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Lamp Unto My Feet: Rare Video Features Metropolitan Antony Bashir in Holy Week

Tue, 2017/06/20 - 2:00am

On Sunday, April 16, 1961, the CBS Television Network showcased the richness of Holy Week services in the Orthodox Church featuring one of our Antiochian parishes. "Lamp Unto My Feet" filmed at St. George Church of Paterson (now Little Falls), New Jersey and captured the procession of the Cross on Holy Thursday, the Lamentations of Holy Friday, and the Resurrection (Rush) and Orthros Service of All-holy Pascha.

Metropolitan Anthony Bashir

The weekly religious program (running from 1948-79) also captured the clarion voice of our primate at that time, Metropolitan Antony Bashir (1898-1966) of thrice-blessed memory and eternal repose. Now, for the first time, generations of Orthodox Christians will hear the voice of this important twentieth-century leader and pioneer of the Church in North America.

They will also hear the voices of two long-time priests of the Archdiocese: Fr. Michael Simon, at that time pastor of St. George Church, and Fr. Gabriel Ashie, at that time pastor of St. Anthony Church in Englewood (now Bergenfield), New Jersey. "Lamp Unto My Feet" also credits Professor Michael Hilko, a groundbreaking composer of sacred music in the Archdiocese; and Mrs. Christine Lynch, who guided CBS in the television production and led the choir. She reposed in the Lord in 2016 after decades of service to St. George Church and the Archdiocese.

A long-time member of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees and a lifelong servant of the Orthodox Church, Mr. Robert S. Andrews, Sr., was organizing the library of his home parish of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles when he came across the 56-year-old film. Mr. Andrews said it "smelled like vinegar" when he opened the cannister, so he rushed to preserve it by having it digitized onto DVD. is most grateful for his efforts and for sharing this presentation with a worldwide audience.


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Atlas of American Orthodox Monasteries (Second Edition) is Now Available for Download

Thu, 2017/06/15 - 2:07pm

The electronic version (PDF) of the Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Monasteries is now available free of charge from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA, and can be downloaded here. The hard copy of the Atlas can be purchased directly from the publisher, Holy Cross Orthodox Press. 

The Atlas includes:

  • A scholarly introduction into traditions of Eastern Christian and American monasticism
  • A comprehensive directory of 80 American monasteries
  • A travel guide for those seeking to visit monasteries as pilgrims or potential monastics.

In addition, twenty-two featured monasteries share their personal stories and offer a glimpse into the surprising spiritual appeal of monastic life in 21st century America. The text is accompanied by four sets of color maps and more than one hundred photographs depicting everyday monastic life.

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Reflections for Father's Day

Wed, 2017/06/14 - 6:19pm

These two thoughtful reflections from a new father and a seasoned father and grandfather, offer insights into the importance of Orthodox Christian fathers, as we celebrate Father's Day on Sunday, June 18, 2017.

Who Else Will Raise the Second Generation of Orthodox Christians?

By Fr. George Shalhoub

On June 18th, we will celebrate and honor every father again on Father's Day.

In the Holy Orthodox Church, no man is defined without a woman, no woman is defined without a man, and no man or woman is defined without God. A mother is not more important than the father and neither is the father more important than the mother. The two cannot be separated. They are like railroad tracks; one cannot exist without the other. They become one flesh in marriage (Ephesians 5:31) and share the responsibility for their future.

I recall that even when my mother took me to church, my father was no less important. On many occasions, I tagged along with my father as he was one of the builders of St. George Cathedral in my hometown of Hama, Syria. It took ten years to build this church which was next to our old church, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

Read the whole reflection.

Fatherhood, A Kind of Asceticism

By Deacon Thom Crowe

At three in the morning, our house is quiet and dark. The distractions of the day all fade into silence, no to-do lists, no errands, no calls, nothing. I learned this the night we brought Elise home from the hospital and was reminded the countless nights over the next coming months. We learned quickly that I could wake up and fall back to sleep much easier than my wife, so I took night duty. After changing Ellie’s diaper, we would sit in the living room with all of the hustle and bustles of life far away. I watched that precious little girl for hours as she ate and slept in my arms. I didn’t know nursery rhymes so I would chant the hymns of the Church to her. Granted, at three in the morning my mind reached for what it could, and I remember one night chanting the Troparion of the Cross, followed by a Nativity hymn, then “Open to Me” and the Troparion of Epiphany. The next morning I laughed at the odd prayer service I had put together mashing up hymns that spanned the entire liturgical year. But I figured I couldn’t introduce her to the Faith too early.

Read the whole reflection.

