Monday, August 31, 2015

Bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople

(Cyber Desert) - Over the next few days a total of 140 archbishops and bishops will participate in a five-day event in Istanbul (Constantinople) between August 29 and September 2. The Synaxis of the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne is an annual event of the Patriarchate to celebrate the beginning of the Ecclesial Year and coincides with the Orthodox day for the Environment.

This year’s event is quite unique, as this is perhaps the first time that the fullest cohort of bishops possible was invited (rather than just representatives) and a large number came. All the bishops of the “new lands” in Greece were invited, for example. These are diocese now within the Republic of Greece who find spiritual authority in the Ecumenical Throne but were cut off from the Ecumenical Throne some eight decades ago with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and while still under the spiritual aegis of the Ecumenical Patriarch are also members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.

The purpose of the meeting seems to be twofold to celebrate the beginning of the Church Year on 1st September, but also to prepare for the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Synod, which is scheduled to be held next year (2016) and as a forum for the prelates to exchange ideas and discuss a wide-range of issues, such as the environment and churches’ role on the matter, interfaith dialogue and other social issues. Clerics from churches in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia are in attendance.

Let us pray for our hierarchs and the Church of Christ.

St. Cyprian of Carthage remembered today (NC)

Only the ROCOR's Diocese of the East can match Trisagion Films in terms of content and professionalism for a US-based source of Orthodox videos. On that point, it has been 9 months since the last ROCOR-EAD video.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fr. Josiah Trenham on secularism and the public square

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Orthodox Church in the Philippines sees amazing growth

(ROC-The Philippines) - With great joy and gladness, we announce the reception through a mass baptism the parish and catechumens from St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church. Photos taken during the mass baptism last August 21, 2015, Friday, of the newly accepted St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Ladol, Alabel, Sarangani Province, Philippines. A total of 239 catechumens are baptized including two Aglipayan (Philippine Independent Catholic Church) "bishops" and four Aglipayan "priests". Aglipayan "bishop" Esteban Valmera was baptized as STEFAN; Aglipayan "bishop Rogelio Ringor was baptized as GREGORY; Aglipayan priest Elieser Delfin was baptized as ELEASAR; Aglipayan priest Dioscoro Bergado was baptized as Alexy; Aglipayan priest John Collado was baptized as Timothy and Aglipayan priest Renato Buniel was baptized as ROMANUS.

Also baptized during this event are the five candidates for seminary in Russia. The baptism was performed by Fr. Kirill Sckharboul and Fr. George Maximov after the almost two years of Orthodox catechisms. This parish formerly serve as the Aglipayan Cathedral where Aglipayan bishop have his See. NOW, it becomes as the 4th Parish of the Moscow Patriarchate in the Philippines.

With this event, it marks a new stage, a series of mass baptism of 29 parishes from different parts of Mindanao is expected in the following weeks. Many years to the newly baptized Orthodox Christians!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Group wants made-up "Turkish patriarchate" out of cemetery

(Hurryiet Daily News) - The Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul seeks to remove the graves of the founder of the self-declared Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate and his successors out of their historic cemetery in Istanbul, daily Cumhuriyet reported Aug. 22.

The old controversy that took a new twist has been revolving around the graves of Papa Efthim, who declared himself the pope of the church he founded in 1921, and his sons and successors, Turgut Erenerol and Selçuk Erenerol, in the Şişli neighborhood of Istanbul.

"This is the Greek Orthodox cemetery. These men were not even Orthodox, let alone Greek. They were excommunicated," Cumhuriyet quoted Mihail Vasiliadis, who owns the Turkey-based Greek daily Apoyevmatini.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul's Fener neighborhood, which has an estimated 300 million Orthodox believers around the world, had excommunicated Papa Efthim I, Efthim II and Efthim III after the church's foundation, which was supported by the Turkish government in 1924.

However, Efthim I were buried in the historic cemetery as a government initiative in spite of local Greeks' opposition in 1968, before his successors followed the suit with their funerals.

"They had found a fake church. In order to be a church, one must be recognized by the Ecumenic church and the other 17 churches," Vasiliadis added.

Temple with no believers

According to Elçin Macar's book titled “Istanbul Greek Patriarchate, the “Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate” was a state-sponsored project that aimed to end the influence of the Greek Patriarchate on Anatolian Christians.

In the 1920s, Pavlos Karahisarithis changed his name into Zeki Erenerol and became the first leader of the church after he declared himself "Papa Efthim I." He was granted permission by the government to settle in Panayia Church in the Galata neighborhood. In 1965, his sons also took control of two other churches in Istanbul, although their "patriarchate" was described as "a temple with no believers."

