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New Journey to Orthodoxy Website Reaches Inquirers

In May of this year, Greek Orthodox priest Fr. John Peck, with the help of Antiochian priest and American Orthodox Institute Director Fr. Hans Jacobse, launched the outreach website Journey to Orthodoxy. Knowing how difficult the inquirer's search for historic Christianity can be, Fr. John and Fr. Hans also premiered the "Welcome Home" network, which connects web readers in real time to other Orthodox who at one time traveled the same journey of discovery and struggle. In its short existence, the website has already run the gamut of stories; a quick glance at the home page reveals stories from former Amish, Catholic, evangelical, and Episcopalian converts who hail from Tanzania, Illinois, Australia, and points in between. Antiochian.org interviewed Fr. John Peck about the website and its impact.

1. What was the inspiration for your new website, Journey to Orthodoxy?

There is a large gap (several actually) in the outreach and evangelism of the Orthodox Church in the United States, and indeed, around the world.

Antiochian and Greek Houston Parishes Co-Host Dynamic VBS

Susie Sobchak, St. George Orthodox Church Church School Director in Houston, Texas, reports on their successful VBS program:

Fr. Joseph Huneycutt as Joseph the Patriarch, with Alvaro Palencia & Bob MaceyFr. Joseph Huneycutt as Joseph the Patriarch, with Alvaro Palencia & Bob Macey

St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, has been working with Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral to plan Vacation Bible School for the last ten years at least and possibly even longer than that. My first year helping out was when my daughters were four years old and they're fourteen now. Irene Cassis, their religious education director had worked with Gigi Baba, our then youth director (now Kh. Gigi Shadid) in the earlier years. I helped with the preschool grades early on.

About seven years ago, Irene and I started working together as co-directors. It has become a tradition between our two churches. This is a collaborative effort each summer. We take turns hosting between the churches. One year Annunciation picks up all the costs and hosts the program at their facility and the next year St. George hosts it at our church and pays for all the expenses. We pool our volunteers and invite all the Orthodox churches in our greater Houston area to assist and to participate. We even have our children invite their non-Orthodox friends to join us for the week and I'm happy to say we have some 'neighborhood' non-Orthodox that return each summer to attend and even move into leadership roles.

OCMC Uganda Team Sees Record Number of Patients

From ocmc.org:

Northern Uganda had been decimated by war and insurrection for many of the years since its independence from Britain in 1961. Now relatively secure, former residents are beginning to return and their medical needs are tremendous. This June, an Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) Health Care Team was sent to Uganda to address the persistent needs that exist there.

Malaria is a scourge in East Africa and intestinal worms are pandemic. Arriving in Kampala and first working out of Gulu and then moving to Lira, the team treated over 3,800 patients in nine rural clinics. The first day saw a new record for a one day patient count when over 700 people were examined and treated. The Team pharmacy worked until 8:30 pm filling prescriptions by the light of a kerosene lantern.

The team, led by Fr. Joseph Ciarciaglino, utilized two doctors, one nurse practitioner, three RNs, one physical therapist and one health care student to bring medical services to many who had not had any care since last year's OCMC Team treated them. These dedicated Orthodox medical professionals are a credit to themselves and to the Orthodox Church. The love and care with which they served God's children was a visible sign of the Gospel message of love of neighbor.

In addition to over $9,200 worth of medical supplies, the Team brought liturgical books and two sets of vestments for the priests. A set of icons, an icon cross for St. Basil Orthodox Church in Gulu, over 3,000 paper icons and a set of church banners were also gifted by the Team. Financial contributions were made toward a day school and for other needs as they arose.

Greek Orthodox 40th Clergy Laity Congress Adopts Resolutions

Archbishop Demetrios at 2010 Clergy Laity ConferenceArchbishop Demetrios at 2010 Clergy Laity ConferenceThe Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, at their 40th Clergy Laity Conference, adopted six General Resolutions which they have released to the general public here.

