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Leaving Footprints in the Sand of Time: From the Chair of the Order of St. Ignatius

by Dan Abraham, Chair of the Order of St. Ignatius
First Address to The Order at Montreal ‘07

image My road to Montreal tonight was definitely unexpected and certainly marked with unusual curves. Twenty years ago this month Kathy and I arrived in Montreal to spend our honeymoon. I had a twinkle in my eye and a thick wallet. Today I am pleased to say I still have a twinkle in my eye! Kathy and I joined The Order together. She was at the time very active in NAC. I was working. I watched her work, travel, engage the youth, and serve our Archdiocese. I don’t remember when exactly, but I heard Metropolitan PHILIP state that each of us must leave our footprint in the sand of time. It hit home. Working wasn’t good enough. I had done my time on our local Parish Council and served in various other capacities; but, that was yesterday. What am I doing today?

Officers: Daniel Abraham, Chair; Mary Winstanley O'Connor, Vice Chair; Darlene Haddad, Treasurer; Gayle Malone, Secretary

Bishop BASIL Endowment Fund Brings in Additional Donations in Honor of Bishop BASIL's Name's Day

image On the occasion of Bishop BASIL's Name's Day on January 1, parishes, organizations, and individuals contributed to the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America's Bishop BASIL Missions Endowment Fund.

In May, 1992, the Bishop BASIL Missions Endowment Fund was established to augment financial support of the diocese's missionary efforts.

Each year, prior to Bishop BASIL’s Name’s Day, St. Basil the Great celebrated on January 1, the Missions Endowment Coordinator sends a letter and a generous amount of Name’s Day greeting cards to each parish and mission in the Diocese. For the next several weeks parishes, organizations and individual parishioners are reminded to fill out Name’s Day greeting cards and make a financial contribution to the Bishop BASIL Missions Endowment Fund. Each community then sends to the Missions Endowment Coordinator all of the checks collected, along with the cards completed by the donors. On or around January 1 the Coordinator sends Bishop BASIL all of these Name’s Day cards and a letter announcing the total amount received on the occasion of His Grace’s Name’s Day.

"When this year's contributions are all in, the Fund will total over one-half million dollars," reports His Grace Bishop BASIL. "I most sincerely thank all who thoughtfully and generously made contributions to the Fund on the occasion of my Name's Day on January 1st.  Know that your kindness and good wishes are all very much appreciated."

Chancellor Charles Ajalat Speaks About Orthodox Administrative Unity in America: Audio Available Saturday, January 19

image "I would love to see 45 or more dioceses of a united North American Church, with each bishop having the title of each major U.S. or Canadian city, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, and more importantly for the salvation of all on this continent. I would love to see our Church, through Christ, transforming our culture, while it's transforming our own lives." - Charles Ajalat

This week Ancient Faith Radio will be broadcasting a special edition of Kevin Allen's podcast, The Illumined Heart, on the future of the American Orthodox Church. Will there ever be one American Orthodox Church? What are the reasons for the continuing divisions among ethnic and historic jurisdictions? Who and what stands in the way of administrative unity? In this historic and hard-hitting interview, Kevin Allen speaks with Chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese Charles Ajalat. Charles was the behind-the-scenes architect of the historic Ligonier meeting of hierarchs in 1994.

This special edition of The Illumined Heart will be available via Ancient Faith Radio on January 19.

Click here for a PDF version of AGAIN's Winter 2003 issue on Antiochian Self Rule, including an interview with Metropolitan PHILIP and an article by Charles Ajalat, "A Vision for North American Orthodoxy."

Click here to read Metropolitan PHILIP's visionary call for unity from 1984.

What Does a Unified Orthodox Church Have to Offer America?

By Fr. Gordon Walker

Have you ever watched the evening news and become overwhelmed by the reports of corruption, violence, child abuse, murder, rampant immorality, and widespread disregard for law and order, only to be grieved even further by the misguided people commenting on this social distress? Have you cried out in your heart, “Oh God, what can we do to save America?”

Forces of darkness and evil, and those who would justify them, seem to be incredibly well organized and well funded. In times like these, what does the Orthodox Church have to offer America? It is my belief that we now have a great deal to offer America, but if and when we become truly unified under a single American primate, all that we have to offer will be greatly magnified.

From the outset, let me clarify that I am writing to Orthodox Christians who are American residents and citizens. We can certainly use the prayers and help of those of other lands. But it is a primary duty of a Christian citizen in any country to love his or her country and to pray for the redemption of that country. Not to love our country or to pray and work earnestly for its salvation is a grave sin. If you don’t honestly and sincerely love this nation, how can you expect to be a force for its redemption? As St. Herman of Alaska wisely said, “You cannot save what you do not love.”

