and canoeing with the campers.
On the first evening of the camp, one of the clergy spoke to the campers about the life and legacy of our Father Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory and together we prayed the Trisagion prayers for the peace of his soul. Also, Chris Shahid gave an interesting talk on the life and ministry of St. Innocent (the patron saint of CSI) and then we all joined together in a service of supplication to St. Innocent.
By the end of the week, many strangers had become good friends, and everyone was eager to come back next year. So many people worked long hours and contributed funds to make this camp successful that I could never thank them all. However, I would especially like to thank Chris Shahid from the Antiochian Village who did an excellent job running the daily program and even pinch hitting as a cabin counselor when the need arose. But most of all I need to thank Nellie Salloum for the hours and hours of preparatory work she put into making Camp St. Innocent a reality.
And now we can all hardly wait until next summer. Since the first year of Camp St. Innocent has been such a success, I suspect that many more campers will join us next year.
A new book in The Chrysostom Bible Series—Hebrews: A Commentary, by Antiochian priest and Biblical scholar The Very Rev. Paul Nadim Tarazi—is the latest release from the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies' publishing arm, OCABS Press.
In this volume, Fr. Tarazi notes the importance of the placement of Hebrews in the canon, which together with Romans, "bracketed [Paul's] literary corpus of fourteen epistles between two magisterial letters-Romans, addressed to the residents of the capital of the Gentile Roman empire, and Hebrews, addressed to the Jews who were still dreaming of the restoration of the earthly Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans."
However, Fr. Paul points out in this work, "God's city is not, as it was assumed by the Jews, the earthly Jerusalem that lay subjugated by Rome, but rather the 'Jerusalem above' (Gal 4:26), the heavenly city of Zion, toward which the believers are heading."
The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series exists to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation. The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies also offers a variety of other commentaries, a journal, a society for the study of Scripture, and exegetical notes for teaching and preaching.
In his debut live show, Fr. Barnabas Powell welcomes the representatives from the Evangelism Departments of the three largest jurisdictions in the US. What can we do to make our parishes more welcoming to visitors?
The full schedule is now available for the weekend of December 5-7 and the events of the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Preparations are under way and hierarchs and guests will be attending from across the world.
The following is the public schedule for the weekend:
Friday, December 5th:
6:30pm Great Vespers with Artoklasia for the Feast of St. Nicholas
Saturday, December 6th:
10:00am Divine Liturgy for the Feast of St. Nicholas, Patron Saint of the Mother Cathedral
4:30pm Great Vespers and Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph.
7:00pm Reception at the Brooklyn Marriott
8:00pm Gala Banquet at the Brooklyn Marriott
Sunday, December 7th:
10:30am Patriarchal Divine Liturgy
Banquet tickets are $200 per guest and can be obtained by mailing a check made out to "St. Nicholas Cathedral" to the following address:
St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral
355 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Attn: Banquet Committee
Please clearly print the names of those attending as well as a phone number and email address if possible so we can acknowledge your reservation. You may also purchase banquet tickets with a Visa or MasterCard on the Cathedral website here. Be sure to note in the memo section the same information above. Please note that this is for banquet tickets only and not for journal ads. Deadline for banquet reservations is November 21, 2014.
Bishop Thomas and Bishop John (3rd and 4th from left) join other hierarchs at the 2013 Assembly of Bishops MeetingPrayers are requested as 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., convenes for their Annual Meeting September 16-18, 2014, in Dallas, TX. The faithful are asked to especially pray for His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, the First Vice Chairman of the Assembly, and all our Antiochian hierarchs.
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
During this week as we venerate the cross of Christ, Fr. Tom Hopko shares a sermon by Met. Anthony Bloom on the cross and our sin.
Let all the trees of the wood, planted from the beginning of time, rejoice; for their nature hath been sanctified by the stretching of Christ on the Tree. Wherefore, now, we worship Him, lifted up, and magnify Him.
