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2018 Clergy Retreat and Spring Gathering is April 20-22

Bishop ANTHONY is pleased to announce this year's Clergy Retreat and Spring Gathering, hosted by St. George Church in Troy, Michigan, April 20–22, 2018. All clergy are expected to attend Thursday evening's session with His Grace. Delegates and other parish representatives will meet Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21.

Please see the attached forms for a schedule of events, hotel information, and a registration form.

Announcing the 2018 Western Rite Vicariate Conference

The biennial conference of the Western Rite Vicariate will be held Tuesday, August 7 through Friday, August 10, 2018, at St. Peter Orthodox Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

Metropolitan JOSEPH will preside at all liturgical services and will be the keynote speaker.

Under the theme “Celebrating our Western Orthodox Culture,” the conference will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the Western Rite Vicariate by Patriarch ALEXANDER III and Metropolitan ANTONY. Particular attention will be drawn to the constituting Edict from Metropolitan ANTONY (of thrice-blessed memory) at the Archdiocese Convention in 1958.

Metropolitan Joseph will be joined by Bishop JOHN, the Auxiliary Bishop for the Western Rite, and the Very Reverend Edward Hughes, Vicar General for the Western Rite.

Elinor Bourjaily College Scholarship Application

Gail Malaniak of St. Matthew the Evangelist Orthodox Church writes:

In 2018, the Elinor Bourjaily College Scholarship Application is being sent digitally to all parishes, and then forwarded to individual college students in each parish.

Due to our church fire, it would be best for the students to submit their completed applications digitally as well. However, a P.O. Box is included on the forms if they prefer to send them through the U.S. Postal service. All information for submitting the applications is on the enclosed forms.

Thank you for your help and I pray you have a Blessed Lenten Season. Please keep our parish in your prayers. May Elinor's memory be eternal!


2018-2019 Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships Available from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Applications for two scholarships administered by the Department of Philanthropy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America are now available to students from Orthodox Churches affiliated with the Assembly of Bishops. The Malta Scholarship is for undergraduate studies, and the Paleologos Scholarship is awarded for graduate work of a non-theological nature. Each of these scholarships was established through generous gifts from dedicated Greek Orthodox Christians who wanted to provide financial assistance towards the education of young people from the Orthodox Christian community.

Applications can be downloaded from the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at (on the spotlight section on the home page). For more information, please email or call 212-774-0283. The deadline for submitting an application for these scholarships is May 4, 2018.

2018 Pastoral Greeting From Bishop THOMAS on the Feast of the Annunciation

March 25, 2018

Feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

"Be it done unto me according to thy word." These are words of the Most Holy Theotokos in response to the angel Gabriel's announcement. These are the nine words that erased the disobedience of our forefathers in the Garden of Eden and ushered in the advent of our salvation. Our holy father John Chrysostom remarks, "An angel speaks with a virgin, because a woman
spoke to a serpent."

Saint Gregory the Wonderworker proclaims: "But in the holy Virgin alone is the fall of that (first mother) repaired" (First Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary). It is in her obedience to the will of God that the age of salvation is announced and proclaimed to all the world. Holy obedience to the will of God is a foretaste of the promise of the blessed life of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Diocese of Miami and the Southeast Winter Retreat

DMC DOMSE Winter Retreat 2018 Committee MembersDMC DOMSE Winter Retreat 2018 Committee Members















In an effort to continually improve, the DMC DOMSE Winter Retreat Committee wanted to get your feedback about the event that was held on January 25 - 28 @ St. Elias Orthodox Church (Atlanta, GA). Survey will be open from March 15–April 15, 2018. 

Please access the survey here:

The Diocese of Miami and the Southeast has had a year of change. In Ecclesiastes we are reminded that there is “[a] time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” In 2017 our diocese experienced this verse firsthand: we said a heartfelt goodbye to our beloved Sayedna ANTOUN, our first diocesan bishop – for many of us the only bishop we’ve ever known; we also ushered in a new era by welcoming Sayedna NICHOLAS back to the southeast as our new diocesan bishop. As with all changes, this transition has been seasoned with both tears and joy.

