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OCP News Service – 20/7/19

Asmara-Eritrea: Patriarch Abune Antonios of Eritrea is falsely expelled from the Church by a group of top bishops. They have blindly accused him of heresy. This move is part of the ongoing authoritarian propaganda programs by the Eritrean government. The Patriarch is already under house arrest since 2007.

Abune Antonios is still the canonical Patriarch of Eritrea and he is recognized by Orthodox and rest of the Christian world.

He was wrongly deposed by the govt as he took a strong stand against govt. interferences in the Church affairs.

Reports state that Abune Antonios will be allowed to remain in Church-owned building.

May God have mercy.

Source
OCP News Service

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St. George’s Uniate Greek Catholic Cathedral in Lviv. Pic- Wikipedia.

Nadia Bazuk – (Editor – Russian and Ukranian Orthodox Affairs) – OCP News Service – 18/7/19

Will the Schism in Orthodox Church of Ukraine Push the Country to Greek Catholics?

The modern history of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), the successor of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church formed by the Union of Brest of 1596, begins in the early 20th  century when it started to flourish rapidly in Western Ukraine under the tenure of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky of Galicia. These territories were captured by the Soviet army and became part of the Soviet Union. UGCC supported nationalist movements and even appointed its chaplains to the 14th  Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS during the occupation of the Ukrainian SSR by the Nazis. The UGCC’s close relations with the UPA and OUN movements led to its dissolution at the so-called Lviv Sobor of 1946 which was organized by the KGB (none of the UGCC bishops attended). The Church went underground and its temples were handed over to the Moscow Patriarchate.

Until 1990, when the ban on registering Greek Catholic communities was lifted, the UGCC held divine services. Meanwhile, the second half of the 20th century saw the growth of its exarchates in Europe, Great Britain, North and South America, and Australia. After the official registration of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, most of its temples were returned. As of 2019, the UGCC is estimated to have nearly 3500 parishes and more than 2500 diocesan priests in Ukraine alone. In Ukraine, the number of its faithful exceeds 4.5 million people who comprise the majority in three Ukrainian regions of Lviv, Ivano Frankivsk and Ternopil. To date, the UGCC is the second-largest Rite within Catholicism after the Latin Catholic Rite.

Shortly before the UGCC delegation headed by its primate Sviatoslav Shevchuk visited the Vatican on July 5-6, there had been lots of rumors that Greek Catholics intended to build up their influence in Ukraine and the world by acquiring the Patriarchal status for their Church. After the meeting with Pope Francis, Sviatoslav mentioned that the granting of the Patriarchate among UGCC’s three dreams are close to the realization (the other two are the Pope’s visit to Ukraine and the beatification of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky).

Sviatoslav makes it clear that the change of the UGCC status will increase its influence both in Ukraine and in the world. In the same interview to the Italian media outlet ACI Stampa, he said “Patriarchate is a way of existence, not a reward. This is the development of mechanisms for the prosperity of our Church, as it increases our efficiency and pastoral work. Our Church, its development and flourishing is not a threat to our Orthodox brothers. We are not against anybody, but for their sake. This mental revolution is not yet complete. But we need new structures. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, every year a million Ukrainians leave Ukraine, and we must provide pastoral support to these migrants”.

Sviatoslav Shevchuk relies on expanding the UGCC, reaching the diaspora and the whole Ukraine, for which the Patriarchal residence in Kyiv was built. The Uniates’ goal is to spread across Ukraine and beyond its borders, in former countries of the Soviet Union (which the UGCC hierarchs are discussing).

For this purpose, the Patriarchal Foundation of the UGCC was restored in May in Philadelphia. The Foundation has already begun to address wealthy Ukrainians living in the diaspora asking for donations. One of such letters was published at a Ukrainian news website, and Sviatoslav’s motives are clearly outlined in it: the Foundation must provide financial stability to the UGCC required for gaining the Patriarchal status and future development as an all-Ukrainian confession.

The same goal is pursued when the Uniates try to engage in ecumenical dialogue with Orthodox Churches, which was discussed during the meeting of the Church’s episcopate and the Pope. Though Shevchuk speaks of ecumenical dialogue with the other “Churches of Prince Vladimir’s Baptism” and the necessity of their unity, the UGCC considers itself to be the first among them, and per him, the unity is only possible under the aegis of Rome.

