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Metropolitan NIKITAS Leads Convention Guest Speakers

Metropolitan NIKITASMetropolitan NIKITASLearn more about the guest speakers attending the 2009 Convention:

Metropolitan NIKITAS, Convention Guest Speaker

The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch is pleased to be sponsoring the Convention Guest Speaker, His Eminence, Metropolitan NIKITAS, Director of the Patriarch Athenagoras Institute in Berkeley, California. The Patriarch Athenagoras Institute is affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley, and offers a Master of Arts in Orthodox Christian studies. It also sponsors the local OCF, one of the most active college fellowships on the west coast, houses a Rare Book Room and museum, and hosts educational programs and lectures. Metropolitan NIKITAS, who was born in the United States, served as the first Metropolitan of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia (1996-2006) and worked closely with IOCC to provide relief to the victims of the tsunami within his archdiocese in 2004. While possessing sterling academic and ministerial credentials from his years of study and service, the Metropolitan is most well known as a refreshingly candid, engaging speaker. His Eminence Nikitas will address Convention guests on Thursday, July 23 and Friday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Convention Chapel.

Convention Planners Release Information Sheet for Attendees

All those who attend the Archdiocese Convention will be provided with the following Announcements sheet. It is also being made available here for your benefit.


Please be sure that your cell phone and/or pager are turned off or on “vibrate” while in the chapel.

The Convention Registration Counter will be closed during all chapel services.

In order to maintain a prayerful attitude during our services, please afford yourself enough time to enter the chapel before the start of services and plan to be properly attired.  Shorts and tank tops are not appropriate in the chapel.  It is also proper to observe a pre-communion fast before receiving Holy Communion at the Divine Liturgy.  Priests are available to hear Confession at the front of the chapel prior to the beginning of Liturgy, Vespers, and Daily Orthros.

Clergy Wives Weekend 2009: Antiochian Village, Nov. 8-9

Antiochian Village Announces a pan-Orthodox gathering of spiritual refreshment and fellowship in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah.

Kh. Joanne Abdalah served as an inspiration in her life as the wife of a priest and as a counselor to many. She understood the joys and trials of this life, and the need for finding strength in Christ and each other. She believed that every clergy wife needs to discover and develop her own Christian vocation.

In her memory, clergy wives of the Antiochian Archdiocese and greater Pittsburgh area Orthodox churches are planning the inaugural pan-Orthodox Clergy Wives Weekend at the Antiochian Village the weekend of November 7-8, 2009. Mother Christophora of Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Ellwood City) and Matushka Juliana Schmemann will be the speakers, addressing the theme: “How to Be a Clergy Wife and Still Go to Heaven.” The schedule will reflect Joanne’s holy and holistic approach to life – we need to pray; we need to play. We need to enjoy the fellowship for this short time without parish responsibilities, family responsibilities or other cares of this world.

Single Working Moms Survive Hurricane, Realize Dream of Homeownership

IOCC Dateline: New Orleans, Louisiana

Covington, Louisiana - At 43, tan, and muscular, Michelle bounds up a ladder and uses her shoulder to hoist a "truss," a large wooden structure that will secure the roof of a new home. When she ducks as the team below her slides the truss into place, Michelle, a New Orleans native, reminds you of a pioneer woman. In fact, she is one. For the first time in her life, she will own a home, something that this landscape gardener and single mother never thought was possible.

Michelle is working on a Habitat for Humanity home, putting in the 300 hours of sweat equity required towards the acquisition of her own house. Her American dream is about to come true thanks in part to the hundreds of IOCC volunteers who have toiled in the Louisiana sun since 2006 to build new Habitat homes for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. "The idea of owning my own home for personal security, for personal investment, for my two growing sons - plus one that is affordable and that can withstand a Category 5 hurricane is something I never thought possible," says Michelle.

