The Mission of the Orthodox Church in America, the local autocephalous Orthodox Church, is to be faithful in fulfilling the commandment of Christ to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Due to a severe lightning storm last night, communications and phone service at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America have been down since this morning. Comcast is currently working to resolve the problem.
It is hoped that all services will be restored by the end of today—Thursday, July 18, 2019.
As widely reported, Barry made landfall several days ago in Louisiana, west of New Orleans. After briefly becoming Category 1 hurricane, Barry weakened again to a tropical storm, moving slowly and bringing heavy rain and record flooding.
According to International Orthodox Christian Charities, “extensive downpours are the biggest threat this storm poses. Parts of Louisiana are experiencing flooding, and some mandatory evacuations have taken place. Mississippi and coastal Alabama are also at risk for extreme rain.”
IOCC is coordinating with partners and Orthodox parishes in affected areas and has Frontliners standing by. IOCC is watching developments closely and stands ready to respond as called upon. US Program staff are in touch with local and state authorities to coordinate as needed. In the meantime, you can help by giving to IOCC’s US Emergency Response Fund.
International Orthodox Christian Charities 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 $661 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 Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States, offering assistance based solely on need.
The word “pilgrimage” means “a journey of spiritual significance.” And every year, the month of August proves to be significant for two monastic communities of the Orthodox Church in America observing their annual pilgrimages in conjunction with their patronal feast days.
The Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA, will celebrate its annual pilgrimage on Monday and Tuesday, August 5 and 6, 2019. The pilgrimage will open with the celebration of Vigil 6:00 p.m. on Monday evening. Refreshments will be available before and after the Vigil. On Tuesday, the Akathistos Hymn “Glory to God for All Things” will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m., followed by the procession to the outdoor chapel, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of Fruit at 10:00 a.m. His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel will preside. A picnic luncheon will be served at 12:30 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., the Sacrament of Holy Unction with the anointing of the sick and all pilgrims will be celebrated. The pilgrimage will close with light refreshments at 4:00 p.m.
The Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery, Rives Junction, MI, will hold its 32nd annual pilgrimage Wednesday and Thursday, August 14-15, at which Archbishop Nathaniel also will preside. The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, while the Vigil for the Great Feast of the Dormition will commence at 6:30 p.m. On the Great Feast of the Dormition—Thursday, August 15—the Akathistos Hymn and the Third and Sixth Hours will be celebrated in the Katholicon at 9:00 a.m. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in the Pavilion at 10:00 a.m. At 2:30 p.m., the Sacrament of Holy Unction with the anointing of the sick and all pilgrims will be celebrated. The pilgrimage will close at 5:30 p.m. with the celebration of Vespers.
Clergy and faithful alike are warmly invited to participate in these “journeys of spiritual significance.”
The May and June 2019 “Pastoral Changes” — the official announcements of ordinations, assignments, releases, and related matters affecting the clergy of the Orthodox Church in America, as issued by the Office of the Chancellor, Archpriest Alexander Rentel—are now available.
“Grants of up to $24,000.00 are awarded to first-year recipients,” explained Priest John Parker. “The grant may only be used to help provide a salary for a full-time resident priest and must be matched by the qualifying mission, deanery, or diocese. Grants may be renewed for a maximum of three years.
“Dozens of missions have received Church Planting Grants—more than a million dollars—since the program was initiated nearly two decades ago. Most of these missions have successfully transitioned to full parish status,” Father John added.
Missions that received grants in 2019 must apply anew for the coming year.
Grant applications must be reviewed and approved by each mission’s respective diocesan bishop before they are submitted. After a review by the Department, recommendations for qualified missions will be submitted to the Holy Synod of Bishops for final approval.
For additional information, please contact Father John at 843-810-9350 or email@example.com.
Divine Liturgy in Ekaterinburg on the Sunday of All Saints Glorified in the Russian Lands.
During the last week of June and first week of July 2019, His Eminence, Archbishop Irénée of Ottawa and Canada was on pilgrimage to Russia, where he visited Ekaterinburg and the Moscow region. He was accompanied by Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk, Representative of the Orthodox Church in America to the Russian Orthodox Church and Dean of the OCA’s Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine, Moscow, and Protodeacon Jesse Isaac.
Archbishop Irénée presides at Vigil in Alpayevsk.