The resolutions: call for religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, request the faithful and the government to do all possible to help the people impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf, issue a call to prayer for peace in the world and especially in the regions of Iraq and Afghanistan, request that all Orthodox support the efforts of the Episcopal Assembly, express appreciation for the ministry of Orthodox chaplains, and offer thanks to those who planned and executed the Congress in Atlanta.

Of Airports, Hospitals, and Psalms

by Fr. John Oliver

An airport, a hospital, and the Book of Psalms - what do they have in common?  This occurred to me recently when I found myself inside all three within the span of few days.  

Department of Youth Ministry Forms Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth

Fr. Joseph Purpura and the Department of Youth MInistry have announced a major new initiative to help teens and their families. The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) plans to form groups in each diocese to deal with the risky behaviors that threaten the health and safety of youth. A 2007-2008 Archdiocesan study revealed, for instance, that in the previous year, nearly half of the high school teens and even a quarter of the 13-15 year olds surveyed, had used alcohol.

The seven page action plan explains the approach: "The purpose of the coalition is to help educate pre-teens, teens, young adults and parents towards living healthy Orthodox Christian Lives and enabling our youth to live drug free. We will also include education and other efforts towards delaying the onset of sexual activity in youth with the intent of preparing young people for marriage or monasticism and work to assist parents in this endeavor. We seek to do this work in an Orthodox Christian manner and to develop an Orthodox model to be used by other Orthodox parishes and jurisdictions." 

In some cases, federal funding may be available to help further the efforts of coalitions. To date, four parishes in three dioceses have come forward as coalition hosts. Fr. Joseph hopes to establish a group in each diocese. For more information, email: FrJoseph@orthodoxyouth.com, or read the action plan here.

Conciliar Press Releases New Book, "Bearing the Saint"

Conciliar Press recently released Bearing the Saint, a story by author Matushka Donna Farley. The descriptive text reads: "Edmund is just an ordinary fisherman’s son from the island of Lindisfarne, whose one great talent and joy is running as a messenger for his bishop. But when Viking invaders threaten the holy island and its great treasure, the relics of St. Cuthbert, Edmund’s life changes forever. Along with his whole village, he must accompany their beloved saint on a perilous pilgrimage that will carry him across England, through adventure, heartbreak, miraculous deliverance, and budding love, all the way to manhood."

The paperback book is appropriate for older children, but adults will enjoy Farley's engrossing narrative as well. To order the book, go to the Conciliar Press website.

"The Gift of Transfiguration: Changed Life and Lives:" Ohio Exhibit Features Historic Icons

Iconographer SkolnikIconographer SkolnikSt. Paul the Apostle Church in Dayton, Ohio, is hosting an exhibition of more than ancient and new 100 icons. Located at 4451 Wagner Road, St. Paul will allow viewing of the free exhibition from August 20-22, 2010, 10 AM to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday.

Forty of the icons in the Exhibit are historic, dating from 1650 on, and hailing from Russia, Greece, Ukraine and Ethiopia. Among them are a 17th century Russian miniature iconstasis with more than 20 individual figures, as well as a large 18th century Icon of the Virgin Mary, "The Joy of All Who Sorrow."

Viewers will also be able to see the 36 large new icons that respected Russian-American iconographer Dmitri Shkolnik of San Francisco has recently installed on the walls of St. Paul’s, including icons detailing scenes from the life of Christ, the life of St. Paul, as well saints of the 20th century - including several martyrs from the Midwest who were executed in Russia for their faith during the years of Soviet oppression.

Explains oca.org, "In keeping with the theme, 'The Gift of Transfiguration: Changed Life and Lives', the exhibition also concludes with a number of recent icons by Daryl Cochran, an American iconographer who is currently an inmate at the London Correctional Institute in London, Ohio. 'Daryl became an Orthodox Christian a few years ago while in prison,' explains Fr. Ted Bobosh, rector of the parish. 'A talented artist, Daryl is in the process of becoming a unique iconographer as well.'"

Diocese of Toledo, other Dioceses End PLC Season with a Bang on July 4th

Bishop Mark and Jamie FarrBishop Mark and Jamie FarrFor the Dioceses of Toledo, Ottawa, Charleston and New York, and Los Angeles and Eagle River, the Fourth of July holiday weekend ushered in the long-planned for Parish Life Conferences. With the Creative Festivals, liturgical worship, fellowship, and special speakers as the reward, the faithful of each diocese traveled long distances to convene over the holiday weekend. The Cathedral of St. George in Perrysburg, Ohio hosted the Diocese of Toledo faithful at the Hilton Garden Inn, where the teens participated in a community project, and attendees gained insights through the talks given by the special speaker, St. Vladimir's Seminary professor Dr. Albert Rossi. As an additional treat, M*A*S*H actor Jamie Farr was in Toledo for a golf tournament and he made a special appearance at the Saturday night banquet. He welcomed the faithful to his hometown, and his home parish, and did a short standup comedy routine. Afterwards, many of the PLC attendees enjoyed chatting with him and having their photos taken with him.

Orthodox Gifts Provide Hope and Help in Haiti

Marie and LovelyMarie and Lovely(Port-au-Prince, Haiti) – Marie and her daughter, Lovely, make a 4-hour, round trip journey each day from their home in the Delmas 10 area of Port-au-Prince to reach Foyer d’Amour (“House of Love”), a school for the developmentally disabled operated by the Orthodox Church that Marie calls, “a gift from God.” It is one of only five such schools in a country of 10 million, and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is equipping it with everything it needs – from teacher’s salaries to basic school supplies – to stay open.

As Haitians pass the six-month mark since the earthquake that devastated their country, such support is crucial for children, allowing them to continue their education and regain some normalcy.

On January 12, when the earthquake struck, Foyer d’Amour’s teachers and parents streamed in all night to check on the school. “So many schools had been destroyed, but Foyer d’Amour was special,” says Roseline, a teacher who has been with the school for 10 years. “Here we not only teach students skills they need to survive in society, but we provide a safe place that they do not have anywhere else.”

The school was severely damaged by the quake, so teachers built a temporary facility across the street. One hundred of the school’s 150 students returned when the school reopened in April. The school completely waived the tuition fees and is committed to accepting any student who can benefit from its curriculum.

“My home was destroyed in the earthquake and I live in a tent in my old neighborhood, but Foyer d’Amour gives me motivation and hope,” says Rose, a teacher who instructs students in sewing. Students learn other occupational skills like cooking, and they can join a music band that plays for dignitaries and special events.

Antiochian House of Studies to Host 30th Anniversary Festivities

On Thursday evening, September 2, the Antiochian House of Studies will be kicking off their First Inaugural Alumni Reunion with a banquet and keynote address by His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip. The educational program in applied theology is gratefully celebrating thirty years of offering a unique long-distance forum for all the theological and pastoral education activities of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

Reunion attendees will also be able to participate in a variety of events over the course of the weekend of September 3-5, including liturgical worship, tours, golfing, and fellowship. The weekend keynote speaker will be the renowned sociologist and author Kyriacos C. Markides, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology at the University of Maine, and author of many books including The Mountain of Silence and Gifts of the Desert. 

The Antiochian Village, site of the ongoing House of Studies classes, will host the reunion, and will announce further details on their site soon. For more information or to make reservations, contact them at 724-238-3677,  or email the village at: events@AntiochianVillage.org.

Earliest Illustrated Bible Found In Ethiopian Orthodox Monastery

A page from the Garima GospelsA page from the Garima GospelsThe Orthodox blog Byztex recently posted a UK-based Daily Mail article reporting an amazing discovery. The preservationists of the Ethiopian Heritage Fund have located the earliest known illustrated Bible at the remote Ethiopian Orthodox Garima Monastery, near Adwa in the northern Tigray region at 7,000 feet above sea level. The Garima Gospels are named after a fifth century monk and have survived virtually intact, despite enemy invasions and a fire in the 1930's, thanks to the diligence of the Orthodox monks.

Explains the Daily Mail article, "They were written on goat skin in the early Ethiopian language of Ge'ez.

 There are two volumes which date from the same time, but the second is written in a different hand from the first. Both contain illustrations and the four Gospels.

 Though the texts had been mentioned by the occasional traveller since the 1950s, it had been thought they dated from the 11th century at the earliest."

Read the complete story here

Parish Life Conference Season Ends With A Bang on July 4

Bible Bowl winners with His Grace, Bishop JosephBible Bowl winners with His Grace, Bishop JosephFor the Dioceses of Toledo, Ottawa, Charleston and New York, and Los Angeles and Eagle River, the Fourth of July holiday weekend ushered in the long-planned for Parish Life Conferences. With the Creative Festivals, liturgical worship, fellowship, and special speakers as the reward, the faithful of each diocese traveled long distances to convene over the holiday weekend. In Tucson, Arizona, the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West met at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, thanks to the hard working parishioners of Fr. Philip Nixon's parish, Holy Resurrection. Attendees were also able to sign up for day tours to two sacred Arizona sites, St. Anthony's and St. Paisius' Monasteries.

IOCC Presented with $120,000 at GOA Clergy-Laity Congress

National Philoptochos In AtlantaNational Philoptochos In AtlantaBaltimore, MD — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) received strong support on Tuesday from the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, which presented IOCC with an $80,000 check for its aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and another gift of $40,000 for IOCC projects around the world. The presentation was made at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Clergy-Laity Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. "From wheelchairs distributed to the disabled of Zimbabwe and support to fight the dreaded disease of podoconiosis in Ethiopia, Philoptochos has been one of the strongest partners for IOCC," said IOCC Development Director Daniel G. Christopulos who accepted the gifts on behalf of IOCC. Philoptochos was one of the first Orthodox supporters of IOCC's relief work in Haiti, providing an emergency grant for an airlift of water purification equipment and tents (shown here) for families in the days just after the earthquake. The check presented on Tuesday brings Philoptochos's total aid for Haiti to $100,000.

His Grace Blesses the Opening of the Doors 0f St. John Chrysostom Parish, Ft. Wayne

On the 31st year anniversary of the establishment of St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in Fort Wayne, IN, we were blessed to have Bishop MARK of Toledo with us to open the doors of our new church. This new church was the fulfillment of a commitment that the families of St. John Chrysostom Church made in 1979, when Sub-deacon (now Archimandrite) Michael Evans was sent to help coordinate the people into a Mission of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.

Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the efforts of Sdn. Michael, Fr. Joseph Rahall (then pastor of St. George – Indianapolis), and several founding families, the parish of St. John Chrysostom was opened in a small building purchased from a local Presbyterian church. From the beginning, this building was referred to as our “temporary church." Our parishioners, with their own hands, tore down walls and repaired others; they replaced flooring, and duct work and electrical lines, but the building continued to fall short of the needs of the parish.

New Multimedia Series, "real life," Launched by Jason Barker and AFR

Beginning July 5, Orthodox Christians can access "real life," a series of free multimedia studies from Jason Barker and Ancient Faith Radio. The audio and written series examines the way in which life can be transformed through one's relationship with God and others.

The first study is "Joy," focusing on what joy is and how it can be developed. There will be three new podcasts associated with "real life:" "real life" and "real life for teens," which provide podcast versions of the material covered in the units for each study; and "real life minute," a daily one-minute podcast with advice from a saint or Orthodox teacher on daily life. All of the studies will be available in two versions: one for adults, another for teens. The series is similar in concept to the studies, Worship & You.

Jason Barker creates resources for AFR, the Department of Youth Ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese, OCN and other Orthodox groups. His emphasis is on how we can live and grow as Orthodox Christians in the modern world. Jason has an M.A. in Applied Orthodox Theology from the University of Balamand / Antiochian House of Studies, and a B.A. in Communication from Washington State University.

Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America Observes St. Timon Sunday on July 25, 2010

K. James Kallail, Coordinator of The Hauran Connection, writes, "His Grace Bishop BASIL has designated Sunday, July 25, as St. Timon Sunday. For the third year, we offer our prayers as one community to St. Timon, patron of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, so that he may intercede with Christ our God on behalf of the clergy and people of our sister diocese. We ask that each parish remember Metropolitan Saba, his priests, their families, and all the faithful of the Archdiocese on this day (His Eminence, Metropolitan SABA, Fr. Paul, Fr. Peter, Fr. George, Fr. Peter, Fr. Philip, Fr. George, Fr. Samaan, Fr. Elia, Fr. Timon, Fr. Isaac, Archimandrite Seraphim, and Subdeacon Majd). We also ask that you take this opportunity to raise funds for our sister diocese. Some will hold special fund raisers. Some will take special collections. Some will sell St. Timon icons. Ideas can be found here. On the web site, you also will find many resources to inform your parish about our sister diocese. You can print materials for bulletins, handouts, Sunday School, etc... I encourage you to use these resources to educate and inform your parishioners. For example, you may want to use His Grace's letter about the program to get historical information about the Archdiocese. Certainly, these efforts should not only be once a year, however, a special effort is asked for St. Timon Sunday. I am happy to answer questions or take your comments at kkallail@att.net. ALL FUNDS MUST BE SENT TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

K. James Kallail

502 Creekside Ct

Derby, KS 67037

In Christ, K. James Kallail - Coordinator, The Hauran Connection - DOWAMA Fellowship of St. John the Divine"

Tentative Dates Set for 2011 Episcopal Assembly

His Grace Bishop BASIL, Secretary of the Episcopal Assembly, explained in his July 4 St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood Memo,  "In a letter dated June 28th addressed to the 63 bishops who comprise the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North & Central America, Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and chair of the EA, announced tentative dates for the next meeting of the EA: May 25-27, 2011. Please keep the work of the EA in your prayers!"

St. Katherine, Orthodox Liberal Arts College, Founded in San Diego

In the fall of 2011, a new institution will open its doors to the Orthodox community. St. Katherine College in San Diego, California, will commence the first year of classes, offering an emphasis in Composition, English Language and Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government and History, Economics, Mathematics, and the Sciences. As to affiliation, the website explains that "The College community is independent, but it is closely associated with the Orthodox Christian community." Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dr. Scott Cairns, and Dr. Vladimir Morosan are all listed as faculty, among several other Orthodox academic luminaries.

Recently, Antiochian.org interviewed Vicki Brannock, St. Katherine College's Executive Director for Communications and Recruitment.

1. Tell us about your academic approach.

Of course the academic emphasis is important to us. We are selecting staff that represents the best in Orthodox academia and are working to strike a balance between the well established (Fr. Thomas Hopko, Scott Cairns) visiting professors and mid-level and younger faculty that we believe will make significant impact on the future.

A Feast for East and West

by Fr. Patrick Reardon

Saints Peter and Paul: Both the East and the West, from the earliest centuries, have celebrated this double feast day of those two apostles, who are linked in a special way by their both being martyred in the city of Rome.

Taos, NM Reader's Chapel Taking Shape

Claire Brandenburg in Taos, NMClaire Brandenburg in Taos, NMIn the picturesque artist enclave of Taos, New Mexico, dedicated Orthodox Christians have been laboring to begin a new community that will be the foundation for a mission parish. Author and illustrator Claire Brandenburg has been working through the approval process in order to secure a rented Chapel space. Services will begin when the town allows for the Special Use designation and everything is in place. A mature parent community, Holy Trinity of Santa Fe with Fr. John Bethancourt, has offered their support as well, and the fledgling chapel is hoping to become the second Antiochian parish in the state. Antiochian.org recently interviewed Claire Brandenburg.

1. Tell us about how this effort got started.

We are a small group of three with one inquirer, all with big hopes of fishing for like-minded persons in this community. Our bookstore will offer lots of bait...good reading, gift items, cards, coffee and tea. Several of us live at a distance from Taos, as there are many outlying communities in the County, of which Taos is the hub. The group is mature in years and have felt that the need for a Church in Taos has become more pressing.

