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Great and Holy Wednesday

O Almighty Master, O Holy King, thou disciplinest yet dost not put to death, thou upholdest all who are falling, and raisest up all who are bowed down,30 thou relievest the physical suffering of mankind. We implore thee, O our God, to send thy mercy upon this Oil and upon all those anointed with it in thy name. Let it be effectual for the healing of their souls and bodies and for cleansing and for relieving from every suffering, disease, sickness, and defilement, of both body and spirit. Yea, Lord, send down from heaven thine healing power. Touch the bodies, alleviate the fever, relieve the suffering, and expel every hidden sickness. Be the physician of thy servants; raise them up from the bed of their sickness and cruel suffering; and restore them to thy Church in safety and health to please thee and to do thy will.

For it is thine to show mercy and save us, O our God, and unto thee we give glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Holy Tuesday: The Hymn of St. Kassiane

Listen to the Hymn chanted by the St. Romanos Choir of Beirut

At Bridegroom Orthros on Great and Holy Tuesday, the Church sings the following hymn by St. Kassiane:

O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Thy divinity, fulfilled the part of a myrrh-bearer; and with lamentations she brought sweet-smelling oil of myrrh to Thee before Thy burial. 'Woe is me,' she said, 'for night surrounds me, dark and moonless, and stings my lustful passion with the love of sin. Accept the fountain of my tears, O Thou who drawest down from the clouds the waters of the sea. Incline to the groanings of my heart, O Thou who in Thine ineffable self-emptying hast bowed down the heavens. I shall kiss Thy most pure feet and wipe them with the hairs of my heads, those feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise and hid herself for fear. Who can search out the multitude of my sins and the abyss of Thy judgments, O Saviour of my soul? Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure.

Hymn of St. Kassiani sung by Grace Atherholt, Holy Week 2015 + St. John Chrysostom Church, York, PA

Antiochian.org Launches New Design, Mobile-Friendly Resources

Beloved clergy and faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese:

Greetings in the Name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. We pray this letter finds you well at the start of our Lenten journey. Wednesday, February 28, 2018 will mark a new beginning, a relaunch, for the Archdiocesan website: www.antiochian.org. It will have a much cleaner look and feel, and it is now friendlier for mobile devices for faster access to its wealth of materials, news and resources.

Without doubt, the most-accessed resource on the website is the Online Liturgical Guide, which provides weekly – and sometimes daily – word-for-word texts for the divine services, along with imbedded hyperlinks to corresponding sheet music. The OLG is now part of something bigger and better: a liturgical calendar that also features daily readings and listings of saints, as well as fasting guidelines and the popular spiritual “Thought for the Day” from the Church Fathers and our own Metropolitan JOSEPH. The Daily Liturgical Texts of the OLG now appear, as available, on the liturgical calendar. Accessing all of these resources takes just a few simple steps.

Metropolitan JOSEPH to Lead Young Adult Pilgrimage

In the summer of 2018, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH will be leading a pilgrimage to Orthodox Thessaloniki, Kosovo, and Serbia. Titled "Spiritual Awakening," the trip is slated for June 14–26, 2018, with a registration deadline of March 15. Traveling through holy lands with a hierarch at the head of the trip often opens "the pearly gates" through unplanned and grace-filled opportunities unique to this type of adventure.

The pilgrimage has been especially created for young adults and professionals aged 21–35. The trip will be limited to 30 people and will include a few clergy. Baptized Orthodox Christians of any jurisdiction may participate, especially those who are interested in exploring Orthodox history, art, architecture, and music, all within the fellowship of the Church. Young adults who enjoy networking with peers abroad and have an interest in humanitarian opportunities will enjoy this life-changing opportunity. Pilgrims will enjoy all that these holy lands have to offer in an intense schedule of touring that will also still leave time for fun. The itinerary includes time for services, prayer, exploration, relaxation, and building bonds with other Orthodox professionals. Register today to receive a detailed itinerary!

Great Lent

 

 

 

Great Lent: The Journey to the Empty Tomb

As the sharp edge of winter cuts across February with its long shadows and long cold nights, Orthodox Christians know that this time of year is the herald of Great Lent, that solemn but beautiful 40-day journey to the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With anticipation we look forward to that Lenten journey and what awaits us at the end of our spiritual travels: the Feast of Feasts, that great day of Pascha in which we proclaim, "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death."

-Archpriest Stephen Rogers

Metropolitan JOSEPH Presides Over St. George's 90th Anniversary Celebration

Metropolitan Joseph with St. George ordinands and their familiesMetropolitan Joseph with St. George ordinands and their familiesView the photo album

The faithful of Houston, Texas were blessed to receive His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH during the week of January 24–31, 2018, to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of St. George Orthodox Christian Church.

Deanery clergy welcomed Sayyidna JOSEPH and Deacon John El Massih at the airport. Then on Thursday evening, His Eminence had dinner and spent the evening with the St. George parish council. At the dinner, attendees were blessed to hear Sayyidna's visions and inspired by his words of wisdom. The community was delighted that Archdiocese Vice-Chairman Fawaz El Khoury and CFO Salim Abboud accompanied Sayyidna as well.

Bishop NICHOLAS Leads Pilgrimage to Mt. Athos

View the photo album

Yazen Ziad Fakhouri, a second-year seminarian at St. Tikhon's Seminary in South Canaan, PA, joined five other seminarians on a pilgrimage to Mt. Athos led by His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS from December 2017 to January 2018. Yazen's hometown is suburban Detroit, Michigan, and his home parish is St. George Orthodox Church, with The Very Reverend Joseph Antypas. Yazen's report describes this life-changing experience.

Ring finger meets thumb while index, middle, and pinky are elevated in imperfect symmetry. A single hand with fingers positioned to represent the Holy Trinity and the dual natures of Christ move north to south, west to east conferring a millennia old blessing consistent with Holy Tradition. The recipient of this blessing was a stray dog weaving between an interminable sea of people queuing to board a ship to the holiest of mountains.

February 2018 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The February 2018 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:

I Got It All Wrong
by Bishop John

Reflections on Spiritual Formation in Youth Ministry
by Fr. Daniel Bethancourt

The Good News in Others' Words
by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt

St. John Chrysostom and Marriage
by Fr. Daniel Daly

Updates and Resources from Christian Education, Communities in Action reports, and much more!

Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service to be Held on March 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 4, 2018, a prayer service and dinner for Syria will be held in Pittsburgh, PA, with proceeds benefitting the IOCC's Syrian Crisis Response Fund. His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, as well as His Grace Bishop THOMAS, will join other hierarchs and clergy for the event.

The prayer service will be at 4:00 p.m., followed by the dinner at 5:00, at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral on 419 South Dithridge Street (Oakland), Pittsburgh, PA, 15213. For reservations contact Zelfa Khalil: 412-417-4706 or zkhalil1@live.com.

Visit the event page for reservations and sponsorship information.

Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs + January 30

Let all who love their words come together and honor with hymns the three luminaries of the light-creating Trinity: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and renowned John of golden speech, who have enlightened the world with the rays of their divine doctrines, and are mellifluous rivers of wisdom who have watered all creation with streams of divine knowledge; they ever intercede with the Trinity for us.

+Troparion, Tone 1

Thou hast taken the sacred and divinely inspired heralds, the crown of Thy teachers, O Lord, for the enjoyment of Thy blessings and for repose. For Thou hast accepted their sufferings and labors above every burnt offering, O Thou Who alone dost glorify Thy Saints.

+Kontakion, Tone 2

Read "Three Guiding Lights of True Faith" by Fr. Stephen Rogers

Metropolitan JOSEPH Visits Archbishop Demetrios at Greek Archdiocese

Rekindling their friendship, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH paid a visit to His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Geron of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, at his Manhattan headquarters. The two primates discussed issues of mutual importance to their respective flocks in a filial meeting on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. Metropolitan JOSEPH was grateful to Archbishop DEMETRIOS for his hospitality.

Afterward, Archbishop DEMETRIOS hosted lunch for Metropolitan JOSEPH and his delegation: Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Antiochian Archdiocese; Deacon John El-Massih, assistant to Sayidna JOSEPH; and Mr. Charles Ajalat, former Archdiocesan chancellor. Joining them from the Greek Archdiocese were His Grace Bishop SEVASTIANOS and Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides.

View the photo album

Metropolitan JOSEPH Leads Theophany and Anniversary Celebrations for St. John Chrysostom Church

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In a spirit of joy and commemoration, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH celebrated the Feast of Theophany and the 25th Anniversary of St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, PA on the weekend of January 5–7, 2018. His Eminence worshipped with the faithful of St. John on Friday evening, and presided over Hierarchical Divine Liturgies on Saturday for the Great Blessing of Water and on Sunday morning. His Eminence was joined by His Grace Bishop THOMAS, Diocese of Oakland, Charleston, and the Mid-Atlantic, who celebrated with the community as well.

Father Peter Pier is the founding pastor of the congregation. In April of 1995, 13.8 acres of land was purchased for St. John's future home, and in the spring of 1997, His Grace Bishop ANTOUN of Blessed Memory broke ground for construction.

Theophany of Our Lord + January 6

O Jordan River, why wast thou astonished at beholding the Invisible naked? And he answereth, saying, I beheld Him and trembled; for how shall I not tremble and fear, when the angels trembled at sight of Him, heaven was astounded, earth was encompassed by trepidation, and the sea was bashful, with all things visible and invisible; for Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to bless the waters. (Tone 4)

He that encompasseth the heavens with clouds putteth on today the courses of the Jordan; and He that lifteth the sin of the world, cleanseth and purifieth me. Yea, the Spirit hath testified of Him from on high that He is the only Son of the Father on high. Let us, therefore, shout to Him, crying, O Thou Who didst appear and save us, glory to Thee. (Tone 1)

January 2018 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The January 2018 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:

Today, Salvation Comes to Our House
by Bishop John

Exorcism Precedes Evangelism
by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt

Bearers of the Tradition
by Christopher Veniamin, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

Claiming our Children
by Keidi Lewis

Why Prison Ministry?
by Fr. David Randolph

"Not as Those Who Have No Hope"
by Gregory Abdalah, M.Div.

Other insightful spiritual reflections and updates from Christian Education, our seminarians, The Order of St. Ignatius...

...and more!

St. Basil the Great & The Circumcision of the Lord + January 1

In all the earth that received thy sayings, thy melody did resound, O righteous father, through which thou didst go about and proclaim, as worthy of God, the nature of creatures, cultivating the character of mankind, O thou of kingly Priesthood, Basil. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.

+Apolytikion of St. Basil, Tone 1

When the Savior condescended for the sake of mankind, He was willing to be wrapped in swaddling clothes, and He Who was eight days old on the side of His Mother, and eternal on the side of His Father did not disdain the circumcision of the flesh. Wherefore, let us cry to Him, O believers, Thou art our God; have mercy upon us.

+Doxasticon of the Feast, Tone 8

Many years to His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America on his Namesday!
Read Fr. Thomas Hopko's reflection on today's commemorations
The Tradition of the Vasilopita

Nativity Greeting From His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH

Nativity 2017

Today doth Bethlehem receive Him Who sitteth with the Father forever. Today the angels glorify, as worthy of God, the babe that is born, shouting: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth be peace, and goodwill among men.

Beloved in Christ,

With great joy I greet you at the dawn of this bright and glorious feast of the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, making the cave a heaven and the manger a noble place!

May He Who deigned to be born in the cave and rest in a manger take up His abode in us. Let us join our voices with the angelic choirs and glorify God, beseeching Him to bring peace, justice, and reconciliation to our troubled world.

Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity

Today is born of the Virgin Him Who holdeth all creation in the hollow of His hand.
He Whose essence is untouchable is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a babe.
The God Who from of old established the heavens lieth in a manger.
He Who showered the people with manna in the wilderness feedeth on milk from the breasts.
And the bridegroom of the Church calleth the Magi, and the Son of the Virgin accepteth gifts from them.
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.
Show us also Thy divine Theophany!

(Chanted by Reader Nader Hajjar, St. Elias Antiochian Cathedral, Ottawa. Video by kalamation and Fr. Francois Beyrouti.)

St. Ignatius of Antioch + December 20

Like a living monument and an animate image, thy yearly feast is come, O God-bearing Ignatius, proclaiming thy mystic teachings and thy heroic exploits, thy resistance for the Faith even unto blood, and those blessed and celebrated words of thine, which said: I am the wheat of God, and in the teeth of beasts shall I be ground up. Wherefore, as an imitator of the Passion of Christ, intercede that our souls be saved.

+Orthros of the Feast, Tone 1

Read more about St. Ignatius the God-Bearer
Learn about The Order of St. Ignatius
Resources for the Nativity Season

Antiochian Village Summer Camp Registration Opens Monday, December 11

The Antiochian Village Summer Camp Program serves young people ages 9–17 who come to attend one of four two-week sessions. A primary goal of the Village camp program is to present to young people a living experience of the Holy Orthodox Faith in their relationship with God and other campers in a natural environment.

Registrations are now open for the 2018 summer camp season. The sessions run June 17 through August 10; two special sessions are Byzantine Chant Camp held from June 17 – June 29, and Iconography Camp, which runs from July 15 – July 23.  Slots fill up very quickly for this incredibly popular program, so act now! Additionally, it's not too early to think about sending your child to your local diocesan camp; visit The Department of Camping for more information.

ANTIOCHIAN VILLAGE CAMP REGISTRATION LINK

Metropolitan JOSEPH'S Letter for Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday

(To be read from the pulpit and printed in the bulletin)

Beloved Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, and Christ-loving Faithful of Our God-protected Archdiocese:

Blessings and greetings to all of you in the Name of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ!

One of the hallmarks of our Orthodox Christian faith is the beauty of our worship. Our ecclesiastical music, when done with prayer and skill, can elucidate the rich theology of our hymnography in such a way that worshippers can exclaim – as did the emissaries sent by Saint Vladimir – "we know not whether we are in heaven or on earth!"

Because we owe such a tremendous amount of gratitude to our choirs and our chanters, we set aside the second Sunday of December to honor them for the key role they play in our liturgical life.