Welcome to St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church in Wilmington, Delaware!
We are a growing community of over 100 Orthodox Christian families from northern New Castle County and the surrounding area. We come from all over: "cradle" Orthodox, new converts, and recent arrivals from traditional Orthodox countries.
It’s that time of the year when children the world over are completing their “Christmas wish lists.”
With the Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America’s campaign to enlist 300 individuals to help fund and expand the work of the Church’s departments—the third and final week of the campaign begins Monday, December 9—department chairs were asked to submit their “wish lists,” indicating what could be accomplished should sufficient funding become available. [Click the “Become a Steward” link on the homepage to the right to donate on-line.]
Here’s what they wrote.
Donna Karabin, who chairs the Department of Christian Service and Humanitarian Aid, hopes that “Compassion in Action: Parish Ministry Training,” a fully developed collaborative effort between her department and Institutional Chaplaincies with a web site of 27 documents and the blessing of Metropolitan Tikhon, could be piloted. She envisions a partnership of clergy and laity that involves them in ministry at parishioners’ critical life junctures. Training would focus on providing an attentive and caring Orthodox Christian presence for those who suffer physically, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually – and to serve as a catalyst for healing and transformation.
“We need to maintain our current ministries, but we also need to expand our ministries as new needs arise,” said Donna. “A broad and generous response to the Stewards campaign would be one of the most productive ways to build up the Church.”
Donna lists two other departmental wishes—organizing more frequent parish ministries conferences, similar to the four that were held between 2004 and this year, and holding consultations with the OCA’s dioceses to share ministry ideas and programs.
The Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries’ chair, Andrew Boyd, would like to see an expansion of the Saint Peter the Aleut Grant to larger, expansive, charitable outreach aimed at our own youth to assist with the cost of textbooks, clothes for job interviews, and other incidentals that pile up in the young adult years. He also hopes for offering additional support for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America’s youth committee and the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Social media offerings and original, on-line content would be expanded with additional funding, as would rebuilding the tradition of youth pilgrimages to Alaska, Mexico and elsewhere and developing resources to help our youth preach the Gospel in our time and place round out the department’s wish list.
“While there are those who claim that ‘the youth are the future of our Church,’ the fact is that they play a vital role in the Church’s present as well, even as they are trained to lead the OCA well into the 21st century,” said Andrew. “Investing in our youth now is an investment in their—and our—futures!”
The Department of Christian Education, chaired by Matushka Valerie Zahirsky, said that additional funding would help cover expenses for a series of regional workshops featuring guest speakers. Department members would present training workshops “in places we now cannot afford to travel to, such as Alaska and the west coast,” she added. The DCE also hopes to engage a full-time person to oversee and continually update its web site.
Archpriest Ian Pac-Urar, who oversees the Department of Continuing Education, said that “we can do some wonderful things with adequate funding.” Among them would be scholarships for clergy and missions, development of on-line clergy leadership and management training and a “healthy parishes program,” and publication of a clergy field guide—“Things We Didn’t Learn in Seminary.”
“The 16th All-American Council and the Holy Synod of Bishops set continuing education as one of the top-level goals of the 2012 Strategic Plan,” said Father Ian. “Clergy and laypersons alike have called this an idea whose time has come, and our department hopes to continue to provide additional quality courses and seminars for our priests and deacons”—something for which the current OCA budget does not provide.”
Archpriest Theodore Boback, who coordinates Orthodox Military Chaplaincies, would like to provide required and essential liturgical items and supplemental resources to priests entering active military chaplaincy. He also cites the need to provide military and VA chaplains with pamphlets, crosses, icons and other devotional publications and items for distribution to service members and veterans. Other wishes that could become a reality with increased funding include enhancing archpastoral visits to military and VA chaplains, initiating annual recruiting visitations to our seminaries and within our dioceses, funding an annual military and VA chaplaincy conference/retreat, enhancing the OCA military and VA chaplain web site/blog, and developing a DVD highlighting the OCA’s military and VA chaplaincies.
Among the wishes expressed by Prof. David Drillock, chair of the Department of Liturgical Music, are the continuation of the popular “Learning the Tones” tutorial, initiation of a program to incorporate liturgical music and hymnography into Church School curricula, and establishment of additional on-line courses for beginner choir directors.
