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Annual Spring Meetings at Antiochian Village

This past weekend, May 29-31, 2015, the hierarchs and leaders of the Antiochian Archdiocese met at the Antiochian Village for their annual spring meetings. Our bishops met on Friday morning and the Archdiocese Board of Trustees met on Friday evening and Saturday morning. In addition, several other meetings took place including the Village Council and the newly formed cemetery committee.

During the bishops' meeting, our hierarchs discussed various issues relating to their respective dioceses, upcoming clergy transfers and other issues. They also heard a report from Fr. Thomas Zain and Mr. Khalil Samara, the NAC Fellowship of St. John the Divine Spiritual Advisor and President, about the proposed changes to the Fellowship and the newly formed Young Adult Ministry. The hierarchs wholeheartedly endorsed the new concept and one of the NAC officers will attend each of the Parish Life Conferences this year to explain the restructuring of the organization to the faithful of each diocese. All of the hierarchs were present except for His Grace Bishop Basil who was unable to attend.

The cemetery committee held its second meeting under the direction of HIs Eminence (the first meeting took place at the archdiocese headquarters earlier this year). The result of the two meetings was to recommend the construction of a new church at the Antiochian Village camp with a crypt under the altar area that will house the remains of all of the hierarchs that have served the archdiocese from its inception. The relics of St. Raphael of Brooklyn will be placed in a shrine in the church proper for the faithful to venerate. The new church and crypt will solve two problems, firstly the need of a larger church as the current camp church is too small to accommodate all the campers and secondly to give a proper resting place for our hierarchs who have faithfully served the archdiocese. In addition to a chapel, the hope is that the crypt area will also contain historical information about each of the hierarchs and their life in the archdiocese, thereby creating a place of learning about our history in addition to paying respects to our former bishops.

The Archdiocese Board meeting discussed many items and heard a report from His Eminence regarding the upcoming visit of His Beatitude, Patriarch John X for the archdiocese convention next month in Boston. Almost 95% of the hotel rooms have been booked and over 3,000 people are expected to attend the convention this year. His Eminence also gave a heartfelt plea to the board members to come up with ideas about how we can help the influx of Syrian refugees arriving from overseas. Saying that giving money is not enough, a lengthy discussion ensued and a plan of action will be developed for parishes around North America to use to help receive and settle the families fleeing the war in Syria. The fall board meeting will take place in the Los Angeles area and will be hosted by St. Michael Church of Van Nuys, CA the weekend of October 25th, 2015.

After a very busy week at the Antiochian Village, His Eminence departs Tuesday for Lebanon for the meetings of the Holy Synod of Antioch. Please keep him your prayers as he travels to the Middle East.