November 20, 2013
(New Port Richey, FL)
Two years ago, St. Andrew Orthodox Church did not have any children in its membership. By the grace of God, that is certainly not the case now; in fact, many families with children have made a home at St. Andrew in the last two years. In light of this, the parish recently put up a playground for the young ones. A few words from the pastor of St. Andrew, Fr. Patrick Smith, about this: "On November 17th, following Divine Liturgy, St. Andrew Orthodox Church in New Port Richey, FL celebrated the completion of a new playground area for the parish children. Our parish has been immensely blessed by the numbers of families with small children that have made St. Andrew's their Church home in the last 2 years. We pray these blessing continue! Please keep us in your prayers!"
November 18, 2013
(Mt. Pleasant, SC)
November 15, 2013
November 9, 2013
November 8, 2013
Here is an article written by Archbishop DMITRI of blessed memory; it is worthy of reading as the Church prepares to enter in to the Nativity fast.
October 24, 2013
October 21, 2013
(St Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral, Dallas, TX)
Meeting and Special Presentations
The clergy of the Southcentral (Dallas) Deanery of the Diocese of the South will conduct its fall meeting at St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas, Texas, Wednesday and Thursday, October 30 and 31, 2013.
In conjunction with the gathering will be two public presentations by Archpriest John Erickson, former Dean of St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary, in Crestwood, New York.
On Wednesday evening, October 30, at 7 pm Fr. John will speak on, "Christian Tradition in a Post Modern World." His 12 noon presentation that same day carries a provocative title: "Does Christian Marriage Have a Future?" Here Fr. John will explore aspects of marriage that challenge Orthodox Christians each day. Members of the Church are certainly invited to this mid-day gathering, but will be asked to leave after the noon lecture for an informal Q & A between Fr. John and clergy. This talk will be held at the Cathedral as well.
About The Presenter:
Fr. John H. Erickson is thePeter N. Gramowich Professor of Church History, Emeritus, and former Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood NY, where he taught from 1973 until his retirement to Tucson, Arizona, in 2009.
His publications include The Challenge of Our Past: Essays in Orthodox Church History and Canon Law; The Quest for Unity: Orthodox and Catholics in Dialogue; Orthodox Christians in America: A Brief History; as well as over sixty published articles and book chapters.
Since retiring, Fr. John has kept busy with speaking engagements and with serving assignments throughout the Southwest. As needed, he also gives a 14-unit online course in church history as part of the Diaconal Vocations Program of the Orthodox Church in America.
A Brief Summary of the 7 pm, October 30th Presentation:
Cultural historians, social theorists, philosophers, literary critics and many others refer to our world today as “postmodern.” They do so to call attention to a cultural shift that is as far-reaching as it is profound. Much of what the “modern world” took for granted is now being called into question. Suspect, among other things, is the metanarrative, the big story, the “totalizing narrative schema” that claims to present transcendent and universal truth. In this new cultural context, what place is there for the “big story” offered by historic Christianity? What word of hope does Christian Tradition have to offer men and women today, who are skeptical about the claims and promises of the past and at the same time anxious about the future?
For more information please contact St. Seraphim Cathedral and Fr. Gerasim (Eliel) at (530 ) 921 1567, or Fr. Basil Zebrun at (817) 294-0325. You may also visit the Cathedral website at: stseraphim.org.
October 21, 2013
(The Woodlands, TX)
October 21, 2013
St. Raphael Church held its first Slavic Festival on October 12th. From all reports, it was very well received! A few words on the event from Fr. David Balmer, Rector at St Raphael:
St.Raphael Church in Inverness, Fl. celebrated its first Slavic Festival on Saturday, October 12th. Featured were prepared ethnic foods, baked goods, crafts plus Orthodox books and items from the bookstore. The church grounds and hall were packed with people and cars from 10am until mid afternoon. Tours of the church were also very popular. The overall feeling in the parish is that the value of this type of person-to-person engagement with the community is much more important than the items sold.
Here are a few pictures from the event!
October 15, 2013
In Memoriam: Sister Elizabeth MacLaughlin
Kemp, TX (OCA)
Sister Elizabeth MacLaughlin of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Monastery fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, October 14, 2013. She had waged a valiant battle with cancer. Sister Elizabeth was tonsured as a monastic at the Monastery on July 27, 2010, on the feast day of the Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon. The Divine Liturgy and Funeral are scheduled to be celebrated at the Saint Nicholas Chapel at the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Monastery, Kemp, TX on Wednesday, October 16 beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The Sisters of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Monastery request your prayers for Sister Elizabeth as she stands before the dread judgment seat of Christ. May Sister Elizabeth’s memory be eternal!
