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Bishop Thomas 2017 Entry of the Theotokos Greeting

November 21, 2017
Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics,
and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

May God be with you all!

I greet you on this most joyous occasion, one of the twelve major church feasts numbered among those that affect our salvation. The Most Holy Theotokos' entry into the temple mirrors our own entrance into the heavenly kingdom. As the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna, prepared the holy Virgin, so too we must prepare for our entrance into the Kingdom of God.

Pleading for the Lives of the People of the Middle East: The U.S. Visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X


 

 

 

 


By Subdeacon Peter Samore and Sonia Chala Tower

“The world would assist both Christians and Moslems much better if it spreads the culture of dialogue in our East and wipes away the culture of the sword…” Patriarch John X

Although he brought the love of the Orthodox Church of Antioch from the Middle East to the United States, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East said that he also brought the pain and suffering of the brethren in his native land. From October 21–31, 2017, His Beatitude made several key visits with elected officials and world leaders in Washington, D.C. and New York City to continue pleading for peaceful, diplomatic solutions to end the fruitless, 6.5-year-old war in Syria, the land of the Apostles Paul, Barnabas and Ananias, that has negatively impacted the entire region.

Register Now! 20th Annual Midwest Diocese Basketball Tournament

The 20th Annual Midwest Diocese Basketball Tournament will be held in Canton, Ohio, on January 19–21, 2018. The host is St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, and accommodations are available via the Courtyard by Marriott in Canton, via a group rate of $89.00 per night. View and download the attached PDFs for more details and the required forms.

St. Andrew Orthodox Church – Five Years of Growth

On the weekend of October 15–16, 2017, St. Andrew Church in Lewes, Delaware, welcomed Bishop Thomas for his annual visit.

In addition to inducting six new members into the Order of St Ignatius, His Grace blessed and dedicated the newly-expanded church facility in the name of our beloved Archpriest Boniface Black, founding pastor of St. Andrew’s, who reposed in the Lord in August 2016.

After meeting for five years in rented space, St. Andrew’s moved to its new facility in September, 2012, and immediately began to experience a growth in membership--seniors and young families seeking to strengthen their Orthodox faith through the Church. It soon became clear that the new space would need to be expanded. 

On Orthodox Christian Principles of Child Rearing: Principle #4: Separate Feelings from Behaviors

Note: This series of blog posts will focus on principles important to Orthodox Christians who are raising children. The series will feature a closer look at Dr. Philip Mamalakis’ book, Parenting Toward the Kingdom: Orthodox Christian Principles of Child Rearing. Each week we will take a closer look at one section of the book, which is divided into 6 basic principles of child rearing. Find an overview blog post about the book here. We thank Dr. Mamalakis and Ancient Faith Publishing for giving us permission to share his wisdom with you in this way. Purchase your own copy of his book here.

Principle #4: Separate Feelings from Behaviors

Dr. Mamalakis encourages parents to separate feelings from behaviors in principle 4 of Principle #4: Separate Feelings from Behaviors. This is a very important principle, as demonstrated by the fact that it takes almost one-third of the book to speak to it. He addresses this principle across seven chapters: Take the Side of Feelings, Set Limits to Behaviors, Strategies for Setting Limits, Setting Limits With Your Child, Responding to Pushback, Understanding Consequences, and Giving Consequences.

“I Would Fly Away and Be at Rest:" The Last Public Appearance and Funeral of Bishop Antoun

By Subdeacon Peter Samore

On Friday, November 10, the fortieth day of His Grace Bishop Antoun's repose is commemorated, and on Sunday, November 12, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph asks all parishes to hold Trisagion Services.

“Oh that I had the wings of a dove. I would fly away and be at rest.” (Psalm 54:6)

Although the context of the Psalm is tribulation, it holds a different context for His Grace Bishop Antoun, the longest-serving auxiliary bishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese who left this world on the morning of Monday, October 2, 2017. For, as Metropolitan Joseph remarked in funeral address, Sayidna Antoun did not fly away to leave the rest of us behind, because he never betrayed us. Rather, His Grace took up his new abode at the throne of Almighty God to intercede with Him for us, and reunite the clergy and laity he loved so dearly on the Last Day.

