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The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
Acts 11:25

Paul, Barnabas, and Peter helped found the Church in Antioch, and thus the Antiochian Orthodox Church dates its existence to the time of the apostles.  Antioch was an ancient city located near the present border between Turkey and Syria, and it is speculated that the city hosted more than 100,000 citizens near the time of Christ’s birth.  The outcome of an "incident at Antioch" was also critical to the development of Christianity.  Galatians 2:11-13 describes that important event, which was a debate concerning whether gentiles could convert without adhering to Mosaic laws (e.g., diet, circumcision).   A delightful homage to Paul and Peter, and our link to Antioch, is now on display in our new Church as a beautiful stained-glass. Indeed, there are numerous precious panes exhibited throughout the new Church, which were graciously bequeathed to us for safe-keeping by members of Saint Matthias Parish, with the benefactor often highlighted at the base of the glass.   The glass is invaluable, and many panes date back to the 1950s and prior.

The principal tenets of Orthodox philosophy are described in the famed Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed: "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; And ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets; And I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.  I look for the Resurrection of the dead, And the Life of the age to come. Amen."  Our Church service ("Liturgy") celebrates the joy in the Resurrection of Christ.  



President Shimon Peres (Israel) & Patriarch Bartholomew I

The Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis & Patriarch Bartholomew I

"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."
Hillel the Elder (preeminent Jewish Scholar)

Historically, considerable tension existed between these faiths owing partly to geopolitics (Roman-Jewish conflict in the Levant), human shortcomings (e.g., greed), and naivety.   Unfortunately, throughout history countless canonical Jews suffered considerable persecution as a result, which in addition to being a terrible tragedy is rather paradoxical.  It is important to emphasize that Jesus, his family (e.g., Mary and James), and the bulk of the apostles: were Jewish.  They were circumcised, celebrated Passover, went to Synagogue-like gatherings, and visited the 2nd Temple constructed by Herod, etc.  In other words, those principally responsible for propagating Jesus’ teachings were Jews (e.g., Peter and Paul).   Matthew 5:17-20 conveys Jesus' remarks concerning the importance of his Jewish heritage, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the [Mosaic] Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.  Anyone who ... practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven."  The Christian Bible consists of both the Old and New Testaments, the former being tied to the Jewish Tanakh (which includes the Torah, e.g., Genesis).  The divergence between the faiths is largely attributed to the interpretation of Jesus' status post-crucifixion, the relationship between God and Jesus (i.e., the Holy Trinity), and his role as the Messiah.  Yet in the 21st century,  there is a concerted effort to emphasize the significant commonalities that unite the religions, and attribute the differences to a rich pluralistic society. 

Listen to Khouriyee Rita Saikali chant Moses the great Mystically

Archbishop of Canterbury (Anglican), Patriarch Bartholomew I (Orthodox), Pope Benedict XVI (Catholic), & Rabbi David Rosen (Judaism).
Archbishop of Canterbury (Anglican), Patriarch Bartholomew I (Orthodox), Pope Benedict XVI (Catholic), & Rabbi David Rosen (Judaism).
Archbishop of Canterbury (Anglican), Patriarch Bartholomew I (Orthodox), Pope Benedict XVI (Catholic), & Rabbi David Rosen (Judaism).
Bishop Dawani & Bishop Schori (Anglican), & the Patriarch of Jerusalem (Orthodox).
Bishop Dawani & Bishop Schori (Anglican), & the Patriarch of Jerusalem (Orthodox).
Bishop Dawani & Bishop Schori (Anglican), & the Patriarch of Jerusalem (Orthodox).

The source(s) of division between Catholic and Orthodox Christians were partly tied to geopolitics and the shifting balance of power between the West (Rome) and East (Constantinople, modern day Istanbul), and disagreements pertaining to the potential primacy of the Bishop of Rome (i.e., the Pope, Catholic).  In other words, is the Bishop of Rome primus inter pares (latin: first among equals).  There exists considerable literature on the topic of the Catholic/Orthodox split, and the numerous factors that led to the separation.  Yet, recent bold overtures by the Pope and his Orthodox counterparts to transcend those differences have fostered considerable joy.  Indeed, a reflection of that effort is apparent in the close bonds that have emerged between St. Antonios and Maronites in Halifax (part of the broader Catholic Church).

Fr. Maximos Saikali (St. Antonios, Orthodox), Honorary Consul Wadih Fares (Lady of Lebanon), Archbishop Anthony Mancini (Catholic), Fr. Pierre Azzi (Our Lady of Lebanon, Maronite).
Fr. Maximos Saikali (St. Antonios, Orthodox), Honorary Consul Wadih Fares (Lady of Lebanon), Archbishop Anthony Mancini (Catholic), Fr. Pierre Azzi (Our Lady of Lebanon, Maronite).
Fr. Maximos Saikali (St. Antonios, Orthodox), Honorary Consul Wadih Fares (Lady of Lebanon), Archbishop Anthony Mancini (Catholic), Fr. Pierre Azzi (Our Lady of Lebanon, Maronite).
A recent joyous visit by Maronite dignitaries to the new Saint Antonios Church.
A recent joyous visit by Maronite dignitaries to the new Saint Antonios Church.
A recent joyous visit by Maronite dignitaries to the new Saint Antonios Church.

