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.
The convention will be hosted by the FOCA’s Cleveland ‘R’ Club of Archangel Michael Church, Broadview Heights, OH. One need not be a member of the FOCA to attend.
In addition to participating in plenary sessions, discussions, and liturgical services, attendees will enjoy a variety of relaxing fellowship activities, including a golf tournament, a theater performance, and the traditional banquet and ball. Ample time also is available to explore the many exciting venues that Cleveland has to offer.
Established in 1927 as the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs to unite Orthodox Christians in faith, fellowship and service, the FOCA petitioned the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America to be officially recognized by the OCA. At its 1998 national convention, the organization adopted its present name. It maintains chapters in dozens of parishes across the country.
Detailed information, schedules, reservations and convention updates are available here.
Final preparations for the 109th Annual Pilgrimage to Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery here over Memorial Day weekend, May 24-27, 2013, are underway.
“It is always a joy to welcome hierarchs, clergy and faithful from the Orthodox Church in America, other Orthodox jurisdictions and guests from near and far,” said Igumen Sergius, the Monastery’s Abbot.
A detailed schedule of the weekend’s divine services and other events is available in PFD format.
In related news, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary will hold its 71st annual Commencement on Saturday, May 25. The day will open with the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 9:00 a.m. and continue with graduation ceremonies at the Monastery Bell Tower at 1:00 p.m.
Saint Tikhon’s Monastery is the oldest Orthodox Christian monastic community in North America. Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, established in 1938, is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2013.
New York, NY: Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky receives award from Kazakhstan President
On May 9, 2013, Archpriest Leonid Kiskhovsky, Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations for the Orthodox Church in America, was awarded the Shapagat (Mercy) Award from the President of Kazakhstan for his work on behalf of Religions for Peace and the Congress of Traditional Religions in Kazakhstan. Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General, was similarly honored. Receiving the award on behalf of Father Leonid, who was unable to attend the award ceremony due to a prior commitment, was Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary.
The Award was sponsored by Byrganym Aitimova, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the UN, and Kairat Umarov, Ambassador to the United States. Also in attendance were members of the Senate of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, various members of the Religions for Peace, and notable religious figures from New York. The occasion marked the Tenth Anniversary of the Congress, which has grown from 17 religious leaders in Kazakhstan to over 150, and has involved such notable Orthodox Christian leaders such as His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow.
“Father Leonid has been involved with this group from its inception and they have had notable success in a very religiously tolerant Kazakhstan with low levels of religious violence in a country that is 60% Muslim,” said Father Eric. “The award recognized their groundbreaking work and the involvement of Religions for Peace.”
Canonsburg, PA: Over 300 participate in FOCA national basketball tourney
The Canonsburg “O” Club of Saint John the Baptist Church here sponsored the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America’s annual national basketball tournament May 17-19, 2013. Twenty-four youth and adult teams representing six states competed in several divisions—bantam girls and boys, junior girls and boys, senior men, and super-senior men. In addition to regular games, clergy foul shot and 55-plus foul shot contests were held.
The weekend opened with a pizza party and ice cream social. Games were played on Saturday at Canon-McMillan High School and North Strabane Intermediate School. Following Saturday evening Great Vespers, some 300 youth and adults attended the awards banquet and dance. Following the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy, championship games were played. Taking top honors in each division were the Canonsburg Bantam Boys and Saint Alexander Nevsky Bantam Girls, Allison Park, PA; Saint Alexander junior boys and junior girls; the senior men of Saint John the Baptist “O” Club, Campbell, OH; and the FOCA All Stars Super Senior Make-Up Team.
Founded as the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs in Pittsburgh, PA in 1927, the FOCA today serves as an arm of the Church and is especially engaged in youth ministry, missions, and related ministries. It maintains junior and senior chapters in numerous parishes across the US. Additional information may be found on the FOCA’s web site.
