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Report: Diocese of Los Angeles and the West's 2017 Parish Life Conference

Send us your PLC information--we'd love to publish a report about your diocese's summer family reunion!

The Diocese of Los Angeles and the West held their Parish Life Conference at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel from July 5-9, 2017. The PLC was well attended with 823 registrants. It was hosted by St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church of the San Fernando Valley.

A beautiful chapel that was the focal point of the Conference worship services highlighted our theme: "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Mark 11:17). This year three keynote speakers addressed the conference theme: Fr. Joseph Copeland, pastor of Holy Cross Church in Yakima, Washington spoke on "God's house as a house of prayer, an icon of His Kingdom, and place of the Sacraments." Father Alban West, pastor of St. George Church in Portland, Oregon, spoke on "What we must do to properly prepare in entering God's House and receiving the Sacraments," and Fr. Calinic Berger, assistant pastor of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, spoke about "God's House as the place where we pray '...for all nations' and as the universal home of the members of His Kingdom."

Promotional Materials for the 2018 Festivals

Promotional materials for the 2018 Creative Arts Festivals

Memory Eternal! + Kh. Harbeih Harb

Khouria Harbeih Harb fell asleep in the Lord peacefully on Friday, August 18, 2017 in her home. She was the wife of the late Very Reverend George Harb of San Diego.

Born on February 9, 1924 in Ramallah, Palestine, Khouria immigrated with her family to the United States in 1960 to help establish the first permanent ministry at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon, where they served until 1970. She will always be remembered in the church communities that she belonged to, including Haifa, Portland, San Diego, and Jacksonville, Florida.

She will always be remembered as the warmest and most sincere lady, always welcoming people with an open and sweet heart. She was a very loving and generous person who always opened her home to all.

Khouria is survived by her children Elias Harb and Mary Harb. Her three other children have reposed: Samira, Joseph, and Samir Harb. Khouria Harbeih had five children, twelve grandchildren, twenty-two great grandchildren, and four great great grandchildren. She is known by all her grandchildren simply as "Teta."

Theme Song for Creative Festivals 2018

We Break Bread Together

Download Sheet Music

Download Audio (mp3)

By Rosemary Shumski

The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch,
Our Orthodox Church was built on Christ who is our Rock.
The disciples met together in fellowship and prayer.
They took care of one another, their possessions they would share.
And they broke bread together, bread together, they broke bread together,
In fellowship and prayer.
They broke bread together, bread together, they broke bread together,
The Eucharist they’d share.
The Eucharist they’d share.

 Over two thousand years later, our Church still stands.
God protects and holds it in His hands.
We are Christ’s disciples today,
Here to show others the Truth and Way.
And we break bread together, bread together, we break bread together,
In fellowship and prayer.
We break bread together, bread together, we break bread together,
The Eucharist we share.
The Eucharist we share.
The Eucharist we share.


Interpretations of the 2018 Creative Festivals Theme

“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

Possible interpretations of the theme may include but are not limited to some of the following ideas:

  • Depictions of early Christians worshipping
  • People worshipping during Divine Liturgy today
  • Receiving Holy Communion
  • People praying in church
  • Fellowship in the church
  • The idea that the Church is comprised of people; the Church is not just a building
  • Learning about things Jesus taught the Apostles by listening to the Epistle and Gospel readings
  • Helping one another like the early Christians did by donating food or clothing, serving at a homeless shelter, etc.
  • Living our lives according to Jesus’ teachings
  • Comparing how our traditions and worship reflect those of the ancient church
  • Handing down traditions of the Church from one generation to the next
  • Ways we can preserve our Orthodox faith

2018 Creative Arts Festival Lesson Cross-Reference

“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,
in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

Kindergarten- Together with God

Lesson 1 “God’s Family” Our individual families come together to worship God and become one big family, the Church.

Lesson 14 “The Divine Liturgy” Our Divine Liturgy is based on the way the early Christians worshipped God.

Lesson 15 “The Church Prays” We pray for everyone and everything during Divine Liturgy.

Lesson 16 “We Hear God’s Word (Gospel) The apostles’ doctrine came from Jesus’ teachings which we learn about through the Gospel readings.

