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In The News: From Pennsylvania to Finland!

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Wilkes-Barre, PA:  Recording of STM Chamber Choir concert broadcasted on Public Radio in early June

concertSt. Tikhon’s Monastery Chamber Choir in concert.

On Sunday, May 28, 2017, the Chamber Choir of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery performed a memorial concert of sacred music at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre, PA.  A highlight of the concert was Tchaikovsky’s Nine Sacred Pieces, performed in the original Church Slavonic.  The audience responded with such a long and rousing standing ovation that the choir, which had not prepared an encore, repeated one selection.

The concert was presented during the weekend of the 113th annual Pilgrimage to Saint Tikhon’s Monastery.  Among those in attendance were His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon; His Eminence, Archbishop Irenee; and His Eminence, Archbishop Michael.

In the first half of the program, the men of the Chamber Choir, which is a professional ensemble, were joined by some of the most talented members of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Choir for a performance of Stepan Smolensky’s deeply contemplative Memorial Service for Tsar Alexander III [1904], scored for male chorus and presented in a new English transcription by Benedict Sheehan, Director of Music at the seminary.

Selections from the concert aired on WVIA 89.9 FM Public Radio.  The first installment aired during a weekly show, Music from Saint Stephen’s, on Sunday, June 4.  Listeners enjoyed the program twice in the same day—from 7:00-7:30 a.m. and from 4:00-4:30 p.m.  Additional broadcasts aired on the following two Sundays.  Listeners outside the reception area may access the recording on-line.

Joensuu, Finland: Orthodox musicians from 17 countries participate in international conference

finlandParticipants in recent ISOCM conference.

Over 60 musicians, singers, researchers, composers, directors, chanters and musicologists from 17 countries joined members of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music [ISOCM] for the Seventh Conference on Orthodox Music here June 6-11, 2017.  Among those participating from the Orthodox Church in America were David Lucs, an ISOCM Board member; Andrea Lutov, Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Washington, DC; Robin Freeman, Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY; Peter Drobac, Archdiocese of Canada; and Katherine Knocke, Three Hierarchs Mission, Northfield, MN.

“This conference has provided, perhaps, some of the richest and most diverse communications yet,” said Father Ivan Moody, who chairs ISOCM’s Board.  “The broad theme of ‘Liturgy and Music’ providing the spark for reflections on many different aspects of the way these two concepts interact.”

The conference theme was developed in a series of 33 presentations that included vocal and melody types in the Typikon of Saint Sabbas, the liturgical music experience of Albanians in Italy, Romanian chant variations for feasts of the Mother of God; and Finnish liturgical and para-liturgical music.  Presentations also included reflections on the works of select composers, including Archpriest Sergei Glagolev of the US, Alexander Raskatov and Alexander Knaifel of Russia; and Egon Wellesz of Austria and the UK.

“We have enjoyed conversation and social time in which the themes arising during the course of the conference have been discussed in a more leisurely way, contacts made and projects planned,” Father Ivan added.  “It marks the perfect way to begin the second decade of the ISOCM’s existence.”

Founded in 2005, ISOCM offers international musicians and scholars opportunities to gather for conferences and to share their experiences, knowledge, and the joy of Orthodox liturgical chant.

The proceedings from the conference will be published and made available for purchase.

Medford, NJ:  Teens experience plight of homeless youth during “sleep out”

medfordNJ youth participate in sleep out.

Teens from Holy Cross Church, Medford, NJ spent a night away from the comforts of home to raise awareness about the plight of homeless young people during a recent Covenant House sponsored sleep out.  The first of its kind for youth in Burlington County, the sleep out found the Holy Cross youth and their peers from neighboring faith communities spending the night in cardboard boxes and sleeping bags in the parish’s parking lot, experiencing something of the uncertainty and discomfort of life on the street.  In the process, the teens raised $13,000.00 in support of Covenant House Camden, which reaches out to youth in Burlington and Camden Counties.

