Thursday, December 3, 2020

Sign your kids up to this event! I did!

(ROCOR-Chicago) - With the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Peter, the Diocese of Mid-America is pleased to offer a virtual conference for the youth this winter.

While we are disappointed that we cannot all come together in person, we are grateful for this opportunity to meet virtually for uplifting fellowship and conversation.


  • Monday, December 29th: 5pm-7pm CST / 6pm-8pm EST
  • Tuesday, December 30th: 5pm-7pm CST / 6pm-8pm EST


  • Archpriest John Johnson St. Thecla Orthodox Church Kensington, MD
  • Deacon Nicholas Kotar Holy Trinity Seminary Jordanville, NY 

There will be a $25 registration fee.

Registrants will receive a zoom link and further information before the conference.

Registration Form:

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Burial Service for the Abp. David (Mahaffey) of Sitka

Monday, November 30, 2020

Alaska under the omophor of Bp. Alexis of Bethesda

(OCA) - On Sunday, November 29, 2020, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America met under the presidency of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon via teleconference, and declared vacant the see of the Diocese of Sitka and Alaska following the death of the diocesan hierarch, His Eminence Archbishop David of Sitka and Alaska. During the meeting, His Beatitude informed the Holy Synod that he had appointed His Grace Bishop Alexis of Bethesda locum tenens of the diocese.

The schedule for the funeral service for His Eminence Archbishop David is as follows:

Tuesday, December 1 

  • 3:00 PM: Arrival of the body at Holy Trinity Church, Wilkes-Barre, PA. 

  • 3:30 PM: Panikhida will be held, followed by viewing. Please note that the Church has limited capacity and the number of people in the Church building will be tightly controlled. 

  • 6:00 PM: Order for the Burial of a Hierarch will be held.

Interment, not open to the public due to COVID restrictions, will be at St. Tikhon’s Monastery.

Please note that due to COVID restrictions, only invited clergy may serve at the services. Additionally, attendance at the services is limited to family and invited guests only. For all of these services, clergy and faithful should also be sure to maintain all safety protocols and precautionary measures. Other than serving clergy and singers, all in attendance must wear a mask.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Ukraine and Cyprus and diptychs oh my!

(Orthodox Synaxis) - Yesterday, November 25, 2020, the Holy Synod of Cyprus, by a vote of 10-7, issued the following statement:

The Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus, during its sessions of November 23 and 25, 2020, discussed in detail the Ukrainian Ecclesiastical Question as well as the problem that was created by the commemoration of Epifany as Primate of the Church of Ukraine on the part of His Beatitutude the Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos, and it decided not to oppose the above decision of His Beatitude.

At the same time, the Holy Synod looks forward to a wider consultation in which everyone may work to overcome the current crisis which threatens the Church of Christ with schism.

Holy Archbishopric of Cyprus

November 25, 2020

Archbishop Chrysostomos’ decision had previously received emphatic opposition from four metropolitans on the synod. In an interview following the decision, Metropolitan Nikephoros of Kykkos made the following statement...

Complete article here.

Archbishop David of Sitka has reposed in the Lord

(orthochristian) - His Eminence Archbishop David of Sitka and Alaska of the Orthodox Church in America fell asleep in the Lord today at the age of 68, following a short battle with aggressive renal cancer.

His Eminence had served as the bishop of Alaska since 2014.

The sad news was confirmed to OrthoChristian by Fr. Timothy Hojnicki of Holy Apostles Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, who together with His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada, served a panikhida at Abp. David’s bedside soon after his repose.

The Archbishop had been living with his daughter in Hanover, Pennsylvania during his treatment.

His Eminence’s battle with the disease progressed quickly. He was only diagnosed with cancer about two months ago.

In 2015, OrthoChristian had the honor of interviewing Abp. David about his ministry in Alaska. See: “For the Love of the People. A Conversation With Bishop David Mahaffey on Serving in Alaska.”

May his memory be eternal!

How the Serbian Patriarch is chosen

Friday, November 20, 2020

Moscow and Cyprus not on the best of terms

Moscow, November 20 (Interfax) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is ceasing the liturgical commemoration of Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus for recognizing the new uncanonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church officially resolved during an online meeting on Friday that the liturgical commemoration of the name of Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus in diptychs, as well as prayer and Eucharistic communion with him, is no longer possible. The same concerns joint prayer services with those hierarchs of the Church of Cyprus who maintain communion with the Ukrainian schismatics. 

St. Vlad's updates their logo. Thoughts?

(SVOTS) - Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) has begun rolling out a new logo to accompany new branding for the Seminary.

