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Date range: 2009-09-06 to 2017-11-22

Printed 2017-11-22 08:50:17 AM


2014 Pan-Orthodox Liturgical Music Symposium


Announcing the 2014 Pan-Orthodox Orthodox Liturgical Music Symposium

“Orthodox Liturgical Music Composition: Fostering a Living Creative Tradition in the English-Speaking World”

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 new Orthodox choral music, to participate in discussions, to hear presentations, and to attend a very special concert featuring newly-composed Orthodox choral works performed by the East/West Festival Choir. Please visit for more information.

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Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Holy Relics


MARTINA BAGNOLI (Curator, Walters Art Museum): A relic is usually a remains of the body of a holy person, could also be something that this holy person had touched. The saints were not touched by sin, and therefore their remains were imbued with the grace and the power of God. Therefore if you prayed to a relic, that is a kind of way of channeling your prayer to heaven. You don’t worship the relics or the saint. You venerate them, and that distinction is precisely in order to avoid falling into idolatry.

From the beginning of Christianity, artists were enlisted to create precious containers that would speak of the spiritual power of the content. According to doctrine, Christ and Mary ascended bodily to heaven, so we do not have bodily relics of these two very important figures of Christianity. However, we have reliquaries of the hair of Mary or the milk of Mary. Mostly for Christ you would have relics of the True Cross or other instrument of his passions.

Read the full article.

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Metropolitan Jonah Goes to Washington


Julia Duin writes an extensive story in the Washington Post on Metropolitan Jonah and the OCA:

They appeared at the edge of the crowd on the Mall, a group of men seemingly out of a distant century. Their heads were crowned with klobuks, the distinctive headgear of Orthodox clergy. Sporting black cassocks and untrimmed gray beards, with golden icons dangling from their necks on long chains, these visitors stood out among the crowd clad in jeans and winter coats. The man in their center carried a bejeweled walking stick.

Metropolitan Jonah, 51, leads the Orthodox Church in America, the second-largest Eastern Orthodox body in the United States. He was there to rally the huddled masses waiting in the freezing air to begin the March for Life, the annual demonstration protesting the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide. His aim was to boost Orthodox participation in political issues. But his efforts to change the OCA would spark a ferocious reaction from his own bishops one month later. At issue is the very nature of Orthodoxy in the New World.

The tensions began with Jonah’s surprise election as head (or “metropolitan”) of the OCA in late 2008. The new leader, who is the first native-born convert to head the church, wasted little time instituting change. He put word out to his bishops and seminarians that their presence was expected at the March for Life, held every January. It was time, he would later tell a reporter, for the Orthodox “to step out in the public square” on a number of social concerns, including abortion. To encourage such stepping out, Jonah also decided to move the offices of the OCA from its isolated Syosset, N.Y., chancery to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Northwest Washington.

On the morning of the march, Jonah preached an uncompromising Gospel at the cathedral. “We need to see and call things what they are and not in some disguised politically correct language,” he said, dressed in resplendent gold brocade vestments, his salt-and-pepper beard making him appear like an Old Testament prophet. “Abortion is the taking of human life.”

Read the full article on the Washington Post.

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OCA Synod Announces Changes


From February 22-24, 2011, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America participated in a retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH led the hierarchs in a review of matters affecting the life of the Orthodox Church in America, including the OCA strategic plan, preparations for the upcoming Assembly of Bishops and plans for the 16th All American Council in Seattle.

During their retreat, His Beatitude presented a request to the Holy Synod for a time of personal retreat and spiritual renewal. The Holy Synod granted His Beatitude’s request for a period of 60 days and appointed the senior Hierarch, His Eminence, Archbishop NATHANIEL, of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate to assist in the temporary administration of the OCA during His Beatitude’s retreat. (more…)

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+Jonah Leaves Role as OCA Hierarch

According to several reports (including here and here) Metropolitan Jonah is leaving his role as the First Hierarch of the OCA. Retired Bishop Tikhon of LA describes it as a “mandatory leave of absence.” Archbishop Nathaniel Popp is said to be named to temporarily fill the spot of First Hierarch.

A full report including background information on events leading up to the ouster, is here.

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Greek Church Sues Over Unrestored 9-11 Church


On February 14, 2011, St. Nicholas Church and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America filed a lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in order to foster the rebuilding at Ground Zero:

The Parish and the Archdiocese would have preferred to rebuild the Church without litigation.  However, they have been unable to do so since the Port Authority renounced a long-standing agreement with the Church to rebuild at Ground Zero, seized the Church’s land, barred the Church from access to it, and has refused to talk or meet with the Church or the Archdiocese. This legal action has been taken not only as a last resort to restore the property and rebuilding rights of St. Nicholas Church, but also to fulfill the common vision of civil and church authorities that the Church be rebuilt as a place of prayer and meditation at Ground Zero for all people.

Read the full article here, and a related NY article and video here.

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Antiochian Priest Faces Rape, Assault Charges


WCVB TV in Boston writes:

A former pastor at a Worcester church has been accused of raping and assaulting a 43-year-old woman.

The Rev. Charles Michael Abdelahad, former pastor at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, is accused of attacking the woman on different occasions dating back to 2007, according to the Telegram and Gazette.

Abdelahad is accused of biting the victim, pulling her hair and punching her in the head. Police also allege he hit her with a religious icon and bat and scratched her on the stomach with keys, the newspaper reported.

He will be arraigned Friday on a single charge of rape, four counts of assault and battery and five counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Parishioners said Abdelahad has been a priest for at least 20 years, and he left the parish last month. (Source)

Related articles are here.

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Police Intervene as Bishops Meet at Scandalized Monastery


Police intervened after a dispute arose at a meeting of Bishops at the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery last Friday Jan. 21, 2011.  Several attorneys were present, presumably due to circumstances related to a pending lawsuit over claims of abuse by Bishop Paisos, former Abbott of the Monastery.  The National Herald writes:

An incident occurred at the meeting of the corporate officials of the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery that took place last Friday Jan. 21, 2010 at the monastery’s Astoria’s offices requiring police intervention. Bishop Vikentios of Apameia, who was invited to attend the meeting as the secretary of the corporation, did not participate in the meeting after all, because the monastery’s legal counselor did not allow the Bishop to bring along his attorney, George Razis. Bishop Vikentios was asked to sit down to the meeting alone, without his lawyer, but he refused. The police were immediately called to scene, and they took the reports of both sides, Bishop Vikentios and the other monastery officials. (source)

Read the full article here.

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Boy George Returns Church Icon


According to The Cyprus Mail, the famous pop icon Boy George has returned a Cypriot church icon that he bought in the eighties, after a Bishop saw it hanging on the singer’s wall on a TV show.

The discovery was made by the Cyprus Orthodox Church’s representative in Brussels, Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis, while watching an interview with the former “Culture Club” and “Jesus Loves You” front man.

Porfyrios told the BBC’s PM show: “On the left side of the fireplace at his house during the interview we located in Boy George’s living room an icon of Jesus Christ Pantokrator.”

Suspecting the icon to be one of the many stolen and sold after the 1974 invasion, Porfyrios decided to delve deeper.

He said: “Afterwards we researched the story with expert accounts, and we found it stems from Cyprus, specifically from the Church of St Charalambos in the occupied village of New Chorio Kithrea.”

After verifying this with the priest from St Charalambos, he contacted the singer and told him about the icon’s provenance and he was happy to return it to its original owners without payment.

Read the full article here.

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Monk Nabbed at Greece Airport Trying to Smuggle Dead Nun’s Skeleton


A monk and two accomplices were busted Sunday trying to board a plane in Athens with the skull and bones of a dead nun in their luggage.

When questioned about why he had a skull and skeletal remains wrapped in cloth in his suitcase, the 42-year-old monk, who is from Cyprus, told police that he was transferring the remains from Greece to a monastery in Cyprus because the nun was a saint.

The Cypriot Orthodox church, though, showed little faith in the monk’s story, saying the attempted smuggling was sacrilegious.