OCMC’s 2014 Short-Term Mission Team opportunities are now available! All Orthodox Christians seeking to share in a journey of faith and fulfill the mandate of our Lord Jesus Christ are invited to participate on OCMC Orthodox Mission Teams. The upcoming year's teams are:
Alaska – Youth ministry (Ouzinkie) July 18 – July 27 Albania – Mission Institute (Tirana) (TBD) Albania – Youth ministry (Shen Vlash) March 10 – March 17 Albania – Children’s Home of Hope youth ministry (Shen Vlash) June 16 – July 1 Albania – Womens’ retreats (Tirana) August 11 – August 24 Ghana – Teaching; celebrate the 25-year anniversary (Accra and Peki) August 2 – August 16 Guatemala – Hogar Rafael Ayau youth ministry (San Miguel del Lago) July 10 –July 21, Kenya – Evangelism (Turkana) March 8 – March 16 Kenya – Teaching (Nairobi) June 4 – June 14 Kenya – Church construction, catechism, & health care (Turkana/Lokichaar) June 17 – July 1 and June 24 – July 11 Moldova – Womens’ retreats (Orhei) April 28 – May 6 Moldova – Youth camp (Orhei) July 12 – July 23 Tanzania – Health care outreach (Bukoba) February 3 – February 14 and May 12 – May 23 Tanzania – Clergy retreats (Bukoba) October 27 – November 8 Uganda – Stewardship training (Kampala) October 27 – November 8 Uganda – Health care and education (Gulu) August 18 – August 30 and August 26 – September 8
Teaching Offer a living witness of Orthodoxy through evangelism, religious education, seminars, Bible studies, and retreats. Share the Orthodox Faith with youth, adults, catechumens, clergy, ministry leaders, and the faithful. Clergy, students, teachers, seminarians, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, and Bible study leaders are urged to apply.
Evangelism Preach the Gospel of Christ through evangelism in cross-cultural environments,offering the opportunity to hear and embrace the Good News. Live as Orthodox witnesses so others may come to know the saving love of Christ.
Construction Provide labor and service on a building project while working with members of a local Orthodox community to help construct churches in growing Orthodox communities. Construction experience is welcomed, but not necessary.
Youth Camp Serve as an example of God’s love by engaging youth around the world through offering religious education, Bible studies, sports, arts and crafts, teaching activities, camps, and fellowship. Those willing to work with youth and young adults are encouraged to apply - camp counselors, teachers, youth ministry directors, and students.
Health Care Provide a holistic witness to the Gospel by ministering to physical needs and offering health education in regions where medical services are scarce. Health personnel - doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, HIV/AIDS specialists, therapists - are especially needed.
This is your opportunity for early registration! Participation costs and full team descriptions will be coming soon. Apply online at http://www.ocmc.org. Contact Andrew Lekos by phone at 1-877-GO FORTH (463-6784), or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
September 21, 2013
The annual “You-Tube Challenge” issued by the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry exists to help you find your voice, and give you a place to share it. The world today, and even our Church has so much to say to our youth and young adults. However, as we all become more mature in our faith we find our own voice, our own ways of articulating what we know and believe. Additionally, we will provide you with helpful feedback and guidance so that your skills can be sharpened and honed to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in your own life. Welcome to the 2013 OCA YouTube Challenge!
Youth and Young Adult (Ages 14-28) will respond with a video by midnight on November 15, 2013 to the following question: “What is the Gospel?” Participants may wish to reflect on:
- The essential message of Jesus Christ
- What his actions and words tell us about humanity and divinity
- How the Gospel message can be preached in your particular environment (school, work, family, etc..)
Participants may wish to use their video to deliver a traditional speech, or find ways of more creatively answering the challenge through visual imagery and poetic license.
For more information, follow the link to the page on the OCA website. Roll cameras!