+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 8
By the mere planting of thy Cross, O Christ, the foundation of death did shake; for him whom Hades did swallow eagerly, it delivered up with trembling; for verily, thou didst reveal to us thy salvation, O holy One. Wherefore, do we glorify thee, O Son of God. Have mercy upon us.
+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 6
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross. Two events connected to the Honorable Cross of our Lord are commemorated this day: first, the finding of the Cross by the Empress Helena in the Holy Land; and second, the return of the Cross from Persia to Jerusalem in the year 628.
The Liberating Cross by Fr. Stephen Rogers
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) - The race to reach dry land grows more urgent as massive flooding in Pakistan forces hundreds of thousands of families to evacuate their homes. Heavy monsoon rains earlier in the week have triggered landslides, while floodwaters have submerged entire villages and swept away bridges and more than 400,000 acres of planted crops. The monsoon floods have claimed the lives of more than 270 people and affected 1.9 million people in the country's 10 districts, according to a statement issued by the Pakistani government. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding to the urgent needs of Pakistan's most vulnerable survivors with emergency relief to flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan. Working in cooperation with Orthodox Church in Pakistan, IOCC is providing support for the distribution of food parcels to 700 flood victims in the hard hit communities of Wazirabad and Hafizabad. The parcels will include food items such as flour, oil, tea, lentils and some cooking utensils ...
On this month's "On Social Justice," host Mariam Youssef interviews Eric Shanburn of FOCUS St. Louis about his involvement in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests.
Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) conducted an interview with His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Sept. 10. OCN writes:
"OCN Executive Director Fr. Christopher Metropulos spoke with His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph in Washington, DC, where both are attending the IDC Summit calling attention to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. ... Members of Metropolitan Joseph’s family have been killed and wounded in this crisis, and he notes that nearly every family in his Archdiocese has been impacted in some way. 'We cannot accept the Middle East without Christians,' he says. 'That would be an unforgivable crime.' In this interview, Metropolitan Joseph shares his faith in the power of being a servant. Raised in a monastery, he feels deeply honored by the opportunity to serve that he has been given. His Eminence also describes his insights into the healing and blessing that comes when faith replaces fear, and we offer courageous and loving service to one another."
Registration is open for the Annual St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage, with His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic presiding. Lodging for both adults and children is available for the weekend, which is an annual event at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and camp in Bolivar, PA.
"Did you know that the Antiochian Village is one of the few places places in the United States where you can visit the grave and shrine of a saint of the Church?" notes Bishop Thomas. Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in the United States, reposed in the Lord in 1915 and was later canonized by the Orthodox Church in America in 2000. Appropriately, since St. Raphael is buried on the grounds of Antiochian Village, the pilgrimage includes a Service of Supplication to him. Other activities include small group workshops, a panel discussion with Bishop Thomas, a special movie showing, and the full cycle of liturgical services.
The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning has been given the responsibility of overseeing the planning and selection of all Archdiocese Conventions as well as all regional Parish Life Conferences. As of September, 2014, the dates and sponsoring parishes for the 2015 Parish Life Conference and the national Archdiocese Convention, are as follows:
2015 Diocesan Parish Life Conferences, and Archdiocese ConventionDiocese
Diocese of Wichita
June 10-13, 2015
St. Elias Church; Denver (Arvada), CO
Diocese of Miami
June 10-14, 2015
St. Ignatius Church; Franklin, TN
Diocese of Worcester
June 18-21, 2015
St. Mary Church; Pawtucket, RI
Diocese of Toledo
June 24-28, 2015
St. Nicholas Church; Grand Rapids, MI
Dioceses of Los Angeles & Eagle River
July 2-5, 2015
St. Andrew Church; Riverside, CA
Dioceses of Charleston & New York
July 2-5, 2015
St. John Church; Levittown, NY
Diocese of Ottawa
July 2-5, 2015
St. Michael Church; Geneva, NY
52nd Archdiocese Convention
July 19-26, 2015
St. Mary's Church; Cambridge, MA
The Department of Christian Education"We want our children first and foremost to be converted to Christ, to know repentance, to know what it meant to offer themselves and the whole world to God at the Divine Liturgy, to win the struggle with evil, and to be wise with the wisdom of the saints, and then, yes, to articulate their faith. Their spiritual strength is what will count in the end," observed Department of Christian Education Director Carole Buleza at the beginning of the 2014-2015 Church School year.