Archbishop Irénée was welcomed at the Ekaterinburg airport on Friday, July 28, by His Eminence, Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg, after which they visited Ganina Yama, the place where the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family were burned and buried. The following afternoon, they traveled to Alpayevsk, where they were greeted by His Grace, Bishop Leonid and celebrated Vigil. It was in Alpayevsk that the New Martyr Elizabeth and the Nun Barbara were martyred.
Fr. Daniel Andrejuk anoints faithful during Vigil for Feast of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco at Moscow’s Representation Church of St. Catherine.
On Sunday, June 30—the Feast of All Saints Glorified in the Russian Lands—Archbishop Irénée concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan Kirill and His Grace, Bishop Alexei of Serov at Ekaterinburg’s Church on the Blood, which marks the site of the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Kirill offered Archbishop Irénée and the OCA delegation a warm welcome and presented an icon of the Royal Family. Archbishop Irénée in turn thanked Metropolitan Kirill for the invitation and his hospitality, recalling the connection between many of the North American saints and Russia while presenting an icon of Saint Herman of Alaska to the Metropolitan. [View photo gallery.]
The belt of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco at St. Catherine Church.
On July 1 and 2, the Feast of Saint John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco was celebrated by Archbishop Irénée, Father Daniel, and the clergy of the Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine in Moscow. During the Vigil, the Akathistos to Saint John was sung. Archbishop Irénée presented an icon of Saints John and Catherine to the parish. The following morning, the festal Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Archbishop Irénée and Father Daniel. Among the concelebrants were representatives of a number of the Local Orthodox Churches, including Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), Representative of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; Archpriest Kakhaber Gogotishvili, Representative of the Georgian Orthodox Church; Hieromonk Iriney (Pikovsky), Representative of the Sretensky Monastery; Hieromonk Alexander (Galushka), Secretary of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Kotelniki, the Representation Church of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; and the clergy of Saint Catherine’s Church. In attendance at the Liturgy was the Ambassador of Canada to Russia, Mr. Stefan Jobin, who received a warm welcome from Father Daniel. [View photo gallery.]
The recently restored New Jerusalem Monastery.
Of particular note was the veneration of a belt from the vestments of Saint John, which had been brought to Saint Catherine’s in early May with the blessing of Archbishop Irénée, who is the guardian of the belt. The belt will remain through mid-August at Saint Catherine Church, where daily akathistos hymns are celebrated.
Archbishop Irénée visits Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery and Seminary.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Ambassador Jobin said that it is a great honor for him to attend the festal services as a representative of Canada. He went on to say that he appreciates the relationship with the Church of Saint Catherine and expressed thanks for the invitation to participate in the celebration. In response, Archbishop Irénée expressed his hope that Saint John would continue his intercession and prayers for all present.
Before his return to Canada on July 4, Archbishop Irénée also visited the New Jerusalem Monastery, the Sretensky Monastery and Seminary in Moscow, and other ecclesiastical sites.
On Thursday May 30, 2019, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in San Francisco to mark the 30th Anniversary of the repose of the outstanding hierarch and former archpastor of the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of San Francisco and the West, Archbishop John [Shahovskoy], who served as the diocese’s ruling hierarch for nearly three decades.
The Liturgy was celebrated by Priests Philip Halliwell and Timothy Winegar at Christ the Savior Church, a parish founded by Archbishop John as well as his former residence. Father Philip shared a sermon of Archbishop John, offering a sense of his poetic and vivid preaching style. Father Timothy spoke of the Archbishop’s monastic cross, which he had received on Mount Athos and which contains a number of relics, and how it came to be enshrined at the Elevation of the Holy Cross Church, Sacramento, CA—a parish also planted with Archbishop John’s blessing.
A prolific writer and poet, Archbishop John remains widely known for his classic treatise on the priesthood – The Orthodox Pastor: A Guide to Pastoral Theology—which continues to inspire seminarians and clergy to this day. Most of his publications appeared in Russian and await translation into English. His life reflects the stormy path of the Church during the 20th century, taking him from his native Russia to western and central Europe and finally to the United States, where he fell asleep in the Lord in Santa Barbara, CA and was interred on June 1, 1989, in San Francisco’s Serbian Orthodox Cemetery.
Born Prince Dimitry Shahovskoy in Moscow on August 23, 1902, Archbishop John was educated in Saint Petersburg. The Russian Revolution engulfed his family with its endless tragedies. He served in the White Army during the Civil War, after which he was evacuated from Crimea to France. He received his higher education a Louvain University in Belgium, studying in the Faculty of History and Political Economy. In the years 1923 through 1926, he published three collections of his poetry, and in 1925 and 1926 he served as editor of a journal dedicated to philosophy and literature. Some of the most prominent writers, poets, and philosophers of the Russian emigration contributed to this publication.