Presentations were offered by Archpriest John Shimchick; parishioner and sleep out coordinator, Phyllis Pritchard; Sergeant Robert Zane of the Medford Police Department; Patricia Piserchia, Homeless Liaison for the Lenape School District; Mandi Cruz, Covenant House staff member; and Lakeisha, who shared her story and affirmed the help she received from Covenant House.

An inspiring, detailed story and photos are available on the web site of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey.

Paramus, NJ: Fr. John and Matushka Eugenia Nehrebecki honored on 65th Anniversary

paramusArchbishop Michael with Fr. John and Matushka Eugenia Nehrebecki and concelebrating clergy.

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael presided at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at Christ the Saviour Church, Paramus, NJ, to honor Archpriest John and Matushka Eugenia Nehrebecki on their 65th wedding anniversary.

Concelebrating with Archbishop Michael and Father John were Priest Leonid Schmidt and Deacon David Maliniak of Christ the Saviour Church; Archpriest Stephen Vernak, Rector, and Archpriest Daniel Ressatar of Christ the Saviour Church, Harrisburg, PA; Archpriest David Vernak of Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Allison Park, PA; Archpriest Victor Gorodenchuk, Dean of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, Philadelphia, PA; and Protodeacon Paul Sokol of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Manville, NJ.

At the Little Entrance, Archbishop Michael awarded the miter to Father John “for serving the Church faithfully for over 65 years – Axios!  For establishing ten parishes in the New Jersey Deanery – Axios!  For your dedication to Matushka and raising with her six children, all devoted servants of the Church – Axios!”  Following the dismissal, Archbishop Michael presented Father John and Matushka Eugenia with a gramota to honor the occasion, while Father Leonid presented a hand-carved icon of the Theotokos to Matushka Eugenia on behalf of the parishioners of Christ the Saviour parish.

Present for the celebration and the banquet that followed were many family members, friends, parishioners, and area clergy.

22-30 December, 2017 – Winter Mission Trip to Znamyanka Orphanage

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2016 Winter Mission Trip to Ukrainian Orphanage

With the blessing of the Council of Bishops, the Consistory Office of Christian Charity in cooperation with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA announce the date for the winter missionary trip to Znamyanka Orphanage for the faithful of our Church.

This trip will take place 22-30 December, 2017

The cost of the Mission Trip, which includes the flight, in country travel, lodging and food, is $2,500 (travel to and from New Jersey is NOT included).

22-30 December, 2017 – Winter Mission Trip to Znamianka Orphanage

This post was originally published on this site

2016 Winter Mission Trip to Ukrainian Orphanage

With the blessing of the Council of Bishops, the Consistory Office of Christian Charity in cooperation with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA announce the date for the winter missionary trip to Znamyanka Orphanage for the faithful of our Church.

This trip will take place 22-30 December, 2017

The cost of the Mission Trip, which includes the flight, in country travel, lodging and food, is $2,500 (travel to and from New Jersey is NOT included).

5-15 November, 2017 – Holy Land Pilgrimage

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Press Release: FOCUS North America Announces New Executive Director

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Carnegie, PA (July 23, 2017) — FOCUS North America announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Seraphim Danckaert the organization’s next Executive Director. Danckaert, who previously served as Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, will succeed Nicholas Chakos, who resigned to pursue other opportunities.

“We want to thank Nick for his service over the last five years. During his tenure, FOCUS has grown significantly to become a high impact and highly regarded Orthodox Christian charity,” Dr. Eric Paljug, Chair of the Board, said. “Today, we are thrilled to welcome Seraphim as the new Executive Director and look forward to his leadership as the organization continues to grow.”

Danckaert, a graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, has held leadership roles at Princeton Theological Seminary, Orthodox Christian Network, and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.

“I am grateful to the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization, which is not only transforming the lives of people in poverty across the country, but also transforming the hearts of the thousands of volunteers who participate in our service-oriented programs,” Danckaert said. “I look forward to working with the talented staff and getting to know the entire FOCUS network of donors, volunteers, and partners.”

