A new issue of our diocesan newsletter, "First Fruits," is now available. In this edition, Father Gary Joseph Breton discusses "Stewardship of the Priest." In his article he writes, in part: "How should one care for one’s parish priest? I would like to offer five particular ways in which one can do so: 1) Pray for him, 2) Understand his role, 3) Support his work, 4) Offer to help him, 5) Compensate him."
On 2 February 2019, Archbishop Michael visited Saint Vladimir Church in Trenton NJ to celebrate the Feast-Day of the Meeting of the Lord. During the festal Divine Liturgy, His Eminence ordained Bohdan Chaikivskyi to the Holy Diaconate. “Many Years” to newly-ordained Deacon Bohdan!
Archbishop Michael made his annual visitation to the United States Military Academy at West Point on Sunday, 27 January 2019, celebrating the Divine Liturgy in Saint Martin's Chapel for the Orthodox cadets. Caring for the spiritual needs of these future military leaders of our armed forces in the US Army are Archpriest Joseph and Presbytera Irene Frawley.
As part of a "Vision for Our Future," Archbishop Michael launched the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactor [DDB] program in January 2011. Your generous support is what being a Distinguished Diocesan Benefactor is all about. Your love, your prayers, and your sharing of the riches with which you have been blessed make it all possible.
Archbishop Michael hosted the clergy families of the New York State Deanery for a holiday gathering at Basil Leaf Ristorante in Syracuse NY on Sunday evening, 27 January 2019. The evening brought together priests, deacons, and their families for a spirited fellowship with their Archpastor. “It is always a joy,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (Rochester NY), “when our deanery family of clergy, spouses, and children, gather in grateful celebration of their ministries and common labors of love in the church. We thank His Eminence for nurturing our pastoral brotherhood in Christ!”
Archpriest Paul Shafran, Pastor Emeritus at Saint Vladimir Church in Trenton NJ celebrated his 71st Anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood on 28 December 2018. Father Paul and Matushka Mary also recently marked their 71st wedding anniversary (November 27th). Following the liturgy on 30 December the congregation sang "Many Years" for both of them. Matushka had been in a rehab facility for a few months following surgery for a broken leg, but returned home just in time for Christmas. She and Father Paul are truly grateful for everyone's prayers. "Many Years" and warmest congratulations to them on the occasions of their remarkable anniversary milestones!
On December 31st and January 1st, Archbishop Michael joined the faithful of Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY for their Parish Feast-Day. Dragan Vujicic, a seminarian from Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville NY, was tonsured a Reader during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Parishioner Anna MacPherson was awarded a Diocesan Gramota (certificate of appreciation) for her many years of dedicated service to the parish. “A wonderful festive meal was served afterwards in the Parish Center," said Father Peter Olsen (parish Rector).
On 29-30 December 2018, Archbishop Michael made an Archpastoral visit to Christ the Savior Church in Manhattan. His Eminence presented a Gramota (certificate of appreciation) on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops (Orthodox Church in America) to the parish rector, Archpriest Michael Meerson, in recognition of the 40th Anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood.
On Saturday, 29 December 2018, Orthodox faithful from the New York Capital area gathered at the Regional Food Bank to spend two hours working, sorting, and packaging food that will be distributed to food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and battered women's shelters in the 23 counties of North Eastern New York. The Regional Food Bank serves people and families in distress from Rockland and Putnam Counties up to the Canadian border.
On the Sunday following the Feast of Saint Nicholas, 9 December 2018, the faithful of Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY celebrated their annual “Yolka” and luncheon. The children had spent weeks preparing for the day, practicing a Nativity play called, “The Gifts of Christmas.”
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM! As we celebrate the Nativity of Christ, our Archbishop Michael offers us his annual letter of joy and love. His Eminence writes, in part: "Beloved fathers and brothers and sisters: We are being called by Our Lord Himself to partake of His very life. To be united to Him. He is inviting us to enter into union with Him, asking us if we will allow Him to enter into us, to take His abode in us. God has taken on our material body, so that He might give us the greatest gift – His eternal, heavenly, immaterial life. In so doing, we are given the opportunity to become saints – if not canonized Saints, with a capital "S" … then at least everyday saints, with a small "s." Read the entire letter here >
During the Archpastoral visit of Archbishop Michael to Saints Peter and Paul Church in Endicott NY on the weekend of 10-11 November 2018, sixteen Catechumens (the Card family) were received into the church by Holy Baptism and Chrismation (anointing). The presence of the Holy Spirit was truly felt by all as His Eminence exclaimed: “The Seal of the Gift of The Holy Spirit!” 180 times with the choir and congregation singing “Amen!” as many times in response. During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Michael tonsured five young men to the rank of Reader.
In an essay entitled, "Three Miracles," Deacon David Donch begins by writing: "Nearly 2000 years ago, a man named Jairus had a little girl who had become seriously ill, and because the medicine of their day provided no cure for her illness, she was dying. With no hope left him but his hope in the power of God, Jairus set out to find an unusual preacher that he and so many others had been hearing so much about: a certain Jesus, Who people were saying wielded God’s miraculous power to heal all sorts of afflictions and diseases." To read his entire essay, please go here >
Today is the prelude of the good will of God, of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. The Virgin appears in the temple of God, in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. Let us rejoice and sing to her: "Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation!" (Troparion Hymn)
Stacey Anastasia Gleeson writes: “What would it be like to be an Orthodox missionary? How would I know unless I experienced it? Over the years, I have expressed this desire with family and friends, but struggled to act. My professional career and local volunteer work at my church took priority. However, a life experience motivated me to finally put my desire of a missionary trip into action.”
On Saturday, 3 November 2018, nearly 50 youth and adults from across the diocese gathered at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY together with Archbishop Michael for the first annual Diocesan “BIBLE BOWL.” The Bible Bowl combined competition, camaraderie, and the culmination of months of diligent study of the Scriptures. Eleven teams from six parishes competed in three divisions (Junior Youth, Senior Youth, Adult) and responded to challenging questions from the Gospel of Saint Mark.
On Saturday, 27 October 2018, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael made an Archpastoral visit to the Orthodox Christian Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Pearl River NY. The parish celebrated the Fiftieth Anniversary of its formation. During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Igumen Joseph (Hoffman), Parish Rector, was elevated by Archbishop Michael to the dignity of Archimandrite.
The latest issue of our diocesan newsletter, "Beyond the Plateau" is now available. Please go here >
The Fall 2018 edition of our diocesan publication, "Jacob's Well," is now available. Click on the image above to view and read this informative and interesting magazine-journal. To see past issues, please go here >
Father Terence Baz of Assumption of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Church in Clifton NJ writes: "This past June, I was privileged to be invited to a four-day symposium on the environment, hosted in Greece by His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. I received this invitation as a member of the Fellowship of the Transfiguration, a body of Orthodox clergy and laity concerned about environmental matters and endorsed by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. At this event, called the Green Attica Symposium, I joined about 200 other international guests and world leaders to hear presentations outlining concerns about the environment."
On weekend of 15-16 September 2018, Archbishop Michael visited Saint John the Baptist Church in Alpha NJ and presented a Synodal Gramota to Archpriest Bohdan Ostash (Parish Rector) in recognition of his 30 years of priesthood. His Eminence also brought a new Antimension for the altar containing the relics of a saint. Following the Liturgy, in the newly renovated Church Hall, there was a festal dinner. His Eminence had a dialogue with parishioners during which he shared experiences about his recent pilgrimage visit to the Holy Land and Slovakia.
The theme of this year’s retreat is “Finding Your True North: Where Does Christ Fit into Your Life?” The retreat is open to Young Women in Grades 7-12 at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY from November 9-11, 2018.
The ever-growing list of Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors is rising as the leaves of Fall are falling. Thanks to our DDBs the vital ministries of the diocese are being funded as never before. The financial resources provided support our youth, our seminarians, mission parishes, clergy/parish growth, and more! See the DDB “Honor Roll” here > and learn more about the DDB here >
Archbishop Michael visited Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Buffalo NY on 1-2 September 2018. The visit began with a celebration of Great Vespers on Saturday. During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, His Eminence tonsured Caleb Henry to be a reader and blessed reader Steven Camp to wear a Sub-Deacon Orarion. Father Jason Vansuch along with the faithful of nearby Saint George Orthodox Church also joined in the celebration. The Dean of New York state, Father Alexey Karlgut, was present as his wife, Matushka Stacey Karlgut, directed the parish choir.
Over 100 faithful and clergy from the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, along with guests from other Orthodox churches, attended our Annual Diocesan Youth Day on 22 August 2018. The day began at Christ the Savior parish in Paramus NJ with a Molieben (service of thanksgiving) presided by Archbishop Michael. A breakfast was offered by parishioners and then His Eminence accompanied everyone to see “Aladdin on Broadway,” along with a talk-back with some of the crew and actors.
On Sunday, 5 August 2018, Archbishop Michael visited Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY. During the visit, His Eminence presented a Synodal Gramota (certificate of appreciation) and an honorary palitza (priest’s vestment) to the parish rector, Archpriest Ken James Stavrevsky, on the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood. Following the Liturgy, the newly renovated Church Hall was officially opened and blessed by Archbishop Michael.
Holy Trinity Church in Rahway NJ sponsored an event for the blessing of First Responder vehicles on Sunday 22 July 2018. In commemoration of Prophet Elijah (remembered on 20 July), the parish invited First Responders of the city of Rahway for a vehicle blessing. The day began with a short prayer service in front of the church, followed by the blessing of fire trucks, police cars, ambulance, and parish vehicles.
UPDATED: VIDEO On Sunday, 24 June 2018, the ten-member “Project Mexico Team” from Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY received a blessing for their humanitarian journey to northern Mexico to build a home for a family in desperate need. The team departed on June 27th and returned home on July 4th. Organized by team-leaders Deacon Sean McNulty and Jeremy Heise, the team raised funds and received supporting contributions from parishioners to make this long journey of love possible.
Saint Tikhon’s Seminary is opening enrollment into its Diaconal Formation and Parish Leadership Training Program held in Philadelphia PA. The program is designed for laypeople who are seeking to play an active role in the life of their parishes. The program offers two educational tracks: 1) is structured to satisfy the educational requirements of ordination into the Diaconate and provides classes and training sessions for men who are discerning their call of serving at the altar; 2) is intended for faithful men and women who would like to deepen their knowledge of Orthodox theology and spiritual life to be more effective in their ministry in the Church.
On 3 June 2018 clergy and faithful from around the northeastern half of the New York State Deanery gathered for a dinner at Saint Basil's Church (Watervliet NY) with Archbishop Michael, and the presentation of Certificates of Appreciation to the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors of the region.
Archpriest Joseph Lickwar, Chancellor of the Diocese, was awarded the Mitre (honorary “crown”) and diocesan Gramota (certificate of appreciation) in honor of the 55th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Holy Priesthood (July 7, 1963), by His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, in Saints Peter and Paul Church, Jersey City NJ, on Sunday, 10 June 2018. "Axios! Axios! Axios!"
[from Saint Tikhon's Seminary communications] Deacon Samuel Davis, who enrolled in a one-year program of studies at Saint Tikhon's Theological Seminary this fall and decided to complete the whole degree program, was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Eminence Michael, Archbishop of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey om 21 April 2018. He was ordained in what has been a mission parish in the diocese, Saint Simon of Cyrene Mission in New Brunswick NJ. The mission anticipates reaching out to the African-American and Hispanic communities in the local area, and Father Samuel’s ordination will allow this mission to work toward a more complete liturgical life. Axios! May God grant Father Samuel, Matushka Julitssa, and their children Isaac, Morgan, Ava, and Alexander, "Many Years!" View photos here >
Clergy and faithful of the New York State Deanery gathered in celebration of Archbishop Michael's 8th Anniversary of Consecration to the Episopacy on 9 May 2018 at Saints Peter and Paul Church in Endicott NY. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was a joyous expression of rejoicing in the Lord and the blessing we have been given in the episcopal ministry of our pastor and shepherd who's perserverance, guidance, leadership, and faith are only surpassed by his fervent love for his spiritual flock. "Many Years!"
The clergy and faithful of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey express our prayerful congratulations to our beloved Archpastor, His Eminence, Archbishop MICHAEL, on the eighth Anniversary of his Consecration to the Episcopacy (May 8th) and of his enthronement as the Ruling Hierarch of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (May 9th). We are grateful to God and Vladyka for his continual outpouring of love, leadership, and dedication to the growth and salvation of his flock in this God-protected Diocese!
Nothing is more beautiful than the sound of children singing -- at home, at school and at church. We invite parents, church school teachers, clergy, choir directors and others who may be interested in learning about how the child’s singing voice develops from pre-school through the early teens. Songs and age-appropriate activities will be presented that will both inspire children to sing and help to develop their vocal and aural skills. The workshop is on SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2018 at Holy Apostles Church in Saddle Brook NJ.
Saint Andrew's Camp (Jewell NY) is organizing a cleanup and work weekend for any and all volunteers that can assist. Projects this year include installing new flooring for the girls' and boys' dorms, general cleanup, and other projects depending on the number of people who can come. The dates are May 19-20, 2018. Come for as long as you are able! Accommodations are available at the camp. We are also working on obtaining a priest for Sunday morning on the camp grounds. If you are interested and able to help, please contact Tim Macko at email@example.com
The Bible Bowl is a quiz competition for teams of young people and adults. This year, all questions will come from the Gospel of Saint Mark as found in the Orthodox Study Bible. Teams are already forming in Yonkers NY, Syracuse NY, Princeton NJ, East Meadow NY, Clifton NJ, Endicott NY, Manville NJ, Saddlebrook NJ, and Ballston Spa NY. The competition will be held in Yonkers NY on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2018.
The newly released issue of the diocesan publication ... "First Fruits" ... is now available. Go here >>>
Archpriest John Nehrebecki, 89, fell asleep in the Lord on Great and Holy Saturday morning, April 7, 2018. Father John was Pastor Emeritus of Christ the Savior Church, Paramus NJ, which he and his beloved wife, Matushka Eugenia, founded and faithfully served until his retirement in 2003.
As the Savior went to his passion, he said to his friends: “Everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another. Be at peace with one another and with every one. Be of humble mind, and you will be exalted. Acknowledge me as Lord! Praise and extol me to all ages." (Matins of Holy Monday)
Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors have funded vital ministries throughout New York and New Jersey for several years. Parishes, youth, seminarians, and clergy have all benefitted through financial assistance, retreats, workshops, programs, and social/educational opportunities that help to nurture and grow the Body of Christ. Thanks to our DDBs, much has been accomplished as is being accomplished to this day. The fruits of their investment in the life of our diocese are obvious and the source of much joy. As we are in the midst of the Lenten journey to PASCHA, perhaps you will consider making a contribution to the 2018 DDB program, and join with many others in this blessed work. To learn more, please "click" on the image above ... and, thank-you!
Registration is now open for the 2018 Teen Retreat for those in Grades 7-12. The retreat will be held at Saint Basil's Academy in Garrison NY from Friday, March 16th - Sunday, March 18th. The retreat theme is "In the World, But Not of the World: Orthodox Christianity in a Complicated Religious Landscape." For addition information and easy on-line registration, please go HERE >>>
Barbara Anne Kucynda, age 71, of Wayne NJ passed peacefully at home on Friday, February 16, 2018. She was born to John and Anna Kuntzevich and raised at 5905 Glenwood Road in Brooklyn. She graduated from Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn and for one year attended Saint Johns University in Brooklyn. Her family moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut and Barbara finished her education at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Connecticut where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. Barbara met a young man named Paul Kucynda who was doing seminary field work at her parish, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Brooklyn.
The season of the Great Fast (Lent) in preparation and anticipation of the joyous celebration of Our Lord's PASCHA begins on Monday, 19 February 2018. As we enter this holy season of increased prayer, ascetic fasting, and philanthropic charity, Archbishop Michael offers a letter to us with an invitation of encouragement to enter the Lenten journey with seriousness in faith, hope, and love. In part, he writes: "Truly, the way for us to see Lent is as a journey of repentance – a return home, like the Prodigal Son, to the house and embrace of the God Who loves us more than we love ourselves. As he rediscovered his place in the household of his Father, so we must rediscover and recover what we were made to be through our baptismal death and resurrection. Lent is our pilgrimage to Pascha, to share in the Passion and Death of our Savior and in the Victory of His Resurrection."