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Memory Eternal! + Metropolitan Antonio of Mexico, Central America and Venezuela

Wed, 2017/06/14 - 12:03pm

Update: Metropolitan Joseph's Letter of Condolences to the Archdiocese of Mexico, Central America, Venzuela, and the Carribean Islands.

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." John 11:25

His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch, the Holy Synod of Antioch, and the Archdiocese of North America announce with great regret the departure to the house of the Lord of Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui on the morning of June 14, 2017.

His Eminence was born in the City of Tripoli, Lebanon, on January 17, 1932. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Lebanon and the Bachelor of Theology at the University of Athens, Greece. On July 20, 1952, he was ordained as a deacon, and on August 29, 1958, he was ordained a priest and elevated to be an archimandrite.

On June 5, 1966, he was consecrated as a bishop, receiving the appointment of Patriarchal Vicar for Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean.


Photos of the funeral of Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui are now available by clicking on this link.

On June 12, 1996, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch elevated the Diocese of Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean to the category of Archdiocese, and appointed him as Metropolitan Archbishop of the said Archdiocese, a position he currently occupied.

His Eminence was active in his ministry. He took the role of Private Secretary of the Archbishop of Tripoli and President of the Spiritual Court from 1957 to 1959. He became the Private Secretary of the Patriarch from 1959 to 1962. He also was Vicar General of the Archbishopric of Mount Lebanon and President of the Spiritual Court from 1962 to 1966. His Eminence had the respect, appreciation and friendship of several presidents of the Mexican Republic such as Mr. Gustavo Diaz Ordaz and Mr. Vicente Fox Quesada, as well as various secretaries of state and religious leaders from various churches.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has asked the clergy and laity of this Archdiocese to pray the Trisagion Prayers for Metropolitan Antonio for the next forty days and to keep him in their personal prayers for the departed. On behalf of the bishops, clergy, Board of Trustees, the organizations and all of the faithful of this Archdiocese, Sayidna Joseph offers to His Beatitude, the Holy Synod of Antioch, and the Archdiocese of Mexico our love, prayers and condolences.

May his memory be eternal!


Metropolitan Joseph Attends 50th Anniversary of the Episcopacy of Metropolitan Antonio
Archdiocese of Mexico website

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Apostles' Fast Begins

Mon, 2017/06/12 - 12:41pm

From the second Monday after Pentecost until the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29th, Orthodox Christians celebrate the Apostles' Fast. This year, the fast commences on Monday, June 12, 2017.

To learn more about the Orthodox approach to fasting, visit the Feasts and Fasts page of Our Discover Orthodox Christianity section.


·"The Fast and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul" by Bishop Thomas and Peter Schweitzer
·"Fast of the Holy Apostles" by Archpriest Ayman Kfouf
·Akathist to Ss. Peter and Paul
·A reflection about the two saints from The Word

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Axios! Holy Synod of Antioch Elects New Metropolitan of Archdiocese of Hama, Syria

Sat, 2017/06/10 - 2:19pm
By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Synod of Antioch, under the presidency of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, elected His Grace Bishop Nicholas Baalbaki as the new metropolitan archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hama and Dependencies in Syria. Sayidna Nicholas succeeds His Eminence Metropolitan Elia Saliba of thrice-blessed memory who reposed in the Lord on April 1, 2017.   His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph took part in the election at the Patriarchal Monastery and Seminary in Balamand, Lebanon earlier this week, following the great feast of Pentecost. Sayidna Joseph congratulated his new brother Metropolitan Nicholas on behalf of the hierarchs, clergy, board of trustees and laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.   Metropolitan Nicholas was born to a pious Orthodox Christian family in 1957. His brother is V. Rev. George Baalbaki, the pastor of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California. In addition to serving as clergyman since 1985, His Eminence was a surgeon and director of the Patriarchal Hospital of St. George in Hosn, Syria.

June 2017: Patriarch John at the Holy Synod meetingSayidna Joseph led a delegation from the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West to the Middle East in the autumn of 2010, which included a visit then-Archimandrite Nicholas at the hospital. The delegation marveled at his holiness and devotion to healing souls and bodies.