Several noteworthy resources are worth highlighting as Sunday School commences across the Archdiocese. New materials, guidelines, and submission information for the 2015 Creative Festivals have been posted to Antiochian.org. Themed "The 100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of St. Raphael," the Festivals include art, photography, poetry and creative writing.
Additionally, the Department of Youth organizes the Bible Bowl and the Oratorical Festivals, and has a variety of new resources available for preparation for those events. The Festivals are hosted by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. Topics are always developed and printed by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry with the blessing of the Metropolitan.
This year's Orthodox Institute also promises to be an outstanding weekend of Christian Ed training and encouragement, featuring a stellar line up of speakers addressing the theme "Theosis: Your Life with God."
Other initiatives from the Dept. of Christian Education for highlighting are:
On a new "Musings from the High Desert," Fr. Gabriel Rochelle commends Fr. Eugen Pentiuc's new book from Oxford University Press, The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition. According to Fr. Gabriel, this is an important and unique new resource; nothing exists like it in the world of biblical interpretation.
On Friday evening, September 5, 2014, The Orthodox Clergy Association of Southeast Texas held a Town Hall Meeting at St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas (with rector The Rev. James Shadid), titled "The Silent Holocaust—The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East." The press release following the event reported that all of the Orthodox, Coptic and Syriac Christian communities in the area participated—approximately 300 persons, including 16 priests. Jurisdictions represented were the Greek Archdiocese (GOA), the Antiochian Archdiocese, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the Serbian Diocese of Midwestern America, and Coptic and Syriac Dioceses.
There were four speakers, including Hieromonk Bashar (al-Shamany) of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Originally from Mosul, the he spoke about the current situation in the Middle East. Father Bashar's family are currently among the thousands of scattered refugees. A question and answer period followed, and a large collection was taken for the IOCC's relief work in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of the Town Hall, all of the Orthodox clergy offered up the Trisagion Prayers for those who have died.
- Read the full press release.
- Listen to the audio of this event on Ancient Faith Radio.
- Listen to the Arabic presentation by Fr. Bashar Al-Shamany, Syriac Priest from Mosul, Iraq, of St. Ephrem the Syrian Church of Houston, posted separately at the same link, or alone here.
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abdalah, Bishop John Magazine Date: 09/2014
Bishop John visited Metropolitan Joseph on July 26, 2014, to receive his blessings and a message for the readers of The Word. Metropolitan Joseph was hospitable, candid and loving. Here is what he had to say.
We thank God for all of His blessings, wisdom and guidance bestowed upon us. I thank our Father in Christ, Patriarch John X, for his leadership, love and constant prayers for this Archdiocese. We pray to almighty God that He will grant our Father, Patriarch John X, strength and perseverance during this critical time in the life of our Patriarchate, especially the challenges and danger facing the people and land of the Middle East. We thank my brother Metropolitans, the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch, for their confidence, their love and their support. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank my brother hierarchs of this Archdiocese for all of their hard work, godly ministry and efforts to maintain the unity and strength of our Archdiocese. We pray that the merciful God will remember our beloved Metropolitan Philip in His heavenly Kingdom and will reward him richly for all of the accomplishments realized during his half-century ministry. He left for us a big legacy to build upon.
Now we begin a new chapter in the life the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese is not one person, but the whole body; metropolitan, hierarchs, clergy, monastics and all the believers.
If we work together as a team–and I call all of us to work as a team – the Archdiocese will be strengthened and Metropolitan Philip from the Kingdom of God will rejoice. When I say that we work as a team, it means that everyone shares in this ministry. We don’t have to wait for invitations to serve. Although service needs to be orderly, I urge each of you to recognize that this Archdiocese is your home, your life and your responsibility, too. God has entrusted this Archdiocese to all of us. Just as your family gathers at home, when we gather as the Archdiocese we are one big family. Jesus is the head of this family. He is the vine and we are the branches. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have a lot of work to do. There is no time to waste. Saving souls cannot be delayed until tomorrow.