On Sunday, 4 February 4 2018, Archbishop Michael visited Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY. During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Artёm Timofeev was tonsured as a “Reader.” Artёm and his family first joined the parish ten years ago having emigrated from Russia. Artёm is a CPA having completed his higher education at SUNY Albany. He was an altar server at Saint Basil’s, attended summer camp as a camper and counselor at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, and participated Altar Servers Retreat of our diocese. Artёm also has assisted Archbishop Michael as his driver, traveling the lengths and breadths of the diocese.
On 21 January 2018, Archbishop Michael visited Saint Martin's Orthodox Chapel at West Point Military Academy and presented a Synodal Gramota to Archpriest Joseph Frawley in recognition of his 40 years of priesthood, 20 years as chaplain at West Point, his work at the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of History and Archives, and his work on the lives of the saints. His Eminence also brought a new antimension for the altar containing the relics of the Holy New Martyr Saint Hilarion Troitsky (+1929).
Every year, Archbishop Michael hosts a holiday season dinner party for clergy families; a festive gathering for each of the three Deaneries (New Jersey, New York State, New York City). The first event was on 14 January for the NY City Deanery at Angelina’s Ristorante in Tuckahoe NY. On 21 January the dinner was at The Brownstone in Paterson NJ for the New Jersey Deanery. The final dinner will be on 28 January for the NY State Deanery at Basil Leaf Ristorante in Syracuse NY.
Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY celebrated its Patronal Feast Day on 31 December and 1 January 2018 with the presence of Archbishop Michael for Great Vespers with the Blessing of Loaves and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. Children of the parish joyfully greeted Archbishop Michael, presenting him with flowers and receiving his blessing. As is customary on the Feast of Saint Basil, the blessing and distribution of the Vasilopita (Saint Basil’s Bread) took place following the Divine Liturgy.
A series of insightful interviews (Gift and Grace: The Spiritual Legacy of Orthodox Christians in America) has been produced featuring esteemed clergy and laity of the Orthodox Church in America. Thanks to the efforts of Father John Shimchick, we gain an inspiring look into their lives and work to the glory of God in His Holy Church. Interviews include: Dr. Constantine and Arlene Kallaur, Dr. Albert Rossi, Father Paul and Mary Shafran, Father John and Eugenia Nehrebecki, Father Daniel Skvir, Father Daniel and Dunia Hubiak, Father Stephen Siniari, Father Sergius and Faith Kuharsky, Father Sergei Glagolev, and Father Thomas and Anne Hopko. See the interviews by clicking on the image above (which you will also find permanently displayed among the link icons on this homepage).
The servant of God, Christopher Mayhew, was baptized and Chrismated during the Divine Liturgy on Christmas Day at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY. Using the large adult baptismal font, Christopher was fully immersed and robed with the white garment of holy illumination. "The beauty and significance of celebrating a Baptismal Liturgy was a true joy for all blessed to be in attendance," said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector).
Archpriest Paul Shafran celebrated his 70th anniversary of ordination to the Holy Priesthood (28 December), and he and Matushka Mary celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary (27 November). On 28 October at Saint Vladimir Church in Trenton NJ, where Father Paul had served as Rector for 55 years and is now a retired “Pastor Emeritus," a Jubilee Celebration was held in their honor including a joyous Divine Liturgy followed by a festive testimonial banquet.
Christ is born, glorify Him!
Christ comes from heaven,
go to meet Him!
Christ is on earth, be exalted!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth,
and praise Him in gladness,
for He has been glorified!
Ode 1 – Heirmos
Saint Innocent of Alaska Orthodox Mission in Oneonta NY celebrated the Chrismation (Holy Anointing) of Amy Johnson-Smith as she was received into the Orthodox Faith on Saturday, 9 December 2017 following the Vespers service. The following day, Sunday, after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy the entire parish family decorated the chapel for the Nativity. The parish held their Ethnic Food Sale for the Christmas season on 2 December. “Our parishioners worked very hard and God has blessed us for our labors,” said Father Vasil Dubee (parish rector).
The Diocese of New York and New Jersey is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the restoration of the Patriarchate of Moscow, and the election of Metropolitan Tikhon, the former Archbishop of New York who served in America from 1898-1907, to the office of Patriarch. There will be a series of liturgical celebrations in the Diocese to mark this centennial. At each event, there will be an Akathist offered to Saint Tikhon; an opportunity for each of the faithful to venerate the Saint’s holy relics; and a fellowship reception afterward. His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, is urging the faithful of each Deanery to make it part of their pre-Nativity Fast commitment to make the pilgrimage to pray before these relics. Please see "more information" below for the schedule of celebrations throughout the diocese.
UPDATED The deepest sympathies of all the clergy and the faithful of the Diocese are expressed to our beloved Archpastor, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael; his brother George and sister Barbara; and all their family, on the falling-asleep in the Lord of their mother, + Ann Dahulich, shortly after noon on Wednesday (6 December 2017) at Mercy House in Endicott NY. Please see "more information" below for the schedule of services. Grant rest eternal in blessed repose with the Saints, O Lord, to the soul of Your newly departed handmaiden, the ever-to-be-remembered + Ann, who has fallen asleep, and make her memory to be eternal!
The By-Laws of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey have been revised and approved to be consistent and in agreement with the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America. Approval was unanimously granted at the Diocesan Assembly of 1 November 2017 and received the blessing of Archbishop Michael. View the By-Laws here >>>
In commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Moscow Patriarchate -- the Election and Enthronement of Patriarch Tikhon to the throne of Moscow and All Russia -- Archbishop MICHAEL will celebrate the “Akathist to Saint Tikhon” in the presence of a reliquary with the relics of the saint. Clergy and faithful are invited to attend this wonderful and unique opportunity to come and pray together in Syracuse NY (Saints Peter & Paul Church) with our Archpastor on Saturday, 16 December 2017, at 9:30 a.m. and venerate the relics of the saint who was most foundational to the establishment and growth of the Orthodox Church in America. A retreat presentation by Archbishop Michael, “The Fullness of the Church” will follow the Akathist.
On Friday, 17 November 2017, a “Healing Service” was served at Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY. This was a parish effort of outreach and evangelism; the continuing duty of our church of missionary work to the local community, to family, and friends of parishioners. After a welcoming sermon, everyone was anointed with oil from the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
The diocesan Commission on Liturgical Music (CoLM) has produced the first in a series of podcasts as resources to assist choir directors and singers. The first installment of the series, produced by Tanya Tjoa of the Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Pearl River NY, is now available on the CoLM website … here >>>
Sunday, November 19 is the 10th Anniversary of the Repose of His Eminence, Archbishop PETER (L’Huillier), who served as the Bishop of our Diocese for 26 years. Paul L’Huillier was born in Paris in 1926, and converted to Orthodoxy in 1945, while enrolled at St. Denys Institute. On August 30, 1954, he was tonsured as a monk and took the name of "Peter." On September 4 and 5, 1954, he was ordained hierodeacon and hieromonk by Archbishop Boris, Exarch of the Russian Patriarchate in Europe. Six years later, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.
Archbishop Michael visited the Parish of the Nativity of the Virgin in Jackson NJ on 29 October 2017 to celebrate the 40th Wedding Anniversary of Archpriest John & Matushka Ludmila Prokopiuk and the Anniversary of Diaconal Ordination of Proto-Deacon John Morvay. “Even though torrential rains were falling in Jackson on this day,” said Proto-Deacon John, “we were blessed to celebrate this anniversary with our beloved Archbishop Michael, visiting clergy, family, friends, and faithful of our parish.”
UPDATED The Annual Matushki (“clergy wives”) Retreat was held at Saint Andrew’s Camp on Friday-Saturday, 3-4 November 2017. The well-attended yet personal gathering provided time for spiritual reflection and bonding in the life and ministry that are part of the vocation of the wives of priests and deacons. Dr. Harry Boosalis (Professor of Dogmatic Theology, Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary) was the retreat facilitator with insights and reflections on "The Theotokos, Personal Panagia."
The Annual Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey convened in Endicott NY at Saints Peter & Paul Church on Wednesday, 1 November 2017. Clergy and laity delgates from diocesan parishes gathered with Archbishop Michael to discern the Lord's will in setting a course for the diocese and ensuring good order in all things, both spiritual and administrative. The passage of a revised Diocesan By-laws and a 2018 Budget were among the matters unanimously adopted. Next year's Assembly will gather in Brick NJ on 31 October 2018.
As leaves turn color and fall from the trees, the days of 2017 are rapidly passing. Thanks to the generosity of our diocesan DDBs, it has been a blessed year thus far as vital ministries are being financially supported throughout New York and New Jersey: Mission Parishes, Seminarians, and Struggling Parishes are recipients of much-needed assistance. We are thankful to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon these faithful servants who, in turn, offer their blessings to the work of the Church. See the updated “honor roll” of our 2017 DDBs HERE >>>
To join them, go HERE >>>
On Sunday morning, October 22, 2017, Archpriest Stephen Mack, long-time Rector of Saint Nicholas Church in Auburn NY, fell asleep in the Lord. See "more information" for the schedule of services. May the memory of Father Stephen be eternal, and may his familiy and parishioners be comforted by the hope of the Resurrection through our prayers!
On Sunday, 24 September 2017, Saints Peter & Paul Church in Jersey City NJ celebrated its 110th Parish Anniversary. The celebration mirrored what was done 110 years earlier by its immigrant faithful as Marius Anghel greeted Archbishop Michael, saying, “Seventeen years ago my family and I immigrated to America; now I am an adult. By the grace of God and prayers and lives of Saints Peter and Paul, I welcome you on behalf of our parish.”
Nearly 700 people gathered in the Clifton High School Auditorium on Saturday, 23 September 2017, to see the Tamburitzans perform their ethnic songs and dances. The group was hosted by Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in Saddle Brook NJ. The crowd gave an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end; the request was repeatedly made for the parish to bring them back next year.
Archbishop Michael presided at the Diocesan Cathedral's patronal feast of the Protection of the Holy Virgin on the weekend of 30 Sept - 1 Oct 2017. In conjunction with the liturgical observance, a new external marquee was dedicated. The 150 year-old building, built in 1867, was purchased by the “Metropolia," which became the OCA, in 1943 and was its Pro-Cathedral until 1982. The new marquee was designed by Archimandrite Christopher (Calin) and crafted by Melinni Brothers in Florence, Italy.
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" was presented at the Church of the Holy Assumption in Clifton NJ on the weekend of 29-30 Sept 2017. This year the cast ranged from ages 6 thru 75 years. They came together from diocesan churches in Paramus NJ and Yonkers NY, from Saint George Greek Orthodox Church in Clifton NJ, Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Roseland NJ, along with Holy Assumption Church in Clifton NJ, and community members. The cast put in so much of their time to put on a truly inspiring, entertaining, beautiful show. They sang, danced and acted their hearts out and learned a beautiful Bible Story they will never forget.
Saint George Orthodox Church located in Buffalo NY has been blessed with the icon of the Annunciation of Most-Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary streaming fragrant oil. “It is a great and humble miracle, and blessing, for our parish and for those who come and pray here,” said Father Jason Vansuch (parish rector). His daughters, Alexandra and Anna, witnessed the streaming Holy Oil following Great Vespers on the Eve of Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of Our Lord (September 13). The Holy Oil began streaming from the Cross on top of the Veil of the Theotokos and then also began streaming from the back of Her Veil; it has continued to stream down her face.
Saint Andrews Camp, on the shore of Oneida Lake in Upstate New York (Jewell NY), celebrated 60 years of faith, friendship, and fun on Saturday, 23 September 2017. Current and former campers, counselors, and staff members joined Archbishop Michael for the memorable occasion. Founded in 1957 by Father Alexander Warnecke, the establishment of the camp was inspired by the words of Saint John Chrysostom: “Let everything take second place to our care of our children, our bringing them up to the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Our diocese will offer recognition and gratitude to our dedicated directors, singers, composers, arrangers and teachers of liturgical music on Sunday, 1 October, the feast-day of Saint Romanos “the Melodist.” A letter marking the occasion from Archbishop Michael, along with special intercessions of prayer, is available here >>>
Our newest mission parish community, Saint Simon of Cyrene in New Brunswick NJ, will host an Akathist service ("To the African Saints") with prayers for racial reconciliation on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 6:00 p.m.. Following the service which will include pastors and members of faith communities in the area, Archbishop Michael will offer a brief address on the themes of racism, prejudice, and reconciliation. The faithful of the diocese are encouraged to attend!
Archbishop Michael visited Saint Innocent Orthodox Mission in Oneonta NY on 26-27 August 2017. He offered an inspirational sermon at the end of Great Vespers service celebrated on Saturday evening by Father Vasil Dubee (parish rector) and Deacon Stephan Karlgut. The parish enjoyed dinner together with His Eminence at Nina's Restaurant in Oneonta. On Sunday, His Eminence was greeted with flowers presented by Veronika Dubee. He was also greeted with traditional bread and salt on behalf of the parish council by council member (Reader) Matthew Masterjohn.
Reader Keanu Matthew Ortiz, a parishioner of Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow Church" in Princeton NJ, was nominated to represent the Diocese of New York and New Jersey at the annual IOCC Serv-X-Treme Conference in Minneapolis MN held July 29 – August 4, 2017. He sent the following report sharing his experience:
Deacon Paul Fedoroff completed the Diaconal Vocations Program at Saint Vladimir's Seminary and, with the blessing of Archbishop Michael, was ordained to the Holy Diaconate on Saturday, 19 August 2017 at Christ the Savior Church in Ballston Lake NY. Reader Paul Giokas was also blessed to serve as a Sub-Deacon. In honor of this event, the parish also celebrated their patronal feast of the Image of Christ “Made Without Hands.”
Sixty years ago there was a vision: to combine a traditional camping experience with education and fellowship in the Orthodox Faith. From this came Saint Andrew's Orthodox Camp, serving campers from around the Church for the past six decades. In celebration of our 60th year, the board and staff invite you to join us on September 23, 2017 as our honored guests. The day will begin with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 9:00 am celebrated by Archbishop Michael. A festive meal, fellowship, and tour of the camp will follow.
Archbishop Michael writes: "All of us have seen on our televisions or computers images of the disaster and devastation that has occurred in the southern parts of our country as a result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The loss of life, the destruction of property, and the displacement of whole families are staggering. Of course, I am asking that prayers be offered in all our churches for the victims of this horrific tragedy. But our response to this national crisis must be more than that. It must be what the Lord has asked of us in the Gospel: “Whatever you do for the least of My brethren, you do it for Me” (Matthew 25:40). In the face of incredibly great need, I am requesting our immediate assistance with the relief efforts of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), which is already responding to the aftermaths of both hurricanes."
The clergy and faithful of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey convey love, admiration and sincere gratitude to His Eminence, our beloved Archbishop Michael, as he celebrates his birthday on August 29th. His love, leadership, determination and wisdom have strengthened, inspired and encouraged dedicated service of the diocesan clergy and laity, and various institutions throughout the Church. We pray that the Lord will give him strength of soul and body, and many good and blessed years. Eis polla eti Despota!
UPDATED: Read "Beyond the Plateau" here >>> Saturday, 1 July 2017, was the occasion of an historic event in the life of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey: the ordination of Sub-Deacon Samuel Davis, of Somerset NJ, to the Holy Diaconate. While diaconal ordinations are not necessarily historic, Deacon Samuel is the first African-American to be ordained to this office in the history of the Diocese, and he is leading the planting and development of Saint Simon of Cyrene Orthodox Mission in New Brunswick NJ, an inner-city mission seeking to reach out to African-Americans and Hispanics with the light of Christ’s Gospel in Holy Orthodoxy.