“It appears to be the work of charlatans with a financial interest, that is what I suspect,” Cyprus’ Archbishop Chrysostomos II told Reuters. (more…)

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New York Times Article on Troy Polamalu’s Orthodox Spirituality


The New York Times journalist Karen Crouse wrote an article entitled “A Defensive Anchor Walks a Spiritual Path.” An excerpt:

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu opened his red leather-bound playbook to a dog-eared page. “The life of a man hangs by a hair,” he began reading in a voice as soft as falling snow. “At every step our life hangs in the balance.”

It was three days before the Steelers’ A.F.C. divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, a matchup in which the Super Bowl aspirations of two worthy contenders hang in the balance, and Polamalu was getting himself centered.

“How many millions of people woke up in the morning, never to see the evening?” Polamalu read. And then: “The life of a man is a dream. In a dream, one sees things that do not exist; he might see that he is crowned a king, but when he wakes up, he sees that in reality he is just a pauper.”

The book in Polamalu’s hands, “Counsels From the Holy Mountain,” guides him in football and in life. It contains the letters and homilies of a Greek Orthodox monk, Elder Ephraim, whom Polamalu described as his spiritual doctor.

Polamalu, 29, sought out the octogenarian monk, who resides in a monastery in southern Arizona, a few years ago, a meeting that led Polamalu to the place he described as “heaven on earth.” It is a summit of sorts. But not the Super Bowl, though Polamalu won two championship rings in his first seven seasons with the Steelers. Neither of those journeys shaped him as profoundly as the pilgrimage he made to Mount Athos, a Greek Orthodox spiritual center in Greece.

Read the full article here.

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New Converts Flocking to an Ancient Church


The Houston Chronicle reports:

Like many of his parishioners, Father Richard Petranek came to the Orthodox church in search of the past.

After 30 years as an Episcopalian priest, Petranek converted to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and leads a new but growing parish in west Houston, filled almost entirely with converts to the ancient faith.

“Most people come for the stability,” he said. “The same thing that is taught today in the Orthodox church was taught 500 years ago, was taught 1,000 years ago, was taught 1,500 years ago.”

At a time when most mainline Christian churches are losing members, Eastern Orthodox churches — which trace their beliefs to the church described in the New Testament – are growing, both in Houston and across the United States.

The numbers are still small: the 2010 U.S. Orthodox census estimates there are about 32,000 active Orthodox churchgoers in Texas and just more than 1 million nationally, although other estimates are higher. But the number of U.S. Orthodox parishes grew 16 percent over the past decade.

Read the full article here.

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CNN: 1,700-year-old Christian Monastery Hidden in Egypt’s Desert

CNN reports on a 4th century monastery which was a springboard for Christianity’s spread throughout Palestine, Mesopotamia, Persia and ultimately Europe (the photos are particularly nice):

The story goes that St. Mark, one of Jesus Christ’s 12 apostles, arrived in Alexandria to spread the word. In a city rife with various schools of thought and religious beliefs, St. Mark was confronted with philosophers who were convinced his teachings were at odds with their own beliefs.

To defend his beliefs, St. Mark founded a theological school, teaching Christianity from a philosophical point of view. He lived a life modeled after Jesus and attracted many converts who ultimately became disciples.

These were the first monks.

Read the full article here.

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Pittsburgh Steeler’s Troy Polamalu Says ‘Kala Christougena!’


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes:

The most famous Orthodox Christian in Pittsburgh, if not the nation, has a greeting for his fellow believers today:

“Kala Christougena!” said Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. That’s Greek for “Merry Christmas!”

Mr. Polamalu and his wife, Theodora, actually celebrated Christmas 13 days ago, but they keep the same Orthodox traditions as those who observe today. Most Orthodox celebrate on Dec. 25, but many Slavic churches tie liturgy to the old Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. The Greek Orthodox Church and some others have adopted the Gregorian calendar — except at Easter.

“We all celebrate Easter on the same day,” said Mr. Polamalu, 29. Orthodoxy is the Eastern wing of the earliest Christian church, which split into the Orthodox and Catholic churches in 1054.

He and Theodora converted to Orthodoxy about five years ago. His background was Catholic and Protestant, hers Muslim and Protestant. They were Christians in search of a deeper, more consistent experience of God.

“Orthodoxy is like an abyss of beauty that’s just endless,” he said. “I have read the Bible many times. But after fasting, and being baptized Orthodox, it’s like reading a whole new Bible. You see the depth behind the words so much more clearly.”

Read the full article here.

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Victims Group Pushes Support for Accused Archbishop Off Web


A Toronto newspaper reports:

A U.S.-based victims group has successfully appealed to Canadian religious leaders to stop a Vancouver parish from soliciting support for an archbishop in Canada charged with sexual assault.

However, a move to close down the parish’s Web-based fundraising campaign was not enough, Cappy Larson, a spokesperson for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Wednesday in an interview from San Francisco.

The leadership of the Orthodox Church in America’s Canadian archdiocese should take the next step and make a genuine effort to reach out to victims, said Ms. Larson, whose group claims more than 10,000 members, including hundreds in Canada. “They are just trying to protect themselves. They knew the parish could be a problem for them.”

Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was previously known as Kenneth William Storheim, was arrested on Nov. 24 in Winnipeg and charged with two counts of sexual assault. Media reports have stated the abuse allegedly occurred in the mid-1980s at a Winnipeg church and involved two 10-year-old boys.

Archbishop Storheim took a leave of absence from his post in October, when the police investigation became known. The Orthodox Church in America suspended him in early December, a week after he was arrested.

Read the full article at

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Car Bomb Outside Egyptian Coptic Church Kills 7


CNN reports that a car bomb outside a church in Alexandria, Egypt, killed at least seven and wounded at least 24 early Saturday, security officials said, according to Egyptian state media.

The car exploded at 12:20 a.m. in front of the Church of Two Saints, where Coptic Christians were attending services, Nile TV reported.

Eight Muslims were among the injured, according to state news agency MENA.


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More People Turning to the Occult For Help


(UK, News of the World) — It appears that increasing numbers of people are turning to the occult for guidance. A recent poll showed 60 per cent of Brits had visited a medium or mystic and 71 per cent believe they can predict the future. With readings now offered in department stores and high-profile celebs seeking guidance from psychics, it seems they are taking over the role of counsellors, offering support on everything from relationships to careers.

It’s a trend celebrity psychic Jayne Wallace has seen growing. “We are the new therapists,” she says. “People have always believed in the paranormal, but now it’s become more acceptable to admit it. Consulting a psychic doesn’t have the same stigma as seeing a counsellor and we can give people a peek into the future. A reading shows people new opportunities.”

Read the whole story here:

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Prince Charles To Return To Mount Athos

(, March,2010, by Adam Helliker) — As he approaches his fifth wedding anniversary next month, Prince Charles is feeling the need for a male-only spiritual recharge: he is contemplating a solo sojourn to a monastery in northern Greece.

The religious enclave of Mount Athos, where no woman has set foot since the 11th century (and even female animals are banned), was a favourite retreat for Charles during his testing times with his first wife Diana. But since his marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles he has not felt the need to return, until now. (more…)

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Journey To Orthodoxy Launches Website


Journey To Orthodoxy announces the launch of a new, content rich website for inquirers, newcomers and those looking into the Orthodox faith.

The launch of a new website at, fills a void in online material for inquirers and those struggling to find and enter the Orthodox Church.

“A lot of thought, research and time went into making it easy to use and filling this site with rich content, especially for the newcomer to our Orthodox faith,” said Fr. John A. Peck, designer and president of Journey To Orthodoxy. (more…)

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The National Herald: What’s The Fate of Orthodox Unity and Diaspora?


“Behold now, what is so good or so joyous as for brethren to dwell together in unity?” — PSALM 132

By Peter Marudas

(Baltimore, The National Herald) — In late May, a meeting of potentially enormous significance for the Orthodox Church in America will occur in New York City when all Orthodox Bishops in good standing in North and Central America convene for a first-ever Episcopal Assembly. This unprecedented gathering has received little attention in most Orthodox circles and virtually none in the wider religious and secular media.

