The Paschal Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon

Source: OCA

To the Venerable Pastors, God-loving Monastics and Devout Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America

“We celebrate the death of death and the overthrow of hell, the beginning of another life which is eternal; and in exultation, we sing the praises of its source.  He alone is blessed and most glorious, the God of our Fathers.”

(Paschal Canon, Ode 7)

Dearly Beloved in the Lord:

The central mystery of the Christian Faith is the glorious Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, through which mankind is offered the gift of another life, which is eternal. This miracle of divine and everlasting life was wrought for us in a most remarkable way, for our Lord accomplished it by voluntarily suffering His Passion, being nailed to the Cross and descending into the tomb and into hell.


To the world, suffering is understood as something to be avoided at all costs.  The Cross is perceived as foolishness, while the reality of death is ignored as often as possible. But Christ takes the very things the world fears and uses them, not only to reveal His glory and His power, but to share that power and glory with us. He voluntarily endures suffering to free us from our suffering.  He ascends the Cross to bring joy to a world that is so often shrouded in war, destruction and hatred.  And He willingly endures death so that He might trample it down and reveal that, in the risen Lord, it has no power over us.

Throughout our beautiful Paschal services, we sing of the great paradox of eternal life, revealed and accomplished through death: of mortality, clothed in the robe of immortality; of the Sun of Righteousness shining forth from the tomb; of death being trampled down by death. Christ, Who is Life itself, dies for us, so that we who are dead might live. We no longer fear those things that the world fears, for they no longer have power over us. As Saint John Chrysostom reminds us in his magnificent Paschal homily, “Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He who was prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into hell, He made hell captive.”

Let us, therefore, rejoice in the Risen Lord and be strengthened to face our own struggles with courage and hope, knowing that the Lord is ever with us. As we celebrate the bright and joyous day of His Resurrection, let us exclaim with the Apostle Paul, “O death, where is thy sting? O hell, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).  And let us all partake of the Banquet of Immortality, the Feast of Faith, with joy and thanksgiving.

With love in the Risen Lord,

Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

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An appeal to President Obama…

… and his government for the release of two Orthodox Christian Archbishops, namely Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim who were abducted by armed rebels on April 23, 2013 in the suburbs of Aleppo, Syria.  The driver of the Archbishops was murdered and the Archbishops were forced by the rebels to go to an unknown location either in Syria or in Turkey.

We appeal to you beloved in Christ and peace loving people to sign this petition urgently asking the American administration to use all its influence for the release of these two Archbishops and to bring a peaceful settlement to this bloodletting Syrian conflict through a negotiated settlement.

When I signed the petition a few minutes ago, it had only 1,600 of the 100,000 signatures needed to get the White House to act. So please sign the petition, post it on Facebook and Twitter and ask your friends to sign.

Attached as well is a letter from Patriarch JOHN X of Antioch regarding the situation in Syria and the Palm Sunday Procession.   His Beatitude requested all the parishes of the Patriarchate of Antioch to do the following: “Let our processions be this year with candles tied with black ribbons, chanting the hymn: ‘To Thee O Champion Leader….’ Instead of the Hymn ‘Rejoice O Bethany…’ asking the Virgin Mary to keep our Church as a fortified city.”  Please read the full attached letter.

Patriarchal Address for Palm Sunday Part 1 Patriarchal Address for Palm Sunday Part 2

You can find this same letter in many languages, including Arabic, on Facebook:

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

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Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry

Source (ACOB)
Saturday, April 27, 2013

Download the Letter in PDF format

The Honorable John Kerry
United States Secretary of State

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We, the Members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, kindly bring to your attention the urgent and very serious plight of the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Paul Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim, who were abducted this past week by “a terrorist group” in the village of Kfar Dael as they were carrying out humanitarian work. Continue reading

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Mirror of Justice: I . . . and she . . . and they . . . told you so


Source: Mirror of Justice.
by Robert George

Masha Gessen is a talented writer. Her widely praised (and sharply critical) biography of Vladimir Putin is only the most recent of her books across a range of subjects from Russian history, to mathematics, to the social implications of modern genetics.  On top of her exertions as an author, she has served as Director of the Russian service of the U.S. government funded Radio Liberty.  She is a self-identified lesbian and a leading activist in the U.S. and Russia.  (She holds citizenship in both countries.) Although she is anything but a fringe figure within the movement, she is notable for her candor in discussing its beliefs and goals. At last year’s meeting of the Sydney Writers Festival (audio here: ) she spoke plainly:

It’s a no-brainer that (homosexuals) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. . . . Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.

