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Antiochian Women of the East (AWE)


November 23, 2017

Dear Reverend Fathers and Beloved Sisters in Christ,

Christ is in our midst! He is and ever shall be!

I pray that you and your families are well as we continue the advent season looking forward to the birth of Christ, the only son of God, born of the Virgin Mary. May Jesus Christ bring to all of you good health and peaceful lives.

My name is Rula Osama Khoury and I attend St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On June 29, 2017 at Parish Life Conference, in Morristown, New Jersey hosted by St. George Church of Little Falls, I was elected as the new president for the Antiochian Women of the East (AWE). AWE consists of the Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C., led by His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, and includes 15 churches and missions and the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, led by His Grace Bishop THOMAS, and includes more than 30 churches and missions. Please see my attached biography.

I am honored to serve you as your new president first foremost with the help from God and with the support of our AWE Executive Board. We are also blessed to have the Very Reverend Father Don Shadid continue as our Spiritual Advisor. The AWE Executive Board members include:

  • Rula Osama Khoury, President
  • Angela Saliby, Vice President
  • Khouria Loukia Dixon, Secretary
  • Khouria Rima Zafaran, (re-elected as Treasurer)
  • Maria Koropsak, Religious Coordinator
  • Hope Sabbagh, Humanitarian Coordinator
  • Pam Hennawi, Membership Coordinator
  • Nancy Tentzeras, Social Media Coordinator

We are still in need of a Public Relations Coordinator. Please reach out to me if the Holy Spirit moves you to volunteer. View the new Roster 2017-2019; please feel free to contact us.

I am blessed to already know many of you. One of my goals is to meet as many of the clergy and women from your parishes as possible during my term in office. We have so much to share and learn from each other while building stronger relationships among the Antiochian Women of our dioceses. One of the ways for us to build relationships is to take the opportunities we have to come together in fellowship. Another way for us to get to know more about each other is through our Diocesan Newsletter that is published twice a year – one before Advent and one before Pascha. Articles are welcomed on an endless variety of topics, from describing a special ministry team in your parish, visiting a monastery, submitting personal reflections, or sharing the activities of the women of your parish. Submissions for the spring 2018 newsletter may be sent to our Membership Coordinator, Pam Hennawi, before April 1, 2018.

Now that the new church year has arrived, it is also time for annual dues to be submitted. Our dues serve multiple purposes. A portion is sent to the Antiochian Women North American Board (NAB), and a portion remains in our Dioceses. In both cases these funds cover both good works of the Antiochian Women (donations for mission priests and gifts for priests' widows and for seminarians, etc) as well as administrative costs incurred. Attached is a letter from our Treasurer, Khouria Rima Zafaran, with more information and a form to return with your dues payment.

Each year the Antiochian Women of our archdiocese are given a project by our Metropolitan. The Project for 2017-2018 will focus on Vocations, strengthening the Ministries of the Church. This includes, the youth, the priesthood and monastics, teaching ministries, music ministry, service ministry and more. Khouria Suzanne Murphy, NAB Vice-President & Project Coordinator, sent a letter in October with complete packets to each parish. Additionally, a full explanation of the project, along with posters and bulletin inserts,
can be found on the Archdiocese web page. AWE Vice President and Project Coordinator, Angela Saliby, will follow up with the churches within our two dioceses. Project donations are due no later than May 1, 2018. A donation check made payable to the Antiochian Women of the East and should be mailed directly to the AWE Treasurer, Khouria Rima Zafaran (see enclosed attachment). Please be aware that all the funds collected for this project will be tallied and then forwarded directly to the NAB by the AWE treasurer. A check for the total monies collected from all the dioceses is presented to Metropolitan JOSEPH at the Summer
Meeting. Please do not mail your check to the NAB or to anyone else.

We hope the following information enables the Antiochian Women in your parishes to make plans and set goals for the coming months. Please mark your calendars for the Eastern Dioceses 2018 Parish Life Conference June 27-July 1, 2018, which will be held at the Antiochian Village Heritage & Learning Center, Bolivar, PA and hosted by St. Philip (Souderton, PA); St. George (Upper Darby, PA) & Holy Ascension (West Chester, PA) Churches. In addition to services and classes, you will have an opportunity to visit and venerate the resting place of St Raphael of Brooklyn.