Priest John Parker, who chairs the Department of Evangelization, would like to see the implementation of a “mission school” for priests serving in new parishes and mission communities. Another item on his department’s “wish list” would be the establishment of a sub-department dedicated to planting and growing African American and Spanish-language ministries while publishing resources and vital texts into other languages. Among the other publications he envisions would be a regular mission and evangelistically minded journal and evangelistic material “in beautiful, ‘entry-level’ sizes and quantities. He also would like to develop a “much-needed ‘Alaskan Spotlight’ to remind our wider OCA of the font of our Native Orthodoxy, help train Native Alaskans and others in how to deal with Protestant and other religious encroachment in Villages, and establish a missionary center related to Old Harbor, Kodiak, and Spruce Island.”
In response to remarks made in a press conference in Balamand, Lebanon on December 5, 2013 by His Beatitude, Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America call upon the faithful to offer prayers for the nuns and orphans abducted from the Monastery of Saint Thekla in Maaloula, Syria December 2.
“Amidst the calamities besetting Syria and the bloodshed afflicting our people and amidst the uncertainty that still surrounds the fate of our metropolitans Boulos and Youhanna in Aleppo, it is with deep pain that the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has received news of the abduction of her daughters, nuns and orphans of the Monastery of Saint Thekla in Maaloula on December 2, 2013 and their being transported to Yabroud,” said Patriarch John. “Because our initial attempts to obtain the release our abducted daughters did not achieve the desired outcome, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East calls upon the international community and all governments to intervene and make efforts to release them safely. She likewise calls upon the conscience of all humanity and upon the spark of living conscience that the Creator, may He be exalted, sowed in the souls of all those who worship God, including the kidnappers, to release our sisters the nuns and the girls of the orphanage.
“Our appeal to the international community: Although we are grateful for all the feelings of solidarity, we no longer need denunciation, condemnations, or ‘feelings of concern’ about the assault on human dignity that is occurring, because all this is engraved in the conscience of every one of us,” Patriarch John continued. “Today, however, we need concrete actions, not words. We do not want voices of condemnation from decision-makers, whether regional or international, but rather efforts, pressure and action leading to the release of those whose only fault was their clinging to their monastery and refusing to leave it.”
The Orthodox Church in America’s Pension Board met at the Chancery here on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Board members approved benefits, responded to communications, and updated investment decisions.
The Orthodox Church in America Pension Plan serves over 300 active participants and more than 125 retirees, widows, and beneficiaries. Participation in the Plan has been mandated for all clergy and is available for all full-time Church workers. Information and resources concerning the Plan are available here.
The Preconciliar Commission [PCC], charged with establishing plans for the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America [AAC], held its first meeting at the Chancery here Tuesday and Wednesday, December 3-4, 2013.
The Council will be held in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015.
Members of the PCC, who are appointed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, include His Grace, Bishop Mark [Episcopal Chair]; Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Treasurer and Council Supervisor; Melanie Ringa, OCA Treasurer; Archpriest Myron Manzuk, Council Manager; Peter Ilchuk, Logistics Manager; Archpriest Alexander Fecanin, Local Clergy Chair; Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Chair of the Department of External Affairs; Carol Deerson, Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA[ representative; Elizabeth Mikhailevsky, Metropolitan Council; and Priest Benjamin Tucci, Youth Events Coordinator.
According to Father Eric, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, attended a number of sessions, during which he directed the PCC to emphasize the spiritual nature of the Council while ensuring that prayer receives a prominent place throughout the Council. He also encouraged a strong participation by the monasteries and the seminaries.
Bishop Mark assisted in defining the Synodal directives for the AAC, which include a youth component.
The PCC has taken up the theme recommended by the Holy Synod—“How to Expand the Mission.” This was the theme that was first proposed by Saint Tikhon of Moscow, then head of the North American Church, at the First All-American Sobor held March 5-7, 1907, in Mayfield, PA. A summary of that historic gathering may be found here.
“In line with the theme, the agenda will be based around the theme of ‘How to…’ offering hands-on training sessions on various topics of a practical nature of Church life,” Father Eric added. “These will involve many different departments and parishes offering their experience and knowledge to the Church.”