However, Greek Catholics have chosen a perfect moment for their assault. As a result of the “reforms” of former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Ukrainian Orthodoxy is facing a hard time. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), the only canonical Church in the country, is literally quasi-legal: its parishes are being seized with impunity, state agencies oppress its members and state-linked media wage an information campaign against UOC-MP. The newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine has already broken up in two structures, and the conflict between its primate Epiphanius and “honorary Patriarch” Filaret doesn’t seem to be calming down. The weakening of the Orthodox majority is all that Uniate Greek Catholics need. Deprived of funding sources (controlled by Filaret), the OCU branch headed by Epiphanius can have close associations with the UGCC.

Source:
OCP News Service

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Church of Serbia – 18/7/19

The 22nd Quinquennial Church Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Dioceses in the United States of America. (photo gallery 2photo gallery 3)

On the feast day of the holy and unmercenary physicians Cosmas and Damian, on the second day of the Church Assembly-Sabor, a most majestic Holy Hierarchical Liturgy was served in honor of these Saints, in honor of our St. Mardarije of Libertyville and all America and in prayerful commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church, to the glory of the Triune God.

His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America officiated with the concelebration of Their Graces Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwest America, Bishop Peter of Cleveland (ROCOR), Bishop Irinej of Eastern America and Bishop Sava retired Bishop of Slavonia along with clergy, monastics and deacons from dioceses throughout the United States of America. In attendance were His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, retired Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos. Following Vespers and dinner Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.

Beneath a large tent set before the St. Sava Monastery Church in Libertyville clergy and the faithful gathered in large numbers around the relics of St. Mardarije of Libertyville and all America. An amazing sight and setting which brought inspiration and joy to the hearts of all those in attendance, as they pondered not only on the grand jubilee of our Serbian Church but our own history on this continent, in the presence of the holy relics of its first bishop and missionary. As the Slava Kolach was offered and broken in honor of St. Mardarije and to Bishop Irinej’s exclamation: “Christ is in our midst,“ a most thundering “He is and shall be!“ was returned.

The Standing Committee for Liturgical Music was given the blessings of the bishops to arrange all the liturgical music throughout the 22nd Annual Church Assembly. Milan Damljanovic led a wide-ranging choir that beautifully sang the responses to the liturgy.

His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos delivered an inspiring homily at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy in which he spoke of the importance of Holy Communion and the joy he experienced at today’s liturgy, just as he has experienced at many liturgies in recent times where more and more faithful are approaching the Holy Chalice. His Eminence prefaced his homily by noting that in his many years as an Orthodox he continues to learn more and more about Orthodoxy. Thus, it was during this visit to the Serbian people and Serbian Church in America that he learned of the life of St. Mardarije which has certainly inspired him to, upon his return to Great Brittain, say in his prayers, St. Mardarije prays to God for us!

A festive and solemn program followed on the beautiful picnic grounds at the very spot where many decades before a gathering of Serbs took place with the blessing of St. Bishop Mardarije. With love and archpastoral care St. Mardarije brought his people together and invited them to build the holy monastery to the glory of God for future generations of Serbian people.

A rich program in commemoration of the 800th Anniversary of the Autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church was held under the pavilion, emceed by Dragan Arsic and Mihaila Tuba. His Grace Bishop Longin opened the program with the following remarks:

Today our Serbian Orthodox Church on this continent celebrates a joyous event – the 800th anniversary of its autocephaly. Our father by blood and spirit, St. Sava, gave the Serbian Orthodox People an invaluable gift at the exact moment that our Church and Land was ripe for self-rule. Autocephaly is the complete independence of a Local Orthodox Church.

Understanding this purpose while at the same time being spiritually mature to take on such an endeavor, our St. Sava requested from the Patriarchate of Constantinople the blessing to have an autocephalous church for his people. That was granted to us in 1219. As much as it was an honor, it was a responsibility to uphold the teachings of the Christian Faith and continue missionary work to our people, which continues to this day and will continue until the end of time

We give glory and thanks to our merciful God in Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit who enriches us and renews this gift to us at all times.