“We are excited,” said SVOTS President Fr. Chad Hatfield. “There have been so many positive developments at St. Vladimir’s in recent years, and this new logo and branding reflect the encouraging direction our Seminary is moving in.”

The new logo features an artistic recreation of the cross and cupola of the Seminary’s Three Hierarchs Chapel and a new wordmark.  The cross and the image of the Chapel point not only to the Seminary’s Orthodox Christian confession and devotion to Christ, but also the centrality of chapel and prayer life in SVOTS’ training and formation of seminarians. The buildings/houses surrounding Three Hierarchs Chapel in the logo reflect the Seminary’s emphasis on residential life. Together, the Chapel and buildings also symbolize the Church at large, placed in the world within our neighborhoods and communities; the houses look toward the Church for guidance and leadership. The blue sky represents the protecting veil of the Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.

The logo is the centerpiece of SVOTS’ new branding—the first complete branding process the Seminary has undertaken in its history.

“It’s important St. Vladimir’s has a well-designed and intentional brand that guides how we communicate and present ourselves,” said SVOTS Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Werner. “Even the best professors and academic programs or the most interesting events can be missed if the look and voice surrounding everything isn’t making an impact on people.

“Little by little over the next few months, you’ll start to see and feel the Seminary’s new branding on everything we do. And there’s still more to be revealed.”

Along with the new logo, the Seminary’s branding introduces the use of new colors, primarily violet and “panagia” blue, and includes an updated “Values, Purpose, & Mission” statement.

The familiar St. Vladimir’s Seminary academic seal, which has featured prominently in Seminary communications since 1960 and was updated in 2013, will continue to be used together with the new logo.

Romanian Metropolia launches online educational program

(Mitropolia) - With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae, from NOVEMBER 2020, the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas will carry out an EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM for at least 12 months, aimed at religious education of believers and in-depth understanding of the truths of the faith.

This project is addressed to the faithful of the Metropolia and will take place exclusively in the virtual environment on EVERY THURSDAY of the MONTH, starting with 7.00 PM EDT (US East Coast time).

I. On the FIRST THURSDAY of each month, starting with December 3, 2020, Fr. Dr. John Downie from St. Michael's Parish in Southbridge MA will hold a BIBLE STUDY program in ENGLISH, starting with the book of Revelation. Father John Downie obtained his doctorate in theology at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology "Justinian Patriarch" in Bucharest, Department of Biblical Studies, doctoral thesis entitled "The relationship between Father and Son in the Gospel according to St. John" under the coordination of Fr. Prof. Dr. Constantin Coman. The general structure will be: a series of 12 months, with about 2 chapters per study, also ranging from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours as time. Is the book of Revelation relevant today? Is it possible to understand it? Can we know for whom it was written and why? What is the meaning of its mysterious symbols? These are some of the questions that will be answered if you participate. The Bible study lesson will take place on the ZOOM portal

II. On the SECOND THURSDAY of each MONTH, between November 2020 and October 2021, several priests of our Metropolia will present CATECHESIS belonging to the catechetical program implemented by the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas called ”THE WAY”.

With the motto: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to My Father except through Me” (John 14:6), the catechetical project “The Way” is a Christian catechetical unit, an introductory course for parishes meant to initiate the audience with notions and aspects of life specific to the Orthodox faith. The Way is one of the names that designated the Christian faith in the New Testament.

Where does the Course come from? From the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, affiliated with the ancient University of Cambridge.

Who is the course for and what was it designed for? The course called The Way is addressed to all people aged between 18 and 80 who have completed high school, but also to all those interested in seeking the Truth that for us is Jesus Christ. The Way was written by 18 presenters of the catechetical course who, after a careful critical evaluation by all team members, was sent for approval to the episcopal supervisor, His Eminence Metropolitan Kalistos of Diokleia.

What does the course look like and how is it structured? The module consists of 12 sessions, being implemented with a 2-hour session.

The first catechism lesson, The Search for Faith will be on November 12, 2020. The complete program of all catechesis can be found here. The catechesis will take place on the ZOOM portal

III. On the THIRD THURSDAY of the MONTH starting with November 19, 2020, at 7.00 pm EDT, Protosynghellos Ieremia Berbec, abbot of St. Demetrios the New Monastery of Middletown, NY, will hold a SPIRITUAL EVENING. Father Ieremia was installed on Saturday, October 24, 2020, abbot of St. Demetrios the New Monastery in Middletown, New York, by His Eminence Nicolae, the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of the Americas. The abbot holds a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Berkeley, California, where he studied from 2002 to 2007. The mathematics department of the institution is among the top 10 in the world. Father Ieremia was part of the community of Putna Monastery for 13 years. The arrival in Middletown, NY was made with the blessing of Father Archimandrite Melchisedek, the abbot of Putna Monastery, Archbishop Pimen of blessed memory, and HE Archbishop Calinic of Suceava and Radauti. The father was also a disciple of Father Arsenie Papacioc and has a degree in theology and recently a master degree from the "Dumitru Stăniloae" Faculty of Theology in Iași. The spiritual meeting will take place on the YOUTUBE portal below and will have two parts: a short introduction / presentation of a topic followed by a dialogue with questions and answers.