Pennsylvania: STOTS alum helps launch first on-line Orthodox K-12 school
On April 15, 2013, Dr. James S. Taylor, PhD, and Saint Tikhon’s Seminary 2012 Alumnus Deacon Joel Wilson opened the “virtual doors” of Saint Raphael Orthodox Online Homeschool to the public. Named for Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, “the shepherd of the scattered sheep of North America,” the founders, along with parents, students, and teachers, intend the program to be a continuation of Saint Raphael’s literal journey to minister to Orthodox Christian faithful who a century ago were scattered across cities and small rural towns across North America. The new school offers a near-complete integrated curriculum within all four of its programs - Nursery, Elementary, Middle School, and High School. Currently all courses are taught by Dr. Taylor, who has many years of on- and off-line teaching experience in the classical Christian education community. However, the plan for the Spring 2014 semester includes making the curriculum comprehensive by hiring others to teach Math, Greek, Latin, and the higher Sciences. Enrollment for both the Summer and Fall semesters is now open, but space is limited. For additional information, please visit their web site or Facebook page.
Afghanistan: Orthodox Christian serviceman awarded Purple Heart
According to the OCA Chaplain (MAJ) USA George Hill, Command Chaplain, Third Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, NC, SGT Matthew Pochepko, an Orthodox Christian serviceman serving in Afghanistan, recently was awarded the Purple Heart by the Task Force 101 Commanding General, Major General James McConville. Matthew, a member of Saint Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Baltimore, MD, and a Cavalry Scout leader from A Troop, 1st Squadron 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, NY, was wounded in action while leading a reconnaissance patrol in Paktika Province Afghanistan. At the front of his formation, he was attacked by PKM machine gun crossfire from two different enemy locations, said Father George.
“The first round knocked the mine clearing device from his hand and another round pierced his right arm,” Father George continued. “He stayed in the fight, disabling one of the crew served machine gun locations and then was given medical care from his team medic. He was taken to Craig Hospital at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, where he was presented with the Purple Heart…. Shortly afterward I had the privilege of giving him Holy Communion. He is the epitome of a hero for our Country and the Church.”
Fr. Steven Voytovich with the Rev. Deryck Durston, ACPE’s Interim Executive Director.
On May 13, 2013, the Board of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) unanimously approved the application forwarded by the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Institutional Chaplaincies seeking formal faith tradition membership in the organization. The original application had been submitted to ACPE in December 2012.
ACPE primarily certifies clinical pastoral education supervisors who run CPE programs and accredits training programs they conduct. The organizaton held its annual conference in Indianapolis in mid-May.
ACPE was formed in 1967 to bring together two organizations—the Council for Clinical Training and the Institute for Pastoral Care, both established in the mid-1930—and several faith-based accrediting bodies, including Lutheran and Southern Baptist associations. The latter became denominational representatives as merger discussions continued. The National Council of Churches and the Association of Theological Schools played roles in the merger process.
“In fact it appears that all were on board to come together, and brought along representatives of the council and the institute toward a formal merger plan over developing a ‘federation of accrediting bodies,’ representing the other popular plan to move forward,” said Priest Dr. Steven Voytovich, Director of the OCA Department of Institutional Chaplaincies. “Due to the ‘denominational’ participation early on in its formation, faith group membership and representation is unique and formally structured in ACPE as compared to other credentialing bodies (APC, AAPC, ACCA, CPSP). Even though their governance is being restructured, denominational representation remains one of four ex-officio board members. The OCA has joined approximately 30 faith groups in taking the step of formal membership in order that faith traditions continue to be a vibrant presence in the clinical training arena.”
A main function of the OCA Department of Institutional Chaplains is to review and process requests for formal endorsement for men and women to serve in non-military institutional settings such as hospitals, hospices, long-term care, emergency response, corrections, and other settings, and to approach credentialing bodies for certification as chaplains, CPE supervisors, and pastoral counselors.
“The Department also seeks to support endorsed persons in their ministry contexts. Recommendations for endorsement are forwarded by this department to the Office of the Metropolitan,” Father Steven continued. “ACPE membership represents another formal step this department has taken to be an active presence in the pastoral care and counseling community in our country and beyond.”
According to Father Steven, “a formal endorsement process was instituted by the OCA in 2003, and the OCA became a recognized Endorser in the Commission on Ministry in Specialized Settings in 2005. The OCA joined the Association of Religious Endorsing Bodies (AREB) in 2007.”