Our Redemptive Role

Orthodoxy in America: Success and Failure

By Metropolitan PHILIP

Delivered on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 1984, in Worcester, Massachusetts

Excerpted from Metropolitan Philip: His Life and His Dreams, by Peter E. Gillquist, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991

Once every year, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Orthodox people in America emerge from their ethnic islands to celebrate the triumph of the Orthodox Faith over the iconoclastic heresy. This victory happened in the year AD 787, 1197 years ago. I am proud of our history; for those who have no past, have no present and will have no future. There is a difference, however, between contemplating history and worshiping history.

During the first one thousand years of her existence, the Church was courageous enough to respond to the challenges of her times. Many local councils were called, and seven ecumenical councils were convened to deal with important issues which the Church had to face. The question now is: What happened to that dynamism which characterized the life of the Church between Pentecost and the tenth century?

Did God stop speaking to the Church? Did the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church cease after the tenth century? Why are we always celebrating the remote past? Have we been lost in our long, long history? I wish we could gather to celebrate an event which happened five hundred years ago or two hundred years ago or perhaps something which happened last year.

January 16, 2008: Responsibility



by Fr. James C. Meena

Word Magazine, February 1981

Involvement is the name of the game. Either we get involved or we get out. With every area of life that challenge is thrown out, “Get involved!” If you’re worried about the way the schools are being conducted, get involved and change the school system. If you don’t like the political system of your city or your state, your nation, get involved change the system . . . get rid of the candidates . . . exercise your franchise . . . don’t leave it for someone else to do. If you don’t like what’s happening in your neighborhood, get involved! Join your other neighbors and form a neighborhood association.

But to get involved, you have to be turned-on. You can’t be a drop out. What St. Paul said in the Book of Acts certainly applies to our generation for the last twenty years, “I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth . . . to induce (you) to follow them”. (20:29)

First Visit to an Orthodox Church: Twelve Things I Wish I'd Known

by Frederica Mathewes-Green

Orthodox worship is different! Some of these differences are apparent, if perplexing, from the first moment you walk in a church. Others become noticeable only over time. Here is some information that may help you feel more at home in Orthodox worship--twelve things I wish I'd known before my first visit to an Orthodox church.

1. What's all this commotion?

During the early part of the service the church may seem to be in a hubbub, with people walking up to the front of the church, praying in front of the iconostasis (the standing icons in front of the altar), kissing things and lighting candles, even though the service is already going on. In fact, when you came in the service was already going on, although the sign outside clearly said "Divine Liturgy, 9:30." You felt embarrassed to apparently be late, but these people are even later, and they're walking all around inside the church. What's going on here?

In an Orthodox church there is only one Eucharistic service (Divine Liturgy) per Sunday, and it is preceded by an hour-long service of Matins (or Orthros) and several short preparatory services before that. There is no break between these services--one begins as soon as the previous ends, and posted starting times are just educated guesses. Altogether, the priest will be at the altar on Sunday morning for over three hours, "standing in the flame," as one Orthodox priest put it.

Entering God's Kingdom

by Fr. Peter Gillquist

Most people, at one time or another, won­der if there is real meaning to life-an underlying pattern or purpose to it all. For me, that quest for meaning and pur­pose took place in college.

By the end of my junior year, I was ready to do a turn-around. I knew that Jesus Christ had a rightful claim on my life. And I had come to see that life apart from Him--even the enjoyable and constructive parts of life-held little meaning and satisfaction. I was into myself, out for myself, but at a point of wanting to start over.

That spring, I consciously committed my life to Christ. I acknowledged that I had shut Him out of my life, that I was honestly sorry for not following Him, and that I wanted Him to take full control of my life.

Without much realization of what it would mean, I told Him, "From here on out, I'm Yours."

The inner results of my initial repentance and belief in Christ are difficult for me to describe. While some people have very dramatic turn-arounds, others experience few or no spiritual feelings. For me, there were no lightning bolts, no shock waves. But what I did sense was a distinct new awareness of the Lord's presence, and an accompanying peace in my heart and life. A love for God and a desire to please Him­experiences left behind in childhood-were rekindled. From that point on, I had an inner desire to know God, to live in abandonment to Him, and to attain to His heavenly Kingdom.

Scripture and Tradition

by R. Thomas Zell

The Bible says once someone accepts Christ, he can never lose his salvation. All true Christians have eternal security.

