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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.

St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra + December 6

The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, a model of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. Therefore thou hast won the heights by humility, riches by poverty. Holy Father Nicholas, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

+Troparion, Tone 4

Thou wast a faithful minister of God in Myra, O Saint Nicholas. For having fulfilled the Gospel of Christ, thou didst die for the people and save the innocent. Therefore thou wast sanctified as a great initiator of the grace of God.

+Kontakion, Tone 3

On December 6, we celebrate St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the fourth-century archbishop of Myra in Lycia (on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey). None of his writings is extant, but his examples of Christian generosity, virtue and love endure to this day. St. Nicholas is the living embodiment of the words "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). He is also the patron and protector of two cathedrals – Brooklyn and Los Angeles – in our Archdiocese.

December 2017 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The December 2017 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:

Celebrating Christmas Defines Us
by Bishop John

Pleading for the Lives of the People of the Middle East
by Sdn. Peter Samore and Sonia Chala Tower

I Would Fly Away and Be At Rest
by Sdn. Peter Samore

The Ghost of Past Christmas Presents
by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt

Wisdom From St. Clement of Rome
by Fr. Daniel Daly

Updates from Christian Education, our seminarians, The Order of St. Ignatius...

...and much more!

Nativity Fast, 2017: Pastoral Letter of His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH

I behold a strange and wonderful mystery: the cave a heaven, the Virgin a cherubic throne, and the manger a noble place in which hath laid Christ the uncontained God. Let us, therefore, praise and magnify Him. †Hiermos of the 9th Ode of the First Canon of Christ's Nativity

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

I greet you with love and joy as we begin this season of preparation for the Nativity in the Flesh of Our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Today, the Holy Church calls us to prepare for the feast by fasting, prayer, and repentance. The surrounding culture calls us to prepare as well – but by decorating, shopping, and hosting parties. One of the most common questions our clergy receive during this time of year is: Why are we in a period of repentance when the rest of the world is celebrating?

Memory Eternal! + Ghassan O. Sayegh

It is with profound sadness tempered only by the certainty of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we announce the falling asleep in the Lord of the servant of God, Ghassan O. Sayegh, on Thursday, November 23, 2017. Ghassan was the loving father of Archdeacon Emile P. Sayegh, Esq., the Chancellor of the Archdiocese.

Ghassan, 86, of Scottsdale Arizona and Congers, New York, passed into life eternal while surrounded by many of his family members.

He was born in Jordan to Otallah and Martha Khalil Sayegh, and immigrated to the United States (New York) in July, 1953, where he was one of the founding members of the parish of the Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Yonkers, New York, under the guidance of their first pastor then Fr. Philip (Metropolitan PHILIP Saliba), of thrice-blessed memory.

We Give Thanks to Thee, O Christ Our God

Everlasting King, Thy will for our salvation is full of power. Thy right arm controls the whole course of human life. We give Thee thanks for all Thy mercies, seen and unseen. For eternal life, for the heavenly Joys of the Kingdom which is to be. Grant mercy to us who sing Thy praise, both now and in the time to come. Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age.

Akathist of Thanksgiving

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH asks that parishes try to offer divine services in thanksgiving to God for all of His abundant blessings, both on Wednesday November 22, 2017 for Great Vespers or the Akathist of Thanksgiving in the evening, as well as on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day in the morning, to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Texts from the Department of Liturgics in the Online Liturgical Guide are available.

READ MORE

Fire Tears Through St. Matthew Church in Ohio

Just days before the celebration of its patron, a fire tore through the nave and vestry of St. Matthew Church of North Royalton, Ohio. Damage was so extensive that the pastor, Fr. Andrew Harmon, said repairs could take one year. As a result, the community held divine services for the feast of St. Matthew at a nearby funeral home.

In a letter to the community, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph wrote: "I learned with shock and sadness of the fire that broke out in your sanctuary this past weekend. My shock and sadness were followed by my paternal pride in learning of the faith and resilience shown by all of you in the wake of this tragedy. Befitting your calling as Orthodox Christians, you have not ceased your rich liturgical life and have made plans to celebrate your patronal feast this evening with joy and hope in Our Lord. May the Grace of God received through your commitment to life of the Church bring your sacred community together to meet the challenges that have been set forth for you!"

Pleading for the Lives of the People of the Middle East: The U.S. Visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X


 

 

 

 


By Subdeacon Peter Samore and Sonia Chala Tower

“The world would assist both Christians and Moslems much better if it spreads the culture of dialogue in our East and wipes away the culture of the sword…” Patriarch John X

Although he brought the love of the Orthodox Church of Antioch from the Middle East to the United States, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East said that he also brought the pain and suffering of the brethren in his native land. From October 21–31, 2017, His Beatitude made several key visits with elected officials and world leaders in Washington, D.C. and New York City to continue pleading for peaceful, diplomatic solutions to end the fruitless, 6.5-year-old war in Syria, the land of the Apostles Paul, Barnabas and Ananias, that has negatively impacted the entire region.

“I Would Fly Away and Be at Rest:" The Last Public Appearance and Funeral of Bishop Antoun

By Subdeacon Peter Samore

On Friday, November 10, the fortieth day of His Grace Bishop Antoun's repose is commemorated, and on Sunday, November 12, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph asks all parishes to hold Trisagion Services.

“Oh that I had the wings of a dove. I would fly away and be at rest.” (Psalm 54:6)

Although the context of the Psalm is tribulation, it holds a different context for His Grace Bishop Antoun, the longest-serving auxiliary bishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese who left this world on the morning of Monday, October 2, 2017. For, as Metropolitan Joseph remarked in funeral address, Sayidna Antoun did not fly away to leave the rest of us behind, because he never betrayed us. Rather, His Grace took up his new abode at the throne of Almighty God to intercede with Him for us, and reunite the clergy and laity he loved so dearly on the Last Day.

Every bishop of the Archdiocese, along with dozens of clergy and hundreds of faithful, gathered at St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida – Sayidna Antoun’s cathedral in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast – to mourn the loss of a man who served them in so many ways since his arrival to the United States in 1959. (View the memorial page for His Grace Bishop Antoun, and view the photo album of the funeral.)

St. Raphael of Brooklyn + First Saturday in November

Several themes emerge as the story of St. Raphael's life unfolds. The first is the mysterious way in which God led him from his native homeland to the shores of the American continent. The second is his submissive attitude to the providence of God. And the third is his love for the people of God. Though during his lifetime he was neither a wonder-worker nor a clairvoyant elder, St. Raphael embraced a life of total abandonment of self for the service of God and his fellow man: a life of true spiritual asceticism.

(from The Life of Our Father among the Saints Raphael Hawaweeny)

Our Father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of  Brooklyn, was the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil. Traveling throughout the continent in the first years of the 20th century, he founded thirty parishes in North America. His feast day is celebrated in the Antiochian Archdiocese on the first Saturday of November. St. Raphael, a man of angelic name and apostolic fervor, was influenced by many cultures. He was born and raised in the Middle East, educated by Greeks at Halki and by Russians at Kiev, and he spent the last nineteen years of his life as a missionary in North America.

In 2015, the Antiochian Archdiocese celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of St. Raphael. 

Exclusive Interview with His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X and His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York, New York --  In this video, His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X of Antioch and His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America share their thoughts about the last ten days of their meetings, talks and events in Washington D.C. and New York City regarding the future of Orthodox Christians in Syria and the Middle East.

The interview is an exclusive with Subdeacon Peter Samore of the Archdiocesan Department of Internet Ministry.

His Beatitude Patriarch John to Visit the United States in October, 2017

Patriarch John X (left) and Metropolitan JosephPatriarch John X (left) and Metropolitan JosephEnglewood, NJ   His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, is pleased to announce the visit of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, to the United States on October 21–31, 2017.

(View the full schedule)

The purpose of the visit is to meet with the leadership of the United Nations as well as members of the current administration of the United States to: 1) promote a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, 2) highlight the current humanitarian crisis, and 3) discuss the future of Christians in Syria and the Middle East. His Beatitude will also be an honored guest at the “In Defense of Christians” Summit in Washington, D.C., from October 24–26. The Summit is titled "American Leadership and Securing the Future of Christians in the Middle East."

Memory Eternal! + Bishop Antoun

 




 

 

 

 

Memory Eternal! + Bishop Antoun of Thrice-Blessed Memory

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Is 40:8

Dear Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed members of the Archdiocese Board of
Trustees, and Christ-loving Faithful,

Blessing and greetings to you in the Name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus!

With profound sadness, yet hope in the Resurrection, I announce the passing into eternal life of my beloved brother, Bishop ANTOUN. Words cannot begin to describe our debt of gratitude to His Grace nor our sense of loss at his falling asleep.

Becoming Truly Human: Feature Film in Select Theaters on Nov 8 and 9

The distribution of Becoming Truly Human has begun! Becoming Truly Human is the first Orthodox feature film in North America, and was created with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and the support of the Antiochian Archdiocese. We are pleased to announce that the film will be doing a one-night theatrical release in select cities on November 8 and 9, 2017. Please help us promote these showings: invite your local parish and community. Showings require a sufficient number of advance ticket sales by early November, so get your tickets today!** (View the list of cities and purchase your tickets and watch the trailer.)

** Charges for tickets are pending until the showing is confirmed. If you don't see your city listed, and want to request that the film come to your city, contact Janeal Bernhart at janeal@aspiration.is.

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH's Address at the Funeral of His Grace Bishop ANTOUN

Archieratical Address of His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH
Delivered at the Funeral of His Grace Bishop ANTOUN

Beloved Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, and Christ-loving Faithful:

I embrace all of you with paternal love, as we come together this evening to pray for our beloved Bishop ANTOUN and for his eternal rest.

I return to you from the meetings of the Holy Synod of Antioch, and I bear with me the fervent prayers and heartfelt condolences of our Father-in-Christ, His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X, as well as my brothers, the venerable Metropolitans of our Holy Patriarchate. We belong to one Antiochian family, and I can relay to you that the loss of our beloved Bishop ANTOUN is profoundly felt by all. 

I stand before you this evening with great reverence and immeasurable affection for my dear brother and concelebrant, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the years I was blessed to call him a friend and a mentor.

October 2017: Archdiocese Youth Month

October is the month when the Archdiocese introduces teens to the many opportunities to minister in the Church. The youth "are encouraged to read the Epistle, chant and sing in the choir, assist in church school, and give sermons approved by the priest," explains Department of Youth Chairman The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura. 

Another way teens can get involved in their parishes is to participate in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl, and Oratorical Festivals. This year’s theme, selected by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, is "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42)

Christian Education Department Kicks off Sunday School Year with New Resources

The Christian Education team of the Antiochian Archdiocese, headed by Director Carole Buleza, is passionate about transmitting the faith to the next generation, and the resource-rich Christian Education section on antiochian.org reflects this. An extensive upgrade to the Christian Education pages launched to coincide with the start of the Sunday School year includes an entirely new Creative Festivals 2018 section for 2017-2018.

Highlights of the new material available are:

In the main Christian Education section, the latest teacher training events are featured. 

Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian + September 26

Troparion to St. John the Evangelist, Tone 2

O Apostle John, speaker of divinity, the beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose bosom thou didst lean accepteth thee as an intercessor. Beseech Him, therefore, to disperse the cloud of the stubborn nations, asking for us safety and the Great Mercy.

Kontakion to St. John the Evangelist, Tone 2

Who can tell of thy mighty works, O virgin Saint John? For thou pourest forth miracles, and art a source of healings, and thou dost intercede for our souls, as the Theologian and the friend of Christ.

Metropolitan Joseph Requests Prayers and "Earthquake Appeal" Gifts for Mexico

Leave-taking of the Elevation of the Honorable and Life-giving Cross

Beloved in Christ,

With Archpastoral love, I embrace all of you – my brother hierarchs, reverend clergy, and Christloving faithful. Once again, I write to you in the midst of tragedy, witnessing the results of the devastating earthquake that struck our brothers and sisters in Mexico. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, when "one member suffers, all the members suffer with it."

When I reflect on the heartrending disasters of the last several weeks, I take heart that we have been commemorating the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross. As we raise on high the Cross, we remember the sacrificial love of our Lord Jesus Christ. We remember how He transfigured that instrument of cruel torture and death into a "weapon of peace and trophy invincible." We remember that the tears of mourning shed by the Ointment Bearing Women were transformed into inexpressible joy on the morning of Pascha.

Feast of the Elevation of the Cross + September 14

Let all the trees of the wood, planted from the beginning of time, rejoice; for their nature hath been sanctified by the stretching of Christ on the Tree. Wherefore, now, we worship Him, lifted up, and magnify Him.

+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 8

By the mere planting of thy Cross, O Christ, the foundation of death did shake; for him whom Hades did swallow eagerly, it delivered up with trembling; for verily, thou didst reveal to us thy salvation, O holy One. Wherefore, do we glorify thee, O Son of God. Have mercy upon us.

+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 6

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross. Two events connected to the Honorable Cross of our Lord are commemorated this day: first, the finding of the Cross by the Empress Helena in the Holy Land; and second, the return of the Cross from Persia to Jerusalem in the year 628.

Historical background of the Feast