Father Steven, who currently serves as AREB Chair, shared the importance of our Orthodox witness in this greater caregiving arena as a means to fulfill in part the OCA’s mission “to be the Body of Christ in North America” and, as noted in the Tomos of Autocephaly, to “maintain direct relations with all other Churches and confessions, Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike.
“It is a blessing to be able to support our mission in this very meaningful way,” he added. “The OCA currently has about a dozen endorsed chaplains serving across the country in a variety of settings, and holding a broad spectrum of certifications from among the credentialing bodies. All the endorsers meet during these national conferences with credentialing body leadership.
“The Rev. Deryck Durston, Interim Executive Director of ACPE, has pushed to have endorsement formally brought into that office during his ten-year tenure in the ACPE national office,” Father Steven continued. “Even though he will soon be leaving his director role, Rev. Deryck will continue to be the ACPE consultant for endorsement. AREB is grateful for the working relationship with all the credentialing bodies to assist those seeking certification to obtain proper endorsement, and for the formal nature of this relationship with ACPE.”
Additional information on the work of the OCA Department of Institutional Chaplaincies may be viewed here or here.
In the wake of the tornadoes that devastated the suburbs of Oklahoma City, OK on Monday, May 20, 2013, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, has called upon all faithful Orthodox Christians to offer prayers for those who lost their lives, their families, and everyone touched by the tragedy.
“We call upon everyone to remember in their prayers the victims of the Oklahoma City Tornado and those whose lives have been affected by this disaster,” said Metropolitan Tikhon. “We ask that our risen Lord will bring comfort to those who have lost everything—including loved ones—as well as the responders who continue to search for survivors. May our Lord grant eternal rest to those who lost their lives in the tragedy, and may He comfort those so afflicted.”
The Orthodox Church in America has three communities in Oklahoma—Holy Apostles Church, Bixby, OK; Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Hartshorne, OK; and Saint Basil the Great Mission, Weatherford, OK — none of which were affected. Updates will be posted should further information be received.
Seventeen graduates from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary are now being sent out as priests, deacons, and lay ministers in service to the Church. At Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 18, 2013, the seminary awarded diplomas in three programs: one Master of Theology, eight Masters of Divinity, and eight Masters of Arts degrees. Graduates represented a broad range of ecclesial jurisdictions and included both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians; four priests and one deacon were among the graduates.
Brian GerichAnne Glynn MackoulMother Inéz
Additionally, the Board of Trustees awarded three accomplished Orthodox Christians honorary degrees. Doctorates of Humane Letters honoris causa were bestowed upon Seminary Trustees Brian Gerich and Ann Glynn Mackoul, and upon Mother Inez Ayau Garcia, Abbess of Hogar Rafael Ayau, an Orthodox Christian orphanage in Guatemala.
Commencement crowned the week’s celebrations, which also included the annual Board of Trustees meeting, a Trustee–Student dinner on Thursday evening, and a Friday Trustees dinner with staff and faculty.
On Saturday morning, May 18, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and President of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, and His Grace, Bishop Nicholas, Auxiliary Bishop for Brooklyn of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy, during which second–year seminarian and Commencement Salutatorian Nicholas Roth was ordained to the Holy Diaconate. Metropolitan Tikhon also presided at the afternoon Service of Supplication in the campus Chapel of the Three Hierarchs before joining the faculty, staff, graduates, and visitors for commencement ceremonies. Board of Trustee His Eminence, Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, also attended the Service of Supplication and participated in the graduation exercises.
The Rev. Dr. Sarah Fogg
The Rev. Dr. Sarah Fogg delivered the Commencement Address. Director of Pastoral Care at Saint John’s Riverside Hospital, Yonkers, NY, Dr. Fogg has supervised dozens of Saint Vladimir students in their hospital visitation and chaplaincy training. Dr. Fogg recalled her personal relationships with seminarians, saying, “As you came for training, I engaged with you in preparing you for pastoral visits. I learned more what hands on pastoral ministry is, as I challenged you with what God has for you. Thank you for seeking me out.”