Lesson 18 “Holy Communion” We break bread together when we receive Holy Communion.

Lesson 28 “Ascension Day” When Jesus ascended to heaven, He told the Apostles to live as He had shown them.

Lesson 30 “Pentecost” The Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles giving them the ability to teach other people the things Jesus had taught them.

Grade 1- God Loves Us

There are no specific lessons that relate to the theme.

Grade 2- New Life in Jesus

Lesson 1 “We Belong to God’s Family” We belong to our own family and also to our Orthodox Christian family, the Church.

Lesson 3 “Jesus Teaches Us How to Be Members of His Family” Jesus teaches us how to think and act as members of His family.

Lesson 7 “Jesus Sends His Holy Spirit” Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to help us follow His teachings.

Lesson 8 “We Receive the Holy Spirit” Explains how we receive the Holy Spirit through Chrismation.

Lesson 11 “The Gift of the Eucharist” Jesus gave His Apostles Holy Communion for the first time at the Mystical Supper.

Explanation of the 2018 Creative Festivals Theme

“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,
in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

Comments from the Orthodox Study Bible:

Central elements of Orthodox worship- apostolic teaching, liturgical prayer and the Eucharist- are present from the very beginning of the Church. Prayers is literally “the prayers” in Greek, referring to specific liturgical prayers. The Jews had practiced liturgical prayer for centuries; many of their prayers are contained in the Book of Psalms. The early Christians adapted these prayers for us in the Church. The breaking of bread is, of course, the Eucharist, Holy Communion.

This year’s theme beautifully illustrates how the way we worship today was based on the earliest Christian worship that has been handed down to us from ancient times, and specifically, to our Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church. “…the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26) The students should be aware of this important legacy and make the connection that our Church “is the continuation of the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter (who served as its first bishop) and Paul, who are its patron saints.” (Orthodox Wiki) The Apostolic teachings from the ancient church have been passed down to us. What is right and true doesn’t change.

Worshipping the Virgin Mary? An Orthodox Understanding

By Christopher Holwey, BS, MDiv
Department of Sacred Music

As I was preparing the music for August 20, 2017—the After-Feast of the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos—I noticed that in the first stichera at "O Lord, I have cried" for Vespers, after it states how Christ translated His Mother out of this world, and brought His disciples together to give her proper burial, it says:

". . . Then the Apostles, seeing thee, O Virgin, were filled with grace, and with exceeding great reverence, they all then sacredly worshipped thee and cried out with firm faith: O rejoice, thou who hast brought forth Great Mercy for the world."

I was really struck by the words “sacredly worshipped thee” regarding the Virgin Mary. Unless we are doing daily services, we may not hear them on August 20th except when it happens to fall on a Sunday; or perhaps we are chanting them every year but using a different translation. This particular translation from Holy Transfiguration Monastery uses the word “worship.” I kept that in mind and continued on with the second Stichera, wherein the Virgin asks the disciples how they came to know of her departure from the body and she inquires about this most wondrous sight. The disciples respond:

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest Joseph Sakkab, Emeritus

Memory Eternal! With sadness and with hope in the Resurrection, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and the Sakkab family, wish to convey the news of the falling asleep in the Lord of Archpriest Joseph Sakkab, Emeritus, after fifty-seven years of faithful service in the holy priesthood.

Father Joseph reposed on Thursday, August 10, 2017, at the age of 95. He leaves behind his faithful wife Khouria Samira; his children, Deacon Simon, Laila, Pauline, and Fady; and nine grandchildren. Viewing will be held on Sunday at 6 p.m. at St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church and the funeral service will be held on Monday, August 14, 2017, at 10 a.m. at St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church in Edmonton, Alberta.

Read a reflection by Fr. Joseph, "Share Your Faith with Confidence."

Faithtree Resources Releases "13 Reasons: Why We Must Engage with Our Teens"

Van Nuys, California. (August 4, 2017)  Faithtree Resources, a teaching ministry of St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Van Nuys, CA, has released their latest resource for clergy and families, a free eBook entitled: 13 Reasons: Why We Must Engage with Our Teens. (Download a free copy) 

The 20+ page resource is Faithtree’s response to the popular Netflix series "13 Reasons Why," a teen-oriented drama about a high school student who takes her own life. The series aired this year and has not only caused a national stir, but as new research indicates, may have significantly increased the number of teens now researching and contemplating their own suicides. In an article in The Atlantic, Google reported queries about suicide rose by almost 20 percent in the 19 days following the wake of the show’s release. This represents between 900,000-1.5 million more searches than usual regarding the subject.

