Archive for September, 2007

The Plight of Christians in Iraq

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

On Sunday, October 21, 2007, Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim, Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Detroit, will speak at a special event being held in Chicago.  The event will include a presentation by Bishop Ibrahim, a banquet of Iraqi foods and a marketplace of crafts and other religious items for sale.  It will take place at The Nativity of the Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, 8530 West 131st Street, Palos Park, IL from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.  This is a fund raising event and tickets must be purchased in advance — $25.00 per person or $50.00 per family. 

All proceeds will benefit a Catholic hospital in Baghdad and produce catechetical materials so that Christian families can teach the faith to their children at home since going to church and attending liturgy can be life threatening.

For reservations and further information, call 630-479-6125 or email:

There is also a website of further information:

Go and learn what you won’t hear on the evening news about the the plight of Christians in war-torn Iraq.

SSJC to Meet in Boston

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

I am pleased to announce that an organizational and planning meeting for the Society of St. John Chrysostom will meet on Saturday, October 6, 2007, beginning at 10:00 am at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church at 38 Elton Avenue, Watertown, MA. The meeting will begin with an ecumenical prayer service to the Holy Spirit, and then move across the street to the Hellenic Cultural Center.

We will have video highlights from OLTVweb of Pope Benedict’s historic visit to Constantinople last November, with commentary, and a discussion about holding an Orientale Lumen Conference in Boston next year. I will also show highlights of past OL conferences for everyone to get a sense of what happens at them. The meeting will include lunch and conclude with the Akathist Prayer Service to the Mother of God.

ALL are invited to attend — clergy and lay persons — Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholics and Oriental Orthodox. With the recent pilgrimage of Catholics and Orthodox led by Cardinal O’Malley and Metropolitan Methodius, and the possibility of Pope Benedict visiting Boston next April, it seems fitting to organize a new chapter of the Society in Boston and possibly hold an OL Conference to coincide with the pope’s visit.

Please download the PDF flier about the meeting, and pass the word among your friends and colleagues — anyone interested in the unity of the Church of Christ — and join us in Boston on October 6.

A Little Bit of “Old Country” in Virginia

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh decades ago, we referred to Europe as the “old country” where my grandparents came from, and whose food specialities included pirohi (pierogis for some), halupki, kolbasi, halushki, etc. We always had these foods at family gatherings, weddings & funerals, church events, and of course, regular family meals intermixed with modern American food.

At my parish here in Annandale, Virginia — Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church — we try to keep these traditions at least once a year for ourselves and others in the neighborhood, namely the Washington Metropolitan area. We host an annual Slavic-American Festival on the Sunday after Labor Day and a few thousand people show up. We have all the ethnic foods, as well as a beer truck on the grounds (to keep the supply going!), bingo all day long, rides for the kids, and even a LIVE polka band that we import from Pennsylvania — which has become the “old country” for us!

Having to feed so many, we try to make as much of the food as we can ourselves with many working sessions beforehand. But alas, we have to import the several thousand pirohi that we need from a parish in Pennsylvania that is happy to make the money. Sorry Mrs. T’s!

Finally, we also import the source of my specialty, the freshly made batter for homemade potato pancakes! Every year I drive up to Kingston, PA (outside of Wilkes-Bare) and pick up the batter from Mr. P’s Potato Pancake shop. He has trucks and grilles that travel all around NE Pennsylvania for various festivals, but Virginia is too far for him to come.

I run the potato pancake stand every year now, after the previous chairman had to retire due to health and age. He has “blessed” my running of his operation, and this past weekend my crew made about 2400 pancakes from 12 buckets of batter. We ran out of batter about 5:30 pm having started cooking non-stop at 10:00 am!

At least a dozen or so folks stopped by and said “I come to this festival just for your potato pancakes” and so another successful year has past, and a small contribution has been made to our church building fund.

If you will be in the Washington DC area, in early September next year, please stop by the festival.  I think you will enjoy the food, festivities and fellowship — and terrific potato pancakes.

Ecumenical Meeting on the Environment

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, hosted a unique ecumenical symposium and prayer service this past week in Greenland, calling attention to the fragile planet on which we live. He and religious leaders from around the world gathered on a ship off the coast of Greenland near a large glacier that seems to be melting faster in recent years than experts expected.

Not only has His All Holiness brought attention this specific issue, but for ten years he has held other such conferences on the Black Sea, the Adriatic Sea, and in the Amazon rain forest. He connects our necessary concern for the environment with our responsibility as Christians to properly manage the resources of creation entrusted to us by God.

More details about this meeting and other aspects of programs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the arena of environmental issues can be found on the patriarchate’s website:

Let us all hope that it is not too late.

New Books on the Twelve Feasts of the Church

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Eastern Christian Publications announces a new two-book catechesis for families entitled The Twelve Great Feasts: A Handbook for the Domestic Church.

Part 1 is a Handbook of more than 100 pages of instructional information about the 12 major feasts of the liturgical year. Part 2 is a Toolkit of over 100 pages of activities and exercises in a workbook format for a family to use in conjunction with the Handbook. The following is my Publishers Preface for this new book:

“For many years, I have felt that we Eastern Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, should provide more educational material for families. The family is truly the foundation of our Christian faith, and is the place where all aspects of a young person’s life are formed. The family is the smallest element of the Church and of society.

“I remember growing up in a loving family with two younger sisters, and parents who nurtured us in many ways. My mom would feed us a good breakfast every morning before school; she would be there when we returned home in the afternoon; we always had a lively discussion as a complete family around the dinner table; we often gathered on the basement steps for “family meetings”; there was always a special time for prayer as a group; we sat together in church on Sundays at the Divine Liturgy (except when I was serving at the altar). Much of who I am today comes from that environment, and I wish that more resources had been available to us back then with an Eastern perspective. We did the best we could with what we had.

“With this Handbook for the Domestic Church, Eastern Christian Publications is proud to begin to offer a series of resources – printed, multi-media, electronic – that will help parents raise their children in a loving, Eastern Christian home environment. We also believe much of the content of this material can be utilized by any family, Eastern or Western, Catholic or Orthodox or Protestant. This two book program – handbook and toolkit – is the first in a series of educational programs for the Domestic Church, the Family.

“They will join other material we have already produced – prayer booklets for children, coloring books of icons, etc. – and become a product line labeled Domestic Church Resources. We are very excited about this new focus, and we sincerely thank Daniel G. Dozier for suggesting it to us. We pray that all of these, and many other ideas for future material that we have planned, will provide the resources for families to grow together with a solid foundation in their faith.

“May God bless and grant many years in health and happiness to everyone who uses this material, and may their faith in Jesus Christ, Our Savior, be strengthened by it.”

The two books can be ordered on our website,, or by calling 703-691-8862. They are $20.00 each, printed in full color, and tape bound for ease-of-use.