The AAC will feature a youth component open to children, teens and young adults. Educational programs, trips to various Atlanta-area sites, and service projects will be offered. The youth also will work on a project on the theme and address AAC delegates during a plenary session.
“For the first time, FOCA will hold its annual convention at the same time and place as the AAC so delegates can participate in both events,” Father Eric noted. “Plans are to include traditional FOCA events, as well as a blending with the theme with a renewed vision for FOCA and its work with and for the Church.”
The PCC is exploring the possibility of holding an afternoon series of volunteer service projects in the local community, in which delegates will be invited to participate. It is hoped that such projects will leave a lasting impact on the broader community. PCC members see these as ways by which delegates can put their faith into action while witnessing to Orthodox Christianity.
The PCC is expecting to implement electronic registration, operation and voting before and during the AAC. All reports will be available for downloading on-line well in advance of the AAC’s opening.
“In addition to the theme, the two major initiatives for the AAC will be the OCA Statute and finance reform,” said Father Eric. “A team of Metropolitan Council members, in conjunction with Melanie Ringa and all diocesan chancellors and treasurers, have been working on a new plan for financing the Church in line with directives that emerged at the 16th AAC in Seattle, WA. In addition, a Statute Commission, chaired by His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, has been appointed by the Holy Synod. Composed of clergy, laypersons, and canon and civil lawyers, the Commission will begin its work early in 2014.
“As part of this finance and Statute reform, the PCC is planning a series of diocesan and local town hall meetings in 2015 so that all the material on the new Statutes and financing can be discussed at the local and diocesan level with plenty of time for recommendations to be brought back to the Commission,” added Father Eric. “The final drafts will be ready for review and voting at the 18th AAC in an interactive and conciliar process.”
Monday, December 2, 2013 marks the beginning of the second week of a three-week appeal to enlist 300 Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America.
The centerpiece of the campaign, which was initiated on Monday, November 25 and runs through December 13—the Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska—is the new stewardship page which may be accessed at oca.org/become-a-steward. On-line gifts may be made on the site, as well as by clicking the appropriate button on the OCA home page.
“While income from parish assessments covers the OCA’s administrative and institutional expenses, little is left to fund the work of the Church’s departments and offices,” said Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor. “‘Stewards of the OCA’ aims to provide funding to support—and expand—the departments’ ministries, from Christian Education to Chaplaincies and Lay Ministries. And with ever-increasing requests for up-to-date resources and other materials from our dioceses, deaneries, and parishes, the Stewards hope to ‘bridge a gap’ by ensuring that sufficient funds are available.”
In his “Chancellor’s Diary” entries, Father John has been focusing on a different OCA ministry each. He also added that a list of Stewards will be posted at the close of the campaign.
The outstanding acoustics and resplendent interior of St. Jean Baptiste Church in New York City provided a fitting venue for “Magnificat: Hymns to the Mother of God from the East and West,” a concert of sacred music presented by the Male Choir from Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, directed by Hierodeacon Herman [Majkrzak], and the Schola from Saint Joseph’s Seminary [Dunwoodie] of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, led by Dr. Jennifer Pascual.
The choirs, representing their respective church traditions, received two standing ovations from more than 400 concert-goers at the conclusion of their performance on Monday evening, November 25, 2013.
“Tonight, we are carried through a liturgical year as we hear hymns to the Mother of God from East and West,” said Saint Vladimir’s Chancellor/CEO, Archpriest Dr. Chad Hatfield in his homily. “With perfect harmony we experience the magnificent song of praise from Luke’s Gospel that is ‘Magnificat’!”
Musical selections from the Orthodox Christian tradition illustrated the Church’s feasts dedicated to the Theotokos and included a stunning original arrangement for the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple, composed by Hierodeacon Herman, with featured soloist Gregory Abdalah (‘08 alumnus). Saint Joseph’s Schola presented time-honored hymns to the Virgin Mary taken from ancient Latin chant and from the classical period up until modern times, such as, O Sanctissima, by Beethoven (1770–1827). The choirs joined in a few pieces to conclude the concert, ending with the sublime Ave Maria by Biebl, with Saint Vladimir’s seminarians Gregory Tucker, Brad Vien, and Ian Abodeely singing triadic portions of the piece.