Fifty years ago, there was a similar celebration to this one for the 750th Anniversary. This took place at St. Sava Cathedral in Milwaukee. This can be read about in the commemorative book for this event. And that celebration, as joyous as it was for the event, was also saddened by the lack of unity that was at that time on this continent. During our division, our hearts became cold to spirituality and sanctity. Our main concern was revenge and legal victories. Now, thanks to God, the sadness that existed at that time is gone. Since that celebration, the greatest accomplishment of our Serbian Orthodox Church is the unity that was achieved 27 years ago, when our Serbian Orthodox Church in the Diaspora was united by our great father, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Blessed Memory. Through reunification, our hearts were softened and opened to the grace of God. Fruits of sanctity then have come forth. Only through it were we able to have revealed to us the Saints that served in this country – St. Nikolaj Velimirovic, St. Varnava Nastic, St. John Maksimovic, St. Sebastian Dabovic, and our St. Mardarije Uskokovic. God indeed revealed to us miracle upon miracle, the fruits of peace, love, and communion. As we celebrate autocephaly today, let us remember that this doesn’t mean we are isolated from other Orthodox Churches, but that we celebrate together in unity as one Holy Orthodox Christian Church.

So, let us rejoice, dear brothers and sisters, for today the greatest fruits of our unity and our autocephaly in this country are before us in the incorrupt relics of St. Mardarije. Let us bow down before him with gratitude for what he established for us on this continent, as he was an imitator of St. Sava – sharing in the ways of the one equal to the Apostles and successor to his throne. Let us glorify the Saints on this continent who have confirmed and upheld the faith in us, far away from the homeland, and let us with humility, repentance, and thanksgiving live our life in preparation for eternal life, the goal of each of these great people and every Christian.

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos, we welcome you and thank you for your presence with us during these events. Your contribution to the Orthodox Faith over many decades has been inspiring to all Orthodoxy and Christendom. Many members of our Diocese today are Orthodox Christians thanks to your writings and teachings. We thank God that you were able to join us and bless us with your inspiring words.

In his talk during the program, Metropolitan Kallistos once more touched upon the Holy Eucharist as the central liturgical service of the Orthodox Church.

As people were walking in they were greeted with sounds of Serbian national and spiritual melodies played by the Radakovic family. V. Rev. Stavrophor Vojislav Bilbija also performed a number of songs during the program, Podajte Braco and Mi cekamoHrista, while the young and talented artist Bojana Pekovic played the traditional Serbian instrument, the gusla, performing Srmt majke Jugovica. During the program, Emmy award-winning actor Jonathan Jackson performed an original song that he wrote and composed dedicated to Kosovo and the suffering Serbian Orthodox people. Afterward, the amateur acting group Oko Sokolova from Chicago performed a scene from Srpska Ramonda. They performed two scenes from the dramatic play Srpska Ramonda in commemoration of the suffering of the Serbian people during World War I, the Serbian retreat through Albania, referred to as the Serbian Golgotha or the Blue graveyard. At the conclusion of the program actress, Katarina Radojevic recited A Prayer for the Salvation of the Serbian People by Saint Bishop Nikolaj.

The faithful people enjoyed the rest of the afternoon in fellowship before heading to Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago where Metropolitan Kallistos delivered an evening talk entitled, The Inner Meaning of the Divine Liturgy. His Eminence pointed out that the faithful, together with the clergy, serve the Divine in unity. This is expressed particularly when all the faithful in attendance at the Divine Liturgy sing the responses, partake of Holy Communion which should be more frequent, but with proper preparation – through the sacramental life in the Church. This way the Divine Liturgy manifests perfect love. When the priest turns to the people asking for forgiveness they forgive and ask him for forgiveness, and in this way the Holy Spirit is given and multiplied. On the contrary, without forgiveness, He is diminished, i.e. not given. Moreover, we should bear in mind that when we say at the liturgy, “Let us depart in peace“ the liturgy after the Divine Liturgy begins, and our service to those who need help and comfort from the Physician of our souls and bodies begins.

His Grace Bishop Irinej served the Divine Liturgy on Monday, the feast day of the Deposition of the robe of the Most Holy Theotokos.