Nevertheless, its implications for the future of Orthodox Christianity in the Americas are both hopeful and controversial. The historic Episcopal Assembly will take place shortly after the Great Feast of Pentecost — the Kairos — when the Holy Spirit inspired the disciples to establish the Church.

Until 18 months ago, the mere contemplation of such a meeting would have been considered unthinkable in view of long-standing and entrenched official opposition to even discussing the question of closer intra-Orthodox relations. In recent years, a few Orthodox hierarchs with some support from clergy and laity openly but unsuccessfully championed unity initiatives. But with the exception of Orthodox Christian Laity, no group has consistently or aggressively pursued Orthodox unity in America. In October, 2008 the unity landscape experienced an earthquake, when His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew convened in Istanbul, a Synaxis (gathering) of the leaders of all Autocephalous (independent) Orthodox Churches; the entire leadership of world Orthodoxy.

Read the full article posted on the OCL website:

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Final Agreement Reached on the Rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church


NEW YORK – The Governor of the State of New York Andrew Cuomo, announced yesterday at the Archdiocesan Council meeting, that the final agreement on the rebuilding of St. Nicholas was signed the day before, Oct. 18, 2012 and that the Port Authority would begin construction immediately hoping to complete the foundation in a year and then turn the site over to the Church.

Governor Cuomo made the announcement during the joint luncheon of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the National Philoptochos Board, which had both convened for their first meeting of the 2012-2014 term in the New York Hilton.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America welcomed Governor Cuomo and thanked him for being “instrumental” in the process and for “helping St. Nicholas Church be resurrected.” The Archbishop talked about the transformation of the World Trade Center and said that “when St. Nicholas Church is completed it will be a place of praying, a place of comfort, openness and reconciliation where the relatives of the almost three thousand victims of 9/11 can come and light a candle.” The Archbishop offered to the Governor a symbolic gift, a sterling silver hand-made cross, as “a symbol of sacrifice and love, of loss and gain, of death and resurrection.”

Governor Cuomo accepted the symbolic gift on behalf of all the people of the State of New York and after the announcement praised the perseverance of the Greek Orthodox Church and community and said:

Let me say this on the Church of St. Nicholas though, I applaud you for what you did – the Archbishop has been very kind, (but) I am only doing what I am supposed to be doing. I am doing my job and what I was elected to do. But the fight that you waged for St. Nicholas Church, that went over a decade is remarkable. You faced every obstacle you were told “no”, time after time, after time. You fought the bureaucracy numerous governors, numerous heads of the Port Authority and you wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and you kept coming back and kept coming back… and it is such a beautiful story of the Greek community. Organizing, mobilizing, refusing to give up, refusing to loose. And, what was most beautiful, it wasn’t for you, it wasn’t about a monetary gain, it wasn’t because someone was going to be advanced, it was the fundamental belief of the Greek community, which is about community and faith and philanthropy.

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Do Orthodox Christians Have Highest Faith Retention Rate?


According to this non-profit study on faith retention, Greek Orthodox Christians have the highest retention rates of any Christian group. It isn’t clear from this study if ‘Greek Orthodox’ includes all Orthodox jurisdictions or if this is specifically calling out the Greek Orthodox. “Retention” in the survey was posed as a question about whether one is still a member of the faith that they were raised in. For any religion, the percentage of adults who remain affiliated is called the “retention rate.”

Read the full article.

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Memory Eternal Fr. Peter Gillquist


Fr. Peter E. Gillquist reposed in the Lord on July, 1 2012, the Feast of Cosmas & Damian (N.S.).

Fr. Peter was an archpriest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and retired chairman of the archdiocese’s department of missions and evangelism. He was chairman of Conciliar Press (Ben Lomond, California), and the author of numerous books, including Love Is Now, The Physical Side of Being Spiritual and Becoming Orthodox. He also served as project director of the Orthodox Study Bible and beginning in 1997 served as the National Chaplain of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Gillquist and his wife, Marilyn (married in 1960), were long-term residents of Santa Barbara, California, but as of June 2009 they resided in Bloomington, Indiana.

The servant of God Fr. Peter E. Gillquist departed this life at 9:20 p.m. surrounded by family. He has finished the race. Memory eternal!

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”


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Actor’s Orthodox Acceptance Speech at the Emmy’s

This past Holy Saturday Jonathan Jackson, a five-time Emmy Award winning actor on General Hospital, together with his family, were received into the Orthodox Christian Church. Along with acting, Jonathan is also the lead singer of the indie rock band Enation.
Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick interviewed him about his journey into Orthodox Christianity, his family, how he lives his faith as a Hollywood actor, music and writing, on an episode of Roads From Emmaus, which can be heard here. For background on the interview, read here.
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Pascha Service to Air on NBC


NEW YORK – The video presentation of “Christ is Risen! The Resurrection Service and Divine Liturgy of Pascha,” a program highlighting Orthodox Christian Pascha, or Easter, will air on NBC affiliates nationwide this April.

The program, produced by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and videotaped live at St. Nicholas Church in Flushing, N.Y., highlights the midnight Resurrection Service and the Divine Liturgy.

Read more

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+Jonah To Enter St. Luke’s Evaluation Program Nov. 14th

2011-11-01 reports Metropolitan Jonah’s Opening Address to the 16th All American Council and the news that +Jonah will enter an evaluation at St. Luke’s institute. +Jonah began his address with an apology and announcement. He stated:

“….These last three years have been the three most difficult years of my life. I have been under a relentless barrage of criticism for most of this time for every forum I am meant to oversee: the chancery officers and staff, the Metropolitan Council and most troubling to me, the Holy Synod of Bishops.

I admit that I have very little experience of administration and it was a risk for the 2008 Council to elect me, the newest and most inexperienced of bishops. I have worked very hard to fulfill your expectations. But this is not an excuse.

These three years have been an administrative disaster. And I need to accept full responsibility for that and for my part in it. I did not understand the depths of the breakdown with the bishops. I thought we had a good working relationship but obviously there is something very broken. I need to regain the confidence of my brother bishops and of many others in leadership positions in our Church…”

Read the full article and more about St. Luke’s institute.

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St. Nicholas Church, Destroyed on 9/11, to be Rebuilt at Ground Zero


The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announces today an agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey regarding the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo invited Archbishop Demetrios and the Hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, together with leadership of the St. Nicholas Parish and the Archdiocesan Council to his New York City office for the official signing of the agreement by Archdiocesan Council Vice-Chairman Michael Jaharis and Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward. Archbishop Demetrios and Governor Cuomo signed as the formal witnesses to the agreement.

Archbishop Demetrios expressed particular praise for Governor Cuomo and said, “We are grateful to our esteemed Governor and precious friend Andrew Cuomo for bringing to reality the dream we have nourished for ten long years. St. Nicholas Church, rising again with the help of God at Ground Zero – where it stood spiritually important for 85 years, is an affirmation of the significance of religious freedom and experience for all New Yorkers and all Americans. The covenant stands firm. We will again light many candles in the new St. Nicholas Church and remember those who were lost to us, and those heroes who so nobly sacrificed their lives. Our pledge is to be a witness for all New Yorkers, that freedom of conscience and the fundamental human right of free religious expression will always shine forth in the resurrected St. Nicholas Church.” The Archbishop also expressed deep appreciation to Michael Jaharis and Dennis Mehiel and the other members of the joint committee who had labored so diligently to accomplish this historic agreement. (more…)

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CNN: Group of WA Nuns Help Firefighters With a Wildfire


GOLDENDALE, Washington (CNN) A wildfire burning in Washington State turned a group of nuns into firefighters. The Monastery Complex Fire came dangerously close to a greek orthodox monastery on Wednesday. A newspaper photographer was covering the fire and caught the nuns on camera fighting flames.