The weekend of 5-6 August 2017 was inspirational and memorable for the Orthodox faithful of Saint John the Baptist Church in Alpha NJ, marked by the Archpastoral visit of His Eminence, Archbishop Michael. It was the great feast-day of the Transfiguration of our Lord and a time to gather in prayerful gratitude for the many blessings God bestows on the parish. Of special joy was the presence of Father Joseph Chupeck, former rector of the church. After the festal Liturgy on Sunday with the traditional blessing of fruit, His Eminence had a dialogue with parishioners during which he shared experiences about his recent pilgrimage visit to the Holy Land. A celebratory festal dinner followed in the rectory.
As the days of summer fly by, our Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors continue to provide vital financial support to ministries throughout the diocese. By offering assistance to our seminarians, mission parishes, and struggling older parishes, the strength and vitality of our local churches are being nurtured. To date during 2017, DDBs have contributed over $69,000 out of their dedication and love for the church. See the “honor roll” of DDBs here >
Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church in Trenton NJ celebrated its patronal Feast-Day and 102nd anniversary on Saturday, 15 July 2017. The festivities commenced with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Michael, presiding. Serving with His Eminence were: Father Volodymyr Chaikivskyi (Parish Rector), Father Paul Shafran (Pastor Emeritus, retired), Father Joseph Lickwar (Diocesan Chancellor), and numerous other diocesan clergy. At the conclusion of the liturgy the sizable crowd of clergy, parishioners, and friends made a procession around the outside of the church with the icon of Saint Vladimir, and then enjoyed a cocktail hour and luncheon at the parish social hall next door.
The staff and campers at Saint Andrew's Camp in Jewell NY enjoyed another summer fo fun, fellowship. and faith during the 2017 season. See the photos in "more information" below. But summer has not ended! The camp will again sponsor a great BIKE RIDE charity event on SATURDAY, AUGUST 26th. For details, see "upcoming events" on this website.
Twenty-six people from three area Orthodox parishes teamed up for a fun and productive volunteer time at the Regional Food Bank on Saturday, 8 July 2017. Participating were parishioners from Saint George Antiochian Church (Albany NY), Christ the Savior Church (Ballston Lake NY), and Saint Basil’s Church (Watervliet NY) along with parish rector Archpriest Peter Olsen.
The Annual Diocesan Youth Day will again take place at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson NJ on Thursday, 24 August 2017. The day is open to all Orthodox Youth and their friends, from elementary school age to college students. Information & REGISTER NOW >>>
Nearly 60 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors from the Upstate New York region joined together with their host, Archbishop Michael, for an evening of thanks and fellowship in Ballston Spa NY. This was the final of four appreciaition dinners recognizing the financial contributions of 2016 DDBs from throughout the diocese and beyond who support and make possible vital ministries to parishes and seminarians. To learn about the DDB and join them, go here >>>
Very Reverend Paul Shafran celebrated his 95th birthday on Sunday, 2 July 2017, giving thanks to God for his many blessings which include the ability to continue serving at the altar. Following the Divine Liturgy that morning, the parish of Saint Vladimir in Trenton NJ (where Father Paul is Pastor Emeritus, retired) honored and blessed him with the singing of "Many Years!" A celebration followed in the fellowship hall and a birthday cake was enjoyed by all. The previous day his extended family gathered for an in-home celebration with toasts and photo-trips down memory lane.
Archbishop Michael visited the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Brick NJ on "Father's Day" weekend of 17-18 June. During his Archpastoral visit, His Eminence tonsured Veljko Pejovic as a Reader, recognized Archpriest Gary Breton on the occasion of his 25th anniversary of ordination to the Holy Priesthood, and blessed the nearly-completed parish hall and education center. He also received a donation from the parish Church School students representing their Lenten efforts of providing alms to those in need.
The days of summer bring sunshine and warmth throughout the diocese as flowers blossom and nature reflects new life. As we approach the middle of this year, upcoming Parish Council and Church School Conferences, the Diocesan Youth Day, preparations for another academic year at seminaries and our Diaconal Formation Program remind us of our common work in the Lord’s vineyard. Much of this is only possible thanks to our Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors. You are invited to join them! Learn about the DDB >>>
On Sunday, 21 May 2017, the Feast-day of Saints Constantine and Helen, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael visited Christ the Saviour Church in Paramus NJ to celebrate the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and honor Archpriest John and Matushka Eugenia Nehrebecki on their 65th Wedding Anniversary.
Our Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program offers an opportunity for men, with the blessing of their parish priest and Archbishop Michael, to experience a 2-year program facilitated by Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. The program involves both academic and practical application of a diaconal parish ministry. While no program of study guarantees ordination as a deacon, graduates will have fulfilled the necessary academic requirements. There are two campus locations: Endicott NY and Philadelphia PA (convenient for those in New Jersey and New York City). See the flyer here for general details of the program and specifics of the Philadelphia campus. For information on the Endicott program, contact Father Alexey Karlgut at firstname.lastname@example.org
His Eminence, Archbishop Michael has issued an Archpastoral Letter to the faithful of the diocese for the Feast-Day of Holy Pentecost celebrated on 4 June 2017. In part, he writes: "How clearly we see the Trinity in God’s plan of salvation. 'God (the Father) so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him may not perish but have life everlasting' (John 3:16). Then Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to abide with us forever."
Archbishop Michael has blessed Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY with holy relics of the following saints: Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, Innocent (Metropolitan of Moscow & Apostle to America), Grand Duchess Elizabeth the New-Martyr, Tikhon (Patriarch of Moscow & Enlightener of North America), Alexis of Wilkes-Barre (Confessor & Defender of Orthodoxy in America), Raphael (Bishop of Brooklyn), and Venerable Ambrose (Elder of Optina). Father Jason Vansuch prepared the relics by placing each in a special wax mixture called mastic. “Our reliquary was sent to us from Russia,” said Father Peter Olsen (parish rector). “Many thanks to God for this amazing blessing and to our loving hierarch, Archbishop Michael, and Father Jason for his kind help. Glory to Jesus Christ!”
What’s it like to feel or not feel safe? What do you do when you’ve been led to believe that you’re not capable or are worthless? What’s it like to be uncertain about your daily meals, where you’ll wash up, where you’ll sleep at night, and most other things in your life? These are among the questions raised during the Covenant House Sleep Out held Friday 28 April and Saturday 29 April at the Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross, Medford NJ.
Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY invites participation in their weekly Adult Discussion Group, facilitated by Deacon Sean McNulty, by offering a convenient "call-in" opportunity. Participants call using a special phone number and group number to connect audibly with the group where they can both listen and comment during the session. The parish has also begun posting the Scripture Readings and Sermon of the weekly Divine Liturgy "live" on Facebook; the videos also remain on-line for viewing later. "It's amazing how many views we get every week," said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector). "Often, there are over a dozen views before we complete the Liturgy and 40 or more in the following days!" The parish curently has 840 people who "follow" its Facebook page.
The New York State Deanery held its annual Appreciation Dinner for Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors on Sunday evening, 23 April 2017. Archbishop Michael expressed his gratitude to the DDBs and presented them with certificates of appreciation (Gramota) during the fellowship of an enjoyable meal in Syracuse NY.
The first-ever national study on evangelization and outreach in Orthodox parishes in the United States has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. The report "Go and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishes" explores the practices and strategies developed by some Orthodox parishes that can be viewed as "exemplary" in their missionary and outreach efforts.
The great Moses mystically foreshadowed this day when he said: “God blessed the seventh day.” This is the blessed Sabbath; this is the day of rest, on which the only-begotten Son of God rested from all His works. By suffering death to fulfill the plan of salvation, He kept the Sabbath in the flesh; by returning again to what He was, He has granted us eternal life through His Resurrection, for He alone is good and the Lover of man. (Vespers of Holy Saturday)
Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the tree of the cross. The King of the Angels is adorned with a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in a purple robe of mockery. He who is the new Adam, manifested at His baptism in the Jordan, is slapped on the face. The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the cross with nails. The Son of the Virgin is crucified and pierced by a spear. We worship Your passion, O Christ! We worship Your passion, O Christ! We worship Your passion, O Christ! Show us also Your glorious resurrection! (Antiphon Fifteen)
On Saturday, 1 April 2017, Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY sponsored a Lenten Retreat: “The Home as a ‘Little Church.'” The day featured presentations by Dr. Mary Ford and Dr. David Ford of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. “We were inspired and enlightened by the insights and perspectives presented,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector). “It was an incredible joy to have these two gifted professors, who exhibit genuine humility and living faith, in our midst.” Parishioners were delighted to have David and Mary also join them for the Divine Liturgy the following day.
Clergy and faithful of the diocese are invited to a Paschal Open House at Saint Andrew's Camp (Jewell NY) on Bright Saturday, 22 April 2017. Festivities will begin with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. in the camp chapel. A celebratory luncheon will follow along with tours of the camp and other activities. The event flyer may be found here >
His Eminence, Archbishop Michael traveled to Kerala, India on 2 February 2017 to be the Keynote Speaker and the Guest of Honor at the Centennial of the Diocesan Convention of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in the Diocese of Thumpamon. Presiding over the five-day convention was His Holiness, Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and the Supreme Head of the Indian Orthodox Church. He was assisted by numerous Metropolitans of the Holy Synod of the Indian Church. His Holiness is the successor to Saint Thomas the Apostle, who brought the Gospel to India in the mid-first century.
During the Lenten Sunday Divine Liturgies we hear as part of the prayer following the Anaphora, that God “knows the name and age of each, even from his (or her) mother’s womb.” We as Orthodox Christians are inherently pro-life, but we often do not know what to do or what kind of response to make or provide. During the reception following the Southern New Jersey Deanery Vespers on Sunday, 19 March 2017, at the Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross in Medford NJ, representatives of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants offered suggestions on how to support and build “a Culture of Life and Family.”
On the “Sunday of Orthodoxy,” 5 March 2017, a Ukrainian Easter Egg class was offered to the parish (Orthodox Church of the Mother of God) and greater community of Mays Landing NJ led by Mrs. Hala “Holly” Dawson. Twenty adults and children attended. Holly has made over 300 Pysanky eggs in the traditional Ukrainian wax-resistant method using melted beeswax and a wooden stylus. Mrs. Lore Stefy, another Pysanky writer in the parish, assisted Mrs. Dawson. Young and old alike attended the class.
On Sunday 5 March 2017, Saint George Orthodox Church in Buffalo NY celebrated a blessing of icons followed by the traditional procession of icons to celebrate “Sunday of Orthodoxy” (the first Sunday of Great Lent). The process of making the icons began three days earlier as Church School children, together with their teachers and families, gathered to make icons while learning about the importance of icons and how we are called to be “living icons” of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.
For the past six years, a committed team of Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors has provided essential financial support to fund vital ministries throughout the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. You are invited and encouraged to join the team! If the Lord has blessed you with the ability to offer support, you will participate in doing great things toward preparing our future priests & deacons, establishing new mission parishes, and giving a boost to struggling parishes. An easy and convenient way to join through secure on-line contributions is available! There is a growing list of DDBs this year; see the “honor roll” here >
The newly released issue of “First Fruits” asks the question, Rich toward God? How does one become rich toward God? … It seems that what we do with our own things in this life has a huge impact on the next. Read the current issue here and see previous issues here >
On 12 February 2017, the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, Archbishop Michael visited Saint Martin's Chapel at the US Military Academy at West Point. Four cadets were present at the Liturgy, including a member of the graduating class whose parents were also visiting. Following the Liturgy there was a delicious brunch at the Thayer Hotel for Archbishop where Archbishop Michael spoke with the cadets, asking about their future plans and promising to pray for them.
The Annual Diocesan Lenten Teen Retreat is scheduled for 10-12 March 2017 at Saint Basil Academy located at 79 St. Basil's Rd, Garrison NY 10524. Teens in grades 7-12 are encouraged to attend! There is no charge to participate in this three day event. Participants may begin arriving for check-in on Friday, 10 March, beginning at 6:30 PM. The theme will be “The Challenge: Who Are We Called To Be?” Guest speaker Greg Fedorchak will have candid discussions addressing participants’ aspirations and suggest ways in which they can keep God and the Church in their lives while in pursuit of their goals. Additionally, as a Diocesan sponsored event, Archbishop Michael will be in attendance for part of the weekend. Saint Basil Academy sits on the Hudson River across from West Point Military Academy, approximately an hour north of New York City. During their free time participants will be able to take advantage of the center’s indoor gym/basketball court and quaint chapel. See "Upcoming Events" on this webpage for information, details, and registration.
The annual Conference of the Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black will be convened on 6-8 October 2017 in Princeton NJ. The theme is: "Closer to Christ, Closer to Each Other." The Brotherhood is a pan-Orthodox organization committed to making the Orthodox faith available to the African American community in America.
As in years past, Orthodox Christian hierarchs, seminarians, clergy, and faithful from around the country participated in the annual "March For Life." While in the nation’s capital, Metropolitan Tikhon attended the Vigil at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Other hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America participating in the march included our own Archbishop Michael, along with Archbishop Nathaniel and Archbishop Melchisedek. Other Orthodox hierarch in attendance were: Bishop Maxim of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Bishop John of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and Bishop Dimitrios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago. “Gathering together in a peaceful way to give voice and raise awareness to the sorrowful effects of abortion and its legalization is very important,” said Priest Andrew Bartek (Rector, Saint Panteleimon Church, Summit IL).
The 2017 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors initiative is up-and-running, with many already enrolled as members! Soon, the first listing of DDBs for this year (the “Honor Roll”) will be published on this website. The complete listing of last year’s DDBs may be found here >. To learn all about this year’s DDB and discover how easy it is to join others in offering vital financial support to diocesan ministries, please visit “Vision for Our Future” or go here >
"A letter was found by my wife Jeanne under the door of the church when she came to set up for the potluck dinner we were going to have after Vespers on Saturday, 14 January," said Father Peter Baktis (parish rector). "I read the letter after liturgy on Sunday. When we had our first flea market this fall at the church neighbors came and visited the church. They told me they called the site the "dead house" (for the past four years before we started to complete the site). We are far from dead now and are a witness to the life that is given to us in Jesus Christ!"
On 28 December 2016, Father Paul Shafran celebrated his 69th anniversary of ordination to the Holy Priesthood and, on 27 November, he and Matushka Mary celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary at Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church in Trenton NJ (where Father Paul is Pastor Emeritus). The parish sang “Many Years” for both of them Sunday, 1 January 2017, in honor of Father Paul’s ordination anniversary; unfortunately, Matushka Mary unable to attend. “Many Years! Father Paul & Matushka Mary!”
Reader Samuel Davis of the newly formed Saint Simon of Cyrene Orthodox Mission in New Brunswick NJ writes: “It is with great joy that I can greet you, on behalf of our Mission community. More than that, I would like to extend a welcome to you to join us in prayer whenever you are in the New Brunswick area for services. The Mission is a community dedicated to building up the Holy Orthodox Church in an area that has yet to be exposed to our faith. This is a monumental task! At present the laborers are few, having just started out, but with God’s grace and mercy we will grow and truly become a proper witness to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church on the ‘Western Shore.’”
UPDATED: new photos! Over 20 young women in grades 7-12 gathered at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY from November 11-13, 2016 for the Third Annual Girls Retreat. "Iconography: Windows into Heaven" was the theme, with iconographer Randi Sider-Rose of “Immanuel Icons” (website) leading the educational sessions.
Archbishop Michael visited Saint Basil Orthodox Church in Maplewood NY for evening Vespers on Saturday, 31 December 2016, and for a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the following Sunday (New Year’s Day). The parish Feast-Day celebration of Saint Basil included the blessing and cutting of the Vasilopita (Saint Basil's bread). A pot-luck dinner with a question-and-answer period between the children of the parish and His Eminence was held in the Church Center immediately following the Divine Liturgy.