September 21, 2013
Contact: Archpriest Thomas Moore 803 318 6093 email@example.com
Holy Apostles Orthodox Church has received a grant of $35,000 to enable its minister, Fr. Thomas Moore, to participate in the 2013 National Clergy Renewal Program funded by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary. Holy Apostles is one of 87 congregations across the country selected to participate in this competitive grant program. Established by the Endowment in 2000, the program’s grants allow Christian congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.
Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in a period of reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering ministers a carefully considered respite that may include travel, study, rest, immersive arts and cultural experiences, and prayer.
Through the National Clergy Renewal Program, congregations apply for grants of up to $50,000 to support a renewal program for their pastors. Collaborative in nature and implementation, the program allows congregations to partner with their ministers in developing an experience that addresses their unique renewal needs and aspirations. Recognizing that ministers’ families are subject to the stress and demands placed on pastoral leaders, the program encourages pastors to involve their families in renewal activities. Congregational needs during the minister’s renewal experience also are considered. Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used to fund interim pastoral leadership during the pastor’s retreat, as well as for renewal activities within the congregation. Since the National Clergy Renewal Program’s inception, more than 1,800 congregations have participated in the program, including the 87 congregations receiving grants in 2013.
There three parts of the grant requested by Holy Apostles. The first is to address one of the challenges facing Orthodox Churches as they grow. Priests often serve in the same parish for many years. After many years of close relationships, when the priest moves or retires, it is often difficult for the faithful to embrace a new pastor. As Fr. Thomas is getting close to retirement age, he plans to spend some of his time visiting monasteries and parishes that have recently changed leadership to discuss what worked and what didn’t. Secondly, he will spend some quiet time gardening and bookbinding which his current responsibilities hinder. Finally, one of the questions asked in the Grant packet is “What would make your heart sing?”. Fr. Thomas has always wanted to learn to fly, but couldn’t justify the money or time. The Grant will provide funds for a substitute priest at Holy Apostles for four months, travel expenses, and for flying lessons to obtain his pilot’s license.
“Lilly Endowment intends for this program to enable pastors to live for a while at a different pace and in a new environment, in Sabbath time and space,” said Dr. Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the Endowment. “We can think of no better way to honor these hardworking, faithful men and women than to help them experience personal growth and spiritual renewal in ways that they themselves design and find meaningful. We regularly hear that these renewal experiences are transformative for pastors, their families and their congregations.”
Dr. Rev. Robert Saler, research fellow and director of the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs, part of the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, noted that the National Clergy Renewal Program integrates key attributes of healthy congregations, including a mutual respect for the renewal needs of both ministers and the congregations they serve.
“The program provides an opportunity for congregations to express appreciation for their ministers’ service and leadership,” Saler said. “At a time when leaders are often praised for their pace of innovation and productivity, the National Clergy Renewal Program pays homage to the timeless wisdom embedded in the practice of reflection and renewal.”
September 21, 2013
Please see this article from the News-Record about the land blessing and Cross blessing for Holy Cross Church in Greensboro, NC.
September 11, 2013
Reflection on 9/11
(The following talk was given by Fr. Anthony Hughes at the Islamic Center just outside of Boston, in Wayland, Massachusetts on September 11, 2003. Fr. Anthony was one of many invited clergy speakers who offered thoughts on the horrific events of 9/11/01. He is the priest at St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church in Boston, Massachusetts. As they remind us of God's humility and boundless love, we present Fr. Anthony's words on this solemn day for our country.)
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, One God. Amen.
Please allow me to reflect theologically for just a moment on the events of September 11, 2001 from the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox Faith.
We do not for a moment believe that the terrorists enacted the will of God on that terrible day. It was not God’s will these men performed, but their own. God’s will is not the same thing as His foreknowledge say the Orthodox fathers. Simply because God knows something is going to happen does not mean that He has willed it to happen! Then, as fundamentalists in every religion do, they attempted to put their own face on the face of God and we all know what the end result is: they make gods of themselves and idols in their own image.
Above all things God is limitless, incomprehensible, unconditional and inexhaustible love. As paradoxical as it may seem, God, the All-Powerful, the All-knowing has revealed Himself to be also the Humblest of All, the Most Merciful, the Most-Compassionate.
We speak lightly of justice in this world as the ultimate value. But this is not so. It is not justice that heals the world, but mercy. St. Isaac of Syria, the great ascetical spiritual father has written these words:
"Do not say that God is just…God’s own Son has revealed to us that he is before all things good and kind. He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Where is the hell that could afflict us or the damnation that could make us afraid to the extent of overwhelming the joy of God’s love? In the place of what sinners justly deserve, he gives them resurrection. In place of the bodies that have profaned his law, he clothes them anew in glory…See, Lord, I can no longer keep silent before the ocean of thy Grace!"