Discovering Original Christianity in Oklahoma City

Fr. Jeremy Davis, Deacon Ezra Ham, Fr. James Bernstein, Matthew Gallatin, John Maddex and Fr. Constantine NasrFr. Jeremy Davis, Deacon Ezra Ham, Fr. James Bernstein, Matthew Gallatin, John Maddex and Fr. Constantine NasrConciliar Media Ministries under the direction of CEO John Maddex coordinated an evangelism project in Oklahoma City June 19 and 20 with funding provided by the Antiochian Archdiocese as well as Charles Ajalat of the Orthodox Vision Foundation. Central Oklahoma was saturated with a four-week media blitz that included newpaper, radio, television, billboards, yard signs, and internet advertising.  The advertising campaign was led by St. Elijah members Richard Yeager, John and Kathi Larson, and Mark Loftis.

Click here to visit the website for the Discover Original Christianity project.

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP Announces the Establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village

It is with great joy that His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP announces the establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at the Antiochian Village.  The Acting Superior of the convent will be Mother Alexandra (Magan), and we welcome her with joy to the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.

Mother Alexandra will take up residency at the Antiochian Village during the first week of July, and will live in temporary housing until such time as the residence building is constructed on the proposed site for the convent, which is on the main property at the Antiochian Village. This will allow her to experience a good part of the camping season, and to interact with our children.

She also has plans to attend the Archdiocese Convention in late July, and to have a presence at the St. Thekla Pilgrimage which will be held at the Antiochian Village in September.

There will soon be a website established for the convent, where all important news and information will be posted.

Click here to read a brief biography of Mother Alexandra.

Dept. of Sacred Music and Launch Improved Library of Liturgical Music

The Dept. of Sacred Music has long maintained one of the most popular sections of this website, a library of hundreds of pieces of official liturgical sheet music for use by our parishes. Now this library has been improved with a new interface for users, and many other changes to the software supporting the catalog. The new design will make it possible in the future for the department to work in collaboration with to add audio tracks to accompany the sheet music, and more.

Currently, the library is highlighting the music for the upcoming Archdiocese Convention.

Click here to visit the Sacred Music Library.

Click here to visit the Department of Sacred Music, chaired by Christopher Holwey.

July 2009 Newsletter: Helping to Prepare the Heart to Receive His Word

Dear Friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Friends of the Academy have been asking about our courses. Are they for priests and deacons? Do they have to be scholarly to grasp and understand the material? The answer to both is no. Our courses are written with the common man in mind; to bring anyone desiring to be nearer to the Lord, a straightforward way to deepen his love for Jesus Christ and His teachings.

See the attached PDF file for this month's full teaching. Launches Section for 2009 Archdiocese Convention

Our 49th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention will take place July 19 to 26, 2009, in Palm Desert, CA. Hosted by St. Michael Church of Van Nuys, the theme of the convention is: "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy Holy Churches, and who remember the poor." 

This important gathering of our faithful from across North America will be reported on via a variety of new media sources. The editors at will be posting daily from the convention, and we have prepared a special section ready for this reporting, where you can also learn about the official website for the convention, other media ministries who will be in Desert Springs, and more.

In particular, we want to note that for the first time the convention planners have made available in advance online the official reports prepared by each department and ministry for delivery at the Convention. To take advantage of this valuable resource, you can download the reports as a single PDF file from the Convention website here.

49th Annual Archdiocese Convention Releases Reports Online

For the first time, planners for the 49th annual Antiochian Convention have released online in advance of the Archdiocese Convention the official reports prepared by each department and ministry for delivery at the Convention. To take advantage of this valuable resource, you can download the reports as a single PDF file from the Convention website here.

Convention to Celebrate His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP's 50th Anniversary to the Priesthood

One of the occasions to be commemorated at this year's convention will be that of Metropolitan PHILIP's anniversary of his elevation to the priesthood. May God grant His Eminence many, many years!

Click here to learn more about His Eminence and explore his writings.

Charity Theme of 2009 Convention

This verse has been chosen as the theme for the 2009 Convention hosted July 19 to 26, 2009, in Palm Desert, CA, by St. Michael Church of Van Nuys:

"Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy Holy Churches, and who remember the poor." + The Anaphoras of Sts. Basil the Great and John Chrysostom

In support of this theme, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will be exhibiting at the Convention, with multiple special presentations planned.