The Bible says it is possible to fall away from grace. Even believers can turn away from God and be forever lost in their sins.

The Bible says homosexuality is a perversion of God's moral law and a deviation from natural human behavior.

The Bible says homosexuality is morally ac­ceptable; it is a lifestyle as viable as any "traditional" concept of marriage or family.

The Bible says long ago God predestined some men and women to everlasting life, and some to ever­lasting judgment. We are not free to accept or reject His salvation.

The Bible says God Himself does not know who will choose Him. Salvation is a matter of free will. The decision is entirely up to us.

The Bible says Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God the Father, sharing fully in His divinity, and indivisibly united with the Holy Trinity.

The Bible says Jesus Christ is a created being. He is superior to the angels, but not eternal and not of the same nature as the Father.

The Bible says we should no longer use the terms "Father" and "Son" in relation to God. They are merely symbolic and were meant to be replaced with less sexist terminology.

The Bible says ...

Fascinating Story of Life Before Birth


The moment of conception is the beginning of a new human being. All of the genetic information necessary to build our body and our brain is present at this moment. Nothing will be added to this unique individual from the moment of conception except food and nourishment.

First Month:

In the next four weeks, this tiny, yet distinct embryo which has implanted itself on the uterine wall, will be developing its own eyes, spinal cord, nervous system, liver and stomach. The heart began beating at 18 days and has set the rhythm of life for this preborn baby.

Six Weeks:

The baby, a plump little being over a half inch long, with short arms and legs, floats in her amniotic sac, well moored by the umbilical cord. Though she weighs only 1/30 of an ounce, she has all the internal organs of an adult in various stages of development.

Two Months:

At eight weeks, she is just over an inch long and everything is present that is found in a full-term baby. The completed skeleton begins to change from cartilage to real bone for this “young one” (the Latin translation is “fetus”) and brain waves can now be detected.

Three Months:

The little person floating buoyantly in the amniotic fluid is now more than 2-1/2 inches long. She can make a tiny fist, get hiccups, wake and sleep.

Four Months:

The fourth month is marked by rapid growth with the baby weighing one-half pound or more. Now external events – especially touch and noises – will reach the baby and provoke reaction.

Five Months:

Abortion and the Early Church

by Michael J. Gorman

Contemporary Christians neglect the teachings of the Church Fathers on key moral and theological issues to their own peril. The earliest specific written references to abortion in Christian literature are those in the Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas. The Didache combines a code of Christian morality with a manual of church life and order, while the Epistle of Barnabas is a more theological tract on Christian life and thought. While both of these probably date from the early second century, they most likely drew on Christian sources which had their origins in the late first century.

Both these writings also contain a section based on a Jewish oral and written tradition known as the “Two Ways.” This tradition contrasts the two ways of Life or Light and Death or Darkness. Athanasius notes that it was used extensively in the early church, either as a separate document or as part of the Didache, especially for the training of catechumens and new converts.

January is SOYO Education Month

as well as the time our teens raise funds for the SOYO Youth Worker Scholarship Fund

Donations may be mailed to:
NAC SOYO Youth Worker Fund
Department of Youth Ministry
PO Box 389
Westwood MA 02090

Please make checks payable to “NAC SOYO Youth Worker Fund”

The following files have been sent to each parish and are available here for download:

Great Friday Vigil

An Enlightening Experience

Sponsored by NAC Teen SOYO

Great and Holy Friday is one of the most solemn Holy Days within the life of the Orthodox Church. On this day, we witness our Lord’s unchanging love for us as He willingly gives His life for our sake. On Holy Friday, we watch our Lord’s crucifixion by the hands of those He came to save. In Matins of Holy Friday, we hear:

Today he who suspended the earth upon the waters is suspended on a tree.
A Crown of thorns is placed on the head of the King of angels.
He who wore a false purple robe covered the heavens with clouds.
He is smitten who, in the Jordan, delivered Adam.
The Bridegroom of the Church is fastened with nails, and the son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.
Thy sufferings we adore, O Christ!
Thy sufferings we adore, O Christ!
Thy sufferings we adore, O Christ!
Make us to behold thy glorious Resurrection.

In order to fully appreciate the wonder of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead, it is important that we understand the significance of his sufferings that we may behold His glorious Resurrection.

Update on the 2008 Archdiocese Directory

For the first time in 2008, we are producing the Archdiocese Directory from our newly established database, which will result in better accuracy as well as more timely updates. Normally the new directory would have been mailed by now – however, the new process has taken longer than expected.