Efthim was accused of supporting the Sept. 6-7 pogrom targeting Istanbul's Greek community in 1955 and had admitted in 1995 that he had regular meetings with the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT). His sons, and successors, had been arguing for the "expulsion" of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

"Do I have to see the graves of these [Turkish] nationalists who did harm to Greeks each time I visit the graves of my parents? As Greeks, we want their graves out of here," daily Cumhuriyet quoted Vasiliadis as saying on Aug. 22.

Sevgi Erenerol, Papa Efthim's granddaugher who now claims the title of “public relations representative of their church, was arrested during the controversial Ergenekon coup attempt case.

The prosecutor had described Erenerol as an ultranationalist who established an organization to provoke public unrest” and preparing the way for a military coup, in which their church served as “the headquarters and the financial hub” of the covert gang, called the Ergenekon.

Controversial case

In the politically-charged Ergenekon case, 274 coup-plot suspects were sentenced on Aug. 5, 2013 to hundreds of years’ imprisonment in total, with many high-ranking army members, journalists and academics given aggravated life sentences.

In April 2014, the long-awaited detailed ruling in the five-year-long marathon Ergenekon trial was issued, nearly eight months after the initial verdict, stating that the organization had targeted a long series of governments.

The mammoth detailed ruling, which ran to 16,798 pages over three volumes, said the court’s verdict was the “first judicial ruling on the deep state.”

“It has been understood that the Ergenekon organization was established within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) under the name of ‘headquarters houses,’” the court state in the ruling.

The 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals will hold the first hearing in the appeal case on Oct. 6.

A prayer for Child-Bearing

Some days ago a fellow priest asked me if I had a prayer for a married couple who wanted to have children. I checked my four volume Book of Needs, my smaller Book of Needs, my Greek Mikron Euchologion, and then searched online. There was no such prayer to be found. I then asked an online clergy brotherhood forum for help. Much discussion was had on the value of pilgrimages, St. Irene Chrysovalantou, and the relic of the belt (zone, cincture) of the Theotokos. Eventually, someone mentioned that the Priest's Service Book (Mikron Euchologion, Agiasmatarion) by Fr. Evagoras Constantinides of blessed memory has such a prayer. He supplied me with a photo of the page and I was able to pass it on. Sadly, I am unable to find a hard copy of this book and Holy Cross Bookstore no longer carries it.

Pastorally, I would personally advise a couple to make a pilgrimage and send them off with this prayer. God willing, this prayer will be useful to priests and couples praying for the blessing of a child.

O Lord our God, you created man in your image and likeness and established him as the king of creation. And so that he would not be alone on the earth, you took one of his ribs and formed woman who you gave to him as a helper fit for him. And you told them "Be fruitful and multiply, and have dominion over the earth," this giving them the gift of procreation.

Through your first miracle at the wedding at Cana of Galilee, you affirmed the lawful union in marriage and child-bearing therefrom are, indeed, in accordance with your divine will and purpose.

Yet, on many occasions, faithful couples like Abraham and Sara, Jacob and Rachel, Zacharias and Elizabeth, and Joachim and Anna were without children. But when they came to you in prayer and supplication, you responded mercifully to them, answered their prayers, and rewarded their patience and trust in you with one or more children.

In like manner, your servants [Name] and [Name] who were joined in matrimony in your holy name, O Lord, in order to fulfill your will, have not as yet been blessed with child. Therefore, with profound humility and utmost faith and trust in you, the pray to you and supplicate you and ask of you, it it be your will, to be gracious and merciful to them, to remove their pain and sorrow, and to bless them with fair offspring at a time pleasing to you.

Yes, Lord our God, accept the petitions of me, your unworthy servant, and bring to your servants [Name] and [Name] joy and peace by granting them their request and blessing them with with a child.

For you alone are merciful and compassionate, and to you we ascribe glory and thanksgiving and worship, to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.



This is an interesting take on a story from the Desert Fathers.
A brother came to see Abba Macarius the Egyptian, and said to him, 'Abba, give me a word, that I may be saved.' So the old man said, 'Go to the cemetery and abuse the dead.' The brother went there, abused them and threw stones at them; then he returned and told the old man about it. The latter said to him, 'Didn't they say anything to you?' He replied, 'No.' The old man said, 'Go back tomorrow and praise them.' So the brother went away and praised them, calling them, 'Apostles, saints and righteous men.' He returned to the old man and said to him, ‘ I have complimented them’. And the old man said to him, 'Did they not answer you?' The brother said no. The old man said to him, 'You know how you insulted them and they did not reply, and how you praised them and they did not speak; so you too if you wish to be saved must do the same and become a dead man. Like the dead, take no account of either the scorn of men or their praises, and you can be saved.'