2. How are your plans shaping up, and have you been able to hold services yet?

I am planting a sign this morning in front of our "business" indicating that a process establishing "Special Use" for a Chapel has begun. Our first meeting with the Town of Taos begins on July 7th. It is followed by another meeting in August. If we are approved at those meetings we will then need to make changes in the building for ADA compliance. These changes are relatively simple, though checkbook stretchers. We anticipate that our services will start in mid-August or possibly at the beginning of the Orthodox New Year in September.

Festschrift, Banquet and Booklet Planned for the Very Rev Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi

The “Bible in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions” unit of the Society of Biblical Literature, is excited to announce that it will be honoring the Very Rev. Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi on Saturday October 23, 2010 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his academic career. The festivities, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop PHILIP, will begin with a Festschrift (academic conference) on Saturday October 23, 2010 at the conference hall of St. George Antiochian Church in Little Falls, New Jersey, from 9am – 4pm. Lecturers have been invited from all over the world to present papers on subjects dear to Fr. Paul’s heart. The conference is free of charge and is open to the public, but an RSVP to attend is encouraged. The Festschrift presentations will be compiled into a special volume for publication following the conference. For more information, please click here.

To submit a few lines to the booklet or reserve a banquet seat, email: tarazifestschrift@orthodox.com, or write: Fr. Paul Tarazi Festschrift, c/o OCABS

P.O.Box 2902

Danbury, CT 06813

The Chairman of the Festschrift Committee, Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian PhD, can be emailed at vartabed@stnersess.edu.

 

 

 

"Flip Flops For Haiti" Project Exceeding Expectations

(From the June 2010 WORD magazine

By Camille Patrick

“Flip-Flops for Haiti”? That’s a popular phrase at St. Matthew’s of North Royalton and all around Cleveland, since one of our parishioners, Josephine Katzbach, ventured on a four-day trip to Haiti in early March with a friend of hers, to help build a clinic for the mountain people.

The ladies made the trip to work with a nun and a priest affiliated with a church in Chicago called Fraternité Notre Dame. Josie returned from Haiti with an ambitious goal of raising 2,000 flip-flops for the 1,500 or so impoverished inhabitants who live around a primitive camp at the top of a mountain near Port-au-Prince. She and her friend plan to return sometime in July to distribute the flip-flops to the people there.

Memory Eternal! +V. Rev. Michael Harper, 1931-2010

V. Rev. Michael HarperV. Rev. Michael HarperThe Christian world lost one of its most dedicated statesmen earlier this year. The V. Rev. Fr. Michael Harper departed this life on January 6, 2010, at age 78, in Cambridge, outside of London, England. He was an archpriest under the Patriarchate of Antioch. 

Fr. Harper was baptized into Christ in the Church of England, and served for 40 years as a celebrated Anglican priest, emerging as an international leader of the spiritual renewal movement in that communion. Converting to the Orthodox Christian Faith in 1995, he carefully maintained his Christian friendships within the Anglican Church.

At the recommendation of Metropolitan PHILIP, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV personally guided Fr. Michael and his wife, Jeanne, through the transition into the Orthodox Church, appointing him to lead the Antiochian deanery in the British Isles. He left behind twenty convert parishes there as well as a ground-breaking Orthodox Studies program at prestigious Cambridge University, his alma mater.

Significantly, Fr. Michael established the first-ever all-English Orthodox parish in London. He was one of the most authentic and deeply committed Christian men I have ever known.

May his memory be eternal!

- Fr. Peter E. Gillquist

Deacon Ignatius Warren to be Ordained to the Holy Priesthood

Deacon Ignatius WarrenDeacon Ignatius WarrenAXIOS! Deacon Ignatius Warren, a DOWAMA vocation and son of St George Cathedral/Wichita, KS who will graduate from St Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, NY in 2011, will be ordained to the holy priesthood this Sunday, June 27th at St George Cathedral in Wichita, KS. He and his wife Shamassy Misha Christina may be contacted at jeff14700@gmail.com.

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