Orthodox Christian Translation Society Accepting Proposals for Translation Projects

The Orthodox Christian Translation Society (OCTS), a non-profit organization committed to facilitating the entire process of creating high-quality Orthodox translations from project conception to publication and distribution, is accepting proposals for future translation projects.

OCTS accepts proposals from skilled translators and then selects projects to support. Once a project is chosen, OCTS commits to support that project financially from beginning to end. This includes translation, editing, publication, and distribution. Each translator is supported financially according to a method which best suits his or her needs; this may include hourly compensation, compensation based on length of the text, or royalty payments made at the time of sales. In this way, OCTS provides opportunities for skilled translators to commit their time to Orthodox translation work while also supporting themselves and their families or monastic communities.

2017 DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament Forms Available

The 2017 DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament will be hosted at St. Elijah in Oklahoma City, OK, on October 6–8. All forms and flyers with relevant info are attached hereto. Questions? Please contact our Diocesan Youth Director Erin Ghata at





SAVE THE DATE! St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschool Conference in Three Locations

Download the flyer!

December 1–3, 2017 WEST
Location: St. Nicholas Ranch, Dunlap, CA
Keynote: Fr. Josiah Trenham
Theme: The Courage to Homeschool

January 19–21, 2018 SOUTH
Location: St. Constantine, Houston, TX
Keynote: Dr. Philip Mamalakis
Theme: Parenting Toward the Kingdom

April 19–22, 2018 EAST
Location: Antiochian Village, Bolivar, PA
Keynote: Fr. Josiah Trenham
Theme: Be Not Afraid

Metropolitan Joseph Appoints Bishop Nicholas to Lead the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast

August 3, 2017

The Reverend Clergy of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast:                        

Blessings and greetings to you and your families in the name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, as we embark on the blessed Dormition Fast.

I would like to start this letter by thanking my dear brother His Grace Bishop Antoun for all the years of hard work in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast. He touched all of our hearts with his dedication and support as he earned his gray hair: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” (Proverbs 16:31)

Convention Audio Now Available at Ancient Faith Radio

Ancient Faith Radio has released several audio recordings from the recently concluded biennial Antiochian Archdiocese Convention in Miami, in their "Specials" podcast section. Hosted by St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, the 53rd Convention was held from July 23–30, 2017 and commemorated the ministry of His Grace Bishop Antoun, who was retiring after decades of service to the Archdiocese. The audio recordings include the spiritual talks of Fr. Andrew Damick, the Bible Bowl contest, and the Keynote Address by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

Listen to all five presentations on Ancient Faith Radio.

Worcester Diocesan Family Camp is October 13-15 in Contoocook, NH

The Diocese of Worcester and New England Family Camp is an opportunity for your family to get away from everyday life and take a weekend as a family to grow closer to Christ, in the beautiful setting of the St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center in Contoocook, NH on the shore of Clement Pond. At Family Camp, eating a meal together as a family is the norm, not the exception.

Not your typical vacation, Family Camp offers a mini-vacation without maps, lines for popcorn, or decisions over where to eat. Our flexible schedule gives you the choice of "doing it all" from canoeing to volleyball, or just taking it easy and savoring a good view from the waterfront.

Memory Eternal! + Georgia Marx

Memory Eternal! + Georgia Marx, mother of Fr. Meletios Marx of St. Joseph Orthodox Church in Houston, TX, reposed on Monday, July 24, 2017, and will be buried from St. Joseph on Thursday, August 3.