Our first mission as a diocese with our new bishop was to craft a Winter Delegates Meeting, so our work began.

20th Annual Midwest Diocese Basketball Tournament is a Slam Dunk

On January 19-21, 2018, St. George Church of Canton, Ohio hosted the 20th Annual Midwest Diocese Basketball Tournament. Twenty years ago, Canton's Teen SOYO initiated this tournament and it has grown over the years to become a mini-convention drawing youth from around the diocese. His Grace Bishop ANTHONY presided over the weekend, ordaining Deacon Anthony Westerman of Louisville, KY during Sunday's Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Bishop ANTHONY also presented the Archdiocese Meritorious Service Award to Mrs. Sadie Kannam of Canton on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH.

Deacon Anthony presented a retreat on Friday evening titled "The Armor of God," tying in his own personal experience as a U.S. Marine who is now looking forward to become a future chaplain in the U.S. Navy. On Saturday, basketball games were held among three divisions with much excitement amid cheers and encouragement. Following Great Vespers on Saturday evening, Canton SOYO President Mareena Michael welcomed everyone to the Awards Banquet and Hafli that topped off a beautiful day of great sportsmanship and fellowship.

Gleanings From a Book: Everything Tells Us About God by Katherine Bolger Hyde

From the first glance, this beautiful book invites engagement. The cover sets the tone for the book: it creates an expectation for beauty, variety, and a joyful reveling in God’s generosity with His people. When the reader opens the book, the end paper catches their eye. It is a golden, nearly-completed puzzle. But why is that one piece missing? And what does this have to do with the title? Without reading a word, the reader is already curious and determined to know more!

The book begins by telling the reader that the world is like a giant puzzle. God made this puzzle to tell us about Himself. He designed each piece - each part of the world - to help us learn some of His secrets. When we really look at the pieces, we can learn about Him through them!

March 2018 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Call to Great Lent: a call home to Him and His wisdom 

As we enter the heart of the Great Lent, the faithful of the Church are called to the remembrance of the Old Testament words, works, and teachings. They are of extreme importance if we seek to grow in our understanding of the Word Who became Incarnate. For He is the "I AM, the I AM" revealed to Moses in Exodus 3 – the divine Person named Jesus and called the Christ.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

Women's Month Message from NAB President Dianne O'Regan

Greetings from the Antiochian Women, and Welcome to Antiochian Women Month!

The North American Board (“NAB”) of the Antiochian Women has an exciting array of information to share with you, both on the newly rolled-out Archdiocesan website and in your individual churches. 

Check out our webpage with just a few of our activities:

  • •Materials for our 2018 NAB Project, “Strengthening the Ministries of our Church – Vocations,” including a letter from His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, our Project poster (in various sizes/formats), and a message to be read by a woman to your congregation.
  • •The NAB Scholarship Coordinator’s Cover Letter and Grant Application.

FOCUS on Love: Feeding Hungry Children

January 23, 2018

Dear Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is in our midst!

I am writing to update you on the Antiochian Women's Common "Act of Mercy" for 2018.
Since last year's Act of Mercy was such a great success, we will continue our partnership with FOCUS North America once again. As a reminder, our Act of Mercy is entitled, "FOCUS ON LOVE, Feeding Hungry Children," which provides food for undernourished children in the United States. FOCUS has created a link as well as additional information to help with its efforts. There is a direct link for the Antiochian Women on the FOCUS website. There, you will find an informational video about where our efforts are going and the children we are helping.

I have also attached a pamphlet on how FOCUS serves impoverished children; a small, printable postcard about the Act of Mercy; and, lastly, a page with instructions on how to make a donation. Donations may be made online at the link provided above or via a check mailed directly to FOCUS. Local chapters are also encouraged to hold a fundraiser to promote our Act of Mercy. I would also ask each Diocesan Humanitarian Coordinator to compile a report of the contributions from each church in her respective Diocese, and forward it to me no later than June 30 so that we may present the final figures at our NAB Summer Meeting.

I would respectfully ask that you distribute this information to all of your local chapters as soon as possible.