FOCUS North America helps working-poor families and the homeless move from dependency to lives of self-sufficiency. As the only Orthodox Christian organization to hold the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance National Charity Seal, FOCUS works collaboratively with communities, parishes, and partners nationwide. In 2017, FOCUS will feed over 300,000 people; offer job training, employment, educational support, and housing to over 1,000 families; and keep thousands of children from going hungry. 

A key feature of FOCUS programs is volunteer engagement. Hands-on service programs unite the giver with the underserved, thereby transforming all of our lives and breaking the cycle of poverty. While many FOCUS volunteers are Eastern Orthodox Christians, FOCUS provides services without discrimination of any kind, and there is no faith commitment required either to volunteer or to receive assistance.

Romanian Patriarch Daniel receives SVOTS President

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SVOTSFr. Chad Hatfield receiving the St. John Chrysostom Cross and Award from Patriarch Daniel [photo: basilica.org].

The President of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary [SVOTS], Archpriest Chad Hatfield, recently returned from a visit to Romania June 9–21, 2017, during which he met with key figures instrumental in renewing collaborative efforts between educational institutions of the Romanian Orthodox Church and SVOTS.  Cooperative ventures began in 2013, when SVOTS and the Faculty of Orthodox Theology at the University of Bucharest signed a formal agreement allowing for student and faculty exchanges, dialogue, and co-publications.

Of particular importance was the reception of Father Chad by His Beatitude, Patriarch Daniel at the Patriarchal Residence on June 12, a meeting that centered on the topic of mission and evangelism.

“The Romanian Church has a strong interest in missionary outreach, and is particularly interested in the dynamism of American evangelism and how it might be ‘translated’ into catechetical work in Romania,” reported Father Chad, who teaches Pastoral Theology and Missiology courses at Saint Vladimir’s.  “I have greatly admired the theological, pastoral, and missionary spirit of Patriarch Daniel, and so I sought His Beatitude’s blessing and counsel as we reconnect in our mutual efforts in these areas, both on the American continent and in Romania.”

Patriarch Daniel in turn thanked Father Chad for supporting young Romanian Orthodox theologians studying at Saint Vladimir’s, and as an expression of gratitude, he presented Father Chad with the “Saint John Chrysostom Cross and Award for Theological Education,” the Romanian Patriarchate’s highest honor in that field.

During his time abroad, Father Chad also offered the homily for All Saints Sunday in Bucharest’s Church of Saint Paraskeva, pastored by Father Michael Tita, who also is personal counselor to Patriarch Daniel regarding Foreign Affairs and Inter-Church Relations.  He visited the construction site for the new cathedral scheduled to be built and named after the Apostle Andrew, which will be the seat of the Patriarch’s throne.  He also visited several renowned monasteries, as well as an orphanage that has been supported by members of the seminary’s Three Hierarchs Chapel for the past nine years.  Finally, he formally renewed the 2013 agreement between Saint Vladimir’s Seminary and the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest, headed by Archpriest Stefan Buchiu, Dean, and visited the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Sibiu.

“As I travel around this country, I am amazed at the quality and volume of the media coverage in Romania, as regards Church news,” Father Chad observed.  “It is remarkable that Orthodox Christians receive such heightened professional publicity — compared to their US counterparts! — and I am gratified that this, too, is a means to spread the Gospel.  I hope to learn from our Romanian friends how to better use the media in our own evangelical efforts.”

Father Chad was accompanied during his travels by Alexandru Popovici, a native Romanian, who completed his Master of Arts degree in 2016 at Saint Vladimir’s and who now is employed as SVOTS’ Director of Web Services.

View related video.

Alaska’s 47th annual St. Herman Pilgrimage to be held August 7-9

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spruce islandMetropolitan Tikhon blesses pilgrims during the 2015 pilgrimage to Spruce Island.

Hundreds of faithful are expected to participate in the 47th annual Saint Herman Pilgrimage to Spruce Island, home of North America’s first saint, August 7-9, 2017.