The Annual Diocesan Altar Server Retreat will be held at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY from February 10-12, 2017. It is designed for altar servers of all ages! The main focus of this annual retreat is to bring the young men of our diocese together in prayer, Christian fellowship, education, and lots of fun! Under the guidance and direction of Archbishop Michael, the participants will learn the importance and role of the order of the Diaconate in the life of the Church – both in a liturgical function, and as a servant of God’s people, ministering to the outside world. More information is available in the "Upcoming Events" section of this website. For complete information and convenient on-line registration, please visit here >>>
Thanks to the sacrificial generosity of DDBs from throughout the diocese and beyond, over $831,000 was contributed during the first six years (2011-2016) of the program! Last year a record-breaking total of $181,265 was received. As a result, vital ministries have received much-needed support; the work of the Church is being funded as never before! There are visible “fruits” of our labors and efforts as mission parishes are being established and supported, seminarians are receiving scholarships, and struggling parishes are being revitalized. The 2017 DDB Initiative is now launched! Learn all about it here!
Father Vasil Dubee, parish rector of Saint Innocent of Alaska Mission Parish in Oneonta NY, reports: “We have had some wonderful happenings at our Mission. We purchased 5.1 acres of land for the future site of our church and rectory in the town of Oneonta back in October. The land was purchased with a donation from the Lindsay and Olive B. O'Connor Foundation for $18,500! Just two weeks after the closing, I received a call from the realtor who handled the land sale to us and he said the seller had 5.3 acres on the south border of the land and would like to offer it to us for purchase at the same price of $18,500. I told him I would love to, but most-likely cannot do it because I have no idea where the money would come from!”
We extend our prayerful best wishes to Archpriest Joseph and Matushka Charlotte Woodill on Father Joseph's retirement from active parish ministry at Saint Nicholas Church in Whitestone NY, and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, for health reasons, effective 1 January 2017 following his last Sunday service in the parish, at which he was honored by his loving community of faithful.
When You, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling You His Beloved Son; and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ our God, You have revealed Yourself, and have enlightened the world, glory to You!
"O Master, Lord our God, the Fountain of Life and immortality, the Creator of all things visible and invisible, Who governs the seasons and the years and guides all things with Your wise providence. We thank You for all the blessings You have poured out upon us during the past years of our lives, and we cry out to You, O all-bountiful Lord, bless this coming year with Your goodness, direct our civil authorities in the path of goodness, bestow Your heavenly blessings upon all Your people: health, salvation, and growth in virtue. Deliver Your Holy Church from every assault of the evil one, and grant us peace and tranquility; and grant that we may always offer thanks to You: the Father who is from everlasting, together with Your only-begotten Son, and Your most-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit -- God glorified in three Persons, and that we may joyfully praise Your all Holy Name!"
This year, DDBs have contributed $157,055 in support of vital diocesan ministries. They have provided much-needed financial assistance to our seminarians, mission parishes, and struggling parishes. As the year draws to an end, we express our sincere gratitude and thanks to God for these dedicated laborers in our diocesan family. See the complete “honor roll” of DDBs here. To learn more or to join them now, visit here.
On Tuesday 29 November 2016, Saint George Church together with Compeer of Greater Buffalo lighted “The Tree of Hope” which will rest on the church property for the Holy Season and through the New Year. The tree symbolizes a partnership and commitment of working together to serve the community by bringing awareness to mental health issues. Compeer of Greater Buffalo uses the healing power of friendship to help change lives by recruiting, screening, and matching trained volunteers and mentors in one-to-one supportive friendship relationships with children, adults, military veterans and seniors striving for good mental health.
On Sunday, 11 December 2016, Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY celebrated the annual commemoration of Saint Nicholas (6 Dec) the Wonder-Working Bishop of Myra in Lycia. Following a children’s sermon highlighting the life of this beloved saint, the little ones placed their shoes under the parish Christmas tree awaiting gifts of “gold coins” in honor of the saint. A delicious Nativity Fast (Advent) breakfast was enjoyed by all as the children decorated the parish Christmas tree with ornaments.
Saint Andrew’s Camp, in Jewell NY on the shore of Lake Oneida, serves Christ and His Church by providing an Orthodox camping experience to youth in America and beyond. Through summer camping programs and year-round activities, the camp advances Orthodoxy in America and the world by bringing children closer to Christ, enabling them to develop friendships with other Orthodox children, and preparing them to lead an Orthodox Christian life in supplement of their growth at their home parishes. The camp program does this while also enabling adult laity and clergy to serve as volunteers and similarly mingle in fellowship. In addition, there's an Annual Bike Ride fundraiser in August!
The Department of Evangelization of the Orthodox Church in Amercia, together with Archbishop Michael (Dahulich) and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey announce a first annual Pilgrimage -- this year to the Holy Land, beginning in Nazareth and ending in Jerusalem, with an optional additional trip to Petra in Jordan, June 4-17, 2017. The pilgrimage begins on the Monday of Pentecost, in Israel. The itinerary includes the following cities and major sites: Capernaum, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Mar Sabba, Jerusalem (Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Garden of Gethsemane, Mount Zion), and Petra (in Jordan).
On 15 October 2016 the parishioners of Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Herkimer NY celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the founding of their parish. A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Saturday morning with His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, presiding. At Vespers the evening prior, new liturgical items, including a Gospel, censer and chalice set, were blessed and then used for the first time during Divine Liturgy on Saturday. During the Divine Liturgy, Father Thaddeus Franta, newly assigned Acting Rector of the parish, was recognized for his five years of service as a priest with the conferral of a skufia, or clerical hat.
The annual Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey convened at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Yonkers NY on 1-2 November 2016. The first day consisted of the customary reports, decisions, and actions concerning the administration of the diocese. The Assembly opened with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Unmercenary Wonder-Workers, Saints Cosmas and Damian, celebrated by His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, together with the clergy officers of the diocese. During the brunch that followed, the annual video presentation, “2016: The Year in Review,” was premiered in which many of the milestones and memories shared within our diocesan family over the past year were highlighted. As has become customary, on the second day of the Assembly educational workshops were held for both clergy members and laypersons. The annual Address to the Diocese by Archbishop Michael will be published on this website soon.
"There are valuables resources for pre-planning the eventuality of incapacitating illness and death", said Diana Pasca (Diocesan Member of the OCA Department of Christian Service and Humanitarian Aid). Two such resources offer a comprehensive approach to providing fa,mily members with heath care directives and desites for endo life issues and funeral arrangemnts. "A Gift for my Loved Ones": This package contains everything necessary to know should one become disabled or incapacitated and unable to make decisions on one’s own. It includes a Health Care Power of Attorney and Advance Directive for Health Care—Living Will. "Another Gift for my Loved Ones": This package contains everything necessary to know to arrange a funeral and burial — an Advance Directive for Funeral Care.
Already this year, Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDB) have contributed $121,505.00 to support our diocesan seminarians by way of tuition scholarships, our mission parishes with grants and assistance, and parishes in need of revitalization. Meeting our goal of desperately needed funding this year will be achieved only if the “roll call” of DDBs enlarges with those so blessed to be able to offer a sacrificial gift of loving support. “Thank-you!” to our DDBs. To join them, visit the “Vision for Our Future” webpage, where you can become a DDB easily with an on-line contribution, or print a donation form to mail in. It’s our Church and this is our Diocese … together we can accomplish so much to the glory of God and the good-estate of His Holy Church!
Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY inaugurated a special ministry of service in worship in which the girls and young women of the parish prepare for post-communion by cutting the antidoron (Ἀντίδωρον = unconsecrated church bread) and mixing wine with warm water for reception by the faithful. “These handmaidens of the Lord prepare the bread and wine in sight of the parishioners, standing beside the Cross and Epitaphios/tomb of the Lord, in likeness of the Myrrh-bearing Women,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector).
By the Grace of God, Archbishop Michael will consecrate the Temple of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Elmira Heights NY on Saturday, 29 October 2016. The parish has just finished phase-one of its iconography project. The Rite of Consecration followed by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:00 a.m. that day and a festive reception will follow. The diocesan family is warmly invited to join in this magnificenty joyous celebration!
The Orthodox Church of the Mother of God - Joy of All the Sorrowful in Mays Landing NJ participated in a parish project in support of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). “Since the Dormition Fast seems to get lost in the fun of summer, we thought it would be a good idea to emphasize it by holding an alms-giving project,” said Trudy Ellmore (parish treasurer). “Our parish is very small, so the goal was set at a moderate 10 kits of essential personal items. Each kit contains: a hand towel, a wash cloth, a bar of soap, a toothbrush, a comb, six Band-Aids & a nail clipper/metal nail file. After two-weeks of collection, enough items were gathered to make 65 complete kits!”
With the blessing of Archbishop Michael, the Third Annual Diocesan Girls Retreat will be held at Saint Basil's Academy in Garrison NY from November 11-13, 2016 for those in grades 7-12. The main focus will be to bring the young women of our diocese together in prayer, Christian fellowship, education, and lots of fun! Participants will learn the importance and role of iconography in the life of the church by way of understanding icons as “windows into heaven.” See all of the details and registration documents in the "Upcoming Events" section of this website!
Eight parishioners from Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY joined the extraordinarily dedicated volunteers of Saint Peter’s Kitchen near the city’s center neighborhood in preparing and serving a full-menu lunch meal on 19 October 2016. “We served 122 people who comprise a loving and socially interactive community with varying degrees of need,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector). “The example of Christian love and philanthropy exhibited by those who labor at Saint Peter’s is amazing … serving a restaurant quality hot lunch meal Monday through Friday every week. It was an honor and great blessing to labor with them!”
It was a glorious weekend, 8-9 October 2016, at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Alpha NJ as the parish celebrated their 100th Anniversary. The joy of the occasion was enriched by the presence of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon (Orthodox Church in America) and His Eminence, Archbishop Michael. The celebration began on Saturday with Vespers and Litya. On Sunday, Metropolitan Tikhon was welcomed and greeted for the liturgical celebrations and celebratory festivities by Father Bohdan Ostash (parish rector), visiting clergy, faithful, and friends of the parish.
On 24-25 September 2016, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY celebrated its 100th anniversary and the 108th anniversary of the parish. At Divine Liturgy commemorating the celebration, the parish welcomed His Beatitude Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of America and Canada, along with His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. The Hierarchs were joined by Archpriest Wiaczeslaw Krawczuk (parish rector), visiting clergy, deacons, sub-deacons, and many altar servers. The Cathedral has long stood as a regional landmark. It is the oldest Slavic-background Orthodox parish in Brooklyn and one of the oldest in New York City. The parish was established in 1908 by Slavic-heritage immigrants with Carpatho-Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and various other ethnic-cultural backgrounds.
Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY has raised $5,846 to help victims of the Syrian Civil War through the Syrian Relief Fund of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Thanks to the generosity of parishioners, visitors, and community members, these funds will help IOCC to provide food, shelter, sanitation, and spiritual support to Syrian Christians victimized by war and terrorism. When taking into account the many matching grants IOCC receives, this gift may have a multiplier effect of well over $40,000 when fully utilized by IOCC! Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, millions have been forced from their homes into crowded refugee camps or have fled to neighboring countries to escape the fighting, while many thousands of others have been murdered, kidnapped, or enslaved by terror groups like ISIS who specifically target religious minority groups including Christians. Earlier this year, the United States formally declared ISIS’ persecution of Syrian and Iraqi Christians to be a genocide.
Archpriest John Prokopiuk (Rector) of Nativity of the Virgin Parish in Jackson NJ greeted Archbishop Michael on Tuesday evening 20 September and Wednesday 21 September 2016 to celebrate the parish patronal feast-day. On Tuesday evening the church was filled with the faithful of the parish and friends from the neighboring Saint Vladimir’s Memorial Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR). Following the evening Vigil service, everyone proceeded to the parish hall for a festive dinner and musical offerings by the church choir.
On the beautiful Friday evening of 23 September 2016, Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY welcomed over forty participants for a talk on “The Church in the Bible” presented by the popular author and speaker, Father Andrew Damick. Presented in two-parts, the special event included a delightful array of tasty treats and refreshments during half-time, and prolonged time for questions and fellowship afterward. “The presentation was enlightening, inspiring, and challenging, wrapped up in a thoughtful package of profound depth,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector).
The 100th Anniversary of Saint Nicholas Church in Whitestone NY was celebrated on 18 September 2016. Sunday morning found the congregation eagerly waiting to greet Archbishop “Vladika” Michael. Bread, salt and flowers were presented to greet His Eminence by Paul Tymus and his granddaughter, Heather. After worship, parishioners and guests gathered nearby for a festive banquet and dance. The 100th Anniversary of Saint Nicholas Church was a time of gratitude for God’s abundant blessings, memories shared, fine fellowship and joyful festivity.
The Parishioners and Clergy of Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Herkimer NY welcome you to join us as we celebrate our 100th Anniversary on (Friday and Saturday) October 14-15, 2016. Archbishop Michael will celebrate a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning at 9:30 AM with the entrance and vesting of His Eminence at 9:00 AM. A celebratory banquet will follow. For complete details and banquet reservations, please go HERE >
On 27-28 August 2016, Archbishop Michael visited Saint Innocent Orthodox Mission parish in Oneonta NY. During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, Vasiliy Warner was tonsured a Reader and a fabulous celebratory festival of food and fellowship followed. “This was my first time as a priest hosting a bishop,” said Father Vasil Dubee (rector) ... “The singing was absolutely angelic thanks to the help from choir director Gleb Ivanov and the choir members from our “Mother Parish” of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Endicott NY.”
With the Blessing of Archbishop Michael, Holy Assumption Orthodox Church of the Blessed Virgin will present “GODSPELL” on Friday, September 23rd and Saturday, September 24th at 7:00 PM. The Orthodox Church in America youth and friends from the Clifton Community will star in this musical at the Church Hall located at 35 Orange Avenue, Clifton NJ 07013. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under ten. To order tickets or for more information contact Barbara Baz, Director at 973-473-0076.
Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY will host a lively two-part lecture by a guest speaker, Reverend Father Andrew Stephen Damick on Friday, 23 September 2016 beginning at 6:30 PM. Father Andrew is pastor of Saint Paul Orthodox Church of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, author of “Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy” and “An Introduction to God," as well as the forthcoming "Bearing God" (2017). He is also host of the “Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy” and “Roads from Emmaus” podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio, and he is a frequent speaker at lectures and retreats both in parishes and elsewhere. The event, with refreshments served, is free of charge.
On 15-16 August 2016, Archbishop Michael made a pastoral visit to Christ the Saviour Parish in Paramus NJ. The parish celebrated the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Aug 15th) and, the following day, the patronal feast of the parish: “The Icon not made by hands” sent to heal Abgar of Edessa. A celebratory luncheon was prepared and served by the wonderful ladies of the parish. It was an extremely cordial event.
The parishioners of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Randolph NJ were honored on 6-7 August 2016 to have Archbishop Michael visit them. The purpose of his visit was to bless the church’s refurbished stained glass windows. Thanks to the generosity of many parishioners, the windows which were damaged due to time and weather had been removed, repaired, and reinstalled. Parishioners received an explanatory booklet about Holy Trinity’s windows, most of which depict a Christian symbol or cross. One frequently used symbol is the fleur de lis, a representation of the Holy Trinity.
The Diocese of New York and New Jersey has two monthly newsletters: "First Fruits" and "Beyond the Plateau." The goal is to increase communication and grow the communal spirit of diocesan fellowship in the building-up and strengthening of our parish communities. A new issue of “Beyond the Plateau” has been released and distributed to all clergy for dissemination within their parishes. You may download and read the new issue and all past editions of these newsletters anytime by using the "Official Documents and Publications" tab at the top of this website!
Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY hosted the regional 2016 Church School Conference for the parishes of the New York State Deanery on Saturday, 13 August 2016. Two additional regional conferences are scheduled for the New Jersey and New York City Deaneries (20 & 27 August, respectively). The facilitator, Jennifer Hock, presented “Church School Approaches for Small Classrooms, One-Room Classrooms, and Special Needs Children.” Each year these conferences, developed and sponsored by the diocesan Department of Christian Education, are offered at no-fee to church school coordinators and teachers.