Summer Program for Young Orthodox Scholars

St. Basil Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture at Eastern University invites juniors and seniors in high school to apply for The Summer Program for Young Orthodox Scholars (SPYOS). SPYOS provides promising high school and transfer students the opportunity to earn college credit while challenging themselves intellectually and spiritually. Program dates are July 6-14, 2018. For more information or to apply visit the website.

Confronting Dragons: Christian Hope in Tolkien and Fantasy Literature

J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth appears at once breathtakingly beautiful yet violently marred. The sublime emerges from Tolkien’s world having been created by a beauty-loving God; the scar from the rebellion of the angelic ranks against God. This rebellion is played out among the peoples of Middle-earth—Elves, Dwarves, and Men—who languish in a twilight world enduring, in Tolkien’s words, “a long defeat.” Despite this, Tolkien did not create a world destined for a tragic end, but rather one filled with hope. Christians likewise confront dragons in many forms and at many turns. What do the elves, dwarves, and men and women of Middle-earth teach us about the life of faith and virtue? How can we as Christians profit from reading fantastic and mythic literature? And should Christians mimic Tolkien by creating their own worlds that are both unreal but also thoroughly Christian? These questions (and many more) will be the focus of "Confronting Dragons: Christian Hope in Tolkien and Fantasy Literature.”

St. Paul Church Welcomes Bishop NICHOLAS to Naples

By Fr. Paul Girgis and Dr. Elias Hebeka

During the weekend of February 10, 2018, the St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church community in Naples, FL was infused with a tremendous energy through the visitation of their shepherd in Christ, His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS. This episcopal visit was Sayidna’s first to St. Paul as Diocesan Bishop, making it a fitting time to officially welcome him, while commemorating the founding of our lovely parish twenty-one years ago.

On Saturday, immediately upon his arrival, Sayidna spent several hours meeting with parishioners, our Antiochian Women, and the Parish council. The St. Paul community then gathered for a prayerful Great Vespers service and closed the day with a very enjoyable dinner together. Launches New Design, Mobile-Friendly Resources

Beloved clergy and faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese:

Greetings in the Name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. We pray this letter finds you well at the start of our Lenten journey. Wednesday, February 28, 2018 will mark a new beginning, a relaunch, for the Archdiocesan website: It will have a much cleaner look and feel, and it is now friendlier for mobile devices for faster access to its wealth of materials, news and resources.

Without doubt, the most-accessed resource on the website is the Online Liturgical Guide, which provides weekly – and sometimes daily – word-for-word texts for the divine services, along with imbedded hyperlinks to corresponding sheet music. The OLG is now part of something bigger and better: a liturgical calendar that also features daily readings and listings of saints, as well as fasting guidelines and the popular spiritual “Thought for the Day” from the Church Fathers and our own Metropolitan JOSEPH. The Daily Liturgical Texts of the OLG now appear, as available, on the liturgical calendar. Accessing all of these resources takes just a few simple steps.

Invitation From The Very Rev. Paul D. O’Callaghan, St. George Cathedral Dean

The St. George Cathedral parish community is celebrating its Centennial in 2018. Although the community had its beginning with the arrival of Orthodox Lebanese to Wichita in 1895, it was 1918 before the community would have a church home. On April 5 of that year, several trustees of the newly forming parish concluded the purchase of a small clapboard church at 218 Handley St. from the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. St. George Church was born!

Throughout this Centennial Year, our community is commemorating the history of our parish and the people who have been a part of it. As we do so, we are not only looking to the past, but to our future – the next 100 years!

The highlight of this auspicious year will be our Centennial Celebration on the weekend of May 5-6. Metropolitan JOSEPH plans to join us, and he and Bishop BASIL will serve the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, May 6. The Celebration will conclude with a festal banquet that evening. Please see the enclosed flyer.

St. George Cathedral belongs not only to its congregation, but to all of us in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. Thus it is our pleasure to invite you to join us for this joyous occasion. Please publicize the event to your congregation; reservation information will be forthcoming. Plan now to celebrate with us!