What remains for us then, as people of faith, is to live lives full of mercy, peace, light, and beauty in this world, lives resembling God. Living such a life is risky. It demands that we give our all to values many do not share. A wise rabbi once said, “The messiah will come when one person in the world says yes to God.” For Christians that person is the Virgin Mary who risked everything for the healing of the world by saying "yes" to God and giving birth to His Son. We too must say yes, my friends, so that light may shine more brightly in this present darkness.
August 29, 2013
[SVOTS Communications / Yonkers, NY] “More than a third of our alumni are in jurisdictions that use Byzantine music,” noted The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. “In order to serve the Church and our students preparing for service in these ecclesial settings, we are fortifying our Byzantine music course offerings and chapel music repertoire for the 2013–2014 Academic Year.
“We are particularly blessed that Mr. Rassem El Massih has joined our faculty as Lecturer in Liturgical Music,” continued Fr. Chad. “Instructor El Massih is a renowned church musician who will be teaching ‘Introduction to Byzantine Chant.’
The Seminary is also offering a 10-week Byzantine music course to the general public on Wednesday evenings, in collaboration with The Axion Estin Foundation of New Rochelle, NY. Eleftherios Eleftheriadis, the highly regarded Protopsaltis of St. Nicholas Shrine Church in Flushing, NY, who previously served on the faculty of the Music School of Thessaloniki, Greece, will introduce students to original texts in Byzantine music notation. (To register, call 914–961–8313 x317, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Bringing two world-renowned Byzantine music instructors to St. Vladimir’s supports the Seminary’s “Bishop Basil Program in Byzantine Liturgical Music,” begun in 2010, when the seminary Board of Trustees presented The Right Rev. Basil (Essey) (alumnus '73) with an honorary doctorate and announced the creation of a program in his name “to ensure the heritage of teaching Byzantine music not only continues at St. Vladimir’s but also evolves.” Appropriately, His Grace Basil, bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, will be a featured speaker at the Seminary’s 75th Anniversary Gala Benefit Banquet, Thursday, November 7, 2013.
August 28, 2013
Call for Presentation Proposals
The 2014 Pan-Orthodox Liturgical Music Symposium
"Orthodox Liturgical Music Composition: Fostering a Living Creative Tradition in the English-Speaking World"
June 12-15, 2014
The 2014 Pan-Orthodox Liturgical Music Symposium, in conjunction with the Department of Music at Northern Kentucky University, invites proposals for symposium presentations in the area of Orthodox music composition and liturgical music, especially those related to the 2014 theme: "Orthodox Liturgical Music Composition: Fostering a Living Creative Tradition in the English-Speaking World"
Possible topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:
• The role of the Orthodox composer in the 21st century
• Creativity as a living Orthodox tradition
• Survey of the work of a 20th/21st century Orthodox composer
• Orthodox aesthetics and contemporary culture
• The current state of Orthodox music in a particular country, region, or ethnic tradition (does not necessarily need to be English-speaking)
The 2014 Pan-Orthodox Liturgical Music Symposium is a four-day event specifically dedicated to singers, conductors, and composers of all Orthodox traditions. The symposium will encourage and explore the current state of Orthodox choral composition in the English-speaking world today. The event will include opportunities for participants to sing newly written choral works, to participate in discussions, to hear presentations, and to attend a very special concert featuring the East/West Festival Choir.
The event will take place on the campus of Northern Kentucky University in the Metropolitan Cincinnati region.
A limited number of proposals will be considered for inclusion on the symposium program. The selection committee will contact those who submitted proposals regarding their status in late January 2014.
• Proposals should include the presentation title, presenter’s name, address, email, affiliation, and abstract of no more than 300 words.
• Proposals should be designed for a 45-minute presentation.
• If accepted, the conference fee for the presenter will be waived.
• Travel to and accommodations during the conference are the responsibility of the presenter.
Dr. Kurt Sander, Symposium Director
Department of Music – Fine Arts 253
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY 41099
or submit electronically to email@example.com with “Liturgical Music Symposium” in the subject heading
SUBMISSION DEADLINE is February 3, 2014 (postmark)
August 23, 3013
Christ the Savior Cathedral in Miami, FL, recently hosted Dr Christopher Veniamim. Dr Veniamin is a Professor of Patristics at St Tikhon's Seminary. You can listen to his talks on the Incarnation of Christ and Salvation on Ancient Faith Radio.
Photos from the 2013 Assembly
Here are the photos, presentations, and information from the 2013 Diocesan Assembly, which was held in Jacksonville/Jacksonville Beach July 29-Aug 1.
There were two talks by Fr John Behr to the Assembly, Death: The Final Frontier and Taking Back Death. You can also hear his talk at the Banquet, Episcopacy and Leadership in the Church Today.
Archbishop Nikon's address to the assemblycan be viewed here, and the newly approved Diocesan By-Laws are available here.
Steven Pereny was tonsured a Reader at the Wednesday Liturgy, Fr Antonio Perdomo was made an Archpriest, Fr Leo Poore recieved the Palitza, and Fr John Maxwell was awarded the Jeweled Cross. May God grant them many years!
August 13, 2013
Beginning August 3rd, Fr Stephen Lourie, will serve at Holy Spirit Church in Venice, FL. Fr Stephen is "on loan" from the Antiochian Archdiocese and will be serving the community for the forseeable future. For more information on the work being done in Venice, please visit www.hsoc-venice.com.
August 13, 2013
St Justin Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, FL, is seeking a new Youth Director. Please see this job description for more information.
Groungbreaking Photos - 08/13/13
Nicholasville, KY [St. Athanasius Orthodox Church]-- Over 150 people gathered on Saturday, August 10th, for the groundbreaking ceremony at St. Athanasius Orthodox Church's new property in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
“This event has been a long time in coming,” said Fr. Justin Patterson, pastor of St. Athanasius.
For the past 11 years, since its founding as an OCA mission, St. Athanasius has met in a storefront shopping center in Nicholasville.
"Our location has been effective in helping us grow from those early days," Fr. Justin said. "However, the parish always understood, that at some point we would need to develop our own facility to continue and expand the work we are already doing and hope to do in the future. Part of the Orthodox Christian faith is developing a physical space that tells everybody, 'Here we are. This is the Church.'"
His Grace, Bishop Mark (Maymon) of Baltimore presided at the invitation of the locum tenens of the Diocese of the South of the Orthodox Church in America. During Bishop Mark's remarks, he challenged the faithful of St. Athanasius not to be too enamored with the work of their hands.
"Never forget," His Grace said,"that the church is not stones and mortar. The church is made up of the people of God.”
He encouraged everyone to be “living stones” of the church in Nicholasville.
Local Orthodox Christians from St. Athanasius' sister communities in the Lexington area also attended. Fr George Wilson of Panagia Pantovasilissa Greek Orthodox Church, Fr. Thomas Gallaway of St. Andrew Antiochian Orthodox Church, and Deacon Jeremiah Davis, attached to Holy Cross Monastery (ROCOR) in West Virginia, served the groundbreaking ceremony with His Grace and the community of St. Athanasius. State and local officials were also present to congratulate the parish on the groundbreaking.
The service ended with the burning of the mortgage on the property, which is now paid off in full.
"Our people worked hard to pay off that debt, to save for building the church, and to engage a good architect," Fr. Justin said.
The building committee and parish council worked with Lexington architect Tom Smith, a parishioner at the local Greek Orthodox church, to develop cost-effective plans that could be implemented in phases to meet the church's growth needs for the next 25 years.
The first phase of construction will be an 8,000sf building with a walk-out basement. Final general contractor selection will take place in September. Second phase will include the final temple and renovating of first phase construction to serve as a parish hall and education facility. Construction on the first phase is expected to begin in early October. Updates on the building project can be found on the parish website at www.athanasiusoca.org
Site plan: http://athanasiusoca.org/images/wp-up/2012/12/StAthanasius_Site_121211.jpg
August 6, 2013
Please see this link for an article on Orthodoxy from the Longview News Journal. The article was written about St John of Damascus Church, a Mission of the Diocese of the South, located in Tyler, TX.
GLORY TO GOD FOR ALL THINGS Orthodox Christianity, Culture and Religion, Making the Journey of FaithPriest Stephen Freeman - St Anne Church - Oak Ridge, TN