It was a regular wednesday at their bakery when flames shot up across the highway. The sisters grabbed hoses and buckets of water doing their best to put out the flames while they waited for firefighters to arrive.

“It was just like a little brush fire, about a foot high. We started wetting it, but it was just out of control when the big pine trees started.”

Meanwhile another spot fire was burning down the road toward their cemetery and dormitory.

“We’re just praying and waiting and watching and then, these trees right behind this building shot up. And that’s when they told us we had to evacuate.”

The sisters spent an anxious night worried they would lose it all.

Read the full article.

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Photos of Archbishop Dmitri’s Funeral


Photos from Dallas pertaining to the falling asleep of Archbishop Dmitri.

On Sunday, August 28, 2011, at 2:00 am, His Eminence, The Most Reverend DMITRI, retired Archbishop of the Diocese of the South, Orthodox Church in America, passsed away. The Archbishop was eighty-seven years old.  Ordained in 1954, then consecrated to the episcopacy in 1969, his ecclesiastical ministry spanned fifty-seven years.

Photos Set 1

Photos Set 2

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Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh (GOA) Resigns


Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh (GOA) has resigned citing health reasons. Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit has been named Locum Tenens of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh until a new Metropolitan is elected for the See.

Read more.


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The Repose of His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri


His Eminence, the Most Reverend Dmitri, 87, retired Archbishop of Dallas and the Diocese of the South, fell asleep in the Lord at his home here at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, August 28, 2011.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, and many priests and faithful had kept vigil in Dallas during Archbishop Dmitri’s final days. The Metropolitan was to have traveled to the Czech Republic with a delegation from the Orthodox Church in America, but remained in Dallas to be with the Archbishop.

Funeral services will be celebrated at Dallas’ Saint Seraphim Cathedral — the parish Archbishop Dmitri founded as a mission shortly after his ordination in 1954. Days and times will be posted at as they are received.

Consecrated to the episcopacy in 1969, Archbishop Dmitri’s ministry spanned 57 remarkable years. (more…)

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Orthodox Christian Navy SEAL Killed in Afghanistan


A visitation for Chief Petty Offier John Weston Faas, 31, one of 22 Navy SEALs killed with eight other US troops when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, will be held at Holy Trinity Church [OCA], 956 Forest St., St. Paul, from 6:30 until 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 21.

A parishioner of Holy Trinity Church, Faas is the second known Minnesota casualty of the attack. He was a 1998 graduate of Minnehaha Academy, where he was co-valedictorian of his class and captain and quarterback of the football team. (more…)

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Journal of American Orthodox Church History Launched


The Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA) is pleased to announce a new, affiliated academic publication, the Journal of American Orthodox Church History (JAOCH). JAOCH consists of articles, book reviews, and translations of historically significant texts, is peer reviewed by established scholars within the field, and published electronically annually. The first edition is available through Prairie Parish Press and the cost is $10 per issue. More information, including the table of contents and an introduction to the first issue, may be found on the website of Prairie Parish Press:

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Antiochians Launch “Discover Orthodoxy”


The Antiochian Orthodox Church recently launched “Discover Orthodoxy,” an informational and apologetic website to explain the Orthodox faith to seekers. Topics include:


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Assembly of Orthodox Bishops Concludes; Decisions Made


From May 25-27, the second annual Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America gathered for its meeting at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton. There was a total of 45 bishops in attendance. In addition, nearly all of the members were present at the Assembly.

Three decisions by the Assembly stand out as particularly important. Firstly, the Assembly expressed its desire to define more carefully its relationship to the agencies and endorsed-organizations which it inherited from SCOBA. It was felt that the bishops should do more to enable the success of these ministries in North America, and they agreed that the guidelines previously used by SCOBA were not adequate for the Assembly. These guidelines will be revised by the Secretariat’s Coordinator for Agencies and Endorsed-Organizations, together with the liaison bishops for the various agencies, to allow the Assembly a more active participation in and support of the various ministries under its oversight.

Secondly, the Assembly agreed on the great importance of the role of our military chaplains, who give spiritual support to our dedicated men and women who serve in the armed forces and are subject to the many hardships of deployment and combat. They decided upon the need to develop clear guidelines for Orthodox Christian chaplains, and to create a single, unified endorsing agency for all military chaplains with the Department of Defense. In addition, it is a desired goal of the Assembly to facilitate a gathering of all active Orthodox Christian military chaplains.

And thirdly, the Assembly stressed the great importance of the Church’s ministry to the youth, and as a result, has endorsed three projected conferences to bring together Orthodox youth workers from all over North America. It is hoped that this will help to encourage them in their ministry, eliminate redundancy and divided resources among the various churches, and create a common vision for youth ministry in the Church in North America.

The Assembly decided that it was prudent for itself to be incorporated as a legal entity, as this would bring the Assembly a number of benefits and would further its ability to act as a body. It therefore authorized the proper agents to move ahead with the work of incorporation. In addition, the Assembly reaffirmed its petition of last year to the mother churches, for the partition of the Assembly, by establishing Canada as a separate region, and joining Mexico and Central America to the region of South America. This represents also the desire of the Canadian, Mexican and Central American bishops. Lastly, the Assembly drafted and approved an official message to be issued in its name to the all Orthodox Christian faithful living within the region.

Read the full areticle here:

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Assembly of Bishops Meet: Day One Events


The second meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America convened yesterday –exactly one year and one day after the first one in New York– in Chicago’ s Hilton O’Hare Airport Hotel under the chairmanship of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.

The first-day session opened with prayers with 44 bishops present. Most Canonical Orthodox Bishops from Canada did not attend, as they are seeking to establish a separate assembly. At the beginning of the meeting a letter was read from Patriarch Irinej of Serbia conveying that the Serbian members of the Assembly could not be present at this meeting because of the needs of the Serbian Church.

For the full story and photos, read more.

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Orthodox Assembly of Bishops Opens in Chicago


The second gathering of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America opened here on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, under the chairmanship of His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Formal notification of the gathering was sent to all canonical Orthodox Christian hierarchs across North and Central America at the end of February 2011.

Among the items on the agenda, according to the Assembly of Bishops’ web site, is the work of the Assembly’s 13 committees, its Secretariat, and its 14 agencies and endorsed organizations.

Prior to the gathering, Archbishop Demetrios apprised the member bishops that the fifth and latest meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission was at the end of February in Chambésy, Switzerland, adding hope that the May gathering will conclude significant work for the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Conciliar process. It was the fourth session of this Commission, held in 2009, that established the various Assemblies of Bishops across the globe. Among the final issues to be addressed by the Commission, in advance of the planned Great and Holy Council, are the questions of the diptychs — that is,the order of seniority among the autocephalous churches — and a unified process for granting and recognizing the autocephaly of dependent Churches.

The hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America are in attendance at the Assembly, which concludes on Friday, May 27.


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Assembly of Orthodox Bishops To Meet May 25-27 in Chicago


In Anticipation of the Meeting the Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America Send a Message to All the Faithful of the Orthodox Churches in America

“On Mid-Pentecost we hear the call of the Lord: ‘Whosoever thirsteth, let him come to Me and drink’ (John 7:37).  If this is so, then let us all run to Him. Whatever you thirst for – so long as it is not contrary to the Spirit of the Lord – you will find relief in Him.” – St Theophan the Recluse, 1815-1894

Mid-Pentecost is, in the words of the Pentecostarion, “the middle of those days which commence with Christ God’s saving Rising and which are sealed by Pentecost.”  It is a most radiant and majestic feast in that it is “illuminated by both the feasts” – flashing forth like a flawless diamond upon which brilliant light is shined from right and left, and gushing forth like a powerful fountain of water which is fed by two mighty streams.  Let us all quaff deeply of “the waters of piety” which flow from Him Who is the very Well-spring of Life!  “Having been enlightened by the Resurrection and Christ the Saviour, O ye brethren, and having reached the midst of the feast of the Master, let us truly keep the commandments of God, that we may be counted worthy to celebrate the Ascension and be vouchsafed the coming of the Holy Spirit” (Doxastikon on the Praises ???????? ). (more…)

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New Book: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy


Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick, one of the Associate Directors of the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas, has a newly published work from Conciliar PressOrthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Exploring Belief Systems Through the Lens of the Ancient Christian Faith.