The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago.

I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally. . . . I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three. . . . And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.

Just imagine the uproar had, say, Rick Santorum said “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what [they] are going to do with marriage when [they] get there — because [they] lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.”  But, of course, you don’t have to take it from Rick Santorum or other defenders of marriage as a conjugal union. Masha Gessen will tell you the same thing.

Although Gessen’s willingness to put the matter in terms of “lying” is startlingly frank, it is no longer uncommon for advocates of redefining marriage to acknowledge that the effect—for them an entirely desirable effect—of redefinition will be the radical transformation of the institution. The objective is not merely to expand the pool of people eligible to participate in it, as was long claimed. In conceding (and celebrating the fact) that redefining marriage will fundamentally alter the institution, transform its social role and meaning, and undermine its structuring norms of monogamy, exclusivity, etc., Gessen is far from out of step with other leading figures in the movement. She joins influential NYU sociologist Judith Stacey, Arizona State University professor Elizabeth Brake, “It Gets Better” founder Dan Savage, writer Victoria Brownworth, journalist E.J. Graff, activist Michelangelo Signorile, and countless other important scholars and activists.

Moreover, there seem to be very few prominent scholars and activists in the movement to redefine marriage who are criticizing Masha Gessen, Judith Stacey, Elizabeth Brake, and the others, and speaking out for the norms of monogamy and fidelity and other traditional marital and familial ideals. Many are quiet, but few actually deny that the abandonment of the conjugal understanding of marriage will have the transformative institutional and social effects that Gessen, Stacey, Brake and the others (approvingly) say it will have.

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Is Europe dying?



By Nikos Chrysoloras

Until 2007, the Europeans were able to enjoy an enviable standard of living for two reasons: The first was the existence of a political consensus, the first in history, for the redistribution of produced wealth via social programs; the second was that enough wealth was produced to sustain this model. We may disagree as to whether the former still holds. But as far as the latter is concerned, there are strong signs that it will soon disappear. In other words, the stagnation of Europe’s economies over the past two years, at a much lower level compared to the years before the crisis, may not be a coincidence.

Let’s take a look at the factors that have historically contributed to the economic well-being of nations and empires: a rising birthrate, access to natural resources, education, technological progress and military power. The last has usually, but not always, directly relied on the others. Which of these conditions are in place today? Europe’s access to natural resources is limited. Whereas the US has fully exploited the shale gas revolution in a bid to strengthen its energy independence – thereby changing the geopolitical equilibrium – Europe is in terms of energy still largely dependent on Russia. In terms of defense, things are even worse as Europe has neither the ability nor the ambition to project its power on a global scale and is fully dependent on Washington. More worrying, if the current demographic trend continues, then in just a few decades almost a third of Europeans will be over 65.

Furthermore, according to the World Bank’s recent Golden Growth report, Europe is a laggard in terms of R&D even compared to states like India. “What has been more perplexing is Europe’s generally poor performance in the most technology-intensive sectors – the Internet, biotechnology, computer software, healthcare equipment, and semiconductors,” the report says.

The same report emphasizes that European productivity is on the wane. Meanwhile, the global ranking of European universities is getting worse compared to those in the US as well as in Asia. OECD studies on schoolchildren’s performance in reading, math and the natural sciences show students in most European countries lagging behind those in Korea, Japan, Canada and elsewhere.

