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Bishop NICHOLAS Visits St. Nicholas in St. Petersburg

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On December 6, 2018, His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS, visited St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in St. Petersburg, FL to celebrate our patronal feast, St. Nicholas Feast Day. As part of his desire to get to know the parishes in his Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, he met individually with the Parish Council, the Men’s Group, the Ladies Society, the Teens, the Young Adults, and the Sunday School teachers and children.

For each group and organization, he challenged us to acquire the attributes of God: patience, humility, love, kindness, and compassion for others, through daily prayer and attending worship services. He reminded us of Christ’s commandment to love God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves. He was particularly focused on each one of us taking seriously being a part of the body of Christ by getting to know each other better as we travel the path of holiness.

2019 Diocese Lenten Retreat & Youth Day

DOWNLOAD the flyer
Register ONLINE

All are invited to attend the annual Diocese Lenten Retreat & Youth Day on Saturday, March 30, 2019, sponsored by the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Worcester & New England. We are very excited to welcome back His Grace Bishop Anthony from the Diocese of Toledo & the Midwest as the Keynote Speaker for 2019 who will be speaking on the topic "Seeing the Target, but Missing the Mark: Sin, Sanity, & Sanctity."

The schedule is as follows:

9:00 am - Divine Liturgy
10:15 am - Registration & Continental Breakfast
10:45 am - Session 1 with Bishop Anthony
12:15 pm - Lunch
1:15 pm - Session 2 and Q&A with Bishop Anthony
Concludes with Great Vespers
Adults are $20, teens and children are free.

Activities will be offered for children ages 2.9-12 during the times that Bishop Anthony is speaking to the adults and teens.

Please register in advance either using the attached form no later than March 15, 2019, or register online no later than March 23, 2019.

NAB Presents Book Selection for 2019

DOWNLOAD the study questions by clicking on the book cover (left) or by clicking here.

With the blessing of His Grace Bishop JOHN, the Spiritual Advisor for the North American Board of the Antiochian Women, we are blessed to present our current Book Selection, The Sweetness of Grace, by Constantina R. Palmer. Each Antiochian Women’s chapter should have received these materials from Kh. Dannie Moore, NAB Religious Coordinator, or their diocesan representative.

The Sweetness of Grace is a collection of stories derived from conversations with Orthodox nuns, monks, and laypeople, along with experiences of Orthodox life in South Korea, Greece, and North America. Those who enjoyed the book Everyday Saints will enjoy these similar stories from other parts of the Orthodox world. The book includes conversations with monastics, priests and laypeople and stories of the sweet and difficult aspects of Christian life. The stories span three continents, including experiences in South Korea, Greece, and North America (via

Order a paperback copy of the book or an ebook, and read a sample chapter.

February 2019 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Who is this One Person—the One Who is I Am?

Who is this One Who Is Supreme in His Being? Is He the One God of Noah? Is this divine Person the One God Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were seeking in Exodus 3? The answer is yes, but Who is He? Is He the same God in Heaven the Jews, returning from Persia, worshipped as their Lord God and Father of Creation – YHWH? Is He the same divine Son of Mary, baptized by John in the River Jordan, near Jericho? Again, yes. But Who is He, what’s His Name, and how are we to know this One Who Is?

(Read more in our February newsletter.)

February 2019 Newsletter (PDF)

February 2019 Coupon (PDF)

St. George Cathedral SOYO Pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. January 19-21, 2019

A group of 37 Teen SOYO members and advisors from St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida boarded a flight early on Saturday, January 19, 2019 to began their pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. While in the nation's capital, participants visited the Antiochian churches in the D.C. and Maryland area, as well as the National, Greek, and OCA cathedrals.

The Teen SOYO group was also blessed to see so many of our nation’s beautiful and historic sites, many of which have religious significance. In addition, many bonds were formed, creating memories which will last forever.  