Also present will be FOCUS North America. Working primarily in the areas of Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding and Shelter, FOCUS North America (the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) exists to share the love of Christ with our neighbors who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, strangers and in prison here in North America (Matt. 25:34-6).  FOCUS North America is a domestic social action agency of the Orthodox Church "warmly endorsed" by the hierarchs of SCOBA.  It was formed to serve the poor and needy on behalf of the Church in North America, to support existing Orthodox ministries doing so effectively, and to help welcoming parishes initiate new social action ministries in their own communities.

Here at, we will be bringing together notable news about charitable work done across our Archdiocese and the ministries like IOCC which we help support. Visit our collection of articles on charitable work here.

Important Statement Concerning the Resolutions of the Holy Synod of Antioch

It has been the tradition of the Holy Synod of Antioch that all official resolutions that have been duly adopted at a meeting of the Holy Synod are published with the signatures of the Patriarch, as well as all of the Metropolitans who were present at the meeting. In this way, the will of the Holy Synod is expressed in a most powerful way by the presence of all of the signatures of the attending hierarchs. The most recent example of this was the communication of the decision of February 24th, 2009, which was distributed with all of the signatures of the hierarchs who were in attendance (the Arabic version may be viewed here by way of example).

The Holy Synod of Antioch met from June 16 through 18, 2009, to consider the status of bishops across the See of Antioch and other matters. However, the Archdiocese has not received any document that contains the signatures of all of the hierarchs who were in attendance at that meeting. When we do receive such a document, we will publish it as the official decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch.

Orthodox Christian Network Announces Podcast Partnership with FOCUS North America

The theme of the upcoming 2009 Archdiocese Convention is charity: "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy holy Churches, and who remember the poor." In that spirit, will begin publishing additional content on the charitable work being done across the Antiochian Archdiocese and the ministries we support, including those of SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas), like OCN.

The Orthodox Christian Network is excited to announce another addition to its already dynamic and ever evolving list of Radio on Demand Programming (Podcast), The FOCUS North America Podcast.

The Focus North America Podcast will feature engaging commentary and timely updates on Orthodox Christian social action volunteers, agencies and ministries of the Orthodox Church reaching out to the poor and needy here at home.

Rev. Dr. Christopher Metropulos, the Executive Director of the OCN, an agency of SCOBA, said, “Serving the poor and needy in North America should be a priority for every Orthodox Christian. We are proud to partner with FOCUS North America and to support their dynamic and growing ministry on behalf of the whole Church.”

Teen SOYO 40th Anniversary Video Released on YouTube

Fr. Joseph Purpura, Archdiocese Youth Director, has released via YouTube this special Teen SOYO 40th Anniversary video commemorating the forty years of raising up generations of disciples and leaders for the Holy Orthodox Church in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Click here to go to the YouTube page for this video, and click here for Fr. Joseph's article from The Word commemorating this important occasion.

St. Vladimir's Seminary Presents Live Webcast June 18-20 On Orthodoxy in America

St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary presents a real time webcast titled Orthodoxy in America - Past, Present, and Future on June 18, 19, and 20. This special event features presentations by His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH, His Grace Archbishop NATHANIEL, His Grace Bishop BASIL of Amphipolis, Antiochian Archdiocese Chancellor Charles Ajalat, and others.

Click here to watch the webcast beginning Thursday, June 18 at 7:30 pm EST.

Holy Spirit Church of Huntington Celebrates Pentecost with Bishop THOMAS

Left to right:  Sdn. Joseph Peck - Parish Council Chairman; Bishop THOMAS, Fr. John Dixon.Left to right: Sdn. Joseph Peck - Parish Council Chairman; Bishop THOMAS, Fr. John Dixon.The Great Feast of Pentecost was a momentous weekend for The Holy Spirit Antiochian Orthodox Church in Huntington, WV. Pentecost is the church's feast, and they just completed construction of their new social hall and Sunday School annex. To celebrate, a banquet and hafli was conducted on Saturday, June 6. The following morning, Bishop THOMAS conducted hierarchical Divine Liturgy.  Included was the installation of Abraham Saad to Subdeacon and the elevation of pastor Fr. John Dixon to Archpriest.

Important Update on the Plans Leading Up to the Meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch, Beginning June 16

It was the original plan of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP to attend the upcoming meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch in person. All of his travel arrangements had been made, and tickets had been purchased. However, he contracted a virus earlier this week, and his doctors advised him not to travel for health reasons. By the grace of God, he is feeling a bit better, and we ask everyone to pray for his good health.

Since our Bishop JOSEPH was still in Damascus, His Eminence asked His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV for permission to allow Bishop JOSEPH to represent this Archdiocese on behalf of Metropolitan PHILIP, and this permission was granted. Bishop JOSEPH will attend the meeting of the Holy Synod on behalf of Metropolitan PHILIP, and he will participate in the discussion on the topic of the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod that affected the status of all bishops across the See of Antioch.

Our prayers are with His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch, and our representative Bishop JOSEPH for a most fruitful and productive meeting.

Entitlement: Sabotaging Relationships

by Fr. George Morelli

Chaplain's Corner

I am sure some have come across people who hold the view that they are entitled to be treated in a certain manner. These individuals define their relationships with others in terms of their social position or power. That is to say, they feel they are entitled to and deserve, love, companionship, happiness, honesty, obedience, respect, and deference, etc. Entitlement works hand in hand with demanding expectations. This means, when someone doesn’t treat them the way they demand and expect to be treated, they feel they have the right to be angry or, alternatively, they get depressed.

From the outset, it should be noted that some of the expected ways in which people want others to treat them are often desirable and often good. A psycho-spiritual problem occurs when the events themselves become a test of whether or not expectations are met according to self-defined standards. In clinical terms, desirable preferences have been transformed into demanding expectations which sabotage the social or business relationship and result in emotions and behavior (usually anger) that impair the ability to attain desirable goals.

Good Marriage XVII: Wrecking a Marriage, Demanding Human Justice

by Fr. George Morelli

The judgment of man is one thing; the judgment of God is another thing altogether. (St. Dorotheos of Gaza)
We are so prone to view the world through our own eyes.  Not only are we inclined by our brokenness (Morelli, 2006b) to expect that others will act they way we want them too, but we are also predisposed to  judge and evaluate others in terms of whether or not  they meet up with our expectations and demand justice.  In a marriage blessed by God, through His Church, this can be especially disastrous.  Couples are inclined  to judge the other in human terms and not divine terms. They heed not the words of St. Paul to the Romans (10:3): “For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.”

Ancient Faith Radio Interviews Bishop BASIL About Damascus Journey

Following last week's Damascus journey of five Archdiocese bishops, Matthew Namee, host of the new Ancient Faith Radio podcast American Orthodox History, spent some time talking with His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. "We have a father in God who loves us," says Bishop BASIL of His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, "a father in God who knows us by name." Listen to the 10 minute interview here.

For more details on the American Orthodox History podcast, including the introductory program on the importance of learning about the history of the Church on this continent, click here.

His Grace Bishop ANTOUN Reflects on Damascus Journey

His Grace Bishop ANTOUN, member of the group of Archdiocese bishops that visited His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV in Damascus, Syria, last week, has prepared the following reflection on the journey:

After a long flight from New York’s JFK airport, myself with Their Graces, BASIL, MARK and THOMAS (Bishop JOSEPH traveled separately) arrived safely in Damascus on Tuesday, June 2. We were greeted at the airport by a delegation from the Patriarchate and went immediately to take the blessing of our father in Christ, His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. His Beatitude greeted us warmly and lovingly and thanked us for making the long journey on such short notice and for such a short period of time. At that time, we all went to rest and Bishop BASIL had a private meeting with the Patriarch.

Archdiocese Bishops Meet with Patriarch IGNATIUS IV in Damascus

The following statement and photographs have been released by The Offices of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East in Damascus, Syria, courtesy of Archimandrite Ibrahim Daoud, Secretary to the Patriarch:

On Tuesday, June 2, 2009, the Most Blessed Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, received as his specially invited guests from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Their Graces, Bishop Antoun, Bishop Joseph, Bishop Basil, Bishop Thomas and Bishop Mark. 

St. Gaudentia, Virgin Martyr, along with her companions, at Rome

Commemorated on August 30

St. Gaudentia was a holy virgin from Rome.

She was martyred with three others in an unknown year, probably during the early persecution of Christians.

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