“We would love to reach out to African-Americans in our community, but we don’t know how.” “I don’t know where to begin.” “I’m afraid we’ll be seen as too white and too exotic.” “How do we merge the Black church and culture with [fill in Orthodox ethnic group of choice]?” Sound familiar? Orthodox parishes across the country struggle with outreach to various ethnic groups -- wishing to expand the parish’s evangelistic efforts in bringing Holy Orthodoxy to Blacks, Latinos, and Asians -- but lacking the knowledge, insights, and tools to do so. With the biggest of hearts and greatest of desires, this area of evangelism … bringing and sharing Orthodoxy with ethnic minority groups … can nevertheless seem daunting enough to persuade many to never even begin the effort.
A new edition of the extremely popular and highly-acclaimed diocesan publication, “Jacob’s Well,” has been published and released to all parishes in New York and New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America) for distribution. Be sure to obtain a hardcopy of this beautiful magazine at your local parish! “Jacob’s Well” is informative and a good way to reach-out and share the faith with shut-ins, friends, and neighbors. View the on-line edition by clicking on the image above or visit the dedicated “Jacob’s Well” webpage … here!
The Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of New York & New Jersey is pleased to announce the launch of its new Department of Youth Ministry website. With the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, this new platform offers easy access to information about upcoming events within the youth department, features a media gallery full of press releases and photos from past events, and will allow for on-line event registration in the near future.
The Commission on Liturgical Music (CoLM) and Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Syracuse NY hosted a workshop, “The Character of Choir Singing,” on 23 July 2016. The highly regarded and accomplished facilitator, Mark Bailey, presented key points in lecture and demonstrated them by rehearsing a choir comprised of the thirty participants. He stressed the need for Orthodox music to illuminate the text; the role of music in matching form and function; and the need for choral style to confirm prayer/worship through appropriate pulse and rhythm. The workshop concluded with an open and candid question and answer session.
It was a two day observance of gratitude and celebration as Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Syracuse NY commemorated their 100th Anniversary. Saturday, 25 June, found five priests at the Holy Altar celebrating the Divine Liturgy with prayers for the “Founding Fathers" and those who sustained the parish over the last hundred years. A fellowship brunch followed in the Church Parlors. The next day (Sunday, 26 June) began with the Church filled with faithful as they awaited Archbishop Michael’s entrance into the Temple for the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. His Eminence was presented with a bouquet of roses by Elena Kantor; traditional bread and salt by Alexander Scott Anderson (parish warden); and the Holy Cross by Archpriest John Chupeck (parish rector).
July 4th marked the 64th anniversary of ordination to the Priesthood of Father John Nehrebecki. Archbishop Michael celebrated the Liturgy at Christ the Saviour Church in Paramus NJ. Over sixty faithful attended the Monday morning Liturgy. Following the dismissal, Father John spoke of his parents’ example of piety and faithfulness. Besides attending services for every Sunday and Feast Day, they provided a separate room in their house for the poor and destitute. Sunday meals were an occasion to speak about the Gospel reading and homily. This churchly life formed a desire for the priesthood in young John, who would go on to found over ten parishes in New Jersey.
On the Sunday of All Saints, 26 June 2016, the 2015 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors of Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY received certificates of appreciation (gramota) signed by Archbishop Michael. To those present (8 of the parish’s 16 DDBs), Father Ken James Stavrevsky said: “Your contributions provide seminarians with scholarships, mission parishes with essential support, and older parishes with revitalization.” The parish community also contributed an additional $1,000 last year in support of the DDB program. The 2016 DDB is now underway and, to date, $92,000 has been contributed by DDBs from throughout the diocese and beyond. For information on the DDB and an invitation to join them, please go HERE!
The diocese will sponsor a seminar-workshop on outreach to African-Americans led by Deacon Turbo Qualls and Father Alexei Altschul of the Brotherhood of Saint Moses the Black. The seminar includes lunch and concludes with Vespers. While designed primarily for clergy, lay ministry leaders and interested laymen are encouraged to attend. The conference is free of charge at Saints Peter and Paul Church, 605 Washington Avenue, Manville NJ on Saturday, 16 July 2016 ~ 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Annual Diocesan Youth Day will take place on Thursday, 25 August, at Six Flags Great Adventure Theme Park in Jackson NJ. Complete information and registration documents are available here.
The Department of Youth Ministry has several special events planned for the upcoming months: YOUTH DAY (August 25th), SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP BIKE RIDE (August 27th), GIRLS RETREAT (November 11th), ALTAR SERVERS RETREAT (February 10-12, 2017), and more! Additional information and registration will be available and listed in the "upcoming events" section of this website. See the 2016-2017 Upcoming Events flyer here.
The great feast-day of Holy Pentecost, 50 days after Pascha, was on Sunday, 19 June 2016. In his annual archpastoral letter commemorating this holy day, Archbishop Michael writes, in part: "The gift of the Holy Spirit that we have received is not a static one, but a transforming and sanctifying power leading human beings to accomplish the will of God. The Church’s leaders are exhorted: 'Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the Church of the Lord' (Acts 20:28). This 'gift' of the Holy Spirit is given to both the clergy and the laity who belong to the true Church – in the Sacrament of Chrismation, our personal Pentecost, following Baptism (our personal Pascha)."
UPDATED: Young people, high school freshman to college graduate 20-somethings, from the Orthodox Church in America and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese gathered at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in New York City on 14 May 2016 to hear the stories of men and women who followed a calling to serve Christ and His Church. The day started off with a prayer service (molieben) led by Father Christopher Calin (Cathedral Dean). Afterward the discussion format made for an intimate setting and allowed for lively dialogue. The day concluded with a trip to Saint Vladimir's Seminary for a tour and talk by Dr. Peter Bouteneff. Sharing his own calling to ministry as a lay theologian of the Church, Dr. Bouteneff discussed programs available at the seminary.
Nearly 70 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors from the New York State Deanery were hosted by Archbishop Michael for an appreciation dinner in Syracuse NY on 5 June 2016. Those recognized had offered financial support during the previous year to the program which focuses on seminarian scholarships, assistance to mission parishes, and revitalization of older parishes. Complete information with an invitation (with the option of secure on-line contributions) to join the efforts of our 2016 DDBs is available here!
When You had fulfilled the dispensation for our sake and united earth to heaven, You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, not being parted from those who love You; but remaining with them and crying: "I am with you and no one will be against you!" (Kontakion Hymn)
The visit of Archbishop Michael to Saints Peter & Paul Church in Jersey City NJ on the weekend of 21-22 May 2016 went beyond the regular annual visitation. Following Saturday Vespers, His Eminence greeted and spoke with the faithful and, at the conclusion of the Sunday Liturgy, on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops (Orthodox Church in America) he awarded the “Order of Saint Romanos” to Aleksei Shipovalnikov. The Holy Synod conferred this honor for extraordinary contributions in the field of liturgical music.
During the season of Holy PASCHA we sing: “As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Traditionally, catechumens are received into the Church by sacramental rite (baptism and/or anointing with Holy Chrism) especially during this period of the liturgical year. We welcome all the newly illumined members of the Body of Christ -- His Holy Church.
On Monday, 9 May 2016, several clergy members, altar servers, and Matushki gathered from across the Diocese at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY to join with His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, in celebrating the Divine Liturgy with special thanksgiving to God for Archbishop Michael's sixth anniversary of consecration to the episcopacy (May 8) and enthronement in the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (May 9). May God grant His Eminence many, many more years of blessed and fruitful service as our Archpastor! "Eis polla eti, Despota!"
Archbishop Michael has issued an archpastoral letter to the faithful of the diocese for the feast-day of Our Lord's PASCHA: His glorious Resurrection from the dead. In part he writes, "Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! On this joyous day, my beloved, let us truly celebrate! But let us also remember: We do not really belong to ourselves. We belong to the One Who has redeemed us! Our will should always depend upon His! For this reason we say in the Lord’s Prayer: 'Thy will be done!' Yes, we belong to the Risen Savior ... the One Who has triumphed on Holy Pascha! We belong to the Resurrected Christ ... the One Who promises us: 'I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die' (John 11:25- 26). We belong to the Lord of Glory ... the God Who loves us more than we love ourselves!"
By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your Passion, O Christ God, You confirmed the universal resurrection. Like the children with the palms of victory, we cry out to You, O Vanquisher of Death: “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Troparion Hymn for Palm Sunday)
Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY rejoiced during a visit by Archbishop Michael on 16-18 April 2016. His Eminence arrived for Great Vespers on Saturday evening, celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the 5th Sunday of Great Lent, visited with several ministry leaders on Monday and then attended the regularly scheduled Parish Council meeting that evening. “Your Eminence, we are honored and blessed to have you here with us,” said Albert Joseph III (parish council warden) in welcoming the diocesan hierarch. The parish presented a check in the amount of $1,000 to Archbishop Michael as a contribution to the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program. Complete information about the DDB may be found HERE!
What do faith, science, church services, zip lining, rock wall climbing, and "Minute to Win It" have in common? To an average person the answer would be “nothing!” However, if you were to ask the participants of this year’s Annual Lenten Teen Retreat held at the Taconic Retreat Center in Milan NY, they would be able to tie each of these elements together; they were all components of the event held from Friday, 1 April to Sunday, 3 April 2016. Archbishop Michael, together with Father Jason Vansuch (Chairperson, Department of Youth Ministry), Danielle Geeza and Janine Alpaugh (Department of Youth Ministry Assistants) developed a wonderful weekend program centered on the sometimes controversial topics of “Faith and Science” and how they need not oppose each other.
The clergy of the New York State Deanery joined Archbishop Michael on 14 April 2016 for the celebration of the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, lunch, and their annual meeting. The event was hosted by the parishioners of Saints Peter & Paul Church in Syracuse NY, where His Eminence will deliver a Lenten Retreat on Saturday (“Insights into the Great & Holy Council of the Orthodox Church in 2016”). He will then travel 88 miles west to Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY for a Saturday evening through Sunday morning Archpastoral visit. As he travels with great regularity throughout the diocese visiting nearly 60 parish communities, Archbishop Michael covers the territory of his diocese: an area 444 miles from north to south and 440 miles from east to west, an area of 63,285 square miles.
On the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross (3 April 2016), Archbishop Michael celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Chapel of the Transfiguration on the campus of Princeton University. Before the Liturgy began, His Eminence blessed a gift from the Orthodox Christian Fellowship [OCF] and chapel members -- a specially designed circular rug ("Orlets” or Eagle) on which a bishop stands during services as a sign of his pastoral leadership over a particular geographic location. This rug was designed specifically for Archbishop Michael as the presiding hierarch of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. Rather than the typical Byzantine eagle, the rug features an American bald eagle, the nation’s symbol, carrying an olive branch, above a grouping of various churches of the diocese and the Empire State Building and the new Freedom Tower in New York City, the Archbishop’s official See. The outer rings depict waves of the bodies of water, such as the Hudson River, and bridges connecting the two states and three deaneries. The requisite protecting walls of the Orlets depict the Wall of Honor at Ellis Island, the entry point to America for many of our Orthodox ancestors.
The Diaconal Formation Program immerses students in the life of the Orthodox Church through serving in the altar, singing in the choir, and studying Scripture, Church History, Liturgics, and Spirituality. The Diaconal Formation program meets every Saturday from September to December (Fall Semester) and January to May (Spring Semester). Students attend one of two campuses: Endicott NY or Philadelphia PA. Completion of the course of studies fulfills the necessary academic requirements for ordination to the Holy Diaconate. In accordance with Canon Law, all decisions regarding ordination rest with the diocesan hierarch. Men among the laity interested in pursuing theological study, spiritual formation, and liturgical training, and sense they might be called to the diaconal ministry, are encouraged to seek guidance from their parish priest.
Endicott campus, contact Father Alexey Karlgut at email@example.com
On Wednesday, 30 March 2016, Archbishop Michael visited Christ the Saviour Church in Paramus NJ to celebrate the Lenten evening Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts. Following the dismissal and final blessing, His Eminence reminded the clergy and faithful of the necessity to remain steadfast in prayer during the Great Fast, following the example of Saint Gregory Palamas who was commemorated on the second Sunday of Great Lent (27 March of this year). Archbishop Michael’s visit marked his first time serving the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at Christ the Saviour parish.
The third Sunday of Great Lent [this year on 3 April] is called "The Veneration of the Cross." The Cross is brought in a solemn procession to the center of the church and remains there for the entire week, with a special rite of veneration following each service. The meaning of all this is clear. We are in Mid-Lent. On the one hand, the physical and spiritual effort, if it is serious and consistent, begins to be felt, its burden becomes more burdensome, our fatigue more evident. We need help and encouragement. On the other hand, having endured this fatigue, having climbed the mountain up to this point, we begin to see the end of our pilgrimage, and the rays of Easter [PASCHA] grow in their intensity. ~ Father Alexander Schmemann
Come and meet with other Orthodox teens and young adults who are interested in serving the Church. Men and women, 20-somethings and teens are invited to Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in NYC on Saturday, 14 May 2016 at 10 AM for a day of discovering what opportunities are available in the Church. Those in attendance will hear from men and women who are currently serving the Church in a variety of ways: Hospital and Military Chaplains, Parish Priests, a Full-time Deacon, a Full-time Choir Director, and a Theology Professor. Hear their stories and ask your questions. For information and registration, go HERE >
On the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” (March 20th), His Eminence, Archbishop Michael hosted His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America for the Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in South River NJ. The two hierarchs concelebrated with seven priests, among them Father Joseph Lickwar (Chancellor, Diocese of New York & New Jersey) and Father David Garretson (Rector, Saints Peter & Paul Church). They were joined by Archdeacon Michael Suvak. Metropolitan Joseph preached the homily. The responses were sung by the parish choir under the direction of Basil Kozak.
The Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy was celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent, March 20th this year. It is the celebration of the victory of the Orthodox over the iconoclasts (literally: “against icons”) by the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Therefore, the service is to commemorate the restoration of icons for use in services and private devotional life of Christians. Services often include the clergy or the faithful triumphantly processing around the church, holding icons of their patron or parish saints. In areas where multiple Orthodox churches exist, a “Pan-Orthodox” Vespers is also usually celebrated in the evening so all Orthodox Christian can join together in recognition of the day.
The Lenten Spring has come! We embark on our journey to PASCHA: Great Lent. Parishes will have a host of services to lead and guide us on this spiritual sojourn in worship; calling us to fasting, acts of mercy in charity, and increased fervor in prayer. "Awake, O my soul! The end is drawing near. Why do you remain idle? Why do you refrain from preparing yourself for the day of the Lord? The time is growing short. Rise! The Judge is near, He stands at the doors. Your life will pass like a dream, like a flower the time of this life passes. Why do you care about foolish things and toil in vain?" [Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete]
UPDATED: Archpastoral Letter now available! As we make ready for our Lenten journey to PASCHA (the Resurrection of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ), we are offered a period of time to prepare ourselves for the increased spiritual effort of prayer, charity, and fasting. The Lenten journey begins on Monday, 14 March and culminates in the joyous PASCHA on Sunday, 1 May. Archbishops Michael has issued an Archpastoral Letter for the beginning of the Great Fast. There are also two videos in the “Lessons in Our Faith” series that may be particularly helpful! They are: “Great Lent: Our Spiritual Life” and “Fasting: 7 Questions & 7 Answers.” Each video is a very brief and concise discussion (8 minutes each); they have been very popular and highly acclaimed (viewed over 3,000 times). To view these instructional videos, visit “Lessons in Our Faith” ... HERE!
What do you get when ten young adults … representing six different OCFs (fellowship of Orthodox college students at various campuses) in five states … and 11 nuns hailing from Kansas to Berlin, spend the weekend of 5-6 March 2016 together in close quarters? In preparation for Great Lent, the Cornell University OCF and friends from Upstate NY, Manhattan, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia journeyed to the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City PA for a long-anticipated weekend retreat; a chance to rejuvenate, a chance to re-establish a lost connection with Christ, and a chance to go back to taking on the world.