I will work ceaselessly with my brother hierarchs of this Archdiocese, visiting, encouraging, guiding and teaching. We will listen to our people. Together we will study and share life, deepening our faith. The clergy are asked to work hard and maintain godliness in their lives, homes and parishes. They are to obey the teachings of our Lord and convey the true message of Jesus Christ to every home and, most especially, to the lost sheep everywhere in this vast Archdiocese. I call upon them to do all that they can, using everything under their control for the sake of our shared godly ministry. I call upon all of our believers to make their spiritual life their first priority. We must not be given up to excuses, because God has prepared everything forus. It is right for us to be with Him and to be obedient to His teachings, keeping all of the Christian values in our life and living according to them. If we keep our eyes and attention on the Christian values, our life will be enriched and our children will be safeguarded from evil attacks.
You and I together have a great ministry to save the beautiful and wonderful souls that God has entrusted us with. Surely, we will build using bricks and stones so that the Archdioceses prospers and its properties are well-maintained, but your salvation and the salvation of your children is the real goal. I need your prayers and support, as well as the prayers and support of all of the Antiochian people, both financially and spiritually.
Together we need to help those who are unfortunate here and abroad. We need to bring joy and hope to those who are hurting. We need a Christianity of action. We need to help wherever it is needed.
I promise to use all the power and influence of my office to give voice to those who need to be advocated for. I will speak for the sake of justice and peace so that our voice can be heard. We will not forget the Christians and others who are suffering in the troubled areas of the world. Our brothers and sisters who are suffering need our witness and support. We will not ignore their suffering and we stand with them.
Two areas that are dear to my heart are monastic life and the youth (camp ministry). Patriarch Elias IV of blessed memory, after his visit to North America in the 1970s, addressed the seminarians and said, “In North America they have everything, but lack monasteries.” For years this has been on my heart, and now the time has come to meet this challenge. Beloved, monastic life strengthens the life of the church as monastics bear witness to the biblical truths in the way they live their lives. In general and in this Archdiocese in particular, we would be well-served to have a strong monastic witness. Therefore we are looking ahead to see if our old and young people throughout the Archdiocese are willing to respond to God’s call. We are already blessed with two monasteries as a start: St. Silouan the Athonite Monastery in Wichita, and St. Thekla in Glenville, Pennsylvania. We will make serious efforts to have more monasteries throughout the Archdiocese.
The other priority dear to my heart is our youth. I want to keep them in the faith and sustain their spiritual lives. They need out attention and prayers, as well as our sacrifices for this task. We need to improve our camps and further develop youth programs. I will need the help of our hierarchs, clergy and faithful to accomplish these goals.
In the future, our investment in our youth will bring forth spiritual leaders, good fathers and mothers, good citizens and Orthodox Christians able to share our faith with America and our children. I know that it is not easy and this looks crazy and impossible, but with God all things are possible. Remember that St. Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” (4:13).
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Metropolitan Joseph Youth Interview Monasteries
The Fall 2014 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York, with special dedication to our new Metropolitan Joseph! The issue contains:
- Metropolitan Joseph's Vision for the Archdiocese
- Message from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor V. Rev. Iskander Younes
- A message from Diocesan President Susanne Zeidan
- Highlights from the 2014 Mid-Summer Meetings at Antiochian Village
- Introductions to the Diocese of Ottawa's Board
- Happenings around the Diocese of Ottawa
- Antiochian Women Visit the Grave of Metropolitan Philip
- Miracles Are Still Happening by Lianne Nimey
...and more! Download (PDF) here.
The accusation is sometimes leveled against Orthodox Christians that they are "concerned with symbols over substance." Fr. Tom Soroka reminds us that both symbols and the meaning behind them are important for deep faith in God.