Read reflections of the trip

Diocese of Worcester Offers "Orthodox Christian Witness Program: Spiritual Pilgrimage"

Fall 2018-Spring 2020

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Worcester & New England

The Orthodox Christian Witness Program: Spiritual Program, is a new program sponsored by the Diocese of Worcester & New England offered to clergy, laity, chaplains, counselors, therapists, physicians, parents, and Christian educators. The program will have 8 units over 4 semesters led by His Grace Bishop JOHN, D. Min.; Archpriest Antony Hughes, M.Div.; Ioana Papa, MD; Richard Robbat, PhD; Sebastien Falardeau, Ph.D candidate.

The purpose of the program and journey is an opportunity for anyone interested to learn, to reflect, and to be transformed through the Orthodox Christian Faith in preparation for various ministries.

Book Review: Lights on the Mountain

Author’s note: Long ago I committed to reading fiction that strengthens my faith instead of dismissing it. I am fine with reading stories of people who struggle with life or with what they believe, as long as they are struggling towards God, not ignoring or shying away from Him. Because of these self-imposed limitations when it comes to reading adult-targeted fiction, I have limited my reading mostly to Christian fiction and classics. Suffice it to say that I have read a fair amount of both over the course of my five decades.

In all of my reading, I have yet to read a book like this one. Lights on the Mountain by Cheryl Anne Tuggle is Christian fiction at its best. The characters are so believable that you expect them to step right out of the book so you can marvel at the sunrise together, or share a cup of tea. Their struggles are real, as is their growth: painfully real, as is our human experience. Their story is carefully and beautifully told. This book is written as though it were already a classic.

Tuggle offers her readers a glimpse into mid-20th-century rural Pennsylvanian life, with its clash of cultures and challenges. Characters include a host of rural-minded Americans, a handful of hippies, a pair of Hungarians, a few Romanian “gypsies”, some Orthodox Christians, and more. (One character has Amish roots, but this is anything but another “Amish Christian Fiction” book: his cultural heritage is far from the focus of the book.) The characters interact with believable honesty, by turns disagreeing and misunderstanding; then accepting and helping each other as would be expected in a rural community such as theirs. (I live in Pennsylvania and married into a rural Pennsylvanian family, so I am familiar with such a community.)

Bishop Thomas Greeting for The Meeting of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ

Download His Grace's letter

February 2, 2019
The Meeting of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ

Beloved in Christ,

Forty days after His birth in the flesh, Christ was presented at the Temple in accordance with the legal prescription of the Mosaic law that required a purification of the child and mother after birth. Yet, this was not a purification in the strict sense since neither Child nor mother were in need of cleansing. And because there in the Temple He was received by persons moved by the Spirit, and especially because Symeon took Him into his arms, this feast is also called a Meeting.

The title "meeting" provides a clue as to the feast's spiritual significance. In one of the canons of the Afterfeast of Theophany it is written, "The forerunner teaches that it is not possible to loose the sandals, the bond between the Word and us, of Him Who delivers mortals from deception."

2019 Midwest Diocesan Spring Gathering is March 1-3












WHAT: 2019 Midwest Diocesan Spring Gathering

WHEN: March 1-3

WHO: All Diocesan Delegates

WHERE: Best Western Plus Airport Inn and Suites

HOSTED BY: St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
                          Flint, MI


Winter 2018-2019 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Winter 2018-2019 issue of DIAKONIA, the newsletter of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, is now available online. This issue features the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, and includes a message from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. His Eminence writes: As we begin 2019, let us reflect on the critical role played by the Theotokos in our both of our "new year" celebrations, we see the honor the Church pays to the Theotokos, and, I believe, to all women through her.

In this issue, Bishop Anthony also reflects:

In our lives as Orthodox Christians following the example of the Apostles, the saints, and all those who passed down the faith to us, we are called always to give thanks.

The issue also contains introductions to the diocesan officers and coordinators, a message from Diocesan President Kh. Jeanette Gallaway and Spiritual Advisor Fr. Joseph Abud, and numerous reports and photographs from the Diocese's parish chapters of Antiochian Women.