As His Grace noted at the conclusion of the liturgy, both Constantinople and Belgrade are cities dedicated to the Mother of God and therefore this feast day is uniquely shared by both. This feast has special significance for His Grace as he was consecrated bishop on this day thirteen years ago. As the bishop noted, joining him in the celebration were Fr. Radomir Plavsic and Hieromonk Nektarije (Tesanovic), who also celebrate the anniversary of their ordination to the priesthood on this day. Concelebrating with the bishop were a number of clergies.

The morning plenary session began the following breakfast and was dedicated to safety practices for parish and family, insurance systems and diocesan/parish policies. His Grace Bishop Irinej introduced Michael Herzak of Insurance Systems who, together with his son, led the discussion. Unlike insurance, risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization’s capital and earnings. Additionally, in our day in age, there is a growing need for crisis management in the ever frequent tragic events of shootings we hear about in the news, not to mention sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, et. al. The presentation was welcomed by the clergy and laity with numerous questions which led to a lively discussion. Policies and procedures will be promulgated by the Episcopal Council for implementation both on the Diocesan and parish levels.

Following lunch, the afternoon hours were spent hearing reports from various committees. Bishop Irinej took the opportunity to welcome Fr. Metodije, Abbot of Monastery Hilandar and welcomed him to greet the Assembly. In his remarks, Fr. Metodije noted how he was pleased to see the work of the summer children’s camp which, in fact, was taking place at the same time as the Assembly. He spoke of the endeavors of Monastery Hilandar which, in this same vein, organizes camps in Serbia bringing children from different parts of Serbia. Typically there are 400 children who participate, in two groups of 200. Children are brought from different regions where Serbs are living in dire straits. During the course of the camp, they are able to meet one another, knowing that they are not alone but part of the larger Serbian and Orthodox family. Additionally, the monastery has plans of forming an Orthodox high school which, at this point, is in the process of formation.

Fr. Nicholas Ceko spoke on the work of the Standing Committees and the many ministries offered by the various committees. A brief report on the Clergy health plan was followed by Luka Erceg who spoke on behalf of the Clergy Pension Plan. Jim Springborn gave a Treasurer’s report on behalf of the Central Church Council. A presentation was delivered on Youth and Young Adult Ministry by Fr. Dragan Petrovic, Fr. Stevo Rocknage and special guest Fr. Cosmas Callas from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago. Naturally, a discussion ensued with each report.

A report was given on the St. Sava School of Theology which led to further discussion about this theological institution. The Holy Synod of Bishops is in the process of evaluating the many proposals for the future of the School of Theology.

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The Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem – 18/7/19

On Tuesday, July 16, 2019, His Beatitude Archbishop Nourhan Manougian received a group of people after the incident when three Jews and their dog attacked the Dean and students of the Armenian Theological Seminary.

The group consisted of Mr. Yitzhak Ze’ev Pindrus, Member of Knesset for the United Torah Judaism Party and resident of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Inter-religious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and of the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding, as well as Board Member of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center, of which Center also the Director Dr. Hagai Agmon Snir, and Mrs. Merav Horovitz-Stein, the coordinator of the Window to Mt. Zion, a cross-cultural community engagement project, as well as three high ranking-officers representing the Israeli Police District of Jerusalem.

The members of the delegation expressed their concerns about this particular incident as well as other instances of uncivilized behavior by Jews towards Armenian clergy members.

They stressed the importance of good relations between the various groups in Jerusalem.

The delegation addresses leaders to condemn, end and prevent humiliating and disgracing acts towards Armenian clergy. The group also calls upon the leaders to educate and enforce civilized behavior from the population.

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The Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem – 18/7/19

Translation of the interview with Fr. Samuel- Till Magnus Steiner

A grand tradition and an uncertain future.

A conversation with Father Samuel Aghoyan about the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox  Church in Jerusalem.

“We are grateful to our predecessors for us to be here,” says Father Samuel Aghoyan, who came to Jerusalem from Syria in 1956, to become a Priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church. With these words, the 78-year-old Priest looks back. The Armenians were the oldest Christian nation in the world because of the conversion of the Armenian King Trdat III in the year 301 till nowadays, and the first pilgrimages of Armenian priests to the Holy Land happened only a few years after that (conversion).