God willing, the 2008 Directory will be mailed by the end of January.


Thank you for your patience.

Case Study on Abortion

From a work in progress:
Remaining Orthodox in a Heterodox World: Facing the Moral Challenges of Post-Modernity*

By: H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Brian Christopher Partridge, and Susan G. Engelhardt © 2005

A note from the V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth Ministry and the Very Rev. Anthony Yazge, NAC Teen SOYO Spiritual Advisor

Teens are encouraged to share this case study within their youth group and to discuss the questions listed at the end of the case.

Pastors are encouraged to join our teens and help them discuss this issue after they have read the case study and answered the questions as a group. Typically the questions are explored in small groups of 3-5 teens, with all teens coming together after small group discussion to share what each group discussed. After small group sharing time, it would be good for Pastors to be available to help answer questions and illuminate discussion with an Orthodox Perspective on the Sacred Gift of Life.

Case Study

Paige: “Theodora, my sister Peyton won’t have to have an abortion. Isn’t that wonderful?!”

Theodora: “Paige, why would Peyton ever have to have an abortion?”

Paige: “Oh, Theodora, don’t you remember my sister? She’s the real successful one in my family. She’s the famous lawyer. She has finally made senior partner in the famous law firm of Brutus, Nasty, and Short. However, it took until she was 39, so she and her husband only decided to have a child when she was 40. The risk of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome was really high, so they did the responsible thing. She had an amniocentesis to make sure the fetus wasn’t defective.”

Abortion Statistics


Number of abortions per year: Approximately 46 Million
Number of abortions per day:
Approximately 126,000

Where abortions occur:
78% of all abortions are obtained in developing countries and 22% occur in developed countries.

Legality of abortion:
About 26 million women obtain legal abortions each year, while an additional 20 million abortions are obtained in countries where it is restricted or prohibited by law.

Abortion averages:
Worldwide, the lifetime average is about 1 abortion per woman.

© Copyright 1999-2000, The Alan Guttmacher Institute. (


Number of abortions per year: 1.37 Million (1996)
Number of abortions per day:
Approximately 3,700

Who's having abortions (age)?
52% of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. are younger than 25: Women aged 20-24 obtain 32% of all abortions; Teenagers obtain 20% and girls under 15 account for 1.2%.

Who's having abortions (race)?
While white women obtain 60% of all abortions, their abortion rate is well below that of minority women. Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely.

Who's having abortions (marital status)?
64.4% of all abortions are performed on never-married women; Married women account for 18.4% of all abortions and divorced women obtain 9.4%.

Arguments Against Abortion

by Kerby Anderson

In this essay we will be discussing arguments against abortion. The first set of arguments we will consider are biblical arguments.

That being said, we must begin by acknowledging that the Bible doesn't say anything about abortion directly. Why the silence of the Bible on abortion? The answer is simple. Abortion was so unthinkable to an Israelite woman that there was no need to even mention it in the criminal code. Why was abortion an unthinkable act? First, children were viewed as a gift or heritage from the Lord. Second, the Scriptures state--and the Jews concurred--that God opens and closes the womb and is sovereign over conception. Third, childlessness was seen as a curse.

One of the key verses to understand in developing a biblical view of the sanctity of human life is Psalm 139. This psalm is the inspired record of David's praise for God's sovereignty in his life. He begins by acknowledging that God is omniscient and knows what David is doing at any given point in time. He goes on to acknowledge that God is aware of David's thoughts before he expresses them. David adds that wherever he might go, he cannot escape from God, whether he travels to heaven or ventures into Sheol. God is in the remotest part of the sea and even in the darkness. Finally David contemplates the origin of his life and confesses that God was there forming him in the womb.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (vv. 13-16).

Moral Issues (from God With Us)

GodwithusI read section 1 of the book, God with Us, Critical Issues in Christian Life and Faith by John Breck, which is entitled “Moral Issues”. This section examines the Orthodox Church’s views on current moral issues in our society including abortion, stem cell research, and many more. The reading is somewhat wordy for teens, so keeping with the theme of “Sanctity of Life” I summarized the parts that refer to human life, abortion, stem cell research, etc. Some of what I have written consists of direct quotes from the book, but most of it consists of simplified summaries of the book. The title of each part is the title of the specific part in the book. I did not use every section because only parts of the section pertain to the idea of “Sanctity of Life”. As I read the book, I asked myself the commonly asked questions so many teens ask themselves, their peers, and their teachers, which are in italicized and bold print. I answered the questions to the best of my ability using the book. Hopefully, this can be used for discussions, lesson plan guidelines, or just general knowledge. I hope this is helpful in understanding the Orthodox Church’s view on the sanctity of LIFE!