  The next year, Archimandrite Nicholas was elected and consecrated as a bishop to assist His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of thrice-blessed memory and eternal repose. He continued in this capacity in Damascus with Patriarch John X until his election during this week of Pentecost.   Metropolitan Joseph prays, and asks the Archdiocesan clergy and faithful to do the same, to Almighty God that He will bless the new ministry of Metropolitan Nicholas and all of the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Hama.   (Photos: June 2017: The Holy Synod, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
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Register Now for October Iconology and Iconography Workshop at Antiochian Village

Thu, 2017/06/08 - 2:06pm

Vladislav Andrejev, IconographerThe Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center will be hosting an intensive 6-day icon workshop on October 1–7, 2017. Students will learn both the theory and practice of icon writing in the Prosopon School, using methods dating to 16th century Russia. The materials used in the workshop will all be natural and will include: egg tempera, pure gold leaf, earth and mineral pigments, and carved wooden boards prepared with gesso.

This workshop will be conducted by master iconographer and founder of the Prosopon School, Vladislav Andrejev and/or his son Nikita. Beginners will be given step-by-step instructions to complete their own icon of Archangel Michael. Students who have attended previous Prosopon workshops will be assigned an icon appropriate to their experience and skill level. All materials are included in the registration fee for beginners. Previous artistic experience is not necessary, as icon writing is as much a spiritual discipline as it is an artistic expression.

For further information, contact workshop coordinator Donna Smith: (preferred contact method) or (315) 723-5128.

AttachmentSize Prosopon School Icon Workshop Registration Form (PDF)1.27 MB Prosopon School Icon Workshop Flyer (PDF)553.25 KB
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June 2017 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Tue, 2017/06/06 - 4:59pm
Click cover to download:  june_2017_word_for_archdiocese.pdf Magazine Date:  06/2017

The Hieromartyr Metrophanes and the Chinese New Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion, p. 5
Fr. Symeon Kees

Fatherhood, A Kind of Asceticism, p. 7
Deacon Thom Crowe

Hospitality, Gratitude, and Stewardship in the Parish, p. 9
Father Joshua Makoul

An Orthodox Spiritual Response to Clergy Burnout, p. 13
Bishop Thomas and Peter Schweitzer

What I Wish I Had Known 39 Years Ago, p. 17
Bishop John

Christian Education news, Communities in Action reports...and more!

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An Open Letter from the Heritage Foundation Chairman, Economos Antony Gabriel

Tue, 2017/06/06 - 3:38pm

Dear fellow Antiochian,

Saint John Chrysostom once exclaimed: Glory to Thee, O God, For all things!

"Lest, we forget."

Yes, we give thanks to Almighty God for all of our beloved pioneers who knitted the fabric of our God Protected Archdiocese.

Throughout the years we have witnessed greatness in some of the most simple moments as well as clergy. It is almost unimaginable today how the early clergymen carved out their lives with some of the most difficult of circumstances, both financially as well as spiritually. From the earliest days in North America, our clergy, their wives and families played a pivotal role in the development and maturation of the Antiochian Church on New Shores. They have inspired us by their strenuous sacrifices and their sweet liturgical services which formed us and to this day, and their wisdom enlightened our paths towards the priesthood.

The Antiochian Archdiocese is built on the labors of our forefathers in the priesthood. Antioch produced a "Cloud of Witnesses to the Gospel of Christ," many of whom came to North America and the following generations followed in their footsteps building churches, parish halls establishing a mosaic of organizations to meet the spiritual needs of the emerging generation of Antiochian Orthodox Christians. It is axiomatic that there were few rewards for their labors.

Therefore the time has arrived that we must honor their memories. Working with a small committee as noted in the open letter as published in The Word, an Honor Wall is being designed to be built in the Antiochian Village Heritage Center that will include the name of your beloved.

It is with humility that we have undertaken this project and we turn to each family and each parish to financially support this most worthy endeavor, "Lest We Forget."

You may make your check to the Antiochian Heritage Foundation earmarked "Honor Wall." Underline in this matter the commitment of giving thanks to Almighty God, for our loved ones who have transmitted "The Faith of our Fathers" to us and the rich heritage that has been gifted to us.

In Christ,

Economos Antony Gabriel, Chairman
Antiochian Heritage Foundation

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Salt Lake City Welcomes 25 New Orthodox Christians on Holy Saturday

Wed, 2017/05/31 - 2:50pm









They had examined the history books, but more importantly their own souls, and after a year of intense preparation and purification, twenty-five catechumens were baptized and chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church. They all joined the Body of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ at Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. (View the Facebook gallery)

They came into the True Faith on Holy Saturday, April 15, 2017. Since antiquity, the Orthodox Church has baptized catechumens on this day because of its theological significance and importance. On this day, as our Lord’s body lay at rest inside the tomb, His Spirit had descended into hell and crushed the devil, his demons, and the chains that had held every human captive since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. These newly illumined soldiers of Christ our God, through their confessions and baptisms, crushed their own sins through His power and arose as new men and women from the font.