Metropolitan Tikhon, who in addition to serving as the seminary’s President chairs its Board of Trustees, opened the Commencement Exercises and conferred degrees upon the graduates. In his closing remarks, he encouraged the senior class to remember to be watchful. “Watchfulness will help you preserve all the virtues you have acquired as you go forward into the world. Watch with your heart and do not simply look. Watch your pastors. Watch your flocks. Watch your neighbors. Watch your enemies. Why? So that you might see Christ in others. May God strengthen and bless all of you. May He inspire all of you to take what you have received here, to go out into the world as watchful servants.”
Harrison Russin, Valedictorian
The Valedictorian and Salutatorian were selected by the faculty on the basis of their excellent performance in all aspects of seminary life, including academic work, participation in chapel services, and completion of community service assignments. Class Valedictorian Harrison Russin, who served as Student Ecclesiarch from 2011 through 2013, also earned a commendation for community service. Harrison was awarded the Saint Basil the Great Award for high academic achievement twice during his years at Saint Vladimir’s, and is a gifted musician who sang with the SVOTS Octet all three years. His thesis was titled “The Iconology of Fr. Sergius Bulgakov.” Harrison will begin a Ph.D. program in the fall of 2013 at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, studying in the field of musicology.
“Commencement isn’t the end, it is the beginning,” noted Harrison in his address. “The best analogy for me is to compare this time to Great Lent. Seminary has been a process of death to self, and struggle. Seminary has not been easy—yet today is our Pascha.”
Newly ordained second–year seminarian Deacon Nicholas Roth was Salutatorian. “As you leave today, you join the ranks of those who have come before you,” Deacon Nicholas said. “Our alumni build up Orthodox communities, teach the Orthodox faith, care for those in need. In your time here you started student organizations, gave back to the community, and worked to teach the Orthodox faith to all who would listen. Today we celebrate all you have done and we look to see more of what you do in the future.”
This year for the first time, the Student Council presented a new award to a faculty member. Decided by student vote, the Saint Macrina the Great Award recognizes the dedication and achievements of a seminary professor. In its inaugural year, outgoing Student Council President Priest James Parnell presented the award to Archpriest Dr. Alexander Rentel, Assistant Professor of Canon Law and Byzantine Studies and the John and Paraskeva Skvir Lecturer in Practical Theology. Anna Margheritino, wife of Seminarian Sandro Margheritino, was commissioned to paint two icons for the Saint Macrina Award; one will be continually displayed on campus, and each year, another will be presented to the Award recipient.
Archpriest Dr. John Behr, Dean, and Archpriest Dr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor/CEO, congratulated and encouraged the graduates as well. “As we said at the Liturgy this morning: ‘Axios Axios Axios!’” exclaimed Father John. “Friends, as you depart from here, never forget the words that Christ said: ‘You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you that you should bear fruit.’”
President of the Alumni Association Board Gregory Abdalah presented each graduate with a cherry wood frame to display their diplomas, and welcomed them to the Saint Vladimir’s Alumni Association. “You join over 2000 alumni spread over 20 countries on six continents,” noted Mr. Abdalah. “Just like the Apostles went out and preached the Gospel to world, you act as ambassadors who carry on their legacy, as you take Saint Vladimir’s into the world.”
In association with its 75th Anniversary Celebration, Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary here will host its 2013 Continuing Clergy Education Symposium June 18-20, 2013.
Speakers and presentation themes to be featured include the following.
“The Glory of Christ-Centered Marriage”—David Ford, Ph.D., Professor of Church History, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. A brief study of various Church Fathers and contemporary elders extolling the glory of Christ-centered marriage, especially in light of the various attacks on and increasing confusion about traditional marriage in our society as a whole. In particular, we will undertake a close study of Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra’s classic sermon, “Marriage: The Great Sacrament.” References also will be made to the Lives of the married saints.
“Transforming Psychological States into Spiritual Ones: Some Practical Advice from the Fathers” — Christopher Veniamin, D.Phil. (Oxon.), Professor of Patristics, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. Description: How do we live as Christians? Or perhaps a better way of framing the question would be, how do we die every day as disciples of Christ in our broken world? This presentation aims to give practical advice on living the commandments of Christ, based on the theology of the Church Fathers.
“Sanctify Those Who Love the Beauty of Thy House”—Igumen Sergius (Bowyer), Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery and Interim Dean of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. Perspectives on living the Liturgy. The course outcome is to have a renewed appreciation and love for the Divine Liturgy and Liturgical life of the Church with the understanding that it is the school whereby we are initiated into the mystery of eternal life. The lecture will focus on Biblical-Patristic sources to enlighten the listeners as to the centrality of the Church’s liturgical life while gaining a greater understanding of how they are the primary tool for the Church’s outreach and evangelism.
“Exorcism: A Current Perspective”—Archimandrite Athanasy, monk of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery. The course will offer an overview of ancient and modern understandings of exorcism, the purpose of the exorcism prayers, how to discern case by case what issues might be affecting an individual’s and when and when not to consider an exorcism, the importance of having recourse to the Bishop, modern medicine, and resources for discernment and contextual applications.
“The Exploration and Development of the Ministry of Presence”—Archpriest John Kowalczyk, Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Practice, Director of Field Education, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. The Ministry of Presence: “When two or three are gathered in My name, I am in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). The Orthodox pastor explores the “prayerful ministry of presence” with the application of the theology of the sanctification of time. The presentation will aid the Orthodox pastor in navigating in difficult pastoral scenarios which will be found “outside his comfort zone.”
Registration fee is $50.00 per participant, which includes room and board.
Courses are available for clergy continuing education, approved by Archpriest Ian Pac-Urar. This is a service provided by the faculty of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary to facilitate the continuing education of clergy, mandated by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America.
Registration information and other resources related to the Orthodox Church in America’s 2013 Parish Ministries Conference, slated to be held at Marymount University, Arlington, VA July 10-13, 2013, were mailed recently to all parishes.
A detailed schedule and on-line registration forms may be found here. A list of workshop speakers will be available in the immediate future. Early registration at a lower cost is available until May 31.
“We are excited to be adding a new partner this year to our Ministries Conference,” said Daria Petrykowski, conference coordinator. “The newly formed Department of Continuing Education has approved the conference as a venue for clergy to earn continuing education credits. We look forward to partnering with our clergy and lay leaders to better minister to our communities.”
A flyer/mini-poster with conference details may be downloaded in PDF format.
The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA] recently announced that the theme of its annual “Celebration of Faith” creative arts contest for youth will be derived from John 8:12—“I am the light of the World. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Youth are invited to create and submit original works, based on the theme, representing the fields of creative writing, music, photography, and visual arts. Suggestions include photos or paintings of how God’s light impacts the world around us or how works of charity impact others. Individuals may submit essays, poetry or short stories illustrating how God’s light sustains us and helps us to become lights in the world. Entrants may wish to draw ideas from thematic resources available from the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Christian Education.
Completed entries should be mailed no later than June 16, 2013 to FOCA Celebration of Faith, c/o Beth Willison, 232 Arrowhead Dr., Slippery Rock, PA 16057. Entries will be displayed and awards presented at the FOCA’s 2013 National Convention, slated to be held in Cleveland, OH June 27-July 1.
For additional information, please contact Ms. Willison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the first time since his election as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America in November 2012, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon was the guest of His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip at the offices of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America here on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Metropolitan Tikhon was accompanied by Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, OCA Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations; and Subdeacon Roman Ostash.
Joining Metropolitan Philip in welcoming the OCA delegation were His Grace, Bishop Nicholas, Auxiliary-Brooklyn and Resident Assistant to Metropolitan Philip; Archpriest Thomas Zain, AOCA Vicar General; and Archpriest George Kevorkian, AOCA Assistant to the Metropolitan.
A warm atmosphere provided the context for substantive conversations about the current plight of Christians in the Middle East—and specifically the situation of the two Syrian hierarchs who remain in captivity—as well as the OCA’s recent history, the ongoing work of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, and hope for a united autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America.
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).