On the weekend of 5-6 March 2016 Archbishop Michael made an Archpastoral visit to the Saint John the Baptist Church in Alpha NJ. Archpriest Bohdan Ostash greeted His Eminence to the church on behalf of the faithful. On Sunday morning the Divine Liturgy was celebrated followed by a home-cooked meal prepared by the parishioners. During the fellowship gathering, Archbishop Michael met with the faithful and answered their questions. Parishioners and guests were inspired by the inspirational words and prayers of their Archpastor.
On Sunday evening, 28 February 2016, Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Whitestone NY hosted the annual appreciation dinner for Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDB) of the New York City Deanery. Archbishop Michael offered his sincere gratitude to the DDBs and presented an overview of the many fruits brought forth through their sacrificial financial support. Over $650,000 was contributed during the first five years (2011-2015) of the program! Last year a record-breaking total of $160,000 was received to support vital ministries throughout the diocese.
On Sunday, 28 February 2016, Archbishop Michael visited Archpriest Joseph Frawley (civilian chaplain), Matushka Irene, and the faithful cadets and faculty at historic West Point Military Academy. Gathering at Saint Martin of Tours Chapel every week, the “parish” at West Point is a loving and warm respite from the rigorous demands of military academy life. Ministry to those assigned at the Academy has been continually offered by Orthodox priests since the mid-1960’s when parishioners from Paramus NJ, under the leadership of Archpriest John Nehrebecki, began making visits to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Sundays.
The 6th Annual Diocesan Altar Servers Retreat was held at Saint Basil’s Academy in Garrison NY from Friday, 12 February to Sunday, 14 February 2016. Over fifty participants were present for all or part of the weekend. Altar servers and clergy came from each of the three deaneries (New Jersey, New York City and New York State) as well as from the Carpatho-Russian Diocese. Archbishop Michael, together with multiple priests, an archdeacon, as many other adult altar servers also came to share in the revitalizing weekend. The retreat was blessed with young men and boys who came to learn about serving with a bishop while enhancing all of their skills as servers at the Lord's altar.
On Sunday evening, 14 February 2016, Assumption of the Holy Virgin Church in Clifton NJ hosted the annual appreciation dinner for Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDB) of the New Jersey Deanery. Archbishop Michael offered his sincere gratitude to the DDBs and presented an overview of the many fruits brought forth through their sacrificial financial support. Over $650,000 was contributed during the first five years (2011-2015) of the program! Last year a record-breaking total of $160,000 was received to support vital ministries throughout the diocese.
It is still winter, but summer will be here soon. Now is the time to make plans for another summer camping program at Saint Andrew’s Camp! Counselors and volunteers are needed and are now being recruited. We cannot “get the word out” to eligible workers and volunteers without your assistance. Please help us in making this year’s Orthodox camping experience a success.
UPDATED: VIDEO now available! British Broadcasting Company and Public Broadcasting Service broadcast interviews with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon on the widely publicized meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow at Havana’s José Martí International Airport on 12 February 2016. BBC’s World News America aired a live interview with Metropolitan Tikhon, while an interview taped earlier in Washington DC aired as part of the PBS News Hour.
The church of the Mother of God, “Joy of All Who Sorrow,” in Princeton NJ celebrated the opening of its new Church on 29-30 January 2016. Now located at 904 Cherry Hill Road in Princeton, the parish project began with the purchase of a home and property in December of 2010. The grand opening event, marked by prayerful thanksgiving and celebration, began on Friday evening as Archbishop Michael and long-time parishioner, Nina Robinson, cut the ribbon and everyone entered for the first time to celebrate of Great Vespers.
As part of a "Vision for Our Future," Archbishop Michael launched the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program in January 2011. He called upon the faithful of the diocese to voluntarily support three initiatives through their financial gifts. These initiatives are: Support for Mission Parishes, Support for Seminarians, and Support for Existing Parishes. Thanks to the sacrificial generosity of DDBs from throughout the diocese and beyond, over $650,000 was contributed during the first five years (2011-2015) of the program! Last year a record-breaking total of $160,000 was received. As a result, vital ministries have received much-needed support; the work of the Church is being funded as never before! Soon, the list of DDBs already “on-board” this year will be published. You are invited to join them now in this opportunity to offer your support!
The parish of the Mother of God, “Joy of All Who Sorrow,” in Princeton NJ will observe a very special event on Saturday, 30 January 2016, as their newly constructed church building will be blessed and officially opened for worship. The celebrations will be led by Archbishop Michael and offer prayerful tribute to the sacrifices and labors of love exhibited by the community as they arrive at this important moment of grace. Many faithful from throughout the diocese who participated with diligence during “OPERATION PRINCETON” will rejoice with them. An invitation is extended all who wish to join in this joyous event.
Common Statement by Orthodox and Catholic Bishops
On January 22nd, Catholic and Orthodox Christians will once again stand in solidarity on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. As our communities firmly believe in the sanctity of life, the faithful -- along with many people of other traditions and good will -- lament the legal circumstances that facilitate abortion and the cultural phenomena that present abortion as the only choice for expectant mothers experiencing difficult conditions. We recognize that the choice to abort an unborn child ultimately reflects the broken condition of humanity.
Metropolitan Tikhon will be among the Orthodox Christian hierarchs, clergy, and faithful participating in the annual "March for Life" in the US Capital on 22 January 2016. Among the other members of the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops expected to participate are: Archbishop Benjamin, Archbishop Melchisedek, and Archbishop Michael. As in years past, students from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary and Saint Vladimir’s Seminary will be among the marchers. Orthodox Christian marchers are asked to gather before noon at 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue; look for the iconic “Orthodox Christians for Life” banner.
Father Vasil Dubee is the new pastor of Saint Innocent Mission in Oneonta NY. He was assigned to the mission parish by Archbishop Michael on December 1st. Father celebrated his first weekend of services at the Oneonta mission on the Feast of Saint Nicholas, Dec. 5-6. He married Matushka Lesya, a native of Ukraine, in 2010; they welcomed their daughter Veronika into the world in 2013. Father was ordained to the Holy Diaconate in 2014 and to the Holy Priesthood in November 2015 by His Eminence, Archbishop Mark (Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania). Received under the omophorion of Archbishop Michael in late 2015, he served as a supply priest in the New York State Deanery while awaiting assignment to his first parish.
Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet (Maplewood) NY celebrated its feast-day, in commemoration of Saint Basil the Great, on Friday, 1 January 2016. On Thursday evening, December 31st, Vespers with Litiya (a fervent prayer including a blessing of breads). On the following day (Friday) the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great was celebrated by his Eminence, Archbishop Michael, as the faithful of Saint Basil's parish commemorated their patronal saint. The concurrence of the civil New Year on 1 January made the celebrations additionally prayerful in thanksgiving for blessings past and those anticipated in the year ahead by the grace of God.
The ambitious goal of the 2015 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors initiative was to fully fund three essential ministries: support for our seminarians, support to mission parishes, and support to parishes in need of revitalization. With some contributions still being processed, 295 individual DDBs and 59 parish/organizational DDBs provided $159,000 during 2015. Thank-you to all who helped us meet the challenge!
Archbishop Michael presented a wonderful and enlightening Christmas Retreat entitled "Christ in the Old Testament" at Saints Peter and Paul Church in Syracuse NY on 12 December 2015. The day-long retreat began with an Akathist to Saint Herman of Alaska followed by the presentation, luncheon, second presentation and Vespers. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy the next day (Sunday, 13 December), His Eminence blessed a beautiful new sign at the church entrance.
His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, offers an Archpastoral Letter to the faithful of the diocese on the celebration of Our Lord's Nativity. In part, he writes: "May your Christmas and coming new year be filled with all the joy and blessings of the First Nativity … and because of the Gift that we receive, may we commend our whole lives to Christ our God … knowing that ‘There never was a king like this before!’”
The "Lessons in Our Faith" video series featuring Archbishop Michael offers concise and informative instruction on a variety of topics. Two videos are particularly approporiate at this time of year. One offers an insightful discussion of the life and spirit of the beloved Saint Nicholas the Wonderworking Archbishop of the 4th century (commemorated on December 6th). The other video is "The Nativity of Christ: 7 Questions & 7 Answers." Each video is available for viewing on any computer or mobile device, and each is 8-12 minutes in length.
On Saturday, 12 December 2015, the Orthodox Church of the Mother of God in Mays Landing NJ participated in the community's “Annual Christmas Walking Tour.” Sponsored by the Mays Landing Merchants Association, community members open their decorated homes to ticket-holding visitors. Of the 46 visitors, almost all had never been in an Orthodox Church, so there was ample opportunity to share the Faith of The Church with them, as well as invitations extended to attend Vespers or Liturgy. Whispers of "How beautiful!" were made as people stepped over the threshold into the church. As one person put it, "What a priceless gem there is in Mays Landing."
A group of faithful parishioners at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY, where winters are cold and snowy, gave of their time, talents, and love for others by diligently knitting hats, scarves, afghans, and blankets for the Willow Domestic Violence Center. A letter received from the Center director says: “Thank you for your support to our agency and the important work we do here, 24 hours a day. Together, we can make our community a safer place for everyone. We are especially grateful for your thoughtfulness to check our wish list before donating. We are lucky to be part of such a kind and generous community.” The project coordinators (Ann Michael Henry and Marge Cavalcanti) did a fabulous job along with the many knitters.
What does it mean to “serve out of love?” This question was answered on Friday, 20 November 2015, when the children of Saint George Orthodox Church School in Buffalo NY came together with their parents and teachers under the guidance of Father Jason Vansuch (parish rector) to learn what it means to help and serve others during this season of the Nativity Fast.
What does it mean to “serve out of love?” With the blessing Archbishop Michael, under the leadership of Father Jason Vansuch (Chairman, Department of Youth Ministry), young women from across the diocese were asked to ponder this question at the 2nd Annual Girls Retreat from 13-15 November 2015 at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY.
On a beautiful Tuesday evening, 17 November 2015, Bishop Alexander of Toledo (Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America) traveled to Ithaca NY to present a lecture on the writings of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite. The event was hosted by Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission Parish in Lansing NY (Father James Worthington, rector) and the Orthodox Christian Fellowship of Cornell University.
As many parishes throughout the diocese commemorated Veterans Day 2015, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Randolph NJ honored its veterans in a special way. Father David Fox (parish rector) included the names of living and departed veterans during a litany offered during the Divine Liturgy.
The annual Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey convened at Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in South River NJ on 10 November 2015. The following day, educational workshops were held for both clergy and laity delegates to the Assembly. The reports presented at the Assembly are now available on-line.
For the third year in a row, Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY hosted a blessing of animals (“our pets”) on Saturday, 7 November 2015. Parishioners warmly welcomed local neighbors and friends invited to the event as well as special guests from the Mounted Unit and K-9 Unit of the Rochester Police Department. Following a gathering outside the church, a procession led all to a “molieban” prayer service of thanksgiving and blessing held in the parish basement. The occasion offered a time for fellowship and many smiles.
As the chilly winds of fall and winter arrive, the days of 2015 will soon come to an end. It has been a blessed and fruitful year of supporting our seminarians, our mission parishes, and providing support in revitalizing our older parishes. All of this is made a reality thanks to the sacrificial financial contributions of our Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDB). To date there are 174 individual and organizational DDBs . . . an invitation is extended for you to join them this year.
A letter has been received by Archbishop Michael from His Beatitude, Tikhon (Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada) expressing gratitude to the Diocese of New York and New Jersey for contributions of support during the recent 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America. In part, His Beatitude writes: “I am sure you will agree that this Council marked a positive turn in the life of the Orthodox Church in America. Clergy, monastics, laity, youth and even those not present have expressed enthusiasm for the revitalization of our community as it strives to live as a truly local church here in North America . . . Our successful gathering in Council would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of members from your diocese.”
On October 8th the Diocese of New York and New Jersey was awarded a $2,000 grant from the Forum for Theological Exploration [FTE], a Christian ecumenical organization that provides grants, fellowships, and other resources to cultivate tomorrow's leaders in the church. The “Recruitment for Ministry Grant” provides leaders in the church opportunities to identify young adults with gifts for ministry, accompany them in the exploration of their purpose and cultivate them for Christian leadership. The grant will fund “Exploring Ministry: A Day in NYC for Youth and Young Adults to Learn How They Can Serve the Church and Change their World” slated to be held in the Spring of 2016.
On the weekend of 3-4 October 2015, Saints Peter and Paul Church in Manville NJ celebrated their 100th Parish Anniversary. His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, was welcomed and greeted by Father James Parsells (parish rector), visiting clergy, faithful, and friends of the parish for the liturgical celebrations and celebratory festivities. A commemorative video was premiered in honor of the occasion (see it here). For more information and photos of the 100th Anniversary weekend please visit the parish website: HERE!
UPDATED: 17 OCT 2015
Arrangements have been made for the funeral of Deacon Mark Hoeplinger. See "more information" below for complete details. The schedule is also available HERE.
We are deeply saddened to report that Deacon Mark Hoeplinger of Saint George Church in Buffalo NY fell-asleep in the Lord, suddenly and unexpectedly, on Thursday, October 8th while traveling overseas. An accomplished medical doctor and surgeon (otolaryngologist), Deacon Mark was a graduate of our Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program prior to ordination by Archbishop Michael. His life of service (diakonia) to others in the love of the Lord was noteworthy, as were his contagious enthusiasm, manifest joy, and ever-present smile. Our deepest sympathies are expressed to his Matushka (Dr.) Christine and to their family.
Christ the Savior Church in Paramus NJ sowed a healthy seed of faith in 1960 and, as the blossoming good fruit increased over the next 21 years, ten parishes were organized and formed in the New Jersey Deanery. It was a time of growth throughout the United States as a vision of “Expanding the Mission” was offered and motivated by Metropolitan Leonty (Primate of what would become the Orthodox Church in America, 1950-1965). The parish joyously celebrated its 55th Anniversary on the weekend of 26-27 September 2015 with a visit by Archbishop Michael in liturgical celebration and festive fellowship.
A new edition of "First Fruits" is available. Printed copies are to be distributed in our parishes as an outreach and vehicle of increased communication throughout our diocese. In this issue, we read: "God has given so much to us. Aside from our material possessions, He has blessed us with health, abilities and life itself. He has also offered intangible blessings to all of us -- forgiveness, strength, courage and, ultimately, eternal life just to name a few. Therefore, it is certainly a given that we should give back to God in return. In what spirit should our gifts be offered?" The current "First Fruits" may be downloaded HERE!
"On Sunday, October 4th, I ask all the faithful of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey to join me in celebrating Church Musician Appreciation Day. On that day, which is the Sunday closest to the feast day of Saint Romanos the Melodist (October 1st), I encourage Rectors, Parish Councils, and the faithful of our parishes to offer special thanks to their choir directors, singers, composers, arrangers, and those who teach church music to our children." -Archbishop Michael
Beautiful skies and bright sunshine greeted His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, for his Archpastoral visit to the Nativity of the Virgin Church in Jackson NJ on 20-21 September 2015 to celebrate the patronal feast-day of the parish. Sunday evening the church was filled with parishioners and friends from neighboring Saint Vladimir’s Memorial Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR) for a Vigil Service. The following day, a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence to mark the feast-day of the Nativity of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary as commemorated according to the Julian Calendar.
Saint Nicholas Church in Whitestone NY enjoyed two days with Archbishop Michael on 19-20 September 2015. The days were full of prayer, humor, and fellowship. A sermon was offered at every service and, as one long-time parishioner put it, “every word brought hope and joy!” After finding time to greet each and every parishioner, His Eminence continued his visit by making a hospital call to pray with Anna Kogaczewski, one of the most-senior and dearly-beloved members of the parish. The church in Whitestone has come to know, trust, and love Archbishop Michael without reservation ... and he makes clear that such love is returned to the faithful of his diocese.
The Diocese of New York and New Jersey has launched two new monthly newsletters: "First Fruits" and "Beyond the Plateau." The goal, as expressed by Archbishop Michael, is to increase communication and grow the communal spirit of diocesan fellowship in the building-up and strengthening of our parish communities. The first issues of these publications have been distributed to all clergy for dissemination within their parishes; they will also be made available each month on this website.
Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY held its annual family picnic on Sunday, 13 September. The picnic was sponsored by the men’s club of the parish on the grounds of the Maplewood Volunteer Fire Department. Parishioners, families, and friends were welcomed to the picnic attended by approximately 60 people. The weather was a perfect fall day and the food was cooked to perfection with friendship and fellowship abounding.
The weekend of 12-13 September 2015 was inspirational and memorable as the faithful of Saint John the Baptist Church in Alpha NJ received Archbishop Michael for an Archpastoral visit. Father Bohdan Ostash (parish rector) greeted His Eminence to the church on behalf of the faithful. Michael Tagor Vojnovic, a life-long parishioner, was tonsured to the rank of Reader during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday. Parishioners and guests were inspired by the words and prayers of their Archpastor, and enriched by the chance to reconnect with friends and relatives from near and far during a luncheon following the Sunday Liturgy.
Archbishop Michael, in conjunction with the Diocesan Council, has scheduled the Annual Diocesan Assembly to be convened on 10-11 November 2015 at Saints Peter and Paul Church in South River NJ. As a special guest, His Eminence has invited His Beatitude, Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All America and Canada to the Assembly. Additional information, delegate certification forms, and reports will be published on this website soon.
On September 2-3, 2015, over fifty clergy members from the Diocese of New York and New Jersey gathered for the annual Diocesan Clergy Conference, at Holy Assumption Church in Clifton, New Jersey. Convened by His Eminence, Archbishop MICHAEL, the two-day event served to strengthen the bonds of fellowship among the priests and deacons assembled in Clifton. The lectures and discussions were rooted in liturgical worship, with daily services celebrated and sung by Archbishop Michael and diocesan clergy. The Conference concluded with an informal dinner at a local restaurant, where the clergy members shared open discussion and enjoyed fellowship with their Archpastor and with one another before returning to their parishes.
The weekend of 29-30 August was inspirational and memorable for the Orthodox faithful of Saints Peter & Paul Church in Bayonne NJ marked by the Archpastoral visit of His Eminence, Archbishop Michael. It was a time to gather in prayerful gratitude for the many blessings God bestows on the parish, and to celebrate the joyous event of Father Sophrony Royer’s 25th Anniversary of ordination to the Holy Priesthood. A celebratory luncheon was held at the Knights of Columbus as parishioners, guests, friends, and the family of Father Sophrony heard many speeches and words of thanks in honor of his faithful and dedicated service to Christ and His Holy Church.
Bella scrunched up her face as the holy water splashed on her wrinkly nose. It was the 1½-year-old American bulldog’s turn with the Rev. Matthew Brown at the Holy Apostles Eastern Orthodox Church’s first-ever pet blessing on Saturday. “Oh, God, enlarge with us the sense of fellowship with all living things,” Brown said. “Our brothers and animals who you gave the earth as their home in common with us. Remember with shame that in the past that we have exercised high dominion as man with cruelty ... We realize that they live not for us alone, but for themselves and for being, and that they love the sweetness of life,” he continued.
On Sunday, 23 August 2015, Archbishop Michael made an annual Archpastoral visit to the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Brick, NJ. After the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence presented gramotas (recognition certificates of honor) to Dennis and Ann Marie Gahr, who celebrate 50 years of marriage this year. Gramotas were also presented to five parish couples celebrating 30 years of marriage: Thomas & Deborah Anderson, Thomas & Catherine Berger, Archpriest Gary & Matushka Mary Breton, Steven & Natalie May, and William & Linda Washenko.
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, the oldest Orthodox Christian Church in Buffalo NY, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is excellent news not only for the parish but for the immediate neighborhood. A letter sent to the parish from the New York State Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation states: "Listing on the National Register recognizes the importance of these properties to the history of our counrty and provides them with a measure of protection." Read more HERE!
Saturday, 29 August, marks the occasion of the birthday His Eminence, Archbishop Michael. Of all the things that can be said about our beloved “Vladika” perhaps the most concise is that he is very well known to all of us, and we are all very well known by him; he is loved by his spiritual flock, and he manifests his love for us continually. From end to end and top to bottom of our diocese, his perpetual travels, infectious enthusiasm, Archpastoral care and guidance are truly extraordinary. “Happy Birthday!” and “Many Years!” to Archbishop Michael. Eis Polla, Eti Despota!
The 5th Anniversary celebration of Holy Apostles Mission in Lansing (Ithaca) NY took place on the weekend of 8-9 August 2015. Archbishop Michael led the festivities having previously celebrated the 125th Anniversary of Saints Peter & Paul Church in Buffalo NY, the oldest parish in the diocese. As a testimony to the faithful endurance of Orthodox Christians in the diocese and the blessings of the Lord, His Eminence followed the 125th Anniversary commemoration by traveling 150 miles south-east to lead the faithful of one of the youngest parishes in its anniversary celebration. Nine local clergy representing three jurisdictions as well as faithful from throughout the diocese and beyond came together to give thanks to God for the tremendous blessings that have been poured out on this young, vibrant community.
On 1-2 August 2015, Archbishop Michael made a pastoral visitation to one of the oldest parishes ... most likely the oldest ... in the diocese of New York & New Jersey, Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Buffalo NY. The faithful of both OCA Buffalo parishes (the other is Saint George Orthodox Church) as well as other local Orthodox parishes gathered for the occasion to be with His Eminence for the liturgical celebrations. To read more about Archbishop Michael's visit to Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church please visit HERE!
The 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America [OCA] convened in Atlanta, Georgia on 20-24 July 2015. Gathered in holy assembly were the bishops, priests, monastics, and laity representatives of the church in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The council, which meets every three years, seeks to build the unity of faith within the Body of Christ by sharing prayer, fellowship, sacramental communion, and to discern the grace and will of the Holy Spirit for today and the future. Each diocese of the OCA presented a brief look into its life with a focus on the theme: “How to Expand the Mission.” The fourteen-minute video from the diocese of New York and New Jersey presented to the AAC is available for viewing here!
The Department of Christian Education conducted annual conferences regionally in the three Deaneries: 13 June at Christ the Savior Church, Paramus NJ; 20 June at Holy Trinity Church, East Meadow NY; 27 June at Saints Peter & Paul Church, Endicott NY. Sixty-one church school coordinators and teachers attended the conferences. During opening remarks, Archbishop Michael said: “Some say the youth is the future of the church. I say the church should be the future of our youth!” Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive with many stating it was extremely valuable information and exceeded all expectations.
The Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program immerses students in the life of the Orthodox Church through serving in the altar, singing in the choir, and studying Scripture, Church History, Liturgics, and Spirituality. The Diaconal Formation program meets every Saturday from September to December (Fall Semester) and January to May (Spring Semester). Students attend one of two campuses: Endicott NY or Philadelphia PA. Completion of the course of studies fulfills the necessary academic requirements for ordination to the Holy Diaconate. In accordance with Canon Law, all decisions regarding ordination rest with the diocesan hierarch. Men among the laity interested in pursuing theological study, spiritual formation, and liturgical training, and sense they might be called to the diaconal ministry, are encouraged to seek guidance from their parish priest.
A new edition of the official diocesan publication, “Jacob’s Well,” is now available on-line! Printed copies of this highly acclaimed magazine have been sent to all parishes for distribution to parishioners and visitors, and to provide a wonderful outreach to shut-ins and “seekers” interested in Orthodoxy. This current edition, and previous publications, may be viewed on the "Jacob's Well" website. Get the current edition (Read-All-About-it!) HERE >
With flowers of the field blossoming and the delightfully sweet fragrances of summer, the life of the diocese is flourishing thanks to the dedication and contributions of our Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB]. You can join their commitment to support our mission parishes, seminarians, struggling older parishes, and more, by adding your name to the 137 individuals, parishes and organizations that have become DDBs already this year. Last year, DDBs contributed $157,000 enabling ministries and outreach that would have been impossible without their loving, sacrificial support. Complete information about becoming a DDB including a convenient on-line contribution option may be found HERE!
In a letter addressed to the clergy and faithful of the diocese regarding the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages, Archbishop Michael provides instruction and guidance. In part, he writes: "Today we have heard the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn all bans of same-sex marriages by states. In doing so, it has declared such unions as being a constitutional right. This means that same-sex marriages can be legally performed in all states of our country. Despite this announcement, nothing has changed the teaching of our Holy Orthodox Church."
On Saturday, 13 June 2015, sixty-seven participants from several New Jersey parishes met for the annual “Run/Walk for the Church” to run and walk together on a course beginning and ending at Saints Peter & Paul Church in South River NJ. Participants enjoyed fellowship with each other, Archbishop Michael, and the Mayor of South River NJ, while celebrating the 20th anniversary of the annual “Run/Walk for the Church.” Similarly, Saint Andrew’s camp hosts an annual “Bike Ride” fund raiser, scheduled for 22 August 2015. See the event details in the “Upcoming Events” section of this website!
REGISTER EARLY for the Annual Diocesan Youth Day at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson NJ on Thursday, 20 August, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The admission cost of $30 includes all adventure park fees, round-trip bus transportation from Saint Mary’s Church, and a meal voucher! Reservations must be made by 10 August 2015. The event is for all diocesan youth and their friends, from elementary school to college ... for a day of fun and fellowship.
Seven Trenton NJ churches were awarded monies presented by Mayor Eric Jackson at City Hall on May 28, 2015. Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church was awarded $9,000 ($8,000 from this program and an additional $1,000 from another source) to cooperate with the “Faithful Families Eating Smart Moving More” program. Saint Vladimir Church is the only Orthodox Christian parish to be awarded the grant that supports and engenders many possibilities for the parish. Among them we will be partnering with ISLES, a non-profit organization specializing in planting community gardens.
On Saturday, 16 May 2015, Father (Dr.) Michael Speck was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at his home parish, Saint Nicholas Church, in Auburn NY. The following day, Sunday, 17 May, Deacon Sean McNulty (a graduate of our diocesan Diaconal Formation Program) was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at his home parish, Saint John the Baptist Church, in Rochester NY. Father Michael and Deacon Sean are now assigned and serving in their home parishes. May our Lord grant them “Many Years” as they labor to the glory of God and the good-estate of His Holy Church. “Axios!”
On Mothers Day, 10 May 2015, the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” Parish in Mays Landing NJ greeted Archbishop Michael, along with his mother and sister. The parish faithful, Father Matthew Searfoorce, Proto-Deacon John Morvay, and area friends joined to celebrate the Divine Liturgy as Reader Charles Vlash (Blaise) Gallagher was ordained to be a Sub-Deacon. Following the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, all joined in fellowship and a delicious meal which was prepared by the Parish Sisterhood.
On 1 April 2015, following a Lenten Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, Archbishop Michael blessed the faithful of the former Orthodox Christian Mission Station (Potsdam NY) naming “Saint Olympia” as their patron. Following the dedication of the new mission parish, His Eminence blessed and administered the oath of office to their first parish council and thanked Father David Edwards of the Monastery of Saint Silouan the Athonite in Spencerville, Ontario, Canada, for his dedicated service to the mission. Also serving that evening was Father Luke Majoros, also from Saint Silouan Monastery.
Our diocese celebrated the 5th Anniversary of the Consecration of His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, on Saturday, 9 May 2015. The day began at 9:30 a.m. with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Passaic NJ, and concluded with a 1:00 p.m. celebratory luncheon at “The Brownstone” in Paterson NJ. Clergy and faithful throughout the diocese -- those attending these special gatherings as well as those unable to be present -- joined in prayers of thanksgiving for the past 5 years of Archpastoral care, faithfulness, and love manifested through Archbishop Michael’s guidance and leadership. “Many Years!” to our beloved spiritual father in Christ and shepherd of the Lord’s flock abiding in New York and New Jersey.
On 2 May 2015, Archbishop Michael and the Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM] spent the day with more than 25 participants for a two-part workshop at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY. In the morning, Mark Bailey (leading scholar in liturgical music; Director of the Yale Russian Chorus) led participants in an interactive session of learning and singing; the vitality of singing through rhythm, pulse, diction, and phrasing while expressing music liturgically. The afternoon’s presenter was liturgical expert Aleksei Shipovalnikov who, with His Eminence and Father David Cowan, “walked through” the more challenging parts of the Hierarchical Liturgy commenting on “what’s going on” from their perspectives.
The summer programs at Saint Andrew’s Camp in Jewell NY are “gearing-up” for another summer of faith, fun, and fellowship. Currently the camp is seeking additional male counselors, and there’s always room for dedicated volunteers to support the activities of the five-week resident camping schedule in the beautifully rustic setting along the shore of Lake Oneida. Programs begin on 28 June and conclude on 1 August. See "Upcoming Events" on this webpage for dates and program themes! Of course, campers may resister now to attend! For complete information and on-line registration, visit the camp website.
With the blessing Archbishop Michael nearly twenty teenagers (grades 7-12) gathered on 20-22 March 2015 for the Annual Lenten Youth Retreat at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY. Father Jason Vansuch (Chairman, Department of Youth Ministry) coordinated the event together with youth workers Janine Alpaugh, Juliana Federoff, Danielle Geeza, and Tania Metz. The theme was "Let My Prayer Arise: The Mystery of Prayer" with guest speaker Father Timothy Hojnicki (Holy Apostles Mission, Mechanicsburg PA). Participants arrived late into Friday evening, braving the snow for the opportunity to enjoy fellowship with old acquaintances and to make new friends.
On “Bright Wednesday” of PASCHA, 15 April 2015, Christ the Savior Church in Paramus NJ greeted His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, and faithful from the surrounding area to celebrate a Paschal Vespers and enjoy a wonderful agape fellowship meal. Sixteen priests from the New Jersey Deanery vested to celebrate the Vespers with Archbishop Michael, and five priests attended joining a congregation that filled the church. The celebration and fellowship was a joyous expression of Christ’s glorious Resurrection.
The Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors of our diocese are people of all ages representing parishes in New York & New Jersey, and generous friends from more distant places. Their continued financial support assists seminarians, mission parishes, and older parishes in need of revitalization. By the grace of God and through their loving gifts, DDBs contributed $157,000 last year alone. On Sunday, 19 April, the third and final DDB Appreciation Dinner recognizing those who participated in 2014 was held in Endicott NY for the New York State Deanery. Earlier in the year, dinners were held for the DDBs of the New Jersey Deanery and the New York City Deanery.
Visit our camp! Enjoy our camp! Learn about our camp! The clergy and faithful of the diocese are invited to a "Bright Saturday" celebration at Saint Andrew’s Camp on Saturday, 18 April. The day will begin with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Michael. Following the Liturgy, a Paschal Buffet will be served and participants will have an opportunity to tour and learn more about the camp. Overnight accommodations are available for Friday and Saturday nights (reservation required). Contact the camp for further information and let them know if you will be able to participate in this special day!
We will celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the consecration of His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, on Saturday, 9 May 2015. The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Passaic NJ, and conclude with a 1:00 p.m. celebratory luncheon at “The Brownstone” in Paterson NJ. Clergy and faithful from throughout the diocese are invited to attend. Reservations are required for the luncheon.
You have entered the Holy City, O Lord, riding on the colt of an ass; hastening to Your Passion that the Law and the Prophets might be fulfilled. The Hebrew children greeted You with palms and branches heralding Your victorious Resurrection. Blessed are You, O Savior! Have mercy on us! (Vespers of Palm Sunday)
The Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announces its Faith-Based Diplomacy & Advocacy Initiative. The Initiative establishes a total of four (2 for 2015-2016 and 2 for 2016-2017) year-long Archdiocesan fellowships at the United Nations. All Orthodox Christian graduate and post-graduate students are invited to apply for a stipend fellowship.
On the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, 29 March 2015, Archpriest Peter Olsen and the faithful of Saint Basil Church in Watervliet NY eagerly welcomed the Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary “Mission Choir” and the seminary’s Dean, Archpriest Steven Voytovich. These dedicated seminarians visited both Saturday and Sunday, beautifully singing the evening Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy the following day. The voices of the six young men, under the direction of the very talented Benedict Sheehan, filled the church, enriched the services, and uplifted the faithful.