The twenty-five had studied and grown in the Faith with the pastor, Rev. Fr. Justin Havens, and the assistant pastor, Rev. Fr. John Mahfouz, who had the absolute joy of baptizing them and communing them at the chalice for the first time. The newly illumined, single adults and whole families with young children, had come from all walks of life, leaving behind Protestantism and Mormonism to embrace Holy Orthodoxy. Usually, fifteen Old Testament readings cover all of the baptisms, chrismations and tonsures, but the chanters had to read them twice! 

Sheer bliss emanated throughout the church on this Holy Saturday, for the rest of the congregation understood the sacrifices the newly illumined made to become Orthodox – many of them had already done so. But they all understood the reward: entering the Kingdom of God on earth in order to eventually enter the Kingdom of God in heaven. Countless tears of happiness were shed.

The twenty-five took on the names of a wide variety of saints to serve as their protectors as intercessors before God – ancient saints like Marina and Justina, but also Western saints like Columba, and new saints like Paisios of the Holy Mountain who had been canonized in 2015.

The Orthodox Faith is rapidly growing in Utah, especially at Ss. Peter and Paul Church, which was recently featured by one of the state’s largest media outlets, the Salt Lake Tribune. (Utah Mormons, Protestants finding new spiritual home in ancient Orthodox church) In fact, this congregation is bursting at the seams and is planning for a new church temple. 

“As the world becomes more and more of a confusing, broken place, people are seeking God in an urgent manner,” Fr. Justin said. “And when they desire to find the original, ancient Christian Church, they are shocked that it actually still exists and that it the Orthodox Christian Church! Thank God, many are seeking their healing in the spiritual hospital of the Church here in Utah. Pray for us to continue to share the light of Holy Orthodoxy in Utah!”

The entire Orthodox Christian family of Ss. Peter and Paul Church is thankful to Almighty God for His abundant blessings, and that more people are joining the True Faith that He established.

(Photo credits: Kenneth Hoglund)

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Bishop Thomas Offers Commencement Address, Receives Honorary Doctorate at St. Tikhon's Seminary

Wed, 2017/05/31 - 1:29am

By Joseph Clark

During the weekend of May 26–29, 2017, the Monastery of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, America’s oldest Orthodox monastic community, held its 113th Annual Pilgrimage, and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary celebrated its 75th Annual Commencement Exercises. Five saints of the Church: St. Tikhon of Moscow, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre, St. Alexander Hotovitzky, and St. Nicholai of Zhicha, have walked the hallowed grounds of these communities, and all who visit this holy mountain are touched by the prayers of these saints.

The festivities began with the arrival of the “Hawaiian” Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. Many miracles are attributed to her intercessions, and the mere presence of the holy icon brought joy to the faithful. The miraculous myrrh was so plentiful that upon entering the altar, after processing with her, His Grace Bishop Thomas’ hands were thoroughly covered, and this occurred in spite of the wooden case and velvet cover in which she is kept.

It was a real joy to be able to venerate her during each of the Divine services over the four days of the pilgrimage. As is customary within monastic communities the full cycle of services was celebrated, so the faithful were able to participate in the stream of Grace that flows from this place. Families were able to break bread together, and the many vendors present provided a pleasant accent to the social activities of the weekend.

On the second day of festivities, the community of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary commemorated 75 years of preparing faithful men and women for service to Christ’s Church with its annual commencement exercises. The seminary Board of Directors, Faculty, and Staff decided to honor one of our own, His Grace the Right Reverend, Thomas (Joseph), Bishop of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, by conferring upon him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. This award is in recognition of His Grace’s dedicated service to Christ’s Holy Church, his passionate commitment to Orthodox Youth and his contributions to Orthodox Education both here and abroad. Also, His Grace blessed all in attendance with wise, and sometimes humorous, words as this year's commencement speaker.

Within the graduating class of 2017 was Subdeacon George (Marshall) Goodge of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Subdeacon George was awarded a Master of Divinity degree with Honors in Theology. Additionally, the commencement ceremony included addresses by His Beatitude, Tikhon (Mollard), Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada (OCA) and President of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, His Eminence, Michael (Dahulich), Archbishop of New York and New York and New Jersey (OCA) and Rector of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, and the Very Reverend Archpriest Steven Voytovich, Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary. Among the faithful gathered together were a multitude of priests, deacons, and lay members of the Church from multiple jurisdictions, making the day a truly Pan-Orthodox celebration. (Photos:

AttachmentSize St. Tikhon's Commencement Address by Bishop Thomas, 05.27.2017 (PDF)107.49 KB
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The 2017 May PhD Residency - A Resounding Success!