Every bishop of the Archdiocese, along with dozens of clergy and hundreds of faithful, gathered at St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida – Sayidna Antoun’s cathedral in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast – to mourn the loss of a man who served them in so many ways since his arrival to the United States in 1959. (View the memorial page for His Grace Bishop Antoun, and view the photo album of the funeral.)

Becoming Truly Human Endorsements

To help communicate the value of and need for the Becoming Truly Human ministry, we have recorded several endorsements from parishes throughout our Archdiocese who are implementing these tools and resources. Below is an endorsement from Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, PA, and also an endorsement from Fr. Matthew Howell, pastor of St. Herman's Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wasilla, AK.

November 2017 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

The Ever-Virgin Mary and Our Relational Renewal

With the Nativity Fast approaching, we offer our latest booklet: The Ever-Virgin Mary and Our Relational Renewal. It is our meager attempt to bring high honor to Mary – the Mother of Jesus – who chose to participate in His glory and profound love for His children.

With Julianna Schmemann's blessing, this booklet is modeled on articles written by Fr. Alexander Schmemann, with special attention on Mary, the Birth-giver of her Son. We have added insight from our work on the Old Testament translation of the Septuagint.

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

On Orthodox Christian Principles of Child Rearing: Principle #3: Understand Struggles in Terms of Kingdom Values and Virtues

Note: This series of blog posts will focus on principles important to Orthodox Christians who are raising children. The series will feature a closer look at Dr. Philip Mamalakis’ book, Parenting Toward the Kingdom: Orthodox Christian Principles of Child Rearing. Each week we will take a closer look at one section of the book, which is divided into 6 basic principles of child rearing. Read an overview blog post about the book here. We thank Dr. Mamalakis and Ancient Faith Publishing for giving us permission to share his wisdom with you in this way. Purchase your own copy of his book here.

Principle #3: Understand Struggles in Terms of the Values and Virtues of the Kingdom

Dr. Mamalakis' third principle of parenting encourages parents to understand struggles in terms of the values and the virtues of the Kingdom of God. This principle is covered by two chapters in his book Parenting Toward the Kingdom. The chapters encourage parents to name their child's struggle and to separate their own struggle from their child's.

Dr. Mamalakis begins addressing this third principle by reminding the reader that if we are truly parenting toward the kingdom, we need to name our children’s struggles and frame every struggle that they encounter in the context of the kingdom. That is, we must look at each struggle in terms of the values and virtues of the Kingdom of God. Every struggle our children experience is an opportunity to help them learn those values and virtues. God has placed each of us into our family to struggle and learn together about His kingdom: that is what family life is all about.

Report: Annual Fall Meetings for Trustees and The Order of St. Ignatius

View the photo gallery on the Archdiocese Flickr site.

From November 3–5, 2017, the Archdiocese's Board of Trustees and the governing council of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch held their Annual Fall meeting in Ottawa, Ontario.

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, the bishops of the Archdiocese, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Mr. Fawaz Al Khoury, and all other trustees and departments visited Ottawa to hold their meetings, which were hosted by St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral.

The love and generosity of the host community was evident and the attendees left with a beautiful impression about the God-protected parish of St. Elias. During the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday, His Eminence inducted new members into the Order of St. Ignatius and upgraded some members to Metropolitan and Life Members. His Eminence also acknowledged Fr. Ghattas' 40th Anniversary in the Holy Priesthood, an occasion he missed because of synodical obligations overseas, and wished Fr. Ghattas many years of health.

Fall 2017 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Fall 2017 issue of DIAKONIA, the newsletter of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, is now available online. This issue introduces the 2017–2019 North American Board (NAB) Officers and Coordinators. The issue contains:

  • a message from Bishop John, NAB Spiritual Advisor
  • a letter from President Dianne O'Regan
  • information about the Vocations Project
  • an article about St. Macrina

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Announces 2018 Real Break Trip to Albania in Partnership with Orthodox Christian Mission Cen

BROOKLINE, MA — Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official collegiate campus ministry program under the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, is partnering with the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), the official missions agency of the Assembly, to offer students an opportunity to serve in Albania on a new Real Break initiative.

Trip participants will partake in a conference for young adults from throughout Albania, hosted and planned by OCMC missionaries and Albanian youth leaders. They will experience the transformation that Christ brings to the lives of young people who are hungry for a relationship with Him through His Church.

The 2018 Real Break trip to Albania will take part in an event that draws college students and young adults together from throughout Albania to engage them and connect them with the Orthodox Church of Albania and its Youth Office. The Team will also offer outreach at the University of Tirana to bring an awareness of Christianity and the programs of the Church in Albania.

Book by Antiochian Scholar Presented to Patriarch JOHN X

The Very Rev. Fouad Saba, pastor of St. George in Coral Gables, FL, presents a copy of the book to Patriarch JOHN X.The Very Rev. Fouad Saba, pastor of St. George in Coral Gables, FL, presents a copy of the book to Patriarch JOHN X.Recently, His Beatitude JOHN X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, honored his American flock by visiting our nation's capital to raise awareness of the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The cradle of our faith—the land that has sustained our families, communities, and churches for centuries—finds itself trapped in the crossfire of international unrest. In the face of spiritual and cultural despair, His Beatitude, accompanied by His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, took the international podium at the Hudson Institute to stress the permanency of Christians in the Middle East.

It is providential, even as the Patriarch proclaimed his message of hope, that another son of Antioch—one who taught His Beatitude during his studies in the early seventies at the St. John of Damascus Theological Institute in Balamand, Lebanon—released a new book touching on similar themes. In The Rise of Scripture, published by OCABS Press, Fr. Paul Tarazi transports his readers back two millennia, to the people of the same same region, struggling to survive in the face of similar challenges. (Learn more about Fr. Paul's new book.)

The basic point in Scripture, Fr. Paul explains, is reflected in the Bible's lengthy discussion of our liberation from the powers of servitude under Pharaoh: God is our Father and our Shepherd, and under his care we have nothing to fear from our enemies. The hope for our future, Tarazi teaches, is not in the many human powers and civilizations, but in the Scriptural God, who has sustained us in peace since the time of the Apostles, and will forever sustain us through the vicissitudes of human history.

The Future of Orthodox Christianity in Syria and America: Hudson Institute Discussion


On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese, were the guests of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. Video of their 70-minute discussion regarding the future of Orthodox Christianity in Syria and America is now available. The hierarchs addressed questions about the place of Christians and the Antiochian Church in the future of war-torn Syria, the role the Church has played in humanitarian assistance to the millions of people in need, and why Orthodoxy is finding renewed appeal in Western countries.

V. Memories of Metropolitan ANTONY

Reflections Homepage

Before moving on to our first parish, I need to take a little detour. When the Antiochian students first arrived in New York, Metropolitan ANTONY instructed us to go to St. Nicholas Cathedral and meet the venerable Fr. Wakim Dalack. He was married to Archpriest Basil Kherbawy's daughter Alice, and this was a kind of priestly royalty inasmuch as Fr. Basil played a major role in the fledgling diocese, with St. Raphael and later Aftimios Ofiesh his immediate successor. Also, Fr. Basil authored many books in Arabic and English on the history of the United States and on the Orthodox Faith, among so many of his other contributions. Father Dalack and Khouria Alice literally took us in and they loved Lynn. He was a successful businessman before being ordained, and once told us to "get a business first so you do not depend on others for a living." They gifted Lynn with many fine things during this early period.

I must relate an event that made a deep impression. On one Holy Thursday we sauntered over to the Cathedral because the Metropolitan was serving. At the conclusion of the service I went to the altar to receive a blessing from His Eminence, and there was this six foot five archbishop, having confession on his knees before Archimandrite Hannieh Kassab, who was no taller than five feet. (Father Kassab was an eminent canon lawyer and a one-time opponent of the Metropolitan during and after his election. He had translated the ancient texts of the canons and lost them on the train, a precious work gone forever.) On Holy Thursday, there was Sayidna kneeling before him as if he was an altar boy in penance. I left the Holy Place with tears running down my face, seeing this giant of a man humbling himself in such a manner.