On the fourth Sunday of Great Lent (22 March) the pastor and faithful of Saint Nicholas Church in Whitestone NY invited guests from parishes of the New York City Deanery to come together to pray an evening Lenten Vespers service, meditate on the call of the Great Fast, and encourage one another. And did they come! The church was full of priests and believers who answered the invitation to fellowship. Archbishop Michael's sermon was a reminder that there is no “cheap grace” and as we look to the Cross we see the great price of love; we are called to respond with hearts made new and lives changed.
It gives us great joy to announce that the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, at its meeting concluded this past Friday, elevated our beloved diocesan hierarch to the rank of Archbishop. Liturgical commemorations should reflect this good news. Grant, O Lord, a prosperous and peaceful life, good health and salvation, visitation and good hastening in all things, to His Eminence, the Most Reverend MICHAEL, Archbishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey; and protect and preserve him for Many Years!
It was a great joy for the faithful of Saint Basil Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY and their Rector, Archpriest Peter Olsen, to host a Lenten Youth Retreat on Saturday, 14 March 2015. This annual regional event has been hosted for over 20 years and includes participation by local Orthodox parishes; in recent years it has been hosted by Saint Basil Greek Orthodox Church in Troy NY. This year the Lenten tradition returned to Saint Basil’s in Watervliet. Participating laity and clergy represented parishes in Troy, Albany, Ballston Lake and, of course, Watervliet NY.
UPDATED: Photos Added Despite snowy and icy conditions, many faithful gathered at Saint John the Baptist Church in Passaic NJ for the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” Vespers on Sunday, 1 March 2015. After a 40-minute travel delay, clergy from our New Jersey Deanery and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA) greeted and received blessings from His Eminence, Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America (AOCA). His Eminence led the procession of clergy into the church accompanied by His Grace, Bishop Michael, and His Grace, Nicholas, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn (AOCA) and Assistant to the Metropolitan.
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Manville NJ has launched a new outreach for their college students. Designed by Rebecca Oliver, an alumna from Penn State and young adult in the parish, the program is “Adopt a College Student.” The mission is to connect with college students from the parish and make sure they feel connected to their home parish. Parishioners were sought to “adopt” a college student from the parish and were given a survey to better know the interests and needs of their student. They were encouraged to sent packages, bulletins, cards, and warm messages to their adopted student. The program is off to a great start!
The 5th Annual Diocesan Altar Servers Retreat was held at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY from Friday, 6 February to Sunday, 8 February 2015. Over fifty participants were present for all or part of the weekend. Altar servers and clergy came from each of the three deaneries (New Jersey, New York City, New York State) as well as from the Carpatho-Russian Diocese. His Grace, Bishop Michael, together with six priests, a deacon, a sub-deacon, and a tonsured reader led the retreat. The participants enhanced their skills as servers at the Lord's altar and learned about the history and theology of the Divine Liturgy. They are now prepared to better assist during the divine services in their home parishes.
UPDATED - NYC Deanery photos As all three of our Deaneries (New Jersey, New York City, New York State) mark the incredibly successful conclusion of last year’s Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program with appreciation dinners, the 2015 DDB has been launched with an expectation for another year of commitment and generosity from the faithful of the diocese and beyond. As part of the “Vision for Our Future” articulated by Bishop Michael, the DDB Program specifically supports three major initiatives: (1) support for seminarians, (2) support for mission parishes, (3) support for older parishes in need of revitalization. With thanks to God and gratitude to our DDBs, last year was record-breaking with $157,000 in contributions.
Interviews with four senior priests and their wives are available as videos, and two interviews as audio presentations, as part of “CLERGY STORIES” on this website. “Stories can help us understand the formation of individuals, communities, and our Faith. They can teach, change, and perhaps even save us. They can bring into focus and clarify the key moments of our lives,” said the interview series producer, Father John Shimchick. “Getting older, I find myself more interested in knowing about the paths of those who have come before me.” The most recent addition is an interview with Father Daniel and Matushka Dunia Hubiak.
As we make ready for our Lenten journey to PASCHA (the Resurrection of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ), we are offered a period of time to prepare ourselves for the increased spiritual effort of prayer, charity, and fasting. The Lenten journey begins on Monday, 23 February and culminates in the joyous PASCHA on Sunday, 12 April. There are two videos in our “Lessons in Our Faith” series that may be particularly helpful! They are: “Great Lent: Our Spiritual Life” and “Fasting: 7 Questions & 7 Answers.” Each video is a very brief and concise discussion (8 minutes each); they have been very popular and highly acclaimed (viewed over 3,000 times). To view these instructional videos, visit “Lessons in Our Faith” ... HERE!
The weather outside is frightful (and cold!) but thoughts of a summer camping experience at Saint Andrew’s Camp are delightful. It’s not too early to make plans to attend one of the sessions at our only fully staffed sleep-over camp for children and teens. In 2015 there are four week-long sessions for kids 7-13 years-of-age, and one week for teens. Located in Jewell NY on the shore of Oneida Lake, the camp offers a unique experience of fun, faith, and worship in a truly Orthodox environment. Registration may be accomplished on-line HERE!
On Tuesday, 10 February 2015, Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church in Trenton NJ held the first meeting of a brand new ministry: Mothers of Pre-Schoolers [MOPS]. MOPS meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to Noon, providing free childcare for mothers of pre-school children as well as expectant mothers, during which the moms gather for a couple hours of fellowship, activities, discussion, and fun! "Our parish strives to be constantly aware of the needs of the community around us,” said Father John Diamantis (parish rector). “It is my hope and prayer that by reaching out to mothers, whether they are stay-at-home moms by choice or necessity, that we can help to replace some of their stress with Christ's love, warmth and comfort -- if only for a few hours every month."
Saints Peter and Paul Church in Jersey City NJ welcomed Bishop Michael for an annual Archpastoral visit on 31 January to 1 February 2015. The commemoration of the “Publican and Pharisee” (Luke 18:10-14) on Sunday marked the first preparatory Sunday leading to the beginning of Great Lent on 23 February, and the usage of the “Lenten Triodion” for liturgical texts leading to PASCHA ~ the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ ~ on 12 April.
On Saturday, 31 January 2015, Deacon Gregory White was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace, Bishop Michael, at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Church in South Canaan PA. Father Gregory, whose home parish is in Elmira Heights NY, is a recent graduate of our Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program and is now concluding his full-time/resident studies at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. May God bless and grant “many years” to Father Gregory and his wife, Matushka Katherine, as they begin this next phase of their public ministry to the glory of God and the good-estate of His Holy Church abiding in the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. “AXIOS! He is worthy!”
Very early Sunday morning, 25 January, Bishop Michael stepped off a “red-eye” flight from California and proceeded directly to Randolph NJ and Holy Trinity Church for a full day of activities. A primary purpose of his visit was to award an honorary Gold Cross to the parish rector, Father David R. Fox. In recognition of faithful and dedicated service, all present echoed “Axios!” (he is worthy!) as this priestly distinction was conferred upon Father David. A fellowship luncheon followed the celebration of a joyful Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.
Our diocesan publication, “Jacob’s Well,” is seeking the submission of articles for the Spring issue. The theme of the issue will be: “The Spiritual Discipline of Hospitality.” Deadline for articles is 2 March 2015. Questions and article submissions should to directed to the editor, Father John Shimchick firstname.lastname@example.org
The church of Saints Peter and Paul in Manville NJ celebrated their annual parish “Yolka” on Sunday, 11 January 2015. In the spirit of the Nativity/Theophany season, the children of the parish offered a marvelously unique presentation from the “Orthodox News Network” that was both informative and highly entertaining: “Breaking News - A Star Appears Over Bethlehem!” To view their delightfully creative performance click on 'more information' below.
In the days of festal commemoration of Our Lord's Theophany (6 January), parishes throughout the diocese celebrated the traditional "blessing of water" in various ways. On Sunday, 11 January, members of Holy Apostles Church in Saddle Brook NJ took a chilly five-minute walk to the Saddle River and performed the rite of Great Blessing of Waters. "It's a way to bless and sanctify all of creation," said Father Matthew Brown (parish rector). "The blessing was held this day because it is the first Sunday after Theophany, which is celebrated on January 6th."
On Saturday, 3 January, parishioners from Saint George Church in Buffalo NY and Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY met "half-way" for family fun and fellowship at Palm Island Indoor Water Park (Batavia NY). The day featured fun on the waterslides, pool basketball, and lots of splashing. As children enjoyed the water fun, adults discussed ways the parishes could collaborate and support one another in the future. Coordinating the event were Sub-Deacon Sean McNulty and Deacon (Dr) Mark Hoeplinger, both graduates of the Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program.
Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet (Maplewood) NY celebrated its patronal feast-day in commemoration of Saint Basil the Great on Thursday, 1 January 2015. Starting with the Vigil on Wednesday evening and continuing on Thursday morning with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Bishop Michael and the faithful of the parish celebrated the feast. His Grace awarded Father Peter Olsen (parish rector) the Jeweled Cross, a gift from the faithful for Father Peter’s 30+ years of dedicated service to the church. The "Saint Basil’s Bread" (Vasilopita) was blessed by Bishop Michael, according to tradition, and distributed to parishioners at the conclusion of the service.
His Grace, Bishop Michael, offers an Archpastoral Letter to the faithful of the diocese on the celebration of Our Lord's Nativity. In part, he writes: "On this most joyous Feast, let us unite together as a diocesan family, each in his own parish, and raise our voices in hymns of praise of the Incarnate One born of the Theotokos. Let us open our hearts to the gift of His love in His becoming one of us to die for our salvation; and let us renew our commitment to His way of life, begun at our baptism. Come, let us worship Him as our God! …not just this day, but at every opportunity through the coming new year!"
A traditional Christmas "Yolka" complete with a children's Nativity play, sing-a-long, and visit by beloved Saint Nicholas was celebrated at Saint Basil Church in Watervliet NY on Sunday, 14 December. The previous Sunday, Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY celebrated "Saint Nicholas Day" with a children's sermon on the life of the saint, gold coins filled with chocolate placed in the shoes of little ones left near the saint's icon following the Liturgy, a breakfast fellowship, and the decorating of the parish Christmas tree. Similar celebrations took place in various locations around the diocese.
Bishop Michael's fervent commitment to preach and teach the Gospel was manifested at Saints Peter & Paul Church in Syracuse NY on 13-14 December 2014. On Saturday, many parishioners and visitors were treated during the annual Advent Retreat to a tremendous "Overview of the Gospel of Saint John" with an emphasis on "The Good Shepherd." On Sunday, Bishop Michael celebrated the Divine Liturgy and blessed six new stained glass windows, installed to complete the Handicap Access Project in the church.
Members of the Woman-2-Woman’s Group at the Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross in Medford NJ gathered on Monday, 8 December, to assemble trays of Christmas Cookies. The cookies will be delivered to homebound parishioners and to Medford community servants: fire, police, and EMT squads. "Our hope is they will know that we remember them in our prayers," said Father John Shimchick (parish rector), "and that we appreciate their efforts." The parish will also host a Choral Prelude and Advent Vespers on Sunday, 14 December at 5:30 p.m. Information is available in "Upcoming Events".
A commemoration of the Holy Apostle Andrew "the First-Called" and Saint Nicholas "the Wonderworker" was celebrated at Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Bayonne NJ on Sunday evening, 30 November 2014. The New Jersey District of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America (FOCA) gathers at this time each year in remembrance of the organization’s patron, Saint Andrew. Fellowship followed in the church hall where His Grace, Bishop Michael, gave an inspirational talk about saints and their importance in our spiritual lives.
The First Annual Diocesan Girls Retreat was held, with the support and blessing of Bishop Michael, at Saint Basil’s Academy in Garrison NY from Friday, 14 November to Sunday, 16 November 2014. Over 35 young women were present for all or part of the weekend along with approximately 20 chaperones. Participants came from each of the three diocesan deaneries (New Jersey, New York City, New York State) in addition to a contingent from Berwick PA and from the Moscow Patriarchate. Given the success of this year’s inaugural event, His Grace gave his enthusiastic blessing to make this an annual retreat to occur each fall.
Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church was founded in Rochester NY on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women in 1964. That year, a group of Orthodox faithful joined together with the desire to establish a parish where the Divine Services would be conducted entirely in the English language. Faithfully enduring many difficulties and overcoming obstacles, the parish grew and found a home at its current location, a truly inviting and lovely place of worship centrally located and easily accessible from the entire greater Rochester area. At the beginning of 2014, the parish launched an Evangelism Task Force comprised of twelve members from teenage to eighty. On Wednesday, 12 November, the ETF met with Father John Parker (Chairperson of the OCA Department of Evangelization).
Over the weekend of 15-16 November 2014, Archpriest Jonathan Ivanoff (Director, Commission on Mission and Evangelism) visited Holy Apostles Mission Church in Lansing NY to meet with parishioners, celebrate the divine services, and share in the joy and blessings that are being poured out upon this missionary parish. The faithful of Holy Apostles Church are quite blessed to be encouraged and guided by Father Jonathan and the whole diocesan family of New York and New Jersey. Thanks to the prayers and generous support of the entire diocese, the Orthodox Church in America, and beyond, the mission to spread the Gospel "to all nations" is bearing fruit in Lansing NY.
The 5th Annual CROP Hunger Walk, sponsored by Church World Service, was held on 18 October 2014. The event was spearheaded by Holy Trinity Church in East Meadow NY with the coordination of a pan-Orthodox leadership committee. To date, $9,000 has been raised to help eradicate hunger and poverty locally and world-wide: one step at a time. "CROP" stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty.
On the weekend of 11-12 October 2014, Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Cohoes NY celebrated their Centennial year. Saturday morning a memorial Divine Liturgy was celebrated commemorating departed priests, parish leaders, and parishioners who had served in the church the previous 100 years. That afternoon, Father Terenti Wasielewski (parish rector) offered a history session, speaking about Lemkovyna: the place of origin for many parish founders. Stephanie Stroyen provided a pictorial time-line of the parish history. Vespers was served and a fellowship followed. On Sunday, Bishop Michael celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and the festive rejoicing continued afterward at the Ukrainian Citizen's Club of Cohoes.
UPDATED! Saint Andrew's Camp report (slideshow). Videos of Bishop Michael's "Address to the Diocese" and "2014: The Year in Review" along with photos, documents, reports, and more from the annual Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey are now available! Of special note regarding the proceedings are the unanimous approval of the proposed FY-2015 Budget, and the unanimously affirmed appointments by Bishop Michael of Father David Cowan as Vice Chancellor of the Diocese and Father Peter Olsen as the clergy member of the Diocesan Council representing the New York State Deanery, Special presentations to the Assembly included an update on Saint Andrew's Camp by Father John Malcom (Camp Director) and a stimulating discussion on "Parish Evangelism" by Father John Parker (OCA Department of Evangelization, Chair). You can view the videos and more on the Assembly website!
Beautiful skies and bright sunshine greeted His Grace, Bishop Michael, for a pastoral visit to the Nativity of the Virgin Church in Jackson NJ the weekend of 25-26 October. Bishop Michael arrived on Saturday evening and was met by the Archpriest John Prokopiuk (parish rector) who greeted His Grace before the start of evening Vespers. Upon entering the church Bishop Michael met with the faithful of the parish and greeted everyone in attendance. After Vespers everyone proceeded to the parish hall for dinner. On Sunday, His Grace celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy followed by a lunch fellowship.
Holy Trinity Church, Randolph NJ, entered its 51st year in a glorious weekend (4-5 October 2015)! At a 50th Anniversary Great Vespers on Saturday evening, Bishop Michael blessed the renovated fellowship facility, renamed “Founders Hall,” as well as new carved altar cover and a table of oblation. The new Hall is dedicated to the small group of Morris County residents who started the parish in 1964 under the guidance of Very Reverend John Nehrebecki, “through their desire for God, vision, and sacrifice.” On Sunday, following the celebratory Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, more than 200 guests enjoyