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Seeking Your Prayers for Taybeh Oktoberfest

by Maria C. Khoury, Ed.D.

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

We are in deep need of your prayers for God's will this weekend in our village. We pray and hope to pass this unique event peacefully and with God's blessings. For those connected with media, you are welcome to reprint, post or use our news in anyway to spread awareness of our existence. We have found a very strange thing to do in expressing non-violent action and peaceful resistance. Please pray for us that we might do things pleasing to the Lord because surely making the first micro-brewed beer on this side of the wall in a 99 percent Muslim population definitely has its sense of humor. Cheers from Taybeh for a lovely weekend to you too wherever you are and that might be in God's Heavenly Kingdom like our most dearest schoolmate Fr. Matthew Gilbert; memory eternal, may the Lord rest his soul in peace. We feel a great loss but always keep our hope in Christ.

Saints of Recent Decades: An Introduction

In our forthcoming blog posts, we will be focusing our attention on saints who have lived in recent decades. (We will use the term "recent" somewhat loosely, as some of them lived more than a hundred years ago, which most children consider to be very, very old.) Our intent is to provide a resource for you that can be used to introduce your Sunday Church School students to saints who they can see in icons but also (at least in most cases) in actual photographs as well. Seeing the photos can help the children to better grasp the reality of the saints' existence, that they are real people who actually lived and struggled just like we do to live an Orthodox Christian life. It is our goal that along the way, all of us will "meet" new friends as we learn about these saints who have walked the earth more recently.

Exploring Bedtime Routines and Other Rituals: An Introduction

This fall we will be focusing our attention on bedtime routines and other rituals. Over the summer we posted a survey that many of you took time to answer for us. Those answers will be a significant portion of some of these posts. The first question on the survey invited respondents to rate the importance of a bedtime routine in their family, on a scale of 1 (having no routine at all) to 10 (using the same routine every night). An overwhelming majority (more than 82%) rated routine at bedtime as having an importance level of 7 or higher. We were curious to see if the general public, beyond our Orthodox Christian Parenting community, considers a regular bedtime as truly important or not. We also wondered whether or not it is important to do the same sequence of events in preparing for bedtime every night. We did a little research, and here is what we found:

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + September 21, 2016

II Corinthians 13:3-13
Mark 4:35-41

II Corinthians 13:3-13 (NKJV)
Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete. Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction. Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

September 21, 2016 + Sonlike Love for God

by St. John of Kronstadt

To what end do fasting and penitence lead? For what purpose is this trouble taken? They lead to the cleansing of the soul from sins, to peace of heart, to union with God; they fill us with devotion and sonship, and give us boldness before God. There are, indeed, very important reasons for fasting and for confession from the whole heart. There shall be an inestimable reward given for conscientious labour. Have many of us the feeling of sonlike love to God? Dare many of us, without condemnation and with boldness call upon the Father in Heaven and say: "Our Father!".... Is there not, on the contrary, no such sonlike voice to be heard in our hearts, which are deadened by the vanities of this world and attachments to its objects and pleasures? Is not our Heavenly Father far from our hearts? Is it not rather an avenging God that we should represent to ourselves, we who have withdrawn ourselves from Him into a far-away land? Yes, by our sins all of us are worthy of His righteous anger and punishment, and it is wonderful how long-suffering and forbearing He is to us--that He does not strike us like the barren fig trees. Let us hasten to propitiate Him by repentance and tears. Let us enter into ourselves; let us consider our unclean hearts in all strictness, and when we see what a multitude of impurities are keeping them from the reach of Divine grace, we shall ourselves acknowledge that we are spiritually dead.

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + September 14, 2016

II Corinthians 9:12-10:7
Mark 3:20-27

II Corinthians 9:12-10:7 (NKJV)
For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ's, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ's, even so we are Christ's.

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + September 7, 2016

II Corinthians 6:11-16
Mark 1:23-28

II Corinthians 6:11-16 (NKJV)
"O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

2017 Creative Festivals Material Now Available

The Department of Christian Education has published resources for the 2017 Creative Festivals. Creative Festival categories include Art, Creative Writing, Poetry, Photography and Media.

Several items are available for download to assist you as you introduce the theme, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." (Mark 11:17)

Lesson Plans: The plans are designed for one (or two) 40-minute classes, and written at four levels: Preschool and Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, 4-6, Middle School and High School. More than enough material is offered, choose what will work for your class.

September 14, 2016 + On Silence and the Priesthood

by St. Ambrose of Milan ca. 338-397

Now what ought we to learn before everything else, but to be silent, that we may be able to speak? Lest my voice should condemn me, before that of another acquit me; for it is written: By your words you shall be condemned. Mat. 12:37 What need is there, then, that you should hasten to undergo the danger of condemnation by speaking, when you can be more safe by keeping silent? How many have I seen to fall into sin by speaking, but scarcely one by keeping silent; and so it is more difficult to know how to keep silent than how to speak. I know that most persons speak because they do not know how to keep silent. It is seldom that any one is silent even when speaking profits him nothing. He is wise, then, who knows how to keep silent. Lastly, the Wisdom of God said: The Lord has given to me the tongue of learning, that I should know when it is good to speak. Justly, then, is he wise who has received of the Lord to know when he ought to speak. 

September 7, 2016 + On the Priestly Office

by St. John Chrysostom

The priestly office is indeed discharged on earth, but it ranks among heavenly ordinances; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels. Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers. Fearful, indeed, and of most awful import, were the things which were used before the dispensation of grace, as the bells, the pomegranates, the stones on the breastplate and on the ephod, the girdle, the mitre, the long robe, the plate of gold, the holy of holies, the deep silence within. But if anyone should examine the things which belong to the dispensation of grace, he will find that, small as they are, yet are they fearful and full of awe, and that what was spoken concerning the law is true in this case also, that what has been made glourious has no glory in this respect by reason of the glory which excels (2 Corinthians 3:10).

2016 Feastday Vigil at St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery, Glenville, PA

Celebrate the feast of St. Thekla at her monastery in Glenville, Pennsylvania, on 23-24 September, 2016!

Friday, 23 September 2016
6:30 pm - 9th Hour
6:40 pm - Vespers with Litya & Artoklasia...
7:40 pm - Small Compline with Akathist
8:15 pm - Fellowship & Refreshments

Saturday, 24 September 2016
8:00 am - Nocturnes
8:15 am - Matins
10:00 am - Divine Liturgy
11:30 am - Fellowship Brunch
1:00 pm - St Thekla Supplication Service

Please, let me know if you are coming so we have enough food. Please, email or call for further info. Also, in preparation for our Feast Day Celebration on 23-24 September, if you're available, come help clean, cut, fix, cook and generally prepare on both Saturdays of September 10 and 17 anytime between 9 am til 3 pm. If here around noontime, please bring something to eat. If able, bring brooms, cloths, buckets, cleaners, gloves, weed trimmers, axes for splitting logs, creativity, muscles and enthusiasm.

May our Lord Bless you,

Fr. Mark Sahady, Convent Chaplain
724-557-5311
FatherMarkSahady@yahoo.com

September 2016 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Please remember our prisoner-students. Let them know we care. They grow with us, but we need your special donation to help them. (Mat. 25:34-40)

Photoni - Gospel of John 4: 11 - 14
New Testament Servant of the One Who is the Living Water

Our summer letters focused on the fine qualities of just a few excellent women, whose living faith in the "I AM" of the Old Testament, was exemplary. As we begin the new calendar Church Year, let us give careful consideration to another fine women. This one is of the New Testament, St. Photini, the Samaritan woman at the well.

In particular, let's review John 4:10-14. Here we gain some additional insight into the waters of Creation, the waters of Baptism, the water from the side of Jesus on the Cross, and the water that became the good wine at the Marriage Feast.

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

Antiochian Archdiocese Mourns Mr. Khalid Jabara

The Antiochian Archdiocese continues to mourn the murder of Mr. Khalid Jabara, a faithful parishioner of St. Antony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma. News coverage of his passing has been extensive. In his letter to the Jabara family, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph said: “We live in a material world that is encouraged to commit evil all the time. ‘Sin no more!’ are the words of Christ’s warning that should be the principle, founding motto, of our human existence.”

Sayidna Joseph has asked the clergy and laity to remember Mr. Jabara in their prayers for the departed for his eternal life, and to remember his loved ones in their prayers for the living, especially within the first 40 days of his falling asleep in the Lord. May God receive Mr. Jabara in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + August 31, 2016

II Corinthians 3:4-11
Matthew 23:29-39

II Corinthians 3:4-11 (NKJV)
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

Recent Ordinations, Appointments, Retirements and Assignments + September 2016

From the September 2016 issue of The Word:

Ordained

ABOUID, Deacon Joseph, to the holy priesthood by Bishop Anthony on June 12, 2016, at St. George Church in Cicero, Illinois.

HAZAR, Deacon Joseph, to the holy priesthood by Bishop Anthony on the Ascension of Our Lord, June 9, 2016, at St. George Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

JACOBS, Deacon David, to the holy priesthood by Bishop Thomas on June 26, 2016, at St. Mary Church, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

MARX, Archdeacon Meletios, to the holy priesthood by Bishop Basil on May 29, 2016, at St. Joseph Church in Houston, Texas. He is assigned as the second priest at that parish.

Elevated

MAKOUL, Priest Joshua, to the dignity of Archpriest by Bishop Thomas on July 17, 2016, at St. George Cathedral, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

RETIRED

TRENT, Deacon Samuel, of Christ the Savior Mission, Jacksonville, Texas. He remains attached to that Church.

RETURNED TO THE LAITY

DAOUD, Theodoros, formerly Priest at St. Mary Church,
Hunt Valley, Maryland.

ASSIGNMENTS

BARBERG, Priest Raphael, Assistant Pastor of St. Elijah Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, effective July 1, 2016.

FINO, Priest Nabil, Pastor of St. James Church, Loveland, Ohio, effective July 1, 2016.

HOULI, Priest Amin, Pastor St. George Church, Vicksburg, Mississippi, effective July 1, 2016.

JACOBS, Priest David, Pastor of St. James the Apostle Mission, Westminster, Maryland, effective July 1, 2016.

KHAYAT, Archpriest Boulous, Pastor of St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, effective July 1, 2016.

Nurturing Children for Service

by His Grace Bishop John, from The Word Magazine, September 2016

Metropolitan Joseph strolled into the meeting of the North American Board of the Antiochian Women after spending over an hour with the archdiocese teen leadership. With what at least one of our women described as "a heavy heart," Metropolitan Joseph shared with the women that the Archdiocese will need more clergy to serve when our aging clergy retire, and we need monastics, people to build and maintain homes for the aged, people to take care of the unborn and their mothers, Christian educators for the young, as well as people to do all kinds of other ministries.

Learning About the Saints: St. Phanourios

(Commemorated on August 27/September 9)

This morning when I checked my plans for what I would be writing about for this blog post, I immediately got goosebumps. Months ago I had planned that today I would write about St. Phanourios, but I had forgotten that plan until I was ready to begin. Mind you, St. Phanourios is one of my favorite saints, and I frequently request his prayers for myself and for my family. I am indebted to this saint for his multiple intercessions on our behalf. Time after time, his prayers have worked miracles for us, and we are grateful. But the reason for my goosebumps was because St. Phanourios' prayers just worked a miracle for our family yesterday, so the timing is impeccable. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you about this wonderful saint!

Very little has been passed down about the life of St. Phanourios. Around 1500, a previously-forgotten chapel was unearthed in a building project in Rhodes. All the icons in the chapel were disfigured or crumbling, but one was still intact. In fact, it almost looked freshly-painted, it was in such good shape. It features a young man named as "St. Phanourios," holding a candle-topped cross. Surrounding the central icon are a series of twelve smaller icons depicting the saint's refusal to give up his faith and the tortures that he endured in the process.

Creative Festivals Posters 2017

Download these to a flash drive and take to an office store to print. Each one comes in 8.5 x 11, 8.5 x 14 and 11 x 17 sizes. Change these up every few months to remind the children of the theme.