Until nowadays this Oriental Orthodox Church is omnipresent in Jerusalem and influences Christian life. Since 2000 Father Samuel is assigned to be one of the superiors, alongside with the Franciscans and Greeks, to represent this patriarchate and to manage the daily religious activities in the Church of the Resurrection- as such is the church called in Orthodoxy. Father Samuel and his staff guard the Status Quo. This has influenced his view on Ecumenism in Jerusalem. “This Holy Place is not managed smartly- because of the lack of mutual understanding. Not the place nor faith is the problem, but the responsible persons. But such is life.” The long nights that he has spent for over 15 years in the Holy Sepulcher taught him that “a Theological unity is impossible. We are still being called heretics, and we also call the others heretics.”

To his proud view on the past and his sobering perspective on the present Ecumenism in Jerusalem also belongs a worrying view in the future: “the young faithful leave the country, to find a better life somewhere else. The average age of the Armenians here is 35 years old. And moreover, there are interdenominational marriages”, and when he says this he smiles and adds “we cannot prevent these marriages- the bride and groom must love each other also”. He estimates that nowadays only about a thousand Armenians live in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem. “I remember that more than half of the Christian business owners were Armenians, today about ten.”

Father Samuel is also a pragmatic person, and he is not desperate. Because he thought there were already enough clergymen in Jerusalem who explain the Bible, he decided in the nineties to study bookkeeping and business administration and went to the US. There he led a congregation of more than 5,000 members and experienced how his Church bloomed also outside Armenia. At the moment he is the Head of the Financial Department of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem. His Church does not need to financially worry about everyday life, because a steady income is generated from the property of lands and buildings- and for larger costs like for instance renovations, donations can be asked from large Armenian communities in the USA and Russia. But he also knows that financial security does not keep a church alive. “ As a small community, our fate could be manipulated by those who govern us.” However, he sees the possibility of a renewed blossoming of the Armenian community: “It is very difficult to bring Armenian families to Israel. They do not easily receive working permits.”
When addressed on the relation with Judaism in Israel, he tells that some years ago the municipality asked us to remove a cross that was attached on the outside wall of the Armenian quarter, so that it would not bother Jewish people to pass through. There is a certain ill-feeling towards Christians by some ultra-orthodox Jews.

It is ironic and a pity that Israel has not recognized the Armenian Genocide. Should any genocide be politicized?
Members of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Holy Land do not see themselves as Arabs, but their identity is attached with their Church, which created space for the Armenian nation, that was often denied. After Israel took over East Jerusalem and the Old City, he received an Israeli ID, that was revoked because of his long stay in the USA for his studies. His present home is the Armenian Quarter of the Old City, the walls of which were built already centuries ago, which functions since as a “small, independent state” for its members. Also within the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem has a certain autonomous position, yet it is closely related to the Catholicosate in Etchmiadzin. “The Catholicos has the power of decision about faith and its principles, but he does not hold any administrative power over us” explains Father Samuel. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem appoints bishops and elects the Patriarch from its own brotherhood members, who have to be confirmed by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.

The Armenian believers in the Holy Land are being caught in the middle. Aware of their tradition they enter an uncertain future. In their history, they have adapted to always changing rulers and governments but still kept their own identity. Father Samuel sees the date of Easter as an example of this. The Armenian Apostolic Church as a whole follows the Gregorian calendar- but not the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem.  In order to celebrate the Feast of Easter in the Resurrection Church together with the other Orthodox Churches, it furthermore follows the Julian Calendar. Father Samuel is still pessimistic about Ecumenism, but he also says “it is a pity that the Catholics in Jerusalem separated themselves and that they do not celebrate it together with us”.

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Since 2015, more than 80 associations and microbusinesses (over 3,000 families) have participated in Give for Greece and received equipment and training. Photo: IOCC / Konstantinos Tsakalidis.

IOCC – 18/7/19

In the Sixth Year, International Orthodox Christian Charities’ Give for Greece Focuses on Economic Development, Jobs Training.

