Holy Synod approves 2018 Church Planting Grants

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Fr. James Bozeman and faithful of St. James Mission, Beaufort, SC.

At their recent Fall Session, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America approved Church Planting Grants for five recently established missions.

Receiving grants for the first time in 2018 are Saint John of Chicago Mission, Rogers, AR, served by Priest John Wehling, and Saint Nikolai Mission, Louisville, OH, a mission of the Bulgarian Diocese served by Priest Mikel Hill.  Annunciation of the Virgin Mary Mission, Rollo, MO, served by Priest Joel Wilson, will receive a second year grant, while Saint Nektarios Mission, Waxahachie, TX and Saint Juvenaly and His Companion Mission, Wasilla, AK, will receive grants for their third and final year.  Priest David Bozeman and Archpriest Mikel Bock serve these missions respectively.

“Each year, the OCA invests roughly $100,000.00 in the development of new missions, and in 2018 we will continue to do so, thanks to the generosity of the faithful of the OCA,” notes Priest John Parker, who chairs the Department of Evangelization.  “Each of these missions receives a substantial grant—$24,000.00 for the first year, $20,000.00 for the second year, and $16,000.00 for the third year—matched by the mission, in order to support the full-time ministry and missionary work of their priest.  In addition to the matching compensation, missions develop robust stewardship plans—agreeing that the parish council members will be examples to others by tithing and reporting to the department on monthly outreach and evangelistic work.

Two missions are “graduating” from the Planting Grant Program at the end of 2017: Saint James Church, Beaufort, SC, where Priest James Bozeman serves as Priest-in-Charge, and Saint John the Evangelist Church, Tempe, AZ, served by Priest Andre Paez.

“Planting grant priests and their missions are on the cutting edge of ministry and make every effort to share all the good that God has done for them with their neighbors,” Father John added.  ” Imitable mission priests are tireless laborers who, together with the faithful of their missions, implement some of the most creative and energetic missionary efforts in the OCA.  Consider inviting one of the second or third year priests, or one of the numerous ‘graduates,’ to give a retreat at your parish—to tell the story of how God has worked in their apostolic labors.

“It is encouraging that missions representing four OCA dioceses are among the 2018 recipients,” Father John concluded.  ” Please pray for these missions and missionary efforts, including those who were not able to be funded.  And for missions to be established and for our current parishes to thrive.”

The Mission Planting Grant Program is made possible in part due to the generous support of the Stewards of the Orthodox Church in AmericaSee what you can make possible by becoming a Steward today!

BOT Executive Committee Meets at HCHC

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Hellenic College, Inc.’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee met yesterday for its regularly scheduled meeting under the direction of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, Chairman of the Board.

Metropolitan Tikhon presides at patronal feast of OCA’s Representation Church of St. Catherine

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Metropolitan Tikhon extends patronal feast day greetings to the clergy and faithful of St. Catherine Church.

In conjunction with his visit to Moscow during the first week of December 2017, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the Divine Liturgy at the Orthodox Church in America’s Representation Church of Saint Catherine in Moscow on Thursday, December 7.

Concelebrating with Metropolitan Tikhon were His Grace, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA; His Grace, Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; Archpriest Nikolai Krechetov, District Dean; Archimandrite Theoktistos [Dimitrov], Representative of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to the Patriarchate; Archimandrite Seraphim [Shemyatovsky], Representative of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia to the Patriarchate; Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk, Rector of Saint Tikhon of Moscow Church, Anchorage, AK; clergy members of the OCA delegation; Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak; the clergy of Saint Catherine Church; and clergy from neighboring parishes.

The diplomatic corps was well represented by His Excellency, John R. Kur, Ambassador of Canada to Russia; Her Excellency, Mrs. Norma Bertha Pensado Moreno, Ambassador of Mexico in Russia; Christopher T. Robinson, Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Embassy of the United States of America in the Russian Federation; and Stefan Gabenom, Minister-Counselor of the Embassy of Canada in Russia.

On the eve of the feast, Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Daniel and the OCA delegation participated in the festal Vigil service.

After the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Tikhon warmly welcomed the concelebrating clergy, the diplomatic corps, and the faithful who filled the church beyond capacity.  He also expressed deep gratitude to His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who had invited him, along with the other Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, to participate in celebrations marking the 100th Anniversary of the Enthronement of Saint Tikhon as Patriarch of Moscow and the Restoration of the Patriarchate in 1917.  [See related story.]

