Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Pascha in Moscow

Pascha at the Holy Etchmiadzin

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jordanville: "Noble Joseph" during Good Friday Vespers.

Holy Friday Matins (15th Antiphon) - the late Abp. Job

(YouTube) - The late Archbishop Job sings the 15th Antiphon at Matins for Great and Holy Friday 2009. This video almost didn't happen. We had wanted to record Vladika singing this antiphon for years, but he often refused to sing it out of humility. This year we managed to convince him to sing it, and I was miraculously able to video it. Little did we know it would also be the last time he would chant it at Holy Trinity.

The Deposition of Christ,

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Any hope for kidnapped Aleppo bishops?

BEIRUT (The Daily Star) - Hard-line Islamist groups active in Syria are holding hundreds of people captive, largely for financial gain or to stoke fear within the Syrian populace.

The fate of those captives, who range from religious figures and foreign journalists to local media activists, is largely unknown.

However, the unexpected release of two prominent Spanish reporters late last month has fueled hope that the Al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) may be willing to negotiate for high-value hostages, although the fate of Syrian captives is less clear.

The Violations and Documentation Center, a Damascus-based group which closely monitors death tolls, detainees and the long-term missing in Syria, says that over 1,000 people are being held by ISIS and the Nusra Front, the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. The vast majority of those currently held were kidnapped in the northern governorates of Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib.

A number of non-jihadist rebel militias have also been involved in kidnappings, but ISIS is believed to be responsible for the majority.

Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, both veteran war reporters, were held by ISIS for six months. Their unanticipated release indicates a change in strategy by the group, those with knowledge of kidnap and ransom practices say.

“For a long time there was compete silence [on Espinosa and Vilanova]. The kidnappers did not want to negotiate, there was a complete information blackout. But in the last few months, the situation has clearly changed,” said Ayman Mhanna, director of the Samir Kassir Foundation, an organization that campaigns on behalf of missing journalists in the Middle East.

“What we see is that the motivation of those holding people in the north [of Syria] is that they are mainly driven by financial greed.”

Monday, April 14, 2014

American Orthodoxy and Parish Congregationalism out!

This is an important book that has found a new publisher. It used to be priced at a scholastic audience (read: ungodly expensive), but is now just $20. I encourage all interested in the American Orthodox parish system to give it a read.
(Holy Cross Bookstore) - The American Orthodox Christian presence has been declining in size over the past few decades, even until now. Orthodox parishes are often criticized for being unable to grow spiritually and in numbers. Education, charitable works, outreach to the community, and other signs of vibrant, healthy communities of faith languish, if they exist at all. Meanwhile, fewer and fewer people participate in the liturgical life of the Church, supposedly the cornerstone of Orthodox faith and witness.

The cause for these endemic problems is often laid at the door of ethnophyletism, xenophobia, an extremely parochial and self-serving attitude in Orthodox parishes, lack of faith education, and other ills. In this book, Fr. Nicholas traces the roots of the current distressing situation in American Orthodoxy to another, more radically fundamental issue: the fact that virtually all of the original parishes in America were founded on a congregationalist structure. He argues that this parish structure, radically opposed to Orthodox ecclesiology, is what has allowed and even encouraged the attitudes and problems that continue to plague Orthodox Christianity in America.

His book delineates the factors that have influenced the growth of congregationalism in Orthodox parishes. Fr. Nicholas contends that if there is to be a serious attempt to correct the present, resulting in a reasonable assurance that the American Orthodox presence will have a future, then it is first necessary to understand the past.

Pat. John X of Antioch Christ's entry into Jerusalem

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Flowery Sunday in Jerusalem

Greek Orthodox priests carry palm branches during the Palm Sunday celebrations at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 13, 2014. The ceremony is a landmark in the Christian calendar, marking the triumphant return of Christ to Jerusalem the week before his death, when a cheering crowd greeted him waving palm leaves. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Copts make chrism

(CNEWA) - In preparations for Holy Week, Pope Tawadros II on Tuesday 8 April prepares holy chrism for the first time since his ordination in November 2012. The event marks the 38th times the chrism has been made in the Coptic Orthodox Church. To learn more about chrism, and its purposes, and to see more pictures of Tuesday’s liturgy, check out this link.

Antiochian Archdiocese begins primatial nomination process

( - The Archdiocese communicated the following details regarding historic May and June meetings to all clergy and parishes on April 8, 2014:

The dates and location have been set for a special Archdiocesan Synod Meeting, Board of Trustees meeting and the Special Nominating Convention. The location will be Chicago, Illinois, in order to facilitate air travel from all parts of the Archdiocese. The specific hotel will be announced, and all meetings will take place at that hotel.

The new date and location for the Special Board of Trustees and Archdiocesan Synod meetings were motivated by the need to convene the Special Nominating Convention. This makes it necessary to cancel the meetings which were originally scheduled at the Antiochian Village for the weekend of May 29-31.

The schedule of meetings is as follows:
  • Tuesday May 13, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Special meeting of the Archdiocesan Synod.
  • Wednesday May 14, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Special Board of Trustees Meeting.
  • Wednesday June 4, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Meetings of the Archdiocesan Synod and/or Archdiocesan Board of Trustees (as needed)
  • Thursday June 5, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Special Assembly to nominate candidates for the office of Metropolitan
The agendas for the May 13-14 Archdiocesan Synod and Board of Trustees meetings will be sent by email and regular U.S. mail prior to the meetings. The official Call to the Convention will be sent by email and regular U.S. mail according to the timeframes stipulated in the constitution.

Please note the following very important items:
  1. In order for your parish or mission to be seated and eligible to vote at the nominating convention, you must have paid your entire 2013 assessment and Special Trays in full. Also, your payments must be up to date for 2014 as of March, 2014. We will contact those pastors who still have balances due in order to reach a reconciliation.
  2. No guests will be permitted to attend either the Special Board meeting or the Special Nominating Assembly. Guests can be accommodated at the hotel, but attendance at the meetings will be restricted to only Board members, and authorized delegates.
We greatly appreciate everyone's cooperation and understanding as we work to fulfill our obligations during this extraordinary time.

On forced celibacy in America

Recently republished is a book on the married priesthood (see below). After reading this recent article in the National Catholic Register, I though it worth giving a shout out to this important historic and doctrinal work. While some of the prefatory comments have a decidedly particular audience (Rome and Rusyns), the arguments themselves have a universal application.

(NCRegister) - ST. LOUIS — Surrounded by his wife, daughter and the bishops of his Church, Father Wissam Akiki made history in February as the first married man in 90 years to enter the priesthood for the Maronite Catholic Church in the U.S.

But for Catholics of most Eastern-rite Churches in the U.S., including the Maronites, the fact the priest is a married man isn’t that extraordinary: What’s extraordinary is that they have to ask the Vatican for permission to ordain married men in the first place.

Eastern Catholic bishops of the Ukrainian, Ruthenian and Melkite traditions have been cautiously ordaining married men to the priesthood in the United States since Blessed John Paul II relaxed decades-old rules and opened the door to them on a case-by-case basis approved by the Vatican. Now, the Maronites are following suit.

On Feb. 27, Bishop Elias Zaidan of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon ordained Father Akiki.

“It’s been an ongoing discussion,” said Deacon Louis Peters, the chancellor of the St. Louis-based eparchy. “Pope Francis said he could suspend the rule for this ordination, and so we proceeded.”

But the Holy Father’s approval of Father Akiki’s ordination marks “no change at all” to the Latin Church’s ancient tradition of a celibate-only priesthood, explained Paulist Father Ronald Roberson, an authority on Eastern Churches with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“The tradition of a wholly celibate diocesan clergy is really something that is a characteristic of the Latin Church, but not the [entire] Catholic Church,” he said.

In the tradition of most Eastern Churches, married men are ordained as parish priests. However, celibate men take vows as monks and can be ordained as priests, and bishops are chosen from the celibate clergy. But once ordained, priests can never marry...
Complete article here.
(Orthodox Goods) - A verbatim reprint of the 1942 original. It is a staunch defense of the married priesthood of the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. It was written by the Very Reverend Protopresbyter Joseph Mihaly in answer to the forced celibacy of the Roman Catholic Church on the American immigrants from Eastern Europe and is a primary source on the history of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jordanville to host Sergius of Radonezh conference

(HTS) - The Brightest Luminary of the Russian Land: Seminary Student Conference dedicated to the 700th Anniversary of St. Sergius of Radonezh.

Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary invites paper proposals from students of Orthodox seminaries in North America for a Seminary Student Conference that marks the 700th anniversary of the greatest Russian saints, the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh 1314 - 1392).

Students will present their paper at the Conference from October 10-11, 2014.

OCA releases new background check requirements

Who is getting a background check in the OCA now? Almost everyone: "level-one background check would be required of all bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, and readers, as well as lay workers who have more than minimal contact with children. The background checks would be required at least once every three years."

  • Social Security trace / verification
  • County criminal search
  • County civil search
  • Nationwide Federal criminal search
  • Nationwide Federal civil search
  • Sex Offender Registry search
  • I-9 Verification
  • Driver’s history search
More information available here.