The title of the first series of themes is: "The fulfillment of the Law and the prophets - About Christ, from the prophets", with the following themes:

  • "If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me" (John 5:46).
  • "That all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me" (Luke 24:44).
  • Isaiah - The Evangelist of the Old Testament. "There shall come forth a rod from the root of Jesse" (Isaiah 11:1).
  • Isaiah - The Old Testament Evangelist. The Servant of the Lord - Ebed Yahweh;
  • "That the light may not be extinguished in Israel" (II Kings 21:17) - The messianism of the ancient rabbis;
  • The Messiah was to come until the fall of the Second Temple in 70 AD (Daniel 9: 24-27).
NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED! Access directly the YOUTUBE portal here

IV. On the FOURTH THURSDAY of each MONTH, starting with November 26, 2020, Fr. Ștefan Drăgoi from St. Mary's Parish in Norfolk, Virginia will present a BIBLE STUDY program in ROMANIAN LANGUAGE, starting from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. Depending on the importance and complexity of the topics of each chapter, the study will consider 3-6 chapters and will last 1h-1h½. There will be a question and answer session at the end of each meeting. The first lesson will be introductory, but the first three chapters will also be covered. Several sources will be used such as: New Orthodox Bible Study, Collection of Church Fathers and Writers, vol 23, Homilies on Matthew, Saint Theophilact of Bulgaria, Interpretation of the Holy Gospel of Matthew, BibleWorks, and other online sources. Father Ștefan Drăgoi obtained his bachelor's and master's degree in theology at the "Justinian Patriarch" Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest and, since September 2019, he has been a priest at St. Mary's Parish in Hamptons Roads / Norfolk, Virginia. Bible Study will be conducted on the ZOOM portal

For any additional information please contact Father Daniel Ene, the coordinator of this project, by email at

Fr. Daniel Ene, 
Diocesan Secretary and Dean of New York, New England, and the Eastern USA    
Chaiman of the Education Commission of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas        

Serbian Patriarch reposes in the Lord

(SOC) - The Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch (Gavrilovic) reposed in the Lord in the Military Covid Hospital "Karaburma" in Belgrade, on Friday, November 20, 2020, at 7:07 AM.

All other details regarding the funeral of His Holiness the Patriarch will be announced soon. Eternal memory and the Kingdom of Heaven!

On the occasion of the repose of the Serbian Patriarch Irinej of blessed memory, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church held a meeting at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade on November 20, 2020 and made some decisions provided by the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in such situations.

A decision was made that the Holy Synod of Bishops should take over the patriarchal responsibilities in accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and that the Holy Synod should be chaired by the Metropolitan of Dabar-Bosnia Hrisostom until the election of a new Serbian Patriarch.

The Holy Synod of Bishops appointed His Grace Jovan, Bishop of Sumadija, as administrator of the vacant Archdiocese of Belgrade-Karlovci,  in accordance with Article 70 of the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The body of the Serbian Patriarch Irinej of blessed memory will be exhibited in the Cathedral of the Holy Archangel Michael in Belgrade during the Holy Liturgy on the feast day of the Cathedral, November 21, 2020, and then transferred to the Church of Saint Sava in Vracar district, Belgrade, where the faithful may have opportunity to make a homage to the blessed Patriarch.

The Holy Liturgy will be celebrated on Sunday, November 22, 2020, in the church of Saint Sava in Vracar, starting at 9 am. Immediately after the Holy Liturgy, the Funeral Rite will be served and the body of the Patriarch will be buried in the crypt of the church of Saint Sava.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Serbian Patriarch Irinej health update

(SOC) - In the morning of 19 November 2020 the general health condition of His  Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, has deteriorated as the consequence of COVID 19

The standing team of medical experts along with the physicians from the Russian Federation has examined His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and analysed the results of laboratory testing executed this morning and concluded that the morning health deterioration is the consequence of COVID 19 infection and that the general health condition of His Holiness is complex, but stable. The public shall be further informed of the health condition of His Holiness.

On behalf of the team of medical experts

Colonel Ivo Udovičić, Assistant Professor

Hospital Commander in Chief 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Funerals ok. Baptism not so much.

