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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.   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

Sunday, 23 Jul 2017

Ezekiel the Prophet
The Prophet Ezekiel ("God is strong") was the son of Buzi and a priest by rank. He was taken captive and brought to Babylon during the reign of Jechonias. In the fifth year of this captivity, about 594 or 593 B.C., he began to prophesy. Having prophesied for about twenty-eight years, he was murdered, it is said, by the tribe of Gad, because he reproached them for their idolatry. His book of prophecy, divided into forty-eight chapters, is ranked third among the greater Prophets. It is richly filled with mystical imagery and marvelous prophetic visions and allegories, of which the dread Chariot of Cherubim described in the first Chapter is the most famous; in the "gate that was shut," through which the Lord alone entered, he darkly foretold of the Word's Incarnation from the Virgin (44:1-3); through the "dry bones" that came to life again (37:1-14), he prophesied both of the restoration of captive Israel, and the general resurrection of our race. Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.


Monday, 24 Jul 2017

Christina the Great Martyr of Tyre
Saint Christina was from Tyre in Syria, the daughter of a pagan named Urban. Enlightened in her heart to believe in Christ, she broke her father's idols, made of gold and silver, and distributed the pieces to the poor. When her father learned this, he punished her ruthlessly, then cast her into prison. The rulers subjected her to imprisonments, hunger, torments, the cutting off of her breasts and tongue, and finally impalement, in the year 200, during the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus. Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.

Boris and Gleb, the Passion-bearers
The holy Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb, named Romanus and David in sacred Baptism, were the pious sons of the holy Great Prince Vladimir. In 1015 they were slain at the command of their brother Svyatopolk-Saint Boris, on July 24 on the Alta River, near Pereyaslavl, and Saint Gleb, on September 5 on the bank of the Smyadinya River, near Smolensk. Although both had understood their brother's designs against them, they refused to take up arms against him and bring civil war upon their land, preferring to fulfill the commandment, "Resist not evil" (Matt. 5:39). The holy relics of Saint Boris were then buried in Vyshgorod, to which the holy relics of his brother were transferred five years later. Miracles were worked through the holy relics of the meek and guileless brothers during the consecration in Vyshgorod of a church in their honor on this day in 1021. Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.



 

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