Download the PDF​

Learning About a Saint: St. Kendeas (Commemorated Oct. 6/19)

Printable PDF

St. Kendeas, who lived sometime between the 7th and 10th centuries, was born in the Alemanni region (part of today’s Germany). When he was 18, he became a monk in Palestine, near the Jrdan River. He lived there in a cave, spending his days in prayer and fasting. While he was there, a rich man nearby was trying very hard to find a way to heal his possessed child. He spent a lot of his money trying to help his child. When he heard about the monks who lived by the Jordan, he took his child to one of them, named Ananaias. God told the monk Ananaias to send the child to the monk Kendeas. Kendeas prayed, and the child was healed!

After that miracle, Kendeas became known in the area. He was made the Metropolitan of Jerusalem, and served in that role for a while. He missed living as a monastic, though, so a few years later he went back to the cave to live.

St. Mary Church in Pawtucket to host YES Trip Providence, May 10-12

Friday - Sunday, May 10–12, 2019

Open to age 13 through College Students
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church: 249 High St., Pawtucket, RI 02865.

We will meet at 5pm and stay Friday and Saturday nights at the church. The weekend will wrap up following Liturgy on the 10th. A registration gift of $175 per person will cover all trip expenses. Teens can register online.

Registration is limited to the first 30 people who sign up.

Packing List:
DO Bring
Sleeping bag and pillow
Personal toiletries (towel, soap, toothbrush, etc.)
Work clothes (don't mind getting dirty)
Long pants (some sites require/ bring 2 pair)
Closed toe shoes
[Recommended dress: jeans, t-shirt, tennis shoes]
Church clothes for those attending church

DO NOT Bring
Valuable jewelry
Tight fitting clothes


Veteran Educator, Thriving SOYO Department, In-House Curriculum

An Interview with Arlyn Kantz
St. Peter Antiochian Orthodox Church, Fort Worth, TX

Arlyn Kantz journeyed from an evangelical background to Orthodoxy seven years ago. She has taught history and Bible at St. Peter’s Classical school for the past six years and has served as director of Christian Education for the parish for the last three. Before becoming Orthodox, she worked in curriculum development for special populations while raising four children. She and Will, her husband of 25 years, recently handed off the reigns of a thriving SOYO department to capable younger hands.

How many students attend your Sunday school? How is your program organized for Sunday classes and how many teachers are assigned per class?

We have approximately sixty children in our parish, birth to eighteen. Twenty-two attend Sunday School on a regular basis. Sunday School meets after mass for forty-five minutes. Our children are organized into three classes: PreK-1st grade, 2nd-6th grade, and then 7th-12th grade. Our two younger classes do not hold firm to the boundary of age, depending on attendance and maturity and the preference of some children to be with a sibling. We do hold a firm line though on attending SOYO, as teens need a space of their own. We are blessed to have two teachers per level. Sometimes teachers rotate every other Sunday and sometimes they team teach depending on what is going on with their personal schedules and the number of children attending each Sunday.

Diocese Teen SOYO Service Day is February 2

Diocese of Worcester & New England TEEN SOYO SERVICE DAY
Lend a hand and bring a smile to our community!

Our tentative schedule for Saturday, February 2 will be as follows:

12:30 PM - Check in & Registration (Hall)
12:45 PM - Intro & Blanket Making (Hall)
2:00 PM - Lunch (We will probably pick up pizza's)
2:45 PM - Depart for 2nd Service Activity (Acts of Kindness)
4:15 PM - Return to St. George for Debrief
5:00 PM - Vespers
6:00 PM - Pick up

Download flyer

Mid-Winter Meetings to be held in Garden Grove, CA in February

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, the 2019 Mid-Winter Meetings ("Let's Head to the West!"), will be hosted by St. Luke Orthodox Church in Garden Grove, CA, from Friday, February 8, through Sunday, February 10, 2019. The Archdiocese and Diocese officers of the Antiochian Women and Teen SOYO will gather for their annual mid-winter meetings. Important forms and information are available below. Please contact your organization leaders with any questions.