To get this straight: We can mark your death, but we'll deny you the promise of everlasting life. That seems fair. 

Nov 16, 2020 / 10:30 am MT (CNA) - Police halted a baptism in a Baptist church in London on Sunday, citing the country’s coronavirus restrictions that include bans on weddings and baptisms. The restrictions have been criticized by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales.

A pastor at The Angel Church in London’s Islington borough held a baptism with approximately 30 people in attendance, in violation of the country’s public health restrictions. Metropolitan police halted the baptism and stood guard outside the church to prevent anyone from entering, BBC News reported on Sunday.

After the baptism was stopped, Pastor Regan King reportedly agreed to hold an outdoor gathering. According to the Evening Standard, 15 people remained inside the church while another 15 people gathered outside to pray. The original planned event was a baptism and an in-person service, the Evening Standard reported.

The U.K. government implemented its second set of major, nationwide restrictions during the pandemic, closing pubs, restaurants, and “non-essential” businesses for four weeks due to a surge in virus cases.

Churches can be open only for funerals and for “individual prayer” but not “communal worship.”

The country’s first lockdown occurred in the spring, when churches were closed from March 23 until June 15.

Catholic bishops have sharply criticized the second set of restrictions, with Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool issuing an Oct. 31 statement that the closure of churches would cause “deep anguish.”

“Whilst we understand the many difficult decisions facing the government, we have not yet seen any evidence whatsoever that would make the banning of communal worship, with all its human costs, a productive part of combating the virus,” the bishops wrote.

Lay Catholics have also opposed the new restrictions as well, with the president of The Catholic Union, Sir Edward Leigh, calling the restrictions “a huge blow to Catholics across the country.”

More than 32,000 people have signed a petition to Parliament asking for “corporate worship and congregational singing” to be allowed in houses of worship.

Before the second lockdown, Cardinal Nichols told CNA that one of the worst consequences of the first lockdown was that people were “cruelly separated” from their loved ones who were sick.

He also predicted “changes” to the Church, one of them being Catholics having to adjust to watching Mass offered remotely.

“This sacramental life of the Church is corporal. It’s tangible. It’s in the substance of the sacrament and of the gathered body … I hope that this time, for many people, of Eucharistic fast gives us an additional, sharpened taste for the real Body and Blood of the Lord.”

Friday, November 6, 2020

Serbian patriarch has coronavirus

(SOC) - Within regular test procedures and after epidemiological assessment, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej was tested for SARS CoV2 with PCR test. His Holiness tested positive, yet asymptomatic and generally feeling well. His Holiness has been admitted to COVID hospital in Belgrade. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Diocese of Alaska has episcopal administrator

(OCA) - On Tuesday, November 3, 2020, the Standing Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, met via teleconference under the presidency of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon.  In their meeting, the members of the Standing Synod considered the request that His Eminence Archbishop David of Sitka and Alaska made to His Beatitude to appoint an episcopal administrator for the Diocese of Alaska. His Eminence has made this request due to his serious health condition. With the concurrence of the Standing Synod, His Beatitude reiterated that His Eminence Archbishop David remains the ruling bishop of the Diocese of Alaska. Additionally, His Beatitude accepted the request of His Eminence Archbishop David and appointed His Grace Bishop Alexis of Bethesda as episcopal administrator of the Diocese of Alaska.

His Eminence Archbishop David’s condition remains critical. He is residing at his daughter’s home in Hanover, Pennsylvania, while he receives treatment for cancer. Faithful are invited to mail cards, care of his daughter:

Archbishop David
42 Arlene Drive
Hanover, PA 17331

His Beatitude and the members of the Standing Synod call upon the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America to remember His Eminence in their prayers. His Beatitude said, “Once again, I ask each of us to fervently pray that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician and Healer of our souls and bodies, grant His Eminence Archbishop David courage and consolation to endure his treatment with hope, and that the Mother of God inspire him to maintain his strong faith while bearing this cross.”

US episcopal assembly website gets facelift

(EA) - Metropolitan Gregory, Secretary of the Assembly of Bishops, commented, “the new website reflects the revitalized energy of the Bishops, who meet regularly to address the concerns and needs of the Orthodox faithful in the U.S. We look forward to engaging the clergy and laity through the internet, and most especially – when it is again safe to do so – in person.”

The launch signifies the culmination of a consultative process that included marketing, communications, IT and web experts, as well as theologians, lawyers, and graphic designers. The Assembly of Bishops extends its deep gratitude to all the volunteers who worked on the project, as well as the Department of Internet Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America for its continued support.