Humanitarian Agency Expands Programs Aimed at Boosting Economic Opportunity

Baltimore, Md. (July 16, 2019) – With an eye to expanding its successful initiatives of recent years, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has renewed its far-reaching Give for Greece program, including a pilot program in vocational training.

Since 2013, Give for Greece has been IOCC’s flagship initiative in that country, addressing both immediate and longer-term needs brought on by Greece’s slow-moving economic crisis, which has affected livelihoods, pensions, and employment levels. In partnership with Apostoli, the philanthropic organization of the Archdiocese of Athens under the Church of Greece, IOCC has reached tens of thousands of people affected by the economic downturn and the simultaneous refugee crisis. Response has comprised in-kind support (e.g., medical supplies to hospitals) worth over $30 million since 2012, which helped leverage additional monetary backing worth over $13 million from individuals and institutions—including generous gifts to IOCC from the Jaharis Family Foundation Inc.; the John L. Santikos Foundation, a fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation; the Order of AHEPA; and the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society.

Boosting the productivity and profitability of agricultural associations and small businesses throughout Greece has been an important focus of IOCC’s work. Since 2015, more than 80 associations and microbusinesses (over 3,000 families) have participated in Give for Greece and received equipment and training. IOCC has provided more than 265 pieces of new production equipment valued at more than $1.3 million and technical services worth $40,000 to help recipients scale up production and improve economic viability.

In 2017, IOCC added business mentoring to the program, connecting participants with experienced professionals who volunteer through KEMEL, a Greek nonprofit dedicated to supporting businesses. The mentors help small enterprises create stronger business plans, improve productivity and marketing, and increase the businesses’ sustainability.

“You woke us up from dreaming about success and helped us … take real actions,” said Athina, a small-business owner in Athens who participated in the business-mentoring program.

The newest phase of Give for Greece adds a pilot program in vocational training to prepare Greek and asylum-seeker participants who meet certain language criteria to work in the growing caregiving sector. Participants will complete train in both theory and practice with a certified trainer in this field, learning skills they need to enter the caregiving profession. Once they’ve completed the curriculum, trainees will be placed in workplaces and matched with healthcare professionals who will also receive training in how to work with novices (“training of trainers”). In all, the project offers training and practical experience in an in-demand profession.

IOCC’s history in Greece begins with the Athens field office, a regional hub 1993–2009. Since 2012, IOCC has worked closely with Apostoli, responding to the extensive financial crisis with more than $43 million in monetary and in-kind support. Other IOCC assistance to Greece includes prepaid grocery cards so families can shop for Greek-produced food, including vegetables, fruit, dairy, and chicken. IOCC has also offered aid to refugees and migrants arriving in Greece since 2015, addressing emergency needs in shelters on islands and the mainland. In addition to Give for Greece, IOCC responded with emergency assistance after the wildfires of July 2018, helping families who lost their only home.

To support IOCC’s work in Greece with a financial gift, please contact IOCC online (iocc.org/greece) or by phone (877.803.4622).

###

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is the humanitarian and development agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has provided more than $692 million in humanitarian relief and sustainable development programs in over 60 countries worldwide. Today, IOCC applies its expertise in humanitarian response to human-caused and natural crises in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, offering assistance based solely on need. Learn more at iocc.org and follow us @IOCCRelief on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

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LJ – Chief Editor- OCP News Service – 16/7/19

MUSCAT – Sultanate of Oman – Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka (MGOME) Muscat, has invited applications towards its ‘Home for the Homeless,’ the annual charity project of the parish.

Called ‘Thanal Sneha Veedu,’ or ‘Home of Love’ the project aims to aid the poor homeless and the financially backward members of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

The charity project launch for 2019-2020 was led by MGOME Vicar/President Fr Mathai Pallath along with Fr Bejoy Varghese, Associate Vicar, Fr Alin Joseph Alex, Gregorian Community, Mumbai Diocese, on June 14, 2019, after the holy liturgy.

The 47-year-old parish comes under Orthodox Diocese of Ahmedabad (ODA) of Metropolitan HG Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulios.

Dr. Geevarghese Yohannan, senior MGOME parish member, and Malankara Sabha Managing Committee member made an initial contribution of Rs 6 lakhs towards building a house.