Meeting Schedule and Information
Meeting Registration Form
NAC Teen SOYO Minor Participation Form
NAB President's Letter

Host Location
All meetings and services will be held at St. Luke Orthodox Church. 

Pastoral Letter From His Grace Bishop BASIL

Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

January 7, 2019

To the Chrst-loving Priest, Deacons, Monastics and Lay Folk of the God-protected Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America:

Blessings and greetings on this second day of Theophany — the Synaxis of the Honorable Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist. Happy feast!

I take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt thanks to each of you who sent greetings to me and contributions to our Diocese's "Bishop Basil Missions Endowment Fund" on the occasion of my Name's Day, the Feast of St. Basil the Great which our holy Church keeps on January 1. I am indeed most appreciative of your thoughtful remembrances and generous contributions.

As an update on the "Bishop Basil Missions Endowment Fund," I am happy to report to you that Metropolitan Joseph blessed Archpriest Joseph Longofono of Topeka, KS, a longtime priest of our Diocese, to begin his ministry as DOWAMA's first full-time "Dean of Chapels" effective January 1.

NAB President's Letter

DOWNLOAD the letter

November 18, 2018

Your Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy & Sisters in Christ –

Christ is in our midst!

My initial President’s letter normally goes out in either August or September depending on the amount of information to be conveyed.  You may have thought I had “fallen off the face of the Earth” when I didn’t send out my usual missive, but I have been VERY active “behind the scenes” (which included negotiating a hotel contract for over three months, but more on that later!).  Rather than sending you numerous letters and/or emails alerting you as to what was happening, I thought I’d wrap everything up with a neat little bow and send it all at once!

So, in the words of Willy Wonka, “So much time and so little to do - wait a minute!  Strike that!  Reverse it,” here we go …

The last gathering of the North American Board was held at the Antiochian Village during the weekend of July 20 through 22.  We experienced beautiful weather, a nice turnout of women at our NAB meeting, and got a lot accomplished in a condensed period of time (due to the Archdiocesan Bible Bowl and Oratorical Competition being held that same weekend).  We were also gifted with a spiritual and uplifting message from His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, as well as learning about our newest NAB Project.

Apply to CrossRoad 2019! Summer Program for High School Juniors and Seniors

Calling all Antiochian Youth! Are you an Orthodox Christian high school junior or senior interested in exploring your faith? Apply to the dynamic, life-changing program that is CrossRoad! The application deadline is February 1, 2019.

For more information, visit our website!

10 Days

3 Sessions

2 Locations

1 Amazing Program


2019 Special Olympics Volunteer and Coaching Applications Available

Special Olympics campers and staff at the VillageSpecial Olympics campers and staff at the VillageThe 2019 Special Olympics Sports Camp is scheduled to be held at the Antiochian Village August 9–18, 2019. This ministry is sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO, and is the second longest running program of Special Olympics Pennsylvania, serving over 340 Special Olympics athletes, coaches, and staff each season. It is the premier SOYO outreach program, now in its 38th year of service. Each year SOYO teens raise the funds on Special Olympics Awareness Day.

In addition to the funds raised, SOYO teens provide at least half the coaching staff, and many adult volunteers participate as well. The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, chair of the Department of Youth Ministry, has announced that the 2019 Special Olympic Coaches Application is now available for those youth who are interested in working at the Sports Camp. Additionally, for adults over twenty years of age, the Special Olympics Volunteer Form  is posted as well.

Download Coaches Application

Download Volunteer Form

January 2019 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

His Baptism—Where the Wise and the Foolish are Born Anew

WHO is this divine One Who met John the Baptist at the Jordan River? According to the Gospel of John, He is the Word from the beginning – Who became Incarnate – and is the Son of Man, through Mary’s womb. He is named Jesus, the promised Christ of the Pentateuch– the Anointed Son of His eternal Father. He revealed Himself to Moses to be “I AM, the I AM” (OSB Ex. 3), our deliverer from bondage to false fears and gods. He is the Child, the Son spoken of in Isaiah 9:5 (OSB), Who shall bring His Peace of no end. (Read more in our January newsletter.)