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Orthodox Christians Assist Tornado-Stricken Areas of Alabama


A shipment of personal health kits, many of which were donated by Orthodox Christians from across the United States, have been shipped by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to Birmingham, Alabama for distribution to survivors of recent severe storms and tornadoes that devastated the area in late April. The kits, valued at more than $120,000, represent the first of several planned shipments of relief supplies that have been requested following an assessment by one of IOCC’s Frontline responders working in Alabama.

Read more here.


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Bartholomew I: Do Not transform Hagia Sophia Into Mosque


Trabzon (AsiaNews) — There is “no need” to transform the ancient church of Aghia Sophia in Trabzon into a mosque, it is better that it remains a museum open to all religions: Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, expressed with clarity his opposition to the idea supported by the Deputy Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc who would like to turn this monument of Christianity in an exclusive place of worship for Muslims.

The church of Aghia Sofia (Saint Sofia) is a gem of ancient architecture and dates back to the era of the Comnenus Emperors (1204-1461). It testifies to the ancient presence of Christians of Pontus on the Black Sea, wiped out as a result of various genocides and purges first by the Ottomans, then by the neo-Turks. (more…)

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National Geographic: Remains of John the Baptist Purportedly Found


Purported skeletal remains of John the Baptist have been dated to the first century A.D. and so could conceivably have belonged to the “forerunner of Christ,” who baptized Jesus, scientists say.

Discovered in 2010 among the ruins of a Bulgarian church, the remains include six human bones: a knucklebone from the right hand, a tooth, part of a cranium, a rib, and an ulna, or forearm bone.

DNA and radiocarbon testing of collagen from the knucklebone show that the remains likely belonged to a Middle Eastern man who lived in the first century A.D., which fits with the story of John the Baptist.

Read the full article

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Catholic Church in Holy Land Plans Switch to Orthodox Calendar for Easter


The Catholic churches of the Holy Land plan to observe Easter according to the Orthodox calendar, the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land has announced. The change could come as early as next year.

Father Pierbattista Pizzabella explained that the change was prompted by a desire to strengthen ecumenical ties between Catholics and Orthodox, and also by pastoral concern for the many families in the Holy Land that include both Catholic and Orthodox believers.

The Orthodox churches set their liturgical feasts according to the old Julian calendar. For some years the Orthodox observe Easter on the same day as Catholics; in other years the dates may differ by either one week (as it does this year) or 5 weeks.

Read the full article.

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Patriarch Deposes Bishops Following Astoria, NY Scandal


(Editor’s note: See for background on the St. Irene Monastery charges)

Constantinople ( — At a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, held on March 27, 2012, it was decided to remove from the rank of Metropolitan of Tyana Paisios (former abbot of St. Irene Chrysovalantou Monastery in Astoria, NY) and his assistant bishop of Apameia Vikentios for the appropriation of the church funds, immoral behavior and insubordination to the Holy Synod.

Metropolitan Paisios arrived at the meeting of the Synod, while Bishop Vincent refused to leave the United States. Now both are in the category of simple monks, according to the the news agency

(Translation source)

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+Hilarion Describes Upcoming “Holy and Great Council”


Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) at a recent lecture spoke of the inter-Orthodox cooperation in the preparation to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the pre-Council process and expectations. He assured listeners that the Council will not be the Eighth Ecumenical Council and will not rescind or review the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

“The Council will not cancel fasts, nor will it introduce married episcopate or allow a second marriage to clergyman. It will not recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome over the Orthodox Church or sign union with the Catholics. The long and short of it is that the Council will do nothing of that what some “defenders of Orthodoxy” fear, displaying zeal that exceeds reason. In case something adverse to the spirit and the letter of the Seven Ecumenical Council happens, the Russian Orthodox Church will renounce this Council and its decisions as she renounced the Council of Ferrara and Florence in 1441. I believe, however, that the other Local Orthodox Church will renounce it, too.”


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Orthodox Mission in Pakistan


In recent times, since the killing of Osama Bin Laden, only alarming news has come out of Pakistan, but even before that it wasn’t the most joyful news. In particular, we regularly heard about the difficult condition of Christians in this predominantly Muslim country. Things being as they are, it would seem that there is no basis to hope for any sort of growth of Christianity among the inhabitants of Pakistan.

But, in fact, there is now a functional Orthodox mission in Pakistan, headed by a Pakistani priest, and already consisting of about five-hundred newly-converted Pakistanis. The center of the mission is located in Lahor, where Fr. John Tanveer regularly performs divine services in his own home. This is a very young mission, only a few years old. It began with a former Catholic priest.

Read the full article.

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Orthodox Leaders Smooth Path to Proposed Pan-Orthodox Council


The patriarchs of three ancient Orthodox Christian churches met from 1-2 September in Istanbul to discuss the situation of Christian minorities in the Middle East, and perhaps an even more prickly topic – the move toward a historic pan-Orthodox council – removing major stumbling blocks to what would be the first such gathering in centuries – writes Sophia Kishkovsky.

The pan-Orthodox council is regarded with great interest by the world’s Orthodox churches, many of which are in unstable regions following revolutions in the Middle East, or in countries facing a third decade of economic and social transition following the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

“The patriarchs, and of course the Archbishop of Cyprus, they all expressed the readiness to proceed to the pan-Orthodox council that is forthcoming, and they said to me that they support the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarch to this direction,” said Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Proussa, former Chief Secretary of the Synodical Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, also known as the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The meeting, called a synaxis, was hosted by Patriarch Bartholemew of Constantinople and attended by Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, and Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus. Patriarch Igantius of Antioch was represented by a bishop.

Read the full article.

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Patriarchate Calls Synaxis Regarding Church in the Middle East


An announcement issued by the Office of the Chief Secretary of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Sacred and Holy Synod, dated August 31, 2011, announced the convocation of a Synaxis of the Heads of the Ancient Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus at the Ecumenical Patriarchate September 1-2, 2011.

The text of the announcement reads as follows. (more…)

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Sharon Stone Becomes Emotional at Georgian Patriarchate

2011-06-09 writes:

Sharon Stone was photographed crying during her meeting with Iliya II, the Orthodox Patriarch of Georgia / Sakartvelo on 6 June 2011. It should be recalled that Ms. Stone had a brain hemorrhage in 2001 and she almost died from it. She reported that she had a near death experience and saw a white light during that time.

Perhaps the Light which she glimpsed then has touched her soul more deeply? Perhaps, as the Holy Fathers describe, she experienced holy tears? May it be so for her and for all. Lord have mercy.

Source with photo.

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The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats


The Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats is regarded as a sacred cat haven in Cyprus, as it’s name has been linked to felines for almost 2,000 years.

The original monastery was built in 327 AD, by Kalokeros, the first Byzantine governor of Cyprus, and patronised by Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. At that time, a terrible drought affected the whole of Cypus, and the entire island was overrun with poisonous snakes which made building the monastery a dangerous affair. Many of the inhabitants left their homes and moved off the island, for fear of the snakes, but Saint Helena came up with a solution to the plague – she ordered 1,000 cats to be shipped in from Egypt and Palestine to fight the reptiles.

In the following years, the cats did their duty, hunting and killing most of the snakes in the Akrotiri Peninsula, which soon came to be known as the “Cat Peninsula”. The monks would use a bell to call the cats to the monastery at meal time, and then the felines were dispatched to their snake-hunting duties. Pilgrims from all around Europe traveled to the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas to see its feline guardians, and the discovered documents of a Venetian monk describe them as scarred, missing various body parts, some completely blind as a result of their relentless battle against the snakes.

Read the full article.

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US Senate Resolution Calls on Turkey to Reopen Greek Orthodox Seminary


A resolution introduced to the US Senate on Tuesday calls upon the Turkish government to facilitate the reopening of the Greek Orthodox Halki (or Heybeliada) seminary without further delay and to address other long-standing concerns regarding the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

Benjamin Cardin, a US senator from Maryland from the Democratic Party who is also on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the US Helsinki Commission, introduced Senate Resolution 196.

The resolution indicated that the Senate welcomed the historic meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and Patriarch Bartholomew I in August 2009 and applauds “positive gestures” by the Turkish government, including allowing the liturgical celebration by the patriarch at the historic Sümela Monastery and the return of the former Greek orphanage on the island of Büyükada to the patriarchate.

Cardin told the Senate on Tuesday: “I was privileged to again meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, during his 2009 visit to the United States. His impassioned request to those of us gathered was for our support for the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, forcibly closed by the Turkish authorities in 1971. In this year marking the 40th anniversary of that tragic action, I urge the Turkish leadership to reverse this injustice and allow this unique religious institution to reopen.”

Signed by the Democrats’ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and senators Robert Menendez, Jeanne Shaheen, Olympia Snowe and Sheldon Whitehouse, in addition to Cardin, the Senate resolution was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.


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Ecumenical Patriarch and Baptist Leader Share Peace Messages


“As faithful disciples of the Lord of peace, we must constantly pursue and persistently proclaim alternative ways that reject violence and war. Human conflict may well be inevitable in our world; but war and violence are not.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew shared this message of peace at a Sunday ecumenical prayer service and celebration in Kingston, Jamaica, for the participants of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC).

Over the past four days, some 1,000 convocation participants have been exploring peace in the community, peace with the earth, peace in the marketplace, and will continue with peace among the peoples on Monday. On Tuesday they will release a convocation message.

The IEPC is co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) and the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC). The convocation is being held on the grounds of the University of the West Indies (Link: ).

The IEPC participants, who come from more than 100 churches around the world, are completing their work against a global backdrop of unprecedented challenges to peace, Bartholomew said in his video recorded message.

“First, never before has it been possible for one group of human beings to eradicate as many people simultaneously; second, never before has humanity been in a position to destroy so much of the planet environmentally,” Bartholomew said, acknowledging the precipice humankind stands on.

As the convocation participants have been pondering the tension and ties between the concepts of peace and justice, the patriarch stated that most peacemaking efforts fail because we are unwilling to forgo established ways of wasting and wanting. (more…)

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Metropolitan Hilarion: “Society should rally to prevent the extinction of our population”


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk told an ecumenical meeting in Moscow that stopping the demographic crisis in Russia must be a priority for all Christians, as well as the state.

Speaking recently at the assembly of the Christian Inter-confessional Council of the Community of Independent States and Baltic Countries, Metropolitan Hilarion said that to deal successfully with the population problem, the Church and other religious communities, the state, and the mass media and artists should unite their efforts.

Demographers have estimated that Russia’s population has been declining at about 0.5 percent per year, or about 750,000 to 800,000 people per year during the late 1990s and most of the 2000s. The drop is due to the aging of Russia’s population, below-replacement birth rate, and staggeringly high rates of abortion. A UN report warned that Russia will lose about a third of its population by 2050 unless the current trends are halted.

Read the full article.


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Oxford Study Shows Belief in God is Part of Human Nature


A three-year study led by Oxford University concluded that humans are predisposed to belief in God – in some form or fashion.

The study, known as the “Cognition, Religion and Theology Project” involved 57 academics in 20 countries in an attempt to determine whether our belief in divine beings and an afterlife were learned or part of human nature.

“This project suggests that religion is not just something for a peculiar few to do on Sundays instead of playing golf,” said Professor Roger Trigg, from Oxford University and the project’s co-director, according to U.K.-based The Telegraph. “We have gathered a body of evidence that suggests that religion is a common fact of human nature across different societies.

“Attempts to suppress religion are likely to be short-lived as human thought seems to be rooted to religious concepts, such as the existence of supernatural agents or gods, and the possibility of an afterlife or pre-life,” he said.

ABC Channel 4 in Salt Lake City, Utah interviewed Monsignor Robert Servatius of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Sandy about the study.

“I think our human happiness depends on the faith we have of a God beyond us,” said Monsignor Servatius. Then he pointed to something St. Augustine said: “God, you have made us for yourself. And our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

“That statement says it all, really,” Monsignor Servatius added.

Read the full article.

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Icon Smuggling Ring Uncovered


Scotland Yard has identified the alleged mastermind behind a ring that has been stealing religious icons from churches and monasteries in Epirus and Thessaly which subsequently ended up at European auction houses.

According to the Greek authorities, police in Athens were informed of the identity of the mastermind, who is from Thessaly, by their British counterparts. The person has yet to be taken into custody, however, as his or her whereabouts are currently unknown.

The information that led to the ring leader’s identification was provided by a London gallery following the online identification of six Byzantine icons that the gallery was planning to sell. The icons were recently returned to the monasteries they belong to in the area of Ioannina, northern Greece. It is believed that the alleged ring leader had claimed the icons were family heirlooms from his father’s personal collection.

Read the full article.

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Some Orthodox Churches Object to National Identity Cards


The Russian and Greek Orthodox churches are objecting to plans in both countries to introduce electronic national identity cards intended to streamline bureaucracy and, in the case of Greece, facilitate integration into the European Union.

Church officials are demanding close study of the cards and asking that authorities make them optional. They say that the personal and financial information that would be consolidated on the microchips in the cards could be manipulated to discriminate against believers.

In an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta, an official government newspaper, earlier this month, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations, said: “Credit cards, which a person uses to take money from a bank machine or for payment in a store, are one thing, but a personal card in which all the information about a person’s life and activities will be entered, about his bank accounts, health and travels is a different matter. These are different grades of state control over people.”

Read the full article here.

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Ecumenical Patriarch Calls For Summit Of Some Orthodox Churches

2011-04-29 writes:

The Ecumenical Patriarch announced on April 21st his intention to convene a summit (“Synaxis”) of  some Primates of the Orthodox Churches. According to reports the Patriarch sent a letter to the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, as well as the Primate of the Church of Cyprus inviting them to gather to examine “the unstable political situation” in the Middle East, as well as address a series of “general questions concerning inter-Orthodox relations”.The meeting is to take take place on August 31 -September 1, 2011at the Phanar, the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. Each of the primates will be accompanied by one or two bishops.

In explaining the move the letter of invitation said that it is in “the canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church to convene when the need arises the primates of the oldest church authorities” – namely the patriarchates of the so-called “Pentarchy” of the first millennium – Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem (although no longer Rome.) The ancient Church of Cyprus, which was never a member of the “pentarchy” is to be included, however, because of its “apostolic foundation”.

Read more at:

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National Geographic Documentary Examines Relics of Third-Century Saints


Two skeletons attributed to two married martyrs from the third century could be authentic, say researchers taking part in a new National Geographic Society documentary.

“All of the evidence we have gathered points toward the relics having belonged to Chrysanthus and Daria,” said investigation leader Ezio Fulcheri of the University of Genoa. “This has been a very rare opportunity to be able to study bones and other relics that relate directly back to a legend that has been passed on for almost 2,000 years. The completeness of the skeletons is also rare for martyrs of this era, implying that these relics were protected and venerated in their entirety at a very early point in history.”

The remains of the saints, martyred around 283 A.D. for spreading Christianity, are said to have been interred in the crypt of the cathedral in the northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia since the 10th century.

A 2008 renovation at the cathedral caused the dismantling of the altar which had been undisturbed since 1651. The remains, nearly 150 bones, underwent tests dating them to between 80 and 340 A.D.

Fulcheri led a team of scientists who considered the authenticity of the relics. Their investigations are the subject of the National Geographic Channel documentary “EXPLORER: Mystery of the Murdered Saints,” which airs on April 19 at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

Read the full article.

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Muslims Who Venerate St. George


William Gourlay writes on

On an island known to the Greeks as Prinkipo, Ayshe Özakcam spends six months of the year attending a small stall beside a steep cobbled path. She sells home-grown plums, and apples, which she peels and quarters deftly with a sharp knife, to pilgrims passing en route to the Orthodox Church of Ayios Giorgios (St George) on the summit of the island.

What is intriguing about this is not that Ayshe ekes out a living by selling apples, or that she sits all day in the full glare of the Mediterranean sun, but that she is a Muslim, that the island is off the coast of Istanbul, the great Turkish metropolis, and that the majority of visitors to the Orthodox church are in fact Ayshe’s fellow Turks.

Read the full article.

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Article: Turkish Prime Minister Saved Future of Greek Orthodox Patriarchate


In an interview with the Star daily, Ana?nos-topulos said there were 12 archbishops on the patriarchate’s Spiritual Board at the time. “Most of [those archbishops] are very old. In order to become a member of this board, one has to be a Turkish citizen. If the patriarch dies one day, it seemed unlikely that a new patriarch would be elected from the board [due to the members’ age]. This danger has now passed. The prime minister attended a luncheon on Büyükada in August 2009 … and said the problem with the Spiritual Board will be overcome if archbishops applied to become Turkish citizens. He assured us that applicants would be granted citizenship,” the spokesperson stated.

Ana?nostopulos defined the prime minister’s remarks as the “most positive moment in his lifetime.” “After the prime minister’s call, 27 of 35 archbishops abroad submitted applications to become Turkish citizens. Thirteen of them have already been granted citizenship,” he added. In 2010, CNN International ran a story on the Greek Orthodox Patriarch in which it suggested that Patriarch Bartholomew could ultimately be the last patriarch if Turkish laws, demographics and attitudes do not change. According to Ana?nostopulos, however, this is no longer the case, thanks to Erdo?an. (more…)

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A Taste and Tour of IOCC in Dallas on Dec. 9th


The DFW Metroplex Metropolitan Committee invites you to


Sunday, December 9, 2012 • 6:00pm – 8:00pm

13555 Hillcrest Road • Dallas, TX 75240

See the Flyer for more details.


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“The Holy Orthodox Faith” Series by Archimandrite Demetrios Carellas


The Holy Orthodox Faith: Finding True Freedom through Slavery & Total Victory through Surrender

by Archimandrite Demetrios Carellas

3 talk series: Mon, Nov 26 ; Tue, Nov 27; Wed Nov 28 2012


The talks will be next door to our church in a very nice lecture hall we use. Our hall will be available at all times.


(so we can know how much food to make)

Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church
708 South Chestnut, McKinney, Texas 75069 Church Phone: 972-529-2754
Priest Seraphim Holland Cell: 972 658-5433

This Document in word format:

This Document in pdf format:

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“Beginning to Pray” Adult & Teen Series in Ft. Worth


St. Barbara Orthodox Church in Southwest Ft. Worth is pleased to offer this Fall an introductory adult and teen series on prayer. Archbishop Anthony Bloom’s celebrated work, “Beginning to Pray,” will be used as a guide. Copies will be available for purchase, and a reading of the text will be helpful for participants, but not essential.

Bloom, a former WWII Surgeon in the French army, and later an Orthodox hierarch, became known internationally for his talks and writings on prayer and the Christian life. His works concerning Christian prayer transcend denominational lines, approaching the subject from the viewpoint of a person seeking answers to life’s ultimate questions about existence itself, and God’s activity in one’s life, specifically as it relates to prayer and a personal relationship with the Creator.

From the publisher of Beginning to Pray: “The book has established itself as a modern spiritual classic. Hailed both by Catholics and Protestants, it was written by an Orthodox Archbishop for people who had never prayed before and has been read and loved by persons at all levels of spiritual development.”

Over a six week period classes at St. Barbara’s will aim at fostering an understanding of the basic principles of prayer found in “Beginning to Pray,” and as practiced by Christians for 2000 years.

For more information one may call (817) 294-0325. For registration simply call the Church or email us through the Church’s website with your name, contact information, and the number of participants you represent. Refreshments will be offered, however no child care will be available. The Church is located at 5201 Altamesa Boulevard.

Please see the Please see the “Beginning to Pray” flyer.

“Beginning to Pray”

Adult & Teen Series
St. Barbara Orthodox Church + 5201 Altamesa + SW Ft. Worth

Tuesdays @ 7 pm Starts Oct. 9
All Welcome !!
(No Childcare Available)

Registration and Information:
(817) 294-0325

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Donations Needed for OCF Texas A&M Chapter


The Texas A&M Chapter is hosting the Regional Retreat this October 13 to 15 at Camp Cho-yeh, an hour north of Houston.

To reduce registration costs, they would like to raise $3,000 or more. They are hoping for 60 or so attendees. So $3,000 would reduce registration fees from $110 per person to $60 per person, saving each $50.

Please send donations to Fr. Gregory Gibson at St. Silouan, PO Box 11582, College Station, TX 77842. is a national Orthodox Christian Fellowship organization for college students.

OCF encourages Orthodox activities, experiences, and general awareness. Programs include

The Texas A&M Chapter hosts meetings with free food (such as at Rudy’s BBQ) for many attendees.

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Metropolitan Jonah Resigns as Primate of OCA


As has been reported here, here and here, Metropolitan Jonah has resigned as Primate of OCA.

A portion of His Beatitude’s letter reads as follows.

“To the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America,


As per your unanimous request, as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr. John Jillions, I hereby tender my resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and humbly request another Episcopal assignment.

I had come to the realization long ago that that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired.” Source

The hierarchs again will meet via conference call on Monday, July 9, after which additional information will be made available.


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May 18-20 Dallas Area Seminar for Church Conductors and Singers


May 18-20, 2012
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church
McKinney (Dallas), Texas

Lectures include:

For more information, click here.


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(Updated) Orthodox Christians Needed to Pray During 40 days For Life in McKinney TX


Fr. Seraphim Holland of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in McKinney with the assistance of Fr. Dn. Nicholas Park is organizing a prayer vigil for Orthodox Christians of DFW on 2 days during the 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil in McKinney.

“Forty Days for Life”

McKinney Texas, February 22 – April 1, 7am – 7pm


Planned Parenthood 1720 W Eldorado Pky, Ste 106, McKinney, TX 75069

A nationwide prayer vigil to end legal abortion and heal all those involved in abortion.

Orthodox Christians will gather to be the only guaranteed prayer support on the following days and times.

Mar 6, Tue, 7am-7 pm

Mar 17, Sat 7am – 3pm


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+Seraphim Trial Decision Delayed Till January


A high-ranking former orthodox archbishop, who has pleaded not guilty, must wait until the new year to learn if he’ll go to trial on historical Manitoba sex abuse charges.

Seraphim Storheim appeared in a Winnipeg courtroom this week for the start of his preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed. A court-ordered ban prevents specific details from being published.

Defence lawyer Jeff Gindin told the Winnipeg Free Press the evidence was presented on Thursday and Friday but the case has now adjourned until Jan. 18 for lawyers to make final arguments. The judge will then render his decision.

Read the full article.

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OCA Archbishop Pleads Not Guilty in Child Sex Abuse Case

The Winnipeg Sun writes:

Former archbishop Kenneth William (Seraphim) Storheim has pleaded not guilty to molesting two 10-year-old boys.

A former archbishop with the Canadian arm of the Orthodox Church in America has pleaded not guilty to charges he sexually assaulted two boys during the time he worked in Winnipeg.

Kenneth William (Seraphim) Storheim, 65, appeared Thursday for a preliminary hearing into allegations he abused two 10-year-old boys between December 1984 and June 1987.

At the time, Storheim was a rector at Holy Trinity Sobor, located at the corner of Manitoba Avenue and McKenzie Street in the North End.

A publication ban prevents the printing or broadcasting of any evidence presented by the Crown at Thursday’s hearing.

Storheim flew to the city last November to turn himself into police, who were holding a warrant for his arrest. He was quickly released on a promise to appear in court.

He had stepped aside from his high-level position in the church months earlier.

The church said Storheim had been granted a leave of absence while police investigated the accusations; Storheim suggested he stepped aside for health reasons.


Fr. Ted Bobosh writes to clarify the article’s statement that Archbishop Seraphim is an ex-Archbishop:

As a point of clarification, Archbishop Seraphim is, I believe, considered under suspension by the OCA’s Synod of Bishops, so he has not been defrocked nor has his title or episcopal rank been taken away from him by the OCA.

Sadly, as the news story relates, Archbishop Seraphim’s accounts of why he was originally put on leave of absence do not match other facts known from statements from the OCA which was clear that he was first put on Leave of Absence because allegations of sexual misconduct had surfaced.   He had also on another occasion denied knowing what the allegations were about but certainly others knew and some discussed it with him.

The court is supposed to make a determination today as to how to proceed with the case.


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Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism in North Texas, Jan. 20-22, 2012


How do we communicate the “Good News” of Jesus Christ to those around us?

Attend the 2012 Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism in Dallas and Ft. Worth to learn more.

View the Conference Flyer, the detailed Missions Conference Schedule and when you’re ready,  Register Online. (more…)

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Orthodox Church Finds Home In Tyler, TX

Rebecca Hoeffner writes in the Tyler Paper:
When Father John Mikita of the parish of St. John of Damascus Orthodox Church goes anywhere in public, he wears his traditional Orthodox robes.“I get a lot of folks who stop me in Walmart and they want to know, ‘What’s the difference between Orthodoxy and the Baptist church?’” he said. “And it’s like, ‘OK, where do we want to start?’ It’s really challenging, but it’s a joy as well.”

Orthodoxy is generally outside the main stream conscious, Mikita said, but it is a faith that is growing in the American South.

The parish of St. John of Damascus Orthodox Church in Tyler is a 55-member congregation, made up of many converts. About 90 percent of the founding members who began the church in 2006 were converts, Mikita said. Their numbers have tripled since the parish began, he said.

“Sort of like myself, who discovered Orthodoxy through biblical and theological examination and inquiry, a number of the people here came from a variety of different Christian backgrounds who found Orthodoxy and started reading books,” he said.
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Nov. 11 & 12 Old Country Christmas Ethnic Festival in Ft. Worth, TX


St. Barbara Orthodox Church is pleased to announce its 25th annual “Old Country Christmas Ethnic Festival” on Friday, November 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, November, 12th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This annual event features pastries, baked goods, and other delicacies made from authentic ethnic recipes from the “Old Country” – Eastern Europe. The recipes have been handed down for generations and are made by parishioners and friends of St. Barbara Orthodox Church. The international assortment of pastries and delicacies represents a melting pot of nationalities which are reflective of the Slavic heritage of the parish and especially the multi-cultural makeup of its members; Russian, Ukrainian, Carpatho-Russian, Romanian, Greek, Czech, and Serbian recipes are used. (more…)

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Hundreds Crowd Ohio Church to Witness Miraculous Icon


Nicholas Kozak witnessed a miracle that he hopes will convince others that God is real.

“I hope the icon will be tangible evidence to anyone who is looking for faith and a real revelation of the lord,” said Kozak, 17, of Green. “How else can you explain myrrh coming from an icon, except that it is something of God?”

Kozak was among the overflow crowd of 300 people who gathered Thursday at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, which seats about 100, for a special prayer service of thanksgiving that was sung to the Blessed Mother. She is represented in the Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (the Greek name for Mary, the Mother of God).

The traveling icon, which streams a sweet-smelling, oily substance (identified as myrrh), officially was recognized in 2008 as miraculous and worthy of veneration by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

Since then, numerous miracles — including the healing of blindness, cancer, demonic possession, paralysis, kidney disease and chronic pain — have been attributed to it.

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Orthodox Christian Conference in NY: “Beauty Will Save the World”


The Sophia Institute for Orthodox Thought and Culture will hold its fourth annual conference on Friday December 2, 2011 on the campus of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

The theme of this year’s conference is:”Beauty Will Save the World”: The Notion of the Beautiful in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Keynote speakers include the Orthodox philosopher David Bentley-Hart, Robert Bird (Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago), Peter Jeffery (Musicology, Notre Dame), and Daniel Munteanu (Bamberg University).

In addition to keynote lectures, there will be a series of panels examining the notion of the beautiful in various aspects of Orthodox thought and culture including art, music, literature, film, media, spirituality, patristics, ethics, and dogmatic theology.

Interested scholars are invited to present 20-minute talks at the panel sessions.

Read more here.

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Fr. Demetrios Carellas To Speak Sept. 26-28 in Tyler, TX


St. John of Damascus Orthodox Mission in Tyler TX announces 3 talks by Fr. Demetrios Carellas:

Papa Demetri is a Protopresbyter and Archimandrite of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. He serves as chaplain to Nativity of the Theotokos monastery in Saxonburg, PA.  A sought-after retreat leader, Fr. Demetri has hundreds of spiritual children across the U.S.

View the flyer lecture flyer.


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Archimandrite To Speak July 17 at North Texas Special Event


Here is a rare opportunity to learn first hand about prayer practice in the Orthodox Church from Igumen Gregory Zaiens, Archimandrite of St. Arsenius Hermitage, Decatur, Texas, and published author. Join us at the very lovely Bingham House B&B, directly across from St. Nicholas, in McKinney.

For more information, view the flyer.

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Historic Concelebration of OCA Metropolitan Jonah, ROCOR Metropolitan Hilarion


His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America [OCA], and His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia [ROCOR], concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at Saint Nicholas Cathedral here on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius. (more…)

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St. Tikhon’s Seminary to Offer Iconography Workshop June 19-25


Noted iconographer Ksenia Mihailovna Pokrovskaya will conduct an iconography workshop, titled “Six Days of Creation,” at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary June 19-25, 2011.

One of the key individuals credited with keeping the ancient iconographic tradition alive during the Soviet Union’s most repressive era, Mrs. Pokrovsky’s contributions to preserving and passing on the art of the icon are well known, and acknowledged in Irina Yazykova’s engaging book, “Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography,” published by Paraclete Press in April 2010.

For workshop details and registration information, visit or


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OCA Town Hall Meeting Discussed Dallas Cathedral Concerns


The Byzantine, TX blog writes:

Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South, Bishop Nikon, on being told there was unrest at St. Seraphim’s Cathedral, travelled to Dallas last week. He spent time with local clergy and laity during the week with a town hall held last Saturday for people to air their concerns on a number of topics. These topics included some issues related to Bishop Mark (administrator of the diocese and hopeful for the open episcopal spot): removal of the blessing of a priest from serving at the cathedral, the perceived changes in the way services are done at the cathedral, the forwarding of emails from Fr. Joseph Fester’s email account to the Holy Synod and/or Mark Stokoe of OCANews, if he could be release from his duties or told to perform them somewhere else.

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OCA Synod and Council Meet in Chicago


The OCA Holy Synod Minutes are now posted on OCA web site. The OCA’s Metropolitan Council concluded it’s spring session and included a summary of recent events here.

What does it all mean? OCANews gives it’s take:

The Synod of Bishops of the OCA met in a delayed Spring Session May 2-3 in Chicago, followed immediately by a delayed joint meeting with the Metropolitan Council on May 4; which in turn was followed by a scheduled second day of meetings between an expanded Lesser Synod and the Metropolitan Council on May 5th. The delays were caused by the postponement of the previously scheduled meetings by Metropolitan Jonah. To accommodate his schedule all sessions were held at Christ the Saviour Church, which is adjacent to the Midwest Diocesan Center, in downtown Chicago.

The resolutions passed by each body fully express the tenor, tone and consensus achieved at each meeting. In short, the decisions that emerged tell all.

Read the full summary here.

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OCL Laments “Few tangible results” at Episcopal Assembly