Metropolitan Tikhon noted that the OCA Representation Church of Saint Catherine has, for many years, been a center of pastoral care for English-speaking Orthodox Christians in Moscow and beyond and evidence of the close fraternal relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America.

It was 25 years ago, in early 1992, that Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak was appointed to serve as the OCA’s first Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate.  [See related story.]  Father Daniel initially celebrated English-language services in the bell tower Church of Saint Symeon the Stylite at Moscow’s Danilov Monastery while a suitable church for the OCA’s use could be identified.  Two years later, Saint Catherine Church—formally known as the Church of the Great Martyr Catherine In-The-Fields—was selected as the site of the OCA’s Representation Church due to its location and size.  During communist times, the church was used for secular purposes and has since undergone extensive renovations, especially in its interior.  On the feast of Saint Catherine in 1994, the first prayer service in the church in over 60 years was celebrated jointly by His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksy II and His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, now retired.  Father Daniel Hubiak, now retired, was appointed the parish’s Rector and served with distinction for many years.

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Fr. Daniel Andrejuk, newly appointed OCA Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate and Rector of St. Catherine Church.

Metropolitan Tikhon went on to introduce Father Daniel Andrejuk as the OCA’s new Representative to the Patriarchate and Rector of Saint Catherine Church.  Father Daniel was appointed to the position by Metropolitan Tikhon and the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA.  Born on January 11, 1976 in Bialystok, Poland, Father Daniel at the age of 12 relocated with his family to the US.  After graduating from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA in 1999, he continued theological studies at the Moscow Theological Academy, Sergiev Posad, Russia, graduating in 2002.  He was ordained to the diaconate at Saint Catherine Church on June 9, 2002 and to the priesthood at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, on August 15 of the same year.  For several years, Father Daniel has served as Rector of Saint TIkhon of Moscow Church, Anchorage, AK.  He and his wife, Matushka Vera, and their three daughters Paraskeva, Ephimia and Fevronia, will relocate to Moscow during the last week of January 2018.

An official reception in honor of the visit of Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA delegation followed the Divine Liturgy.

A photo gallery is now available on the OCA web site and Facebook page.

Memory Eternal! Matushka Feodosia Stadniuk Reposes in the Lord

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On Monday, December 11, at the age of 90, Matushka Feodosia Stadniuka, wife of Protopresbyter Matthew Stadniuk, pastor emeritus of the Cathedral of the Theophany of Christ in Moscow reposed in the Lord. 

Response to The Chieti Document is Another Step Forward for the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches’ Common Understanding in Service of Unity

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The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation (NAOCTC) has released its response to the most recent document produced by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. The Chieti Document discusses the relationship between primacy and synodality during the first millennium Churches of the East and West. It specifically examines that relationship on three levels: the local, regional and universal. The NAOCTC response reflects upon each of the three levels and offers suggestions for further study and consideration.

Archbishop Asks for Support and Prayers for California Fire Victims

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NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios of America who receives frequent updates on the destructive fires in California, as those fires are still blazing along the California coast and continue to threaten life and destroy everything in their path including some of our parishes and faithful in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, issued a call for prayer and support for all those who are faced with this devastation.

“Our thoughts and prayers are constant and fervent for all the people affected by the latest waves of fires in several California counties. We read reports of houses destroyed, we see the videos of the threatening fires, and we feel the anguish and desperation of the residents. Among them are many orthodox faithful and some of our parishes are directly affected. We are deeply concerned. On behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod and the plentitude of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, I offer our fervent prayers and stedfast support. May God strengthen all our brethren in California with resolve to persevere this ordeal; and may He the Almighty God of love bring a quick termination of this devastation.”

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December 15 + St. Eleftherios, Patron Saint of Diocese of Wichita

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The Holy Hieromartyr Eleftherios

December 15th is also the anniversary of the formal establishment of the Diocese of Wichita in 2004. Read His Grace Bishop Basil’s address on the occasion (PDF).

The Passion of the Hieromartyr Eleftherios of Illyria

From a good tree comes good fruit.  This wonderful saint had noble and greatly eminent parents.  Eleutherius was born in Rome, where his father was an imperial proconsul.  His mother Anthia heard the Gospel from the great Apostle Paul and was baptized by him.  Having been left a widow early, she entrusted her only son for study and service to Anicetus the Bishop of Rome. 

Seeing how Eleutherius was gifted by God and illumined by the grace of God, the bishop ordained him a deacon at the age of fifteen, a priest at the age of eighteen, and a bishop at the age of twenty.  Eleutherius’s God-given wisdom made up for what he lacked in years, and this chosen one of God was appointed Bishop of Illyria with his seat in Valona (Avlona), Albania.

The good shepherd guarded his flock well and increased their number day by day.  Emperor Hadrian, a persecutor of Christians, sent the commander Felix with soldiers to seize Eleutherius and bring him to Rome.  When the raging Felix arrived in Valona and entered the church, he saw and heard the holy hierarch of God; suddenly his heart changed, and he became a Christian.  Eleutherius baptized Felix and departed for Rome with him, returning joyfully as if he were going to a feast and not to trial and torture: flogging, raosting on an iron bed, boiling in pitch, and burning in a fiery furnace.  But Eleutherius was delivered from all these deadly tortures by God’s power.  Seeing all this, Caribus the Roman eparch declared that he also was a Christian.  Caribus was tortured and then beheaded, and so was Blessed Felix.  Finally, the imperial executioners cut off the honorable head of St. Eleutherius. 

St. Eleutherios When his mother, the holy Anthia, came and stood over the dead body of her son, she was also beheaded.  Their bodies were translated to Valona, where even today today St. Eleutherius glorifies the name of Christ by his many miracles.  He suffered during the reign of Hadrian in the year 120.    

–From The Prologue of Ochrid by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Troparion, Tone 5

Being comely adorned in thy sacred priestly robes
And newly drenched with streams of thy pure and sanctified blood,
Thou didst soar aloft to stand before thy Master, Christ;
Hence never cease to intercede
For those honoring thy faith with mighty and blessed contest,
O thou overthrower of Satan,
O wise and blessed Eleftherios.

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Apolytikion (Troparion) of St Eleftherios.pdf 24.85 KB
Akolouthia (Service) for St Eleftherios.pdf 113.63 KB
Propers (Western Rite) for St Eleftherios.pdf 143.69 KB

Metropolitan Tikhon, OCA delegation return from celebrations commemorating St. Tikhon of Moscow

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His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the delegation of the Orthodox Church in America who had traveled to Moscow to participate in celebrations marking the 100th Anniversary of the Election and Enthronement of Saint Tikhon as Patriarch of Moscow and the Restoration of the Patriarchate returned to the US on Friday, December 9, 2017.

As reported earlier, His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow had extended invitations to the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches to participate in the celebrations and services marking the historic occasion.

Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA delegation, which included His Grace, Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk, Rector of Saint Tikhon of Moscow Church, Anchorage, AK; Melanie Ringa, OCA Treasurer; Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak; and Subdeacon Roman Ostash, arrived in Moscow on Friday, December 1.  Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Daniel and Father Daniel paid a introductory visit to the US Ambassador, His Excellency Jon M. Huntsman.

The following afternoon, Metropolitan Tikhon and delegation members attended a session of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.  During the session, each of the Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches in attendance addressed the assembly.  [See related story and the text of Metropolitan Tikhon’s address.]

On Sunday morning, December 3, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the Divine Liturgy at the Valaam Monastery Representation Church in Moscow, at which Bishop Daniel and the clergy members of the OCA delegation served.  Also concelebrating were His Eminence, Metropolitan Paul of Khanty-Mansyisk and Surgut and His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian of Kalmykia and Elista.  Following the Divine Liturgy, Igumen Joseph [Kryukov], a graduate of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA, hosted Metropolitan Tikhon and the delegation for a festive lunch with members and friends of the monastic community.  In the evening, Metropolitan Tikhon attended a dinner honoring the Primates, hosted by Patriarch Kirill.

The highlight of the visit was the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Cathedral on Monday, December 4, at which His Beatitude, Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, presided as senior hierarch.  The Primates and their representatives concelebrated.  The relics of Saint Tikhon had been brought from the Donskoy Monastery, where they are enshrined, to the cathedral for the Divine Liturgy.  Later that evening, Metropolitan Tikhon and the other Primates attended an anniversary concert in the State Kremlin Palace and a dinner hosted by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

On Tuesday, December 5, Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA delegation visited the Savvino-Starozhevsky Monastery in Zvenigorod and the recently restored New Jerusalem Monastery in Istra.

The following morning, December 6, Metropolitan Tikhon and delegation members had the rare opportunity to visit the room in which Saint Tikhon fell asleep in the Lord in 1925.  At the time of his repose, the site was a medical clinic, although today it contains offices.  They also visited the 14th century Monastery of the Conception of Saint Anna.  In the afternoon, they met with Patriarch Kirill at the Patriarchal Residence in the Danilov Monastery.  [See related story, gallery and video.]  In the evening, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the celebration of the Vigil for the patronal Feast of the OCA’s Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine in Moscow.

On Thursday morning, December 7, the Feast of Saint Catherine, Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Daniel and the OCA delegation celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Saint Catherine Church.  Among the concelebrants were His Grace, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA; Archpriest Nicholas Kretchikov, District Dean; Archpriest Nicholas Balashov, Deputy Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate; Archimandrite Feoktist [Dimitrov], Representative of the Church of Bulgaria to the Moscow Patriarchate; Archimandrite Seraphim [Shemiatovsky], Representative of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia to the Moscow Patriarchate; and the clergy of Saint Catherine Church and other local clergy.  Established in 1992 with the appointment of Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak as the OCA’s first Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate, the OCA Representation has been based at Saint Catherine Church since the mid-1990s.  Also in attendance at the Divine Liturgy were His Excellency, John Kur, Ambassador of Canada and Her Excellency, Ms. Norma Pensado, Mexican Ambassador.  Representing the US Embassy was Political Minister Counselor Christopher Robinson.  A press release and photo gallery of the celebrations at Saint Catherine Church will be forthcoming.

A photo gallery is now available on the OCA web site and Facebook page.

St. Andrew Feast Day – Silver Spring, Maryland

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What is more beautiful than the sparkle of sunshine on freshly fallen snow? It is a parish community, warmly coming together to celebrate its Feast Day, surrounded by the wonder of such snow outside. On Sunday, December 10, 2017 Saint Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, MD celebrated its patron feast day, continuing a wonderful tradition of community celebration.

Remembering Fr. Alexander Schmemann

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017—the Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska—marks the 30th anniversary of the repose of Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary and a leading 20th century Orthodox Christian theologian.

Father Alexander was born in Estonia in 1921 to a family of Russian emigres. He spent his youth in France, where he completed his secondary and university educations. He also finished theological studies at the Orthodox Theological Institute of Saint Sergius in Paris, which at that time was the center of Russian Orthodox scholarship after the turmoil of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1946, he taught Church history at Saint Sergius Institute until 1951, when he was invited to join the faculty of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, at that time located in New York City. He was soon recognized as a leading exponent of Orthodox liturgical theology, which sees the liturgical tradition of the Church as a major sign and expression of the Christian faith.

Father Alexander received his doctorate on July 5, 1959 from Saint Sergius Institute, having defended his dissertation, “Tserkovny Ustav: Opyt Vvedeniia v Liturgicheskoe Bogoslovie” [“The Church’s Ordo: Introduction to Liturgical Theology”]. He held honorary degrees from Butler University, General Theological Seminary, Lafayette College, Iona College, and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

In addition to teaching at Saint Vladimir’s, Father Alexander held positions as adjunct professor at Columbia University, New York University, Union Seminary, and General Theological Seminary and was a popular guest lecturer at many universities throughout the country. He was also active as a representative of the Orthodox Church in the ecumenical movement, and held positions in the Youth Department and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.

Appointed Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in 1962 – a position he held until his repose – he was instrumental in educating a generation of Orthodox Christian priests. During his tenure, the seminary achieved widespread recognition as a center of Orthodox theological studies.

Father Alexander was active in the establishment of the Orthodox Church in America as an autocephalous Church in 1970, at which time the former “Metropolia” became officially independent from the Russian Orthodox Church, dedicating itself to the unity of the Orthodox Church in North America. While committed to the cause of an Orthodox Church that would be united and American, he always remained concerned with the fate of believers in the Soviet Union. For 30 years, his sermons were broadcast in Russian on “Radio Liberty,” gaining Father Alexander a broad following across the Soviet Union and elsewhere. Alexander Solzhenitzyn, while still in the Soviet Union, was one of his auditors and remained his friend after emigrating to the West.

Over a dozen books written by Father Alexander have been published in multiple languages and continue to be widely circulated, including For the Life of the World; Introduction to Liturgical Theology; Ultimate Questions; Church, World, Mission; and numerous articles and tracts. For the Life of the World, a popular volume on Christian faith as reflected in liturgy, has been translated into numerous languages and remains one of the most popular works on Christianity for the general public. The title of this work has been selected as the theme of the Orthodox Church in America’s 19th All-American Council, slated to convene in Saint Louis, MO July 23-27, 2018.  He completed a major study on the Eucharist only weeks before his death.

May Father Alexander’s memory be eternal!

For a wealth of additional information and links, including writings, photos and memorials to Father Alexander, please visit www.schmemann.org.

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