January 2019 Newsletter (PDF)

January 2019 Coupon (PDF)

Bishop THOMAS 2019 Theophany Greeting

Download the PDF

January 2019

Dearly beloved in Christ,

I greet you in anticipation of the great feasts of the Lord Jesus Christ - the Circumcision of our Lord and the Holy Theophany. While the Circumcision is situated eight days after the Nativity and Holy Theophany concludes the festive 12 days of Nativity, both of these feasts are related to each other, and contain within them certain spiritual elements of the great feast of the Lord's Nativity.

The feasts reveal the mysteries of the divine condescension. The Lord Christ, by taking on human flesh, redeemed our nature by assuming it for Himself. The feasts fulfill the law of God as Saint Epiphanios teaches: that the circumcision of the flesh prepared and served man until Baptism, which is the great circumcision of the heart, because through His Baptism we are released from sins and are sealed with the name of God. The sealing with the name of God is a recognition that we belong to Christ.

2018 Nativity Greeting from His Grace Bishop ANTHONY

Download PDF

Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
December 25, 2018

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

المسيح يولد! تمجده!

Christmas is many things, which includes a story of two kings. One is from the world and the other King comes from heaven.

The first king, Herod, was not confident. He thought his power had to be protected. Although he was wealthy, sat on a throne, and looked down on others, he was afraid of everyone. Instead of bringing smiles to people's faces, he brought tears to their eyes. When he heard from the wise men that a baby Boy was born of a Holy Woman in the countryside, a Savior who would serve and save the people, Herod's fear got the best of him and he was in a "furious rage." He looked everywhere to find this newborn King.

Teaching Theophany

by Elissa Bjeletich (used with permission)

This post appeared previously as a Raising Saints podcast episode and was published on Elissa’s blog on 1.2.16.

Whether we celebrate on the Old Calendar or on the New, in our beautiful Orthodox tradition, we follow our 40 day fast with a feast that lasts not just one day, but several days.  We prepare ourselves with the fast, pulling ourselves away from the comforts of rich foods, and showing some self-discipline, so that we can focus not on making ourselves comfortable and full, but on prayer and alms and study.  We prepare our hearts in this way, and then when the feast comes, we multiply our joy with tables loaded with delicious goodies, which are all the more delightful because we haven’t seen them in a while.  Because the Feast of Christ’s Nativity is so important, the feast lasts ten days — and then we return to fasting just in time to gather our wits and prepare ourselves for the great feast of Theophany, the day of Christ’s baptism.  We take a short break from the feasting, and fast for just one day, in order to call our hearts to order and prepare ourselves to receive Theophany.

Bishop BASIL'S Nativity Greeting

The Nativity of Christ, 2018

To the Christ-loving Priests, Deacons, Monastics and Lay Folk of this God-protected Diocese:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss and the joyous festal proclamation:
Christ is born – ولد ألمسيـح
Χριστὸς Γεννᾶται – Христос рождается
Hristos se rodi – Hristos se naşte
May God the All-holy Trinity grant you and your households the happiest of Feasts and a
New Year filled with His abundant and richest blessings.

With assurance of my continued love,
prayers and blessings, I remain
In Christ the Incarnate Word of God,

+Bishop Basil

Bishop Basil's Nativity Greeting (PDF)

Annual DOCMA Clergy Synaxis Features Speaker Fr. Joshua Makoul

From November 6 through 9, 2018, his Grace Bishop THOMAS presided over the annual DOCMA Clergy Synaxis at the Antiochian Village Conference Center. Presbyters from the across the Diocese gathered to share fruitful conversation, pleasant fellowship, and good food.

This year's speaker was the dean of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA, The Very Rev. Joshua Makoul. His topic addressed how to deal with anger in ourselves and anger in the parish family. A Divine Liturgy was celebrated on the feast of the Archangels, and, as always, ample time was given for quiet meditation. The priests left strengthened in their bonds with one another and renewed in their calling to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and his Church.

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