Noted Father Chad, “This sort of joint venture has never been done between an Orthodox and Roman Catholic Seminary before, and it heralds the renewal of our mutually beneficial relationship with Saint Joseph’s.”
The Rector of Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Rev. Msgr. Peter Vaccari, added, “This evening reflects our vibrant, living traditions and represents the most recent phase of what has been a growing tradition of collaboration and communication in prayer, the promotion of a culture of scholarship, and our mutual recognition of the place of beauty in artistic expression.”
Other distinguished guests offering greetings at the concert’s conclusion were the Rev. John A. Kamas, S.S.S., Rector of St. Jean Baptiste Church; His Eminence, Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and a member of Saint Vladimir’s episcopal Board of Trustees; and Bishop Gerald Walsh, Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Trustees, faculty, and staff from both institutions enjoyed a reception prior to the concert.
On Monday, November 25, 2013, a three-week campaign to enlist 300 Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America was initiated.
The centerpiece of the campaign, which runs through December 13—the Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska—is the new stewardship page which may be accessed at oca.org/become-a-steward. On-line gifts may be made on the site, as well as by clicking the appropriate button on the OCA home page at oca.org.
“For many years, the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards brought together hundreds of individuals whose gifts helped to fund the OCA’s various departments and ministries,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “The current initiative in part seeks to restore a sense of voluntary stewardship in providing funding for the continuation and expansion of these same departments and ministries.”
“220 years ago, Saint Herman and the first missionaries began their journey to plant the seeds of Orthodox Christianity in Alaska and North America,” said His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon. “Today, each of us has many competing demands on our generosity, but as the heirs of Saint Herman, we are still called to plant the Orthodox Church firmly in North America. I encourage all of you to pray about this task and to consider including your name among the Stewards of the OCA.”
According to Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor, the effort to establish the Stewards of the OCA began in earnest in February 2013 with the formation of a committee which in part was tasked with developing the web page.
“In recent years, the OCA’s departments and ministries have been underfunded, while assessments only provide for the Church’s administrative needs,” said Father John. “While not everyone will want to or be able to join, and while some may have mixed feelings—especially since there are lots of other vital parish, diocesan, inter-Orthodox, charitable and humanitarian causes that need support—we hope that those who share a common vision of what the Orthodox Church can be in serving the people of North America will step forward during the next three weeks.”
On the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of the Holodomor—the man-made, Stalin-era famine in Ukraine and adjacent Cossack territories in 1932 and 1933, during which millions died of starvation—His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon sent a letter to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine, expressing “heartfelt solidarity” with the Ukrainian people.
“The 80th Anniversary of the man-made famine in Ukraine, called Holodomor, which took millions of lives, is a tragic and painful anniversary,” Metropolitan Tikhon wrote. “On behalf of the Orthodox Church in America I convey to Your Beatitude and to the people of Ukraine our heartfelt solidarity. The cruelty and inhumanity of Holodomor have left deep wounds in Ukrainian society and in Ukrainian memory. Yet the Ukrainian people are not alone in their commemoration of the Holodomor. All those who treasure and honor the image and likeness of God in every man and woman join you and the whole nation of Ukraine in the sorrowful commemoration of the Holodomor.
“The 20th century gives many examples of disregard for the value of every human life,” he continued. “Tragically, idolatrous ideologies of the 20th century were born in the context of European Christian civilization. Communist and Nazi ideologies sacrificed millions of lives on the altars of false gods.
“This means that anniversaries of terror and genocide are not only occasions for grief and solidarity,” Metropolitan Tikhon concluded. “They are also occasions for repentance and commitment to the renewal of Christian values and Christian faith as the foundation of society.”
St. Michael's is located at 2300 West Huntington Drive in suburban Wilmington, Delaware. This is on the corner of Kirkwood Highway (Route 2) and West Huntington Drive in the Pinecrest development, between the intersections of Milltown Road and St. James Church Road. The largest major intersection due east on Kirkwood Highway is Limestone Road (Route 7).