According to the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of Alaska, the pilgrimage will open on Monday evening, August 7, with the celebration of the Akathistos Hymn in honor of Saint Herman at Kodiak’s Holy Resurrection Cathedral, in which his relics are enshrined.  The annual Bishop’s Tea will follow.

On Tuesday, August 8—the Feast of Saint Jacob Netsvetov—the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at Holy Resurrection Cathedral.  A grand banquet and introduction of pilgrims will follow at the Afognak Native Corporation Hall.  Vigil will be celebrated in the evening.

Boats will depart Kodiak for Monk’s Lagoon on Spruce Island early on the morning of Wednesday, August 9—the Feast of Saint Herman.  The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam Chapel.  The original log chapel was built in 1805, while the present structure dates to 1898.  The chapel marks the burial site of Saint Herman.  After the Liturgy, pilgrims will enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to Kodiak, where they will partake of a light soup dinner at Holy Resurrection Cathedral.

The pilgrimage schedule is subject to revision.  Check the Diocese of Alaska’s web site for updates and additional information.

MW Diocese to host fourth annual St. Macrina Conference August 11-12

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MacrinaParticipants in the 2016 St. Macrina Institute.

The Diocese of the Midwest’s catechist and diaconal vocations program, the Saint Macrina Institute, will hold its fourth annual conference at the Saint Iakovos Retreat Center, Kansasville, WI August 11-12, 2017.

The conference theme—“The ‘Wedding Feast:’ Diakonia and the Celebration of Life in Union”—will be introduced by Hieromonk Alexii [Altschul], who will explore how sacramental life, mission and ministry work in marriage and the Church as the living image of a joyous wedding, calling all to union with God.

Other conference instructors will include Dr. Justin Jackson, Presvytera Rebecca Luft, Archpriest Elijah Mueller, Anna Strelka, Dr. Helen Theodoropoulos and others.

In addition to a variety of talks and diaconal and catechetical practicums, diaconal candidates will have the opportunity to meet with His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago, according to Father Elijah, who oversees the program.

Registration forms are available on-line.  The $190.00 per person registration fee includes all lodging and meals, instruction and conference materials.  Registration for commuters is $120.00.  In cases of financial hardship, please contact Father Elijah at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); 312-714-9775.

St. Tikhon's to Host 20th Annual Golf Tournament on August 19

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St. Tikhon’s Seminary will host its 20th Annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at Jack Frost National Golf Course in Blakeslee, PA.

The tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 1:00 PM. An Awards Banquet will be held at 6:00 PM at the course. 

The day is filled with great golf, great food, and great fellowship. The cost is $100 per golfer, which includes golf, cart, lunch, banquet, refreshments, and prizes. Contact Bernard Golubiewski at 570-825-4780 or bernygober@comcast.net to reserve a space or book a foursome. A registration form is available for download here.

This is a special event in the life of the seminary, and we hope to reach a target of $20,000!  If you would like to offer a sponsorship, please find that information here, even if you are not able to join us on this day of fellowship!

The 2017 Sacred Music Retreat at St. Sophia Seminary Was A Success

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The days were packed with instruction.  Each morning began with the Divine Liturgy, followed by a guided discussion of how the music went, what could be improved, how those improvements might be made, and to field more general questions and concerns.  Classes in the mornings and afternoons covered the tone system, how to set words to the music (both setting them and on the fly), and directing.  Each evening was capped with a lecture that was open to the general public (see below for links to recordings of the lectures) and evening prayers with the seminarians in the chapel.  It was a grueling schedule, but everyone was fortified by the tremendous meals that the seminary cook, Pani Maria, prepared (glory to God!).

This is one of several new programs that St. Sophia’s has fielded to meet the demands of the UOC-USA.  It came about because several people had voiced the concerns about how hard it is to find chanters and choir directors and still others who have (often reluctantly!) stepped forward to chant and direct had shared their frustrations.  

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