Intruders overtake church in Ukraine

Think back to yesterday when you're listening to the choir, the altar boys are visibly milling about through the open spaces in the icon screen, and you've picked up the same small child 4 times to keep him happy an quiet. Now imagine a crashing sound at the front door. People you've never seen before are rushing in and begin forcing everyone out the of the building. That was the experience of people in a church in Ukraine. Please pray for an end to this terrible conflict. As to the photo above, this story reminded me of this incident from last year.

Moscow, August 24, (Interfax) - The incident has happened at St. Vladimir Church in the village of Malye Dmitrovichi, the Obukhov District, the Kiev Region, Ukraine.

Unidentified people rushed into the church during the liturgy, they called themselves representatives of the local self-defence. Priests of the self-proclaimed Kiev Patriarchate later joined them, press service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reports.

"Swearing, they made the rector and parishioners stop the service and leave the church, the the church was closed. Militia arrived on parishioners' call, but kept away from the incident and did not interfere when the service was disrupted," the message further reads.

The local community turned to the prosecutor's office complaining on the intruders and law-enforcement officers.

Upcoming conference: "Caregivers as Confessors & Healers"

Without fail the number one question I get asked when I post conference dates is "Will it be recorded?" The answer here, as last year was, is a very probable yes.

Please join us for our ANNUAL CONFERENCE Nov. 5-7, 2015
Holy Cross Seminary – Boston, Massachusetts

Keynote Speaker: Holy Confession and the Freedom to Be, Fr. Stavros Kofinas, D.Min., Coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care.

The Conference will begin at 7pm on Friday, Nov. 5, and end at 6pm on Saturday, Nov. 7. Members, non-members, students, clergy, healthcare professionals and nonprofessionals are invited to attend!

Please click here for more information and to register!

We would be delighted to add you to our email Contact List; please let us know at

Click here for the Program of our 2014 Conference, “Exploring the Mind, Body, Soul Connection: Spirituality in Illness and Healing.” The 2014 conference was recorded by Ancient Faith Radio. Click here to listen to the presentations.

Vintners receive blessing of grapes

The prayer from the Book of Needs (Trebnik / Small Euchologion) is posted below for those interested:

Bless, O Lord, this new fruit of the vine, which, through the wholesomeness of the air, and through showers of rain and temperate weather, Thou art well-pleased should attain to ripeness at this time. May our partaking of this birth of the vine be for gladness, and for the offering of a gift unto Thee for the cleansing of sins, through the sacred and holy Body of Thy Christ, with Whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy Most-holy, Good, and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

(Santa Maria Times) - For winemaker Louis Lucas, the continuing severe drought means fewer grapes, a whole lot fewer. So he'll take any help that he can get, even from the divine.

Lucas, who is a co-founder of Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards Winery, which has estate vineyards in the Los Alamos, Santa Maria and Santa Ynez valleys, said they were looking at harvesting about 40-percent less grapes than last year. Monday was the annual blessing of the grapes at their winery in Buellton.

"This year everything really needs to be blessed," Lucas said. "The crop is much smaller this year."

Louis also said that this year's harvest is about three weeks earlier than normal due to the warm, dry winter and and also an overcast flowering season. It will take about six to eight weeks to finish harvesting the 26 varieties of wine grapes.

While Father John Finley led harvest time with a prayer and a blessing of the grapes Monday at the Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards Winery, Lucas said he likely isn't the only one saying a prayer for this year's wine grape harvest.

"Overall, statewide, I think they'll be seeing a reduction," Lucas said. "It really depends on the field."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hugely important AFR interview with pro-life advocate

God bless Kevin Allen. Orthodoxy in America needs his special brand of journalism.

How did David Daleiden - The Man Behind the Planned Parenthood Expose - make it through those undercover interviews without being overcome by despondency?

The Jesus Prayer.

Ponder that.

(AFR) - In this special edition of Ancient Faith Today, Kevin speaks, in this extensive interview, with David Daleiden, the director of the Center For Medical Progress, the pro-life activist organization that planned and produced the ​expose videos that have shaken the abortion industry in the United States.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sitka's St. Michael the Archangel Cathedral vs. torrential rain

( - For two weeks, Archpriest Michael Boyle and the faithful of Saint Michael the Archangel Cathedral here have been praying for relief from the torrential rains that have pounded the region and flooded the historic structure’s basement.