​Bishop ANTHONY Keynote Speaker for Reformation Conference at St. Nicholas, Grand Rapids

Christians around the world are​ poised to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation​ on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 It was on that day in the year 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany, beginning what now know as Protestant Christianity.

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, MI ​is ​set to host a conference reflecting on ​this occasion, on Monday, October 30 and Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The gathering is entitled, "That They May be One: A Time of Remembrance & Reflection on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation​.​​"​ While we Orthodox were not involved in the​ Reformation, it has influenced the world we live in to a great extent,​ and we have definite views on the issues that both led to and came out of the Reformation. We are inviting the Christian community in our area to hear our perspectives and to hear theirs. Following opening remarks by host pastor Fr. Michael Nasser, and the mayor of Kentwood (where St. Nicholas is located) Stephen Kepley, His Grace Bishop​ ​ANTHONY will be offering the ​k​eynote ​a​ddress at 7 PM at October 30​. ​We have employed a variety of means to invite the Christian community ​of our area, including a direct mailing to almost 1,000 churches in a three county area.​ The goal of this conference will be to engage in dialogue within our Christian community with a view toward greater interaction and development of respectful relationships.​

Registration Opens for St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference & Parenting Retreat, South

December 30, 2017 update: Registration for the SOUTH St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference & Parenting Retreat is closing on January 5. Harvey didn't stop us, and we hope nothing will stop you! Registration is limited, and we expect to sell out. Register TODAY by going to the Conference website.

2018 SOUTH Conference
January 19–21, 2018
The Saint Constantine School
Houston, Texas

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Philip Mamalakis

Historic Visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X to New York

View the livestream! At 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 29, 2017, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of the Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East celebrated the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, 355 State Street. His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and other hierarchs, clergy, and faithful joined him.

Meeting Your Staff Needs

Staff meetings are an important part of a church school. Regularly coming together as a group of educators to support one another and discuss what is happening within this parish organization is encouraging and helpful for everyone involved. Ideally, one staff meeting is held each quarter, with a training event or enrichment workshop in place of the summer meeting.

As a tool for church school directors (CSDs), the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education (AODCE) has created templates for first, second and third quarter staff meeting agendas. Each church school is unique, with unique features. Meeting agenda templates may need to be tailored to fit your needs.

You will find links to an introductory note for the CSD and to the templates below.

If you are a CSD and would like to be added to our listserv, please send your name, parish and email address to aodce.csdirectors@gmail.com.

Christian Education in the Small Membership Church

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Introduction

Creativity, innovation, inclusivity, improvisation, passion, dedication. These are all building blocks of Christian education within a small membership church. Making up for limited resources such as budget, space, staffing, not to mention only a handful of students on any given Sunday, may seem like an insurmountable challenge, especially if we compare ourselves to larger parishes with full wings dedicated to Christian education, annual Vacation Church Schools, weekly SOYO events, etc. In a book designed for those of us working and serving in the context of a small membership church entitled Christian Education in the Small Membership Church, author and Emeritus Professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary Karen B. Tye presents her insight on “the creative possibilities that reside in the small membership church for doing the vital work of education and formation, of equipping the saints for ministry.” (p. ix, Introduction)

Liturgical Schedule of Livestreamed Services with Patriarch John X: October 21-22, 2017

His Beatitude Patriarch John X will be presiding over Great Vespers and the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy this weekend in the greater Washington, D.C. area, at Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, Maryland. Services will be livestreamed here at Antiochian.org on Saturday, October 21, beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m. Eastern time, and Sunday, October 22, beginning at approximately 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. Join us here to enter into the live services!

