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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.


2018 Pastoral Greeting From Bishop THOMAS on the Feast of the Annunciation

March 25, 2018

Feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

"Be it done unto me according to thy word." These are words of the Most Holy Theotokos in response to the angel Gabriel's announcement. These are the nine words that erased the disobedience of our forefathers in the Garden of Eden and ushered in the advent of our salvation. Our holy father John Chrysostom remarks, "An angel speaks with a virgin, because a woman
spoke to a serpent."

Saint Gregory the Wonderworker proclaims: "But in the holy Virgin alone is the fall of that (first mother) repaired" (First Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary). It is in her obedience to the will of God that the age of salvation is announced and proclaimed to all the world. Holy obedience to the will of God is a foretaste of the promise of the blessed life of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Summer Program for Young Orthodox Scholars

St. Basil Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture at Eastern University invites juniors and seniors in high school to apply for The Summer Program for Young Orthodox Scholars (SPYOS). SPYOS provides promising high school and transfer students the opportunity to earn college credit while challenging themselves intellectually and spiritually. Program dates are July 6-14, 2018. For more information or to apply visit the website.

Confronting Dragons: Christian Hope in Tolkien and Fantasy Literature

J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth appears at once breathtakingly beautiful yet violently marred. The sublime emerges from Tolkien’s world having been created by a beauty-loving God; the scar from the rebellion of the angelic ranks against God. This rebellion is played out among the peoples of Middle-earth—Elves, Dwarves, and Men—who languish in a twilight world enduring, in Tolkien’s words, “a long defeat.” Despite this, Tolkien did not create a world destined for a tragic end, but rather one filled with hope. Christians likewise confront dragons in many forms and at many turns. What do the elves, dwarves, and men and women of Middle-earth teach us about the life of faith and virtue? How can we as Christians profit from reading fantastic and mythic literature? And should Christians mimic Tolkien by creating their own worlds that are both unreal but also thoroughly Christian? These questions (and many more) will be the focus of "Confronting Dragons: Christian Hope in Tolkien and Fantasy Literature.”

Orthodoxy in the Contemporary World

By Bishop THOMAS (Joseph) and Peter Schweitzer

In the contemporary worldview, nothing is so prized as progress and change. They are so highly regarded that calls for change and progress are even heard within our one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Those who call for progress and change within the Church often demand change for change sake so that the world will be more comfortable with the Church. These demands often include that the Orthodox Church modify or completely abandon the traditional fasting periods, shorten the divine services, and become more "open" and accommodating on moral issues such as marriage, gender identity, and human rights.

These winds of change and progress are undoubtedly a result of contemporary man's embrace of Enlightenment thinking in which man replaces God as the ultimate arbiter of truth and human life. Yet, our Christian Tradition tells us that such notions are fundamentally flawed. The flaws concern two fundamental misconceptions of Sacred Tradition and the ascetical and mystical character of the Christian life.

Diocese of Charleston News Archive