“While the cathedral, which stands in the middle of the downtown district, has been spared from mudslides, it has been significantly affected by rain—especially over the past 48 hours during which at times up to an inch an hour fell,” said Father Michael on Wednesday, August 19, 2015. “For the hearty Sitka faithful, who live in the Tongass National Rain Forest, being wet is not just a part of life—it is life!

“We are thankful to God that none of the icons or artifacts that belonged to Saint Innocent, nor any other sacred items, have been damaged or affected by the water,” Father Michael added. “However, the cathedral’s main dome began to leak, so buckets and tarps now cover the floor.”

Sitka was placed on a State of Alaska emergency alert as Governor Bill Walker visited the city to examine the devastation this week.

Workmen take precautions against additional mudslides.

“We have had three major mudslides, one of which totally engulfed and buried a brand new house under tons of dirt and Sitka spruce trees,” Father Michael reported. “The house has not been found, and rescuers have neither heard from nor located the three painters who were inside the house at the time of the slide. Our faithful and the 9,000 inhabitants of our little town are in shock as the three workers are friends to a number of our parishioners and many of the town’s residents.”

While other families have been evacuated from their homes as a precaution against ongoing slides, the cathedral faithful’s main concern remains additional flooding.

“Over the past two weeks the cathedral basement has been closed off, and it’s been a challenge to keep the basement dry, free of water and most recently, free from the growth of mold,” said Father Michael. “With the severe storm raging these past two days, the basement has been hit hard with major water damage. Yesterday we pumped out 1,100 gallons of water, and we still have about 500 gallons still waiting to be removed. Our sump pumps are working, but our dilemma is the configuration of what we have come to call ‘the perfect storm.’

Armenian Church begins process of blessing Holy Muron
(Armenian-WD) - On August 19, the preparatory works for the Blessing of the Holy Muron commenced in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. After the Evening Service, the silver cauldron filled with olive oil was placed on the Main Altar of the Mother Cathedral and was covered with an embroidered veil. For 40 days until the Blessing of the Holy Muron, prayers will be offered each day following Evening Services.

This year, the Blessing of the Holy Muron will be held on September 27, the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varag; in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, during which His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; will bless the Holy Muron with Holy Relics of the Armenian Church. The newly blessed Muron will be distributed to all the dioceses of the Armenian Church.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rome declares Bp. Flavian-Michel Malké a martyr

(Christian Today) - Thousands of Syrian and Iraqi Christians who have fled the atrocities of Islamic State are expected to attend the beatification of a Syriac Catholic bishop later this month.

The celebration comes after Pope Francis authorised a decree declaring Bishop Flavien-Michel Malké to be a martyr. The beatification will take place in Lebanon exactly a century after Bishop Malké was killed in Turkey on 29 August 1915, victim to the Ottoman Empire's attempt to exterminate Christian minorities.

The beatification liturgy will be celebrated by Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Patriarch of Antioch, at the Our Lady of Deliverance convent.

Patriarch Younan said: "In these painful times experienced by Christians, especially the Syriac communities in Iraq and Syria, the news of the beatification of one of their martyrs, will surely bring encouragement and consolation to face the today's trials of appalling dimension.

"Blessed Martyr Michael, intercede for us, and protect especially the Christians in the Orient and all the world in these hard and painful days."

Bishop Malké was born in 1858 in Kalat'ül Mara, a village in what is now Turkey but was then part of the Ottoman Empire. He was martyred in Gazireh, Turkey. He originally joined a monastery of the Syrian Orthodox church but then converted to the Syriac Catholic church. Both churches use the same West Syrian rite.

Antiochian "Little Red Prayer Book" now online

This book is ubiquitous. I consider it one of the 25 most important, formative modern Orthodox books in the English language.
(Antiochian) - A new prayer section was recently launched on The section is linked on the Archdiocese website's homepage "Worship & Devotion" sidebar and in the footer navigation, and is available across all devices. This means that the most popular sections of A Pocket Prayer Book, the well-loved Antiochian Archdiocese spiritual resource affectionately known as "The Little Red Prayer Book," are now readily available to's many weekly visitors.

So far, the collection of online prayers includes: Morning Prayers, Midday Prayers, Evening Prayers, Occasional Prayers, Prayers in Preparation for Holy Communion, Prayers of Thanksgiving After Holy Communion, Self Examination Before Confession, and Prayers After Confession. Other prayers may be added as appropriate.

The original prayer book, containing Daily and Occasional Prayers as well as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, was first published in 1956 and is in its thirteenth printing.

Order a hard copy from the Antiochian Village Bookstore.