Finally, as I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, one of my focus areas is to build stronger relationships among the Antiochian Women of our dioceses. I understand that women's groups in our parishes have different names including fellowship groups, ladies society, Martha & Mary groups, Hamelat El teeb, Myrrh Bearing Women, just to name a few, but as members of this God protected Antiochian Archdiocese, it is an important to remember, that we are all Antiochian Women.
Please email me any updates in the contact information of your organization at: Please call me with questions or feedback concerning the Antiochian Women in our dioceses. I can be reached by phone at 724-799-1820 or via email. I look forward to serving you in any way I can.
I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
Your sister in Christ,

Rula Osama Khoury

April 14, 2018

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

The AWE Lenten Retreat took place on March 23-25, 2018 at Antiochian Village. The retreat was dedicated to the memory of Khouria Stefanie Yazge, who passed away on June 29, 2017.

We began the retreat with the fifth Akathist Hymn, where chanters sang in English, Arabic, and Greek to honor our Most Holy Theotokos.  Following the service, we had a nice Lenten dinner and fellowship. In the evening, we watched “What Dreams May Come” which fit well with the topic of the retreat, Life After Death. Special thanks goes out to Father Anthony Yazge for popping popcorn for the movie!

The following morning, Khouria Janet Shadid and Miriam Yazge, spoke fondly of Khouria Stefanie as they paid tribute to her life and accomplishments during the introduction to the retreat. Our retreat presenter, Father Paul Matar, provided thought provoking and edifying talks on the Orthodox view of life after our departure from this world.

Throughout the weekend, we paid tribute to Khouria Stefanie’s memory by playing one of her favorite hymns, the 9th Ode of the Paschal Canon- “The Angel Cried,” providing her signature recipe and sample of chocolate mint brownies, and offering an icon card of Christ with Khouria Stefanie’s favorite Bible verse, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, because He is holy” (Joshua 24:15). Later on in the weekend, ladies toasted to Khouria Stefanie’s memory, with one of her favorite beverages, margaritas. May her Memory be Eternal!

Other highlights of the weekend included having a general meeting with all the ladies during Saturday’s luncheon. We announced the proposed project to commission a new Liturgy to be composed by Nazo Zakkak, in memory of Khouria Stefanie. The project was so well received that our women began donating funds on that very day!

We also enjoyed the beautiful services of matins and vespers on Saturday and the Feast of the Annunciation on Sunday. It was a beautiful weekend with 87 in attendance. The efforts of AWE president, Rula Khoury, AWE Spiritual Advisor, Father Don Shadid, AV event coordinator, Allison Taylor, and the other AWE officers, helped make this weekend a relaxing and spiritually uplifting event for all who attended.

Your Sister in Christ,
Rula Khoury, AWE President












Maria Koropsak, Religious Coordinator for the Antiochian Women of the East, writes:

"Bishop JOHN has given his blessing for the Book Club selection. Our NAB President, Dianne O' Regan, has also approved. The book is entitled, Becoming a Healing Presence by Dr. Albert Rossi. The book can be ordered from Ancient Faith Bookstore. Dr. Albert Rossi is a licensed clinical psychologist and Christian educator who has spoken and written widely on these topics. He is currently the Director of Field Education and serves as the resident clinical psychologist at St. Vladimir's Seminary. A quote from Dr. Rossi from the conclusion of the book: 'Becoming a Healing Presence is a code phrase for loving others as best we can....'
Read Maria's full letter.
Order the book.


Khouria Suzanne Murphy, Vice President of the North American Board and NAB Project Coordinator, writes:
"Our Project this year will focus on these ministries and on supporting those who undertake them as a Godly VOCATION -- Our goal is to inspire and support vocations as well as to raise money to fund and encourage all of the excellent work that is being done throughout our Archdiocese by dedicated and self-sacrificing men and women."
AW Prayer (PDF)587.45 KB
Summary of Duties of Diocesan Officers & Coordinators (PDF)801.37 KB
2018 AWE Lenten Retreat Schedule (PDF)583.5 KB
2018 AWE Lenten Retreat Flyer (PDF)304.26 KB
President Rula O. Khoury Biography (PDF)265.81 KB
Letter from AWE President Rula Khoury (PDF)793.41 KB
AWE Parish and Head Clergy Listings (XLS Download)8.22 KB
NAB Project Form (PDF)301.68 KB
2017-2019 AWE Officers Contact List (PDF)76.05 KB
Vice-President Angela Saliby 2018 Project Letter (PDF)482.04 KB
Khouria Rima's Treasurer Letter 03.19.2018 (PDF)356.01 KB