Born in Galveston, Texas on March 27, 1941, Georgia received a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology from North Texas State University in 1962. She dedicated a large part of her life to working with children who had speech impediments. She had a strong love of God and was very active in church. She had ten green thumbs and was a member of a neighborhood garden club where she won numerous blue ribbons for floral design. Needlepoint was another passion of Georgia’s, and her stich mastery was often displayed at local shops. She loved good food, socializing with friends and family, and old movies, particularly, John Wayne’s The Quiet Man. Equal to her love of family was her love of cats and the fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Aspiration Studios Announces 2017 Premiere Date for Documentary BECOMING TRULY HUMAN

Nashville, Tenn. (July 18, 2017) – Aspiration Studios has announced the newest title they will bring exclusively to churches and various non-theatrical venues late this summer. BECOMING TRULY HUMAN, the first feature film about America's religiously unaffiliated, will be programmed in venues beginning August 22, 2017. To inquire about bringing a showing to your area or parish, visit  

August 2017 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Jesus at the East Side of the River Jordan

Our Summer letters have concerned Lazarus – his being called from his tomb by Jesus and how this benefits our relationship with Him. For Jesus is the Christ and Author of Resurrection and Life. Our last letter wondered about the importance of His return to the Jordan, before Lazarus became sick, not unto death but for the glory of the divine Son of His Father. We also wondered about the timing of events – before calling Lazarus from his tomb and His entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday – as well as the geographical location. Within this and with joyful thankfulness, it is good to remember how He allows us to learn, experience, and participate in the Wisdom and special goodness of His physical creation. Such is the parental privilege of a Father to His children maturing in their faith in Him and His love for us.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

Transfiguration and Dormition 2017 Greeting from Bishop Thomas

July 31, 2017

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics,
and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

I greet you as we prepare to commemorate these most joyous feasts, the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos! These feasts coincide with the holy fast of the Dormition, and appropriately so, since we are accustomed to prepare for great feasts of the Church through the necessary and salvific ascetical practice of fasting.

The feasts of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos and the Transfiguration reveal to us the salvific activity of God and how we are to prepare and receive these gifts.

Saint Gregory of Palamas wrote concerning the Transfiguration:

Memory Eternal! + Kh. Helen Kahle

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Helen S. Kahle, 87, of Emmaus, PA, passed away July 26, 2017 at Lehigh Center, Macungie. She was the wife of the late Very Rev. John (Robert) Kahle (+2008), the founding pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, PA.

Born in Emmaus, Helen was the daughter of the late John and Kathryn (Slota) Sikorski. She was a graduate of Emmaus High School, Class of 1948, and Sacred Heart Hospital School of Nursing in 1951. Helen served several medical practices as a registered nurse for many years.

She is survived by her sons, Robert Kahle and his wife, Karen, James Kahle and his wife, Rebecca; and daughters Anne Boyle, Susan Crouthamel and her husband, David, Karen Buss and her husband, Mark, Patricia Domyan and her husband, Mark, Barbara Parker and her husband, Peter; fourteen grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and her sister, Julia Kooker. 

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

  • Sunday, July 30: Viewing 3-5 pm at Bachman Kulik Reinsmith Funeral Home in Emmaus, PA (225 Elm St.), with a Trisagion Memorial at 4:30pm
  • Monday, July 31: Viewing 10-11 am, Funeral 11 am at St. Paul Orthodox Church in Emmaus (156 E. Main St.)

Khouria Helen's obituary can be read on Contributions in her memory can be made to St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, PA.

May her memory be eternal!

Classical Learning Resource Center Joins Forces with St. Raphael School



Listen to the Ancient Faith Radio interview about CLRC and St. Raphael

The Classical Learning Resource Center (CLRC) was founded eight years ago by Antiochian Orthodox Christians, Subdeacon John and Anne Van Fossen of Naples, ID, with the blessing and encouragement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. The CLRC provides live, interactive, online classes in a wide variety of subject areas. It serves both homeschooled students and students in public and private schools. Eager learners connect with outstanding instructors in a dynamic educational community. CLRC teachers currently include six instructors with PhDs, ten with MAs, an abbess, and a priest. All of the administrative staff, eighteen of the twenty-two teachers, and about half of the students are Orthodox.

This year the CLRC is joining forces with another Orthodox provider of online classes – the St. Raphael School. Saint Raphael School is a warm community of Orthodox educators, parents, and students. The center of the St. Raphael school is its integrated, literature based, liberal arts curriculum which is firmly rooted in the Orthodox faith.

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