Dr. Yohannan is the founder and managing director of Muscat-based Nadan Trading LLC and chairman of MGM Group of institutions.

Among those present included John Thomas, Honorary Trustee, Sabu Chandy, Co-Trustee and Pradeep Varghese, Honorary Secretary.
Boban Mathew Thomas, Thanal Sneha Veedu Convenor and Ahmedabad Diocese Council Member, was also present.

The Vicar along with others officially launched the project by lighting the traditional lamp on the occasion. A video detailing the charity project was screened for the parish members.

The Maha Edavaka has over the years been involved with praiseworthy charity projects namely helping cancer, kidney patients, marrying poor girls and building homes for the poor.

Those willing to participate in the project can do by sponsoring a house by donating Riyal Omani (RO) 3,300 or sponsoring a part towards the materials for the house.

Sponsoring a part for the project involves a hall for RO 1,000, bedroom for RO 750 or kitchen and bathroom for RO 800.

Sponsoring building materials for a house towards the project involves door, windows for the house for RO 750, solid blocks for RO 500, cement for RO 400, electrical fittings for RO 300, the main door for RO 200, inside doors for RO 100 and windows for RO 50.

The Vicar has requested the members to contribute generously towards this noble cause to make it a success and also uphold the charity project in their daily prayers.

More details can be obtained from the Vicar, MGOME, P O Box 984, PC 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. E mail:office@mgomemuscat.com. Telephone: +968-24702606, Fax: 968-24790811 or online www.mgomemuscat.com

Source:
OCP News Service

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OCP News Service – 16/7/19

London -UK: The 2019 Wimbledon Championship was ruled by two Eastern Orthodox Christians. Serbian Orthodox faithful Novak Djokovic won the Wimbledon Men’s Championship by beating Roger Feder whereas Romanian Orthodox Faithful Simona Halep won the Women’s title by beating Serena Williams.

Simona Halep
Halpe is a Romanian Orthodox Christian. Christianity Today reports that Halpe is a strict Orthodox Christian and always carry an Orthodox icon. She was awarded the Order of the Patriarchal Cross for laypersons (the highest distinction of the Romanian Patriarchate) after capturing the 2019 Wimbledon Championship. In 2018 Halep received the Cross of St. Andrew the Apostle from the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate as well.

‘It’s an important thing for me in my life,’ she said of her faith. ‘I believe in God. I don’t go to the Church every week because it’s not my style, but I believe in him, and I have [icons] with me and I believe in them.’ – Simona Halep. 

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic is a faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the year 2011 Novak Djokovic was awarded the highest award of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Order of St. the Sava of the First Degree by His Holiness Patriarch for his contributions to generosity and religion. Djokovic is famous for making the sign of the Orthodox cross while playing in the court.

“Before I am an athlete, I am an Orthodox Christian” – Novak Djokovic.

Source:
OCP News Service

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St. Luke Orthodox Mission Church – 16/7/19

A Summer Education Session presented by Ciby Abraham and Rev. Fr. Gheevarghese John – Iconography: An Introduction at the St. Luke Orthodox Mission Church. 

Learn more on the Iconography Series here

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Church of Serbia – 16/7/19

On the feast day of Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch officiated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the church dedicated to these saints in Topcider.

The Patriarch was concelebrated by protopresbyter-staurophor Petar Sailovic and Djordje Trajkovic, protopresbyter Branislav Jelic, presbyters Arsenije Arsenijevic and Vukasin Milicevic, as well as deacons Aleksandar Sekulic and Nenad Idrizovic, in the prayerful presence of dean of the church presbyter Vladimir Markovic.

The Holy Liturgy was attended by Director of the Office fo Cooperation with Churches and Religious Communities Dr Mileta Radojevic, representatives of the Training Command of the Serbian Armed Forces, representatives of the Guard of the Serbian Army and Belgrade’s Gandarmerie unit, Special unit of divers and rescuers, representatives of the Municipality of Savski Venac, members of the Circle of Serbian sisters and numerous guests.

After the Holy Liturgy and the procession around the church, His Holiness Patriarch blessed the slava cake and held a sermon about Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

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