Archdiocese Policy on Receiving People into the Church

Englewood, NJ • His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH • February 22, 2018

In response to questions that have been raised recently, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH reaffirms the long-standing policy of the Antiochian Archdiocese, which is in accordance with the practice of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, regarding the reception of converts to the Faith. To be clear, Holy Baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity, followed by Holy Chrismation, is the normative means by which one is initiated into the Holy Church. When receiving those coming into Holy Orthodoxy from religious confessions who profess a belief in the Holy Trinity and baptize with water in the Name of Father, and of Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the Church from ancient times has done so through means of Holy Chrismation or a profession of the Faith – depending on the circumstances.

In other words, when baptism is necessary, there is a baptism. When Chrismation is necessary there is a Chrismation. When a profession of the Faith is necessary, there is a profession of the Faith. When questions arise requiring discernment as to how a person is to be received into the Church, a priest must consult with the local bishop.

Metropolitan JOSEPH to Lead Young Adult Pilgrimage

In the summer of 2018, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH will be leading a pilgrimage to Orthodox Thessaloniki, Kosovo, and Serbia. Titled "Spiritual Awakening," the trip is slated for June 14–26, 2018, with a registration deadline of March 15. Traveling through holy lands with a hierarch at the head of the trip often opens "the pearly gates" through unplanned and grace-filled opportunities unique to this type of adventure.

The pilgrimage has been especially created for young adults and professionals aged 21–35. The trip will be limited to 30 people and will include a few clergy. Baptized Orthodox Christians of any jurisdiction may participate, especially those who are interested in exploring Orthodox history, art, architecture, and music, all within the fellowship of the Church. Young adults who enjoy networking with peers abroad and have an interest in humanitarian opportunities will enjoy this life-changing opportunity. Pilgrims will enjoy all that these holy lands have to offer in an intense schedule of touring that will also still leave time for fun. The itinerary includes time for services, prayer, exploration, relaxation, and building bonds with other Orthodox professionals. Register today to receive a detailed itinerary!

Statement Regarding Reception of Converts to the Orthodox Christian Faith

Englewood, NJ • February 20, 2018

In response to numerous unnamed sources spreading confusion over the internet, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH reaffirms the long-standing policy of the Antiochian Archdiocese, which is in accordance with the practice of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, regarding the reception of converts to the Faith. To be clear, Holy Baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity, followed by Holy Chrismation, is the normative means by which one is initiated into the Holy Church. When receiving those coming into Holy Orthodoxy from religious confessions who profess a belief in the Holy Trinity and baptize with water in the Name of Father, and of Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the Church from ancient times has done so through means of Holy Chrismation or a profession of the Faith – depending on the circumstances. When questions arise requiring discernment as to how a person is to be received into the Church, a priest must consult with his local bishop.

His Eminence reaffirmed this practice recently during a clergy seminar for the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, where he has continued to be the local bishop since his election as Metropolitan. In this capacity, His Eminence made clear that he is the point of reference for such questions for the clergy in attendance.

Love and Forgiveness

By Fr. George Shalhoub
Pastor, The Basilica of St. Mary, Livonia, MI

This Sunday marks what we call in our Holy Orthodox Church Cheese Fare Sunday or Forgiveness Sunday, before we enter into our Great Fast. There are a variety of fasts, but our church subscribes fasting from meat and dairy until Easter Sunday.

This week the nation also celebrates the Feast of Love, Valentine’s Day. Everyone wants to be in love, but does nothing about it. This Sunday’s Gospel of St. Matthew, 6:14 states “If you forgive others for their trespasses, our heavenly Father will also forgive yours.” This is a commandment and not a suggestion, because Great Lent is a period of reflection of how we are loved by God and how we should love God in return.

Love has everything to do with forgiveness, with respect, with loyalty, and commitment through times of sadness and happiness. Therefore, this kind of love is more than a feeling. The love of Christ is unconditional and when we love one another in an unconditional fashion, we are emulating Christ. It is easy to be in love when things are good, but the real test is to be loving when you are down and out.

On the Liturgical Year for Teachers: Great Lent

This series of blog posts will offer basic information and resources regarding the liturgical year. It is our hope that Sunday Church School teachers will find this series helpful as they live the liturgical year with their students. The series will follow the church year in sections, as divided in the book The Year of Grace of the Lord: a Scriptural and Liturgical Commentary on the Calendar of the Orthodox Church by a monk of the Eastern Church. May God bless His Church throughout this year!