Because of policy mistakes in dealing with the crisis, confidence has been tarnished in Europe’s financial system, the safety of transactions and the abilities of its economies. Unless the trends are reversed, our continent – whose geopolitical role is in decline – will be further downgraded economically. Soon it will resemble little more than a romantic tourism destination for the people of emerging economies who will visit us to admire the great monuments of our glorious past and observe the senile inhabitants of our tiny states (smaller than some Beijing districts) scuffling, wanting to break up into even smaller statelets. It’s a dark forest that we can’t see.

Turning away from the facts, eurozone leaders are appointing second-rate politicians to the senior posts of European institutions in order to cling on to their powers. They are cultivating the impression that dealing with the crisis means having the virtuous North rescuing the South, as if the former has not benefited by the single currency, as if it would escape unscathed from a breakup of the common market. North and South are both conjuring up imaginary enemies, engaging in moralizing and doing everything they can to awaken ghosts of the past. Soon it will be too late to change the game.

Tuesday April 9, 2013

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St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary: Conference on Poverty


Source: St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.

SUMMER May 31-June 1, 2013: Conference on Poverty


“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for life!”Jay RichardsJay Richards

What can Orthodox Christians do to re–think how we respond to the issues of poverty, and how will we contribute positive solutions to address the needs of the poor? This conference is a collaborative effort with the Acton Institute, and is offered as a tribute to Dn. John Zarras, a 2006 SVOTS graduate who earned his M.Div. degree over a period of several years as a late–vocations student. Deacon John also served as a member of the Board of Trustees and the president of the St. Vladimir’s Seminary Foundation.

Fr. Chad HatfieldFr. Chad HatfieldAdditional participants will be Jay Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, andSusan R. Holman, adjunct lecturer at Episcopal Divinity School and senior writer at Harvard Global Health Institute.Susan B. HolmanSusan B. Holman

REGISTER ONLINE TODAY!! $50 registration fee is WAIVED until May 15!
  • Registration and Workshop—$50  
  • Room & Board—$70
  • Total—$120.00 

On–Campus Accommodations

On-campus housing is in non-smoking, non-air conditioned, dormitory rooms with shared bathrooms. Because there are a limited number of single rooms, they will be given to the first registrants. Staying on-campus includes meals at the refectory, which are catered, without individual meal options. The seminary staff will provide sheets and towels. Please bring your own personal items (such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and small fans.) Wireless access to the Internet for personal laptops will be available in the Library when the Reading Room is open, but wireless access in dormitory rooms cannot be guaranteed.

For questions about this event, please contact Tanya Penkrat, Special Events Coordinator, at, or 914.961.8313, x351 

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Report: Mass Murder of Christians in Syria


Source: Acton PowerBlog.

In his interview to the MEDIA, a Hierarch of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Bishop Luke of Seidnaya, has disclosed the scale of persecutions suffered by Orthodox Christians of this region since the very beginning of the uprising against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, reports

By now, 138,000 Christians have been banished from their homes and at the same time Christian Churches are systematically destroyed. “They are killing people. A human life is of no value for them,” in such words Bishop Luke is describing the situation in the country.

Thus, in the city of Homs, anti-government forces have committed mass murder of Christians. Hundreds of people have been killed. Dozens of cases of sexual assault have also been recorded.

“The damage done to our Churches is great. They are burned, plundered, their walls are broken. If a human life is of no value for these criminals then will they spare our shrines? Our parishioners are beaten up and attacked. All this is obtaining “legal status” because revolution is happening and nobody is protesting against it,” notes the Orthodox Hierarch.

“Our ancestors settled in this land long before Islam appeared here. A great number of saints, who preached love, were martyred in this land,” notes the Very Reverend Bishop Luke who, in spite of all horrors described above, continues to call Muslims “brothers”. And how can it be otherwise, since Orthodoxy rejects hatred for other religious convictions?

Unfortunately, Orthodox Christians in Syria are now abandoned to their fate. They are becoming vulnerable victims of Muslim fanatics. And the only way they can oppose violence in this situation is prayer and hope in help of God, Who does not abandon those who trust in Him.

Damascus, March 29, 2013

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