The schedule is as follows:

AVAILABLE SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, PATRIARCHAL DIVINE LITURGY | POTOMAC, MD | 9:30 A.M. EST

Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, 10620 River Road, Potomac, MD 20854; (301) 765-3400 
Sunday Orthros is at 9:30 a.m. and Patriarchal Divine Liturgy is at 10:30 a.m., celebrated by His Beatitude Patriarch John X.
Luncheon to follow, in honor of His Beatitude Patriarch John X.

Patriarch John and Metropolitan Joseph to Speak at D.C. Event: "The Future of Orthodox Christianity in Syria and America"

The Orthodox Convent of Our Lady, Seydnaya, Syria (photo: De Agostini/C. Sappa)The Orthodox Convent of Our Lady, Seydnaya, Syria (photo: De Agostini/C. Sappa)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Register for the Event

What place do Christians and the Antiochian Church have in the future of Syria? What role has the Church played in humanitarian assistance to the millions in need? Why is Orthodoxy finding renewed appeal in Western countries? For answers to these and many other questions regarding the future of Orthodox Christianity in Syria and America, Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom will host a conversation with His Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, Metropolitan of All North America and Archbishop of New York. Hudson Senior Fellow Samuel Tadros will moderate the conversation.

​On Orthodox Christian Principles of Child Rearing: Principle #1: Always Parent with the End in Mind

Note: This series of blog posts will focus on principles important to Orthodox Christians who are raising children. The series will feature a closer look at Dr. Philip Mamalakis’ book, Parenting Toward the Kingdom: Orthodox Christian Principles of Child Rearing. Each week we will take a closer look at one section of the book, which is divided into 6 basic principles of child rearing. Find an overview blog post about the book here. We thank Dr. Mamalakis and Ancient Faith Publishing for giving us permission to share his wisdom with you in this way. Purchase your own copy of his book at Ancient Faith.

Principle #1: Always parent with the end in mind.

Dr. Mamalakis encourages us to “Think Long Term” and to consider “How Children Learn” in the first two chapters of “Parenting Toward the Kingdom,” which address the first principle of parenting: “Always parent with the end in mind.” Parenting with the end in mind requires that we think beyond the moment and our short-term goals (ie: for peace and quiet at the dinner table) to what our long-term goals for our children may be (ie: for them to learn to work out their disagreements in a godly manner) and act towards that end. To be able to do so, we need to think first of what type of adults we wish our children to be when they are grown. Dr. Mamalakis suggests that, as Orthodox Christian parents, we think far beyond earthly “success” as a goal for our children, and look instead to what will make our children successful followers of Christ.

New from OCABS Press: The Rise of Scripture, by Fr. Paul Tarazi

The print edition of Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi's The Rise of Scripture is now available: Order Now.

Those who experience the Bible as a living text, understand that Scripture possesses a life and power all its own. Written by human hands, texts become sacred when they resonate with ultimate truths encountered in the direst of human circumstances. Paul Nadim Tarazi's The Rise of Scripture offers a cogent argument for the particulars of how it is the Bible as we have it became Scripture. Avoiding futile speculation over Israelite textual and ethnic origins, Tarazi lays bare the Bible's strategic defense against Hellenistic urban hegemony over the fertile clay and desert environs of western Asia. With the help of biblical Hebrew—a "concocted language," according to Tarazi—scribes wrote and shaped oral and textual materials into a manifesto of cultural resistance in response to the ethnocentric arrogance of the alien occupation. The successful accomplishment of such a defense relied upon a kind of leveling of the playing field, in which the writers of the Bible came to throw all their own false idols into the fire, resulting in the production of the most scathing collective self-examination in human history.

Antiochian Women 2018 Project: "Strengthening the Ministries of our Church--VOCATIONS"

"Vocation" is defined as "a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation; a calling, mission, or purpose." At our 53rd Biennial Convention in Miami, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH told us that "we are here for a purpose, and that purpose is to bring people together to praise God."

As we think of the definition of “vocation” in relation to the Church, we realize that it does not refer just to ordained or monastic vocations, but that there are many people who are doing holy work by dedicating their lives to ministries of various kinds. These ministries are inspired by the Holy Spirit and instituted by our Lord for the well-being of the Church and the salvation of souls. “And Christ, Himself, gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

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.

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