In Christ,

Christopher Shadid


The Beginning of Human Life

Orthodox Pro-Life Resources

Sacred Gift of Life Book Cover The Sacred Gift of Life: Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics, Fr. John Breck, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1998, ISBN, 0881411833

An Orthodox View of Abortion, Fr. John Kowalczyk and Fr. Anthony Coniaris, Light and Life Publishing, 1987, ISBN 0686270703

Real Choices, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Conciliar Press, 1997, ISBN 1888212071

The Right to Life: The Eastern Orthodox Perspective on Abortion, Dumitru Macaila, Regina Orthodox Press; 2002, ISBN 1928653057

Abortion: What Does the Church Teach? (Booklet) Conciliar Press

Abortion, Economia and the Hard Cases, Mat.Valerie Protopappas, pdf. Format,
“Politics is not a Dirty Word”, Fr. Alexander Webster, Ph.D. AGAIN Magazine, Conciliar Press, Vol. 22 number 3 (July - September 2000)

“Against Abortion but What Can We Do?” Becky Thurner, The Handmaiden. Conciliar Press, Vol. IV, No. 3, Summer 2000. These links take you to most of the major pro-life organizations.

An Orthodox Statement on Abortion

By V. Rev. Timothy Baclig

Resolution on Abortion

We hold that children are to be received by us as gifts of God, to be cared for lovingly, joyfully, and sacrificially. We believe that the willful abortion of children is an act of murder. We bear witness to the sanctity of life and are committed to prayerful, thoughtful action to help stem the present hemorrhaging of unborn human lives. We recognize our moral obligation to be a supportive community for those who adopt homeless, unwanted, or disabled children. We are followers of the One who said. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

WHEREAS the Orthodox Church, from its inception on the day of Pentecost, has condemned abortion as a grievous sin; and,

WHEREAS each and every innocent human life is unique and precious to God and that human life begins at the moment of conception and continues, uninterrupted, until the moment of natural death; and,

WHEREAS this situation is not dependent upon any factor other than our humanity, Peripheral conditions such as age, health, wealth, social status and societal perceptions of worth are totally unimportant. Our God is no respecter of persons; and,

WHEREAS the Webster decision by the Supreme Court of the United States of America has modified the 1973 decision of Roe vs. Wade relating to the abortion issue and has permitted each state to come forth and protect unborn human life as has occurred in Louisiana, Utah, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Guam; and,

WHEREAS the Supreme Court of Canada has struck down as unconstitutional all laws protecting the unborn and therefore no legislation currently exists regulating abortion in Canada; and,

WHEREAS innocent human life must always be protected and preserved, and in all possible ways available to each culture; and,

Service for Victims of Abortion

The Office of Prayer and Supplication for the Victims of Abortion

Booklet (PDF)

(The Priest and Deacon take their places before the Icon of Christ placed in the center of the Temple or other suitable place. The Priest is vested in Riassa and Epitrachilion and the Deacon in Sticharion and Orarion.)

Priest: Blessed is our God always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Reader: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

All-Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Priest: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.
Come, let us worship God, our King.
Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God.
Come, let us worship and fall down before the very Christ, our King and our God.

Writings from the Fathers on the Sacred Gift of Life

They marry, as do all others; they beget children, but they do not destroy their offspring (literally: “cast away fetuses”). – Letter to Diognetus (2nd century)

You shall not slay the child by abortions. – The Didache (1st century)

You shall not destroy your conceptions before they are brought forth, nor kill them after they are born.

– Letter of Barnabas (c. 70)

As for woman who destroy embryos professionally, and those who give or take poisons with the object of aborting babies and dropping them prematurely, we prescribed the rule that they be treated as public penitents up to five or even three years at most. – St. John the Faster (fl. 580, Canon XXI)

john_chrysostomWhy do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit? Where there are medicines of sterility? Where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well. Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed, but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gifts of God, and fight with His laws? What is a curse, do you seek as though it were a blessing? Do you make the anteroom of slaughter? Do you teach the women who are given to you for procreation of offspring to perpetuate killing? - St John Chrysostom (345-407)

Ideas for Celebrating Sanctity of Life Sunday

Here is a brief list of ideas that SOYOs can do to celebrate Sanctity of Life Sunday in January. These are some examples of what other SOYOs have done in the past:

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