Tue, 2017/05/30 - 8:59pm

By Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Assistant Director
The Antiochian Orthodox Institute (TAOI)

Something special is happening in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

The 2017 May Residency of the Antiochian House of Studies PhD program proved to be a resounding success. It was hard to see how it could be otherwise, given the world-class calibre of its faculty, including Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos and Renos K. Papadopoulos. But even so, the second Intensive (Residency) of the first-ever AHOS PhD cohort managed to surpass all expectations.

No stranger to the Antiochian Archdiocese, Metropolitan Hierotheos—speaker at the Archdiocese's 2016 Clergy Symposium—immediately recognized the importance of Metropolitan Joseph's invitation to contribute to the spiritual and intellectual life of the Church in North America.

L to R: Dr. Anastasios Philippidis, Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Met. Hierotheos, and Archimandrite Kallinikos GeorgatosEntitled "Philosophy and Patristic Theology", the purpose of His Eminence's course was to demonstrate why Orthodox Theology is based on the experience of the living, risen Christ, and not on philosophical speculation, no matter how lofty and sophisticated.

By means of an analytical presentation of Plato, Aristotle and the Neoplatonists, and a demonstration of their influence on the chief heresiarchs of the first four centuries - including Paul of Samosata, Arius, and Eunomius - Metropolitan Hierotheos skillfully revealed the therapeutic "method" and hesychast tradition of the Patriarchs and Prophets, St. Paul, John the Divine, St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa), St. Maximos the Confessor, St. John Damascene, St. Symeon the New Theologian and St. Gregory Palamas; and with specific reference to such great theologians of our day as Elder Sophrony of Essex and Fr. John Romanides.

Presented in a humble and prayerful manner, this course was comprised of a daily three-and-a-half-hour block of presentations by the Metropolitan in the morning, two-and-a-half hours of student presentations in the afternoon, and tutorials and consultation for individual PhD students in the evenings, sandwiched by the rich services of Matins and Vespers.

The impact of this wondrous theological "symposium" was at once deeply inspiring and, it would not be an exaggeration to say, "life-changing."

Divine Liturgy, L to R: Bishop Thomas, Bishop John, Met. Hierotheos, Met. JosephIt was hard to see how the course offered by Professor Renos Papadopoulos — "The Place of Psychology in Christian Ministry" — could match the sublimeness of His Eminence's. And yet, Dr. Renos's presentations proved to be a masterful analysis and comparison of the respective roles of psychology and the therapeutic character of Orthodox Patristic theology; nowhere else in the world is a course of this kind offered. With reference to his own prodigious experiences as psychoanalyst, family therapist, and consultant to the United Nations on Trauma, Asylum and Refugees, Dr. Renos, with remarkable discretion and integrity, instructed the PhD class in the contribution of psychotherapy to human beings suffering affliction both outside and within the context of the life of the Church. The clarity and incisiveness of his presentations were simply astounding.

Dr. Renos PapadopoulosThe place of philosophy in Orthodox theology and the place of psychology in Christian ministry: these are two of the burning questions of our times. And both of our guest professors, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos and Professor Renos Papadopoulos, who have graciously agreed to be regular members of our AHOS PhD faculty, complemented each other so well that it could not have been a more perfect fit.

Having concluded the first year of the PhD Program on such a high note, one can only wonder in gratitude at what is yet to come.

Established with the blessing and full support of His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, and with the magisterial guidance of the Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Allen, Director of AHOS, the PhD Program in Orthodox Studies is ably led and inspired by the vision of the Very Rev. Dr. Michel Najim, Director of the Antiochian Orthodox Institute (TAOI) and the AHOS PhD program.

Directing the program on site was Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristic Theology and Dogmatics in the PhD program, and Assistant Director of TAOI.

Members of the PhD class in rapt concentration.Special thanks are due to His Grace Bishop Thomas, the episcopal overseer of Antiochian Village, and Bishop of Oakland, Charleston, and the Mid-Atlantic, whose care for our guest professors and PhD students, as also his active interest in the program, was a great encouragement to us all.

To Amy Stiffler, Executive Director of Antiochian Village, and Allison Taylor (Operations Coordinator), we express our heartfelt gratitude. Together with all their staff and colleagues, their diligent work ensured that the 2017 May PhD Residency ran smoothly and pleasantly.

For further information about the AHOS PhD Program, go to The Antiochian Orthodox Institute website or contact us at

Read the report on the popular Greek Orthodox website, Romfea (English translation available).
View the Facebook photo gallery.

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