Logo (Color)

Candles

Children

August 31, 2016 + The Way of a Christian

by St. Herman of Alaska

Without exalting myself to the rank of teacher, nonetheless, fulfilling my duty and obligation as an obedient servant for the benefit of my neighbor, I will speak my mind, founded on the commandments of Holy Scripture, to those who thirst and seek for their eternal heavenly homeland.

A true Christian is made by faith and love toward Christ. Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity, according to the word of the Saviour Himself. He deigned to say: not the rigteous have I come to call, but sinners to salvation; there is more joy in heaven over one who repents then over ninety righteous ones. Likewise concerning the sinful woman who touched His feet, He deigned to say to the the Pharisee Simon: to one who has love, a great debt is forgiven, but from one who has no love, even a small debt will be demanded. From these judgements a Christian should bring himself to hope and joy, and not in the least accept an inflicted despair. Here one needs the shield of faith.

August 24, 2016 + On the Two Characteristics of Love

by St. Cosmas of Aitolia

If you wish to be saved, seek no other thing here in this world as much as love.

Know my brethren that love has two characteristics, two gifts. One of them is to strengthen man in what is good and the other is to weaken him in what is evil. I have a loaf of bread to eat; you do not have. Love tells me: Do not eat it alone, give some to your brethren and you eat the rest. I have clothes; love tells me: Give one garment to your brother and you wear the other one. I open my mouth to accuse you, to tell you lies, to decieve you; but at once I remember love and it deadens my mouth, and does not allow me to tell you lies. I stretch out my hands to take what belongs to you, your money, all your possessions. Love does not allow me to take them. Do you see, my brethren, what gifts love has?

August 17, 2016 + Committing Ourselves to the Lord's Will

by St. Silouan the Athonite

Father Lazarus, who had been a captain in the army, used to tell the story of how a certain peasant went to fetch wood for the furnace. Exhausted by his labors, he lay down to rest under a giant oak-tree, and looking up at the branches of the oak and seeing the masses of fat acorns growing on them, thought to himself, '"It would have been better had pumpkins grown on the oak-tree." With this thought he shut his eyes, and suddenly an acorn fell and hit him hard on the lip. Whereupon the peasant said, "I was wrong: God is smarter than I am, and did well to make acorns and not pumpkins grow on oak-trees. If that had been a pumpkin, it could have killed me with its weight!"

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + August 10, 2016

I Corinthians 10:12-22
Matthew 16:20-24

I Corinthians 10:12-22 (NKJV)
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

Summer 2016 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Summer 2016 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast. The issue contains:

  • A message from President Dawn Evancho
  • For All The Saints by V. Rev. Stephen Rogers
  • Profiles of diocesan officers
  • Chapter reports, photos and happenings

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

2017 Creative Arts Festival Lesson Cross-Reference

"My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." (Mark 11:17)

Kindergarten- Together with God

Lesson 2 "God's House" The church is God's house. As God's family, we meet in the church building to worship Him.

Lesson 3 "The Cross" This lesson mentions ways we reverence the cross.

Lesson 4 "Icons" This lesson discusses the importance of icons and how we show reverence for them.

Lesson 5 "The Sanctuary" The sanctuary is the most holy part of the church where the priest offers our prayers and gifts to God.

Lesson 6 "The Priest and His Helpers" Because the priest is a special member of God's family, we need to treat him with respect.

Lesson 7 "We Pray to God" While we can pray anywhere, the teacher can emphasize that the church is a holy place to pray.

Lesson 14 "The Divine Liturgy" Every Sunday we have a special service in which we give thanks to God.

Lesson 15 "The Church Prays" We pray for everyone and everything during the Divine Liturgy.

Lesson 16 "We Receive Holy Communion" Holy Communion is like being invited to a great banquet in God's house.

Lesson 24 "Jesus Comes to Jerusalem" Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem took place right before He cleansed the Temple. Palm Sunday is an event with which the children may be familiar, so the teacher can make this connection.

Grade 1- God Loves Us

There are no specific lessons that relate to the theme.

Grade 2- New Life in Jesus

Lessons 13-18 enable the students to recognize the various parts of the Divine Liturgy.

Grade 3- New Life in the Church

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