 Maronites are Christians who were inspired by the teachings of Saint Maroun.  Their Church also began in Antioch, and Maroun's followers subsequently moved to Lebanon.  In 1979, Fr. Kheirallah Aoukar was instructed by the Vatican to establish a Maronite Church in Halifax (Our Lady of Lebanon).    In 2006, Fr. Pierre Azzi came to shepherd Our Lady of Lebanon. There are numerous mixed marriages featuring individuals of both faiths (e.g., Veronica & Louie Lawen, Chantal & Michael Haddad, etc.).  Those bonds convey how separate denominations can prosper as one, and set an example for the broader Orthodox-Catholic establishment to follow.

Fr. Maximos Saikali, and the family of Veronica & Louie Lawen (Our Lady of Lebanon / Saint Antonios).
Fr. Maximos Saikali, and the family of Veronica & Louie Lawen (Our Lady of Lebanon / Saint Antonios).
Fr. Maximos Saikali, and the family of Veronica & Louie Lawen (Our Lady of Lebanon / Saint Antonios).
Mony Haddad, the child of Chantal & Michael Haddad (Saint Antonios / Our Lady of Lebanon).
Mony Haddad, the child of Chantal & Michael Haddad (Saint Antonios / Our Lady of Lebanon).
Mony Haddad, the child of Chantal & Michael Haddad (Saint Antonios / Our Lady of Lebanon).
Maronite Priest Fr. Kheirallah Aoukar with the former Pope.
Maronite Priest Fr. Kheirallah Aoukar with the former Pope.
Maronite Priest Fr. Kheirallah Aoukar with the former Pope.

 


Antiochian Archdiocese


Celebrating the Saints

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Upcoming Feast Days

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Third Finding of the Precious Head of St. John the Baptist
Because of the vicissitudes of time, the venerable head of the holy Forerunner was lost for a third time and rediscovered in Comana of Cappadocia through a revelation to 'a certain priest, but it was found not, as before, in a clay jar, but in a silver vessel, and "in a sacred place." It was taken from Comana to Constantinople and was met with great solemnity by the Emperor, the Patriarch, and the clergy and people. See also February 24. Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

6th Thursday after Pascha/Ascension
The Lord Jesus passed forty days on earth after His Resurrection from the dead, appearing continually in various places to His disciples, with whom He also spoke, ate, and drank, thereby further demonstrating His Resurrection. On this Thursday, the fortieth day after Pascha, He appeared again in Jerusalem. After He had first spoken to the disciples about many things, He gave them His last commandment, that is, that they go forth and proclaim His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. But He also commanded them that for the present, they were not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait there together until they receive power from on high, when the Holy Spirit would come upon them. Saying these things, He led them to the Mount of Olives, and raising His hands, He blessed them; and saying again the words of the Father's blessing, He was parted from them and taken up. Immediately a cloud of light, a proof of His majesty, received Him. Sitting thereon as though on a royal chariot, He was taken up into Heaven, and after a short time was concealed from the sight of the disciples, who remained where they were with their eyes fixed on Him. At this point, two Angels in the form of men in white raiment appeared to them and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven" (Acts 1:11). These words, in a complete and concise manner, declare what is taught in the Symbol of Faith concerning the Son and Word of God. Therefore, having so fulfilled all His dispensation for us, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended in glory into Heaven, and sat at the right hand of God the Father. As for His sacred disciples, they returned from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, rejoicing because Christ had promised to send them the Holy Spirit. It should be noted that the Mount of Olives is a Sabbath's day journey from Jerusalem, that is, the distance a Jew was permitted to walk on the day of the Sabbath. Ecumenius writes, "A Sabbath day's journey is one mile in length, as Clement says in his fifth Stromatis; it is two thousand cubits, as the Interpretation of the Acts states." They draw this conclusion from the fact that, while they were in the wilderness, the Israelites of old kept within this distance from the Holy Tabernacle, whither they walked on the Sabbath day to worship God.Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.


Saturday, 27 May 2017

John the Russian of Evia
The Holy New Confessor John, a native of Russia, was captured during the Russian campaign against the Turks in 1711 and was thereafter sold into slavery in Asia Minor. In this condition he struggled to serve God in piety even while he served his earthly master in all that was needful. He remained steadfast in the Christian Faith in the face of the many enticements the Moslems provided to lure him to their error, and was granted the grace to work miracles by his prayers. He reposed in peace in 1730. His relics remained incorrupt and are found at New Procopion of Euboia in Greece. Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.



 

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