Great Lent consists of the 40 days leading to Holy Week, which, in turn, immediately precedes Pascha. Since its early days, Great Lent has been observed as a time of penitence, spiritual growth, and illumination. Although it is a time of great spiritual struggle, it is also a time of deep joy for Orthodox Christians, as we prepare our hearts to experience Christ's Passion and Resurrection.

Orthodoxy in the Contemporary World

By Bishop THOMAS (Joseph) and Peter Schweitzer

In the contemporary worldview, nothing is so prized as progress and change. They are so highly regarded that calls for change and progress are even heard within our one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Those who call for progress and change within the Church often demand change for change sake so that the world will be more comfortable with the Church. These demands often include that the Orthodox Church modify or completely abandon the traditional fasting periods, shorten the divine services, and become more "open" and accommodating on moral issues such as marriage, gender identity, and human rights.

These winds of change and progress are undoubtedly a result of contemporary man's embrace of Enlightenment thinking in which man replaces God as the ultimate arbiter of truth and human life. Yet, our Christian Tradition tells us that such notions are fundamentally flawed. The flaws concern two fundamental misconceptions of Sacred Tradition and the ascetical and mystical character of the Christian life.

Western Rite Vicariate Launches Website

The Western Rite Vicariate has gathered many materials to help Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike learn more about the Western Rite in the Orthodox Church. Our Archdiocese has a rich heritage of reaching out to people of all backgrounds and in various ways responding to Christ's command to bring the Gospel to all nations. These materials, which include a documentary film about the Western Rite, blogs, and other resources, are available at The Orthodox West.

Metropolitan JOSEPH Presides Over St. George's 90th Anniversary Celebration

Metropolitan Joseph with St. George ordinands and their familiesMetropolitan Joseph with St. George ordinands and their familiesView the photo album

The faithful of Houston, Texas were blessed to receive His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH during the week of January 24–31, 2018, to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of St. George Orthodox Christian Church.

Deanery clergy welcomed Sayyidna JOSEPH and Deacon John El Massih at the airport. Then on Thursday evening, His Eminence had dinner and spent the evening with the St. George parish council. At the dinner, attendees were blessed to hear Sayyidna's visions and inspired by his words of wisdom. The community was delighted that Archdiocese Vice-Chairman Fawaz El Khoury and CFO Salim Abboud accompanied Sayyidna as well.

Tending The Garden – Family Meditations for Great Lent

A brand new resource is coming out just in time for Great Lent! Author and podcaster Elissa D. Bjeletich and Orthodox Christian Parenting's Kristina Wenger have teamed up to create this blog and podcast.

Find the initial blog post, which includes three creative ideas for a "Lenten Countdown" at the blog site,! Remember to subscribe, so that as Lent begins, you can access daily printable meditations related to the themes of Great Lent. The meditations will also be available as podcasts from Ancient Faith, so your family can read them OR listen!

Share photos of your family's "Lenten Countdown" on Facebook or Instagram, with #tendingthegarden , #orthodoxlent and/or #orthodoxfamily.

May the Lord bless you and your family as you prepare for this wonderful, holy season of Lent!

Bishop NICHOLAS Leads Pilgrimage to Mt. Athos

View the photo album

Yazen Ziad Fakhouri, a second-year seminarian at St. Tikhon's Seminary in South Canaan, PA, joined five other seminarians on a pilgrimage to Mt. Athos led by His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS from December 2017 to January 2018. Yazen's hometown is suburban Detroit, Michigan, and his home parish is St. George Orthodox Church, with The Very Reverend Joseph Antypas. Yazen's report describes this life-changing experience.

Ring finger meets thumb while index, middle, and pinky are elevated in imperfect symmetry. A single hand with fingers positioned to represent the Holy Trinity and the dual natures of Christ move north to south, west to east conferring a millennia old blessing consistent with Holy Tradition. The recipient of this blessing was a stray dog weaving between an interminable sea of people queuing to board a ship to the holiest of mountains.

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