In 1926, the young Dimitry left all to follow Christ. He went to Mount Athos, where he was tonsured to monastic orders with the name John, after the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian. From Mount Athos, he returned to France, to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Metropolitan Evlogy, and studied at the Saint Sergius Theological Institute. Soon after his ordination to the diaconate by Metropolitan Evlogy, he was ordained to the priesthood in Yugoslavia by Bishop Benjamin. Assigned by Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky] to serve in Belaya Tserkov, Yugoslavia, Hieromonk John began his life-long priestly, missionary, and educational ministry. He established a publishing house which disseminated religious tracts throughout Yugoslavia, attracting many young Russian refugees to the Church. After returning to France once again, he was assigned by Metropolitan Evlogy to serve as pastor of Saint Vladimir Church, Berlin, Germany, where he greatly expanded his missionary and educational work, thereby reaching far beyond the boundaries of his parish. In 1937, he was elevated to the dignity of archimandrite.
During the Second World War, he and his flock assisted many “workers from the East”—people brought by force from Russia and Ukraine as laborers in Germany—and refugees, and provided assistance to missionaries going to the German-occupied territories of the USSR to reopen churches that had been closed during the Soviet Union’s relentless religious persecutions.
After the war, Archimandrite John came to the United States. For about one year he served as pastor of Los Angeles’ Holy Virgin Mary Church, where he organized the faithful to provide help to refugees in Europe, both in the form of CARE packages with food, clothing and medicine, and in the form of sponsorships to refugees who were immigrating to the United States as displaced persons.
In 1947, Archimandrite John was elected Bishop of Brooklyn, NY, and appointed Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, New York, NY. At this time he began his 40-year ministry as a religious broadcaster to Russia. He also pursued his love of writing, authoring numerous books, articles, and poems.
Elected to the See of San Francisco in 1950, Bishop John accepted pastoral responsibilities in a far-flung diocese while continuing his enormous labors as broadcaster and writer. From 1954 through 1968, he represented the American Metropolia in the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. It was in the midst of this work that Bishop John—elevated to the dignity of Archbishop in 1961—established contacts with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, which had joined the World Council of Churches in 1961. He was instrumental in beginning the conversations which led to the reestablishment of canonical relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Metropolia, culminating in the granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970.
Archbishop John retired in 1973, only to be called back to active episcopal ministry in his diocese in 1975. At his final retirement in 1979, despite declining health, he continued to grow in his spiritual clarity, his goodwill to every person, and his prayerful insight.
May the memory of Archbishop John, especially as we prepare to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Granting of Autocephaly in 2020, be eternal!
“Good Earth: Caring for God’s Creation” will be the theme of the 53rd annual Pilgrimage to New Skete here on Saturday, August 10, 2019.
The day will open at 8:30 a.m. with the celebration of Matins in Holy Wisdom Church. The Divine Liturgy will follow at 9:30 a.m. At 11:15 a.m., a tour and presentation on the hundreds of unique icons enshrined in Holy Wisdom and Transfiguration Churches will afford pilgrims a better understanding of the Church’s iconographic tradition.
This year’s guest speaker—Dr. Gayle Woloschak, Professor of Radiation Oncology, Radiology, and Cell and Molecular Biology in the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, and Sessional Professor of Bioethics at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY—will deliver a presentation on the pilgrimage theme at 1:30 p.m.
Other afternoon events include a guided hike and an iconography demonstration. Pilgrims are also invited to visit the meditation gardens and gift shops in addition to enjoying a variety of festival foods and the nuns’ legendary cheesecakes, which will be available for purchase throughout the day.
The pilgrimage will close with the celebration of Vigil and a Healing Service at 5:00 p.m.
New Skete — a monastic community of the Orthodox Church in America since 1979 — was established in 1966 by a small group of Byzantine Rite Franciscan monks. In 1969, seven Poor Clare nuns from Indiana, inspired by the vision of contemporary monastic life, settled near the monks and joined New Skete. In 1983, a third community was established when eight dedicated parish members expressed their desire to live in accordance with the monastic way of life and formed the Companions of New Skete.
Held in Nanjing, China June 13-19, 2019, the gathering was hosted by the China Christian Council, which Dr. Meyendorff noted is an organization recognized and controlled by the Chinese government. With the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, he represented the Orthodox Church in America.
“Orthodox representation was quite good with numerous delegates and staff members,” Dr. Meyendorff reported. “Of note is that the Russian Orthodox Church, represented by Archpriest Vladimir Shmalyi, resumed its participation in Faith and Order.”
Dr. Meyendorff serves on a subcommittee that received and analyzed responses to “The Church, Toward a Common Vision,” a significant convergence statement on the nature of the Church.
“The Commission has thus far received over 70 responses, and I am a member of the drafting team that is preparing a summary report of the subcommittee’s analysis, with recommendations for further Faith and Order work,” said Dr. Meyendorff. “Of particular note was the official announcement of an upcoming World Conference on Faith and Order, to be held in 2025 to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council, the focus of which will center on issues of Apostolic Faith.”
A group from Faith and Order was tasked with preparing and organizing this conference, he added.
Dr. Meyendorff’s sub-group will meet in Bossey, Switzerland, in January 2020 to continue working on the analysis of “The Church, Toward a Common Vision.”
The next plenary meeting of the entire Commission is scheduled for January 14-20, 2021.
“In the meantime, the various sub-committees will continue to meet,” Dr. Meyendorff continued. “We were informed that it is at the 2021 meeting, a nominations committee will consider candidates for the next Commission.”
“Immediately afterwards—and to the surprise of everyone present—clergy and lay delegates spontaneously rose to make pledges to fund a national-youth program, which raised over $80,000.00 in ten minutes,” Dimitrios reported. “This sent a clear message to the Church at large, young and old alike, to take better care of her young people through a more active ministry.”
As a first step in developing a youth ministry program that “is the best it can possibly be,” Dimitrios initiated a “listening tour” on July 1 in an effort to gather suggestions and ideas, which he explains in a recently produced video. He will be visiting several OCA-sponsored summer camps to listen, “in person,” to what our youth have to say.
“I’ll be listening to everyone about the current state of youth ministry in America,” Dimitrios added. “What are we doing now that is really effective? What are we doing now that is really ineffective? What can we do to enhance and strengthen our youth ministry efforts on every level—Church-wide, diocesan, deanery, and parish—to bring our youth closer to Jesus Christ and His Body, the Church?”
“We’re asking people to reach into the depths of their imaginations with regard to how they envision youth and young adult ministry,” Dimitrios continued. “Camps and retreats are awesome, and of course the Church will try to host more of them, but they’re only one part of ministry. Do youth want more pilgrimages? More service projects? More travel? Pan-jurisdictional youth events? Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but whatever people find reasonable, ‘do-able,’ and beneficial for the Church will ‘ring a bell’ and be considered.”
In early July, Dimitrios and Miriam are slated to visit Saint Vladimir Camp in Ohio. Dimitrios also will visit Saint John Camp in Indianapolis, the youth program held in Miami in conjunction with the Diocese of the South’s annual Assembly, and Alaska, where he will meet with youth during the annual Saint Herman Pilgrimage in August. Additional venues are “in the works.”
“I’m not visiting these places to tell others what to do; I’m going to listen, to serve, to ‘ring some bells’ by asking how can a national youth program help youth, parents, clergy, and churches? How can we help and collaborate with everyone we can,” Dimitrios emphasized, adding that he is incredibly excited to serve the Church in the best way possible.
“I grew up with a priest for a dad, in a great community, and attended Orthodox camps every summer, but I still struggle with my faith and the Church,” Dimitrios explained. “And if I struggled, with all these advantages, then I can only imagine what it must be like for a kid who didn’t have what I had. I want to help that kid.”
Through his listening tour and the youth survey, Dimitrios hopes to be “bombarded” with others’ experiences, knowledge, comments, questions, and thoughts about youth and young adult ministry.
“We would love people to fill out our official survey, no matter who they are, and we would also love it if people shared their experiences and ideas by sending emails to firstname.lastname@example.org,” Dimitrios added. “We want people to spread the word—the more voices we hear, the more opinions we get, the better the program with be. The project is going on all summer, so this offers a two-month window for being heard. We will read each and every response.
“We want people to spread the word by taking the survey—the more voices we hear, the more opinions and fresh ideas we can gather and the better the program with be,” Dimitrios said. “And we hope everyone will follow us on Facebook, which already features photos from Saint Vladimir Camp.”