The Diocese of the South
Orthodox Church in America
Information for the 2013 Diocesan Assembly

April 15, 2013

The 2013 Diocesan Assembly will take place in Jacksonville, FL, from July 29 to August 1.  Please see the welcome letter from Fr Theodore Pisarchuk.  The schedule of events can be found here

Registration information is available here, please submit one form per parish.  Please note that the fee increases by $30 on June 15 and all registrations must be complete by July 7 (this applies to the youth program as well).  Also, the observer fee is only $20 for incidentals.  It does not include the banquet fee.

As mentioned in the welcome letter, there will be a youth program at this assembly.  Please see this welcome letter from Dn Jacob Hatch for more information and complete the registration packet for each child attending.

Southcentral Deanery Meeting and Ft Worth Lecture

April 15, 2013

Fr. Sergius Halvorsen, Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir Orthodox Seminary was guest speaker on April 7, 8 and 9, at St. Barbara Orthodox Church in Ft. Worth.   

In addition Fr. Marcus Burch, Chancellor of the Diocese of the South was present and led discussions for clergy able to attend a deanery retreat and meeting.

Fr. Sergius offered inspirational sermons on the Cross, Sunday morning, April 7, during the Liturgy at St. Barbara's, and Sunday night at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Euless, Texas at Pan Orthodox Vespers.   Fourteen local clergy and approximately two hundred and fifty people were present at St. John's from a number of Orthodox churches in the DFW area.   This was the first Pan Orthodox Vespers celebrated in the parish's new temple.   After the Sunday Divine Liturgy Fr. Halvorsen also presented a talk on "Hearing God's Calling," and on the work of St. Vladimir's Seminary. 

On Monday morning and early afternoon, April 8, after an 8 am Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, Fr. Sergius and Fr. Marcus met with deanery clergy:  approximately sixteen priests and deacons were in attendance.  Fr. Halvorsen's topic of discussion was,  "Orthodox Ecclesiology from the Perspective of Preaching."  Time was allotted for informal discussions and a Q and A, with both Fr. Sergius and Fr. Marcus.  

Monday evening was a keynote address on, "The Vulnerability of the Incarnation:  God made Man," open to the public, with a reception and Q and A.   The topic was chosen in honor of His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri, remembering his very specific teaching emphasis on the Incarnation, and also as a topic consistent with the Lenten Season.  The formal public gathering on Monday started at 6 pm with a meet and greet, refreshments, and the lecture at 7 pm.  Approximately fifty people were present from five Orthodox Churches, as well as local non Orthodox Churches.

Tuesday morning, April 9, the clergy met once again with Fr. Sergius and Fr. Marcus for a two and half hour wrap up.  Discussions revolved around the subject matter heard on Monday, but questions and comments were offered on a variety of other topics.

Members of St. Barbara's and clergy from the Southcentral Deanery wish to thank both Fr. Sergius and Fr. Marcus for a spiritually profitable two and half days.

Fr Sergius delivering the homily at St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Euless, TX
Fr Sergius delivering the homily at St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Euless, TX
Fr Sergius delivering the homily at St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Euless, TX
Fr Sergius leading the clergy retreat.
Fr Sergius leading the clergy retreat.
Fr Sergius leading the clergy retreat.
Deanery clergy at the retreat.
Deanery clergy at the retreat.
Deanery clergy at the retreat.
Carolinas Deanery Continuing Education

April 5, 2013

The clergy of the Carolinas Deanery met from March 31 to April 2 for continuing education in homiletics.  Fr Sergius Halverson of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary taught the course.  Before meeting in person, the group participated in a webinar to go over some basics of homiletics and receive assignments to work on for the meeting.  Once gathered together Fr Sergius discussed the nature of liturgical preaching.  The clergy delivered their homilies and the other participants shared their thoughts as to the effectiveness of the homilies.  This was a valuable and productive experience, which we hope will continue to bear fruit in the Carolinas.

Episcopal Search and Special Assembly

April 5, 2013

3rd Friday of Great Lent


Dear Brothers and Concelebrants, Faithful, and Friends,

Christ is in our midst!  

At last month's session of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, two men were vetted who might be potential episcopal candidates for our diocese.  It was the judgment of the Holy Synod that both men need more experience.  Therefore, we are taking steps to transfer one of these potential candidates, Fr Gerasim Eliel, into the Diocese of the South where he can begin working as a priest in our diocese and get some of the experience the members of the Holy Synod think important. We plan to put him into a position where he will be visible to members of our diocese and also which will allow him to begin working collegially with the priests of the Diocese of the South.  

Unfortunately, without vetted and approved candidates, we will not be having a special nominating assembly as part of this summer's assembly at St Justin Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, FL. I know we were all looking forward to a nomination and possible election this summer. I would encourage us, however, to see this decision by the Holy Synod as the result of prayer and discernment as how best to proceed with the election of a hierarch for the Diocese of the South.  In the meantime we can look forward to the move of Fr. Gerasim to the Diocese of the South and the gathering of experience by other potential candidates as small, but significant, steps toward a nomination at a later date.

Wishing you every blessing as we reach the midpoint of the fast, I remain faithfully yours

in Christ Jesus

Archpriest Marcus

OCF Alumni and Young Adult Whitewater Retreat

April 4, 2013

Please see this flyer for more information about a young adult whitewater retreat in Charlotte, NC, this year.

St Innocent Church Introduction Video

April 3, 2013

It is often very hard, especially in the “buckle” of the Bible Belt where main line denomination Christianity has reigned for generations, for people to gather the courage to enter an Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church is often perceived as exotic and in this area that means something to be avoided.  On the other hand there are many people in this area who are seeking something deeper than what is offered in denominational Christianity.  In spring of 2012 St. Innocent Orthodox Church began the process of filming a short documentary about our parish.   This idea partially arose because Ted Liedle, a seeker and most importantly a professional director/producer/camera man visited our parish. He offered his services and was and has been a regular attendee in our community.  It is our ultimate hope that this video will help others make their first steps into Orthodox Church by letting people know that Christ is the beginning and ending of everything in our community and in the Orthodox world in general. To view the video, click here.