Skip to Navigation

Welcome to the Diocese of Oakland, Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic, part of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The Diocese of Oakland is led by His Grace Bishop Thomas and includes more than 30 churches and missions in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.


And the Two Shall Become One Flesh: The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

By Bishop THOMAS (Joseph), Fr. Joseph Hazar, and Sdn. David Hyatt

"Have you not read," Jesus said, "that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:4-6)

Marriage is a mystery, a sacrament, a uniting of one man and one woman into a living icon of the Holy Trinity, a manifestation of the love of Christ for His Church and the Church for her Lord, the foundation for the family and the generative force for bearing children, and it is the context for working out the salvation of both husband and wife through self-sacrificing love.

In the secular society in which we live, however, marriage has become a contract between two consenting adults based on the fulfillment of each other's needs. The desire "to live happily ever after" has become the fanciful basis for marriage, and also the great downfall of so many romantic beginnings. This self-orientation, of meeting my needs, is evident even in how many go about planning their wedding ceremonies. Many little girls dream of having a fairytale wedding – whatever that may look like in their mind. Some dream of getting married in a cathedral, dressed like a princess, others perhaps on a beach surrounded by only a few of their family and friends, and some opt to want no one there, but to simply elope with the man of their dreams. No matter what their version of the fairytale looks like, the wedding is "their special day."

2019 Pascha Message From His Grace Bishop THOMAS

PDF of His Grace's Message


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

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen! Glory to Jesus Christ, glory forever!

In the resplendent feast of Pascha there is a seeming contradiction. However, it is a contradiction only to the worldly-wise. Throughout the Great Fast, we are exhorted to make the effort to struggle ascetically, to put forth the effort to fast, to pray, and to give alms. The kontakion of the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete exemplifies this exhortation, "My soul, my soul arise! Why art thou sleeping? The end is drawing near and you will be confounded. Awake then and be watchful, that you may be spared by Christ God, Who is everywhere and fills all things."

2019 AWE Lenten Retreat is March 29–31, 2019

Dear Sisters in Christ!

Christ is in our Midst! He is and ever shall be! It is that time again, for our Women's Lenten Retreat. We had such a wonderful turnout last year at the retreat. I am excited for this year's retreat. I hope you are too.

This year, the 2019 AWE Lenten Retreat is entitled, "Pray, Fast, Give" with Keynote Speaker, Fr. Charles Nicholas Baz, in loving memory of all of our Hierarchs who have fallen asleep in the Lord and are laid to rest at the Village from March 29–31, 2019, at Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA. Join us for a weekend of prayer, fellowship, and learning.

Please see the attached flyer and the attached schedule.

We want you all to attend! The deadline is March 22, 2019. REGISTER HERE!

We had such a wonderful time last year, meeting each other, spending time together in worship and fellowship. I really pray that many of you will plan to attend this year as well!

Your Sister in Christ!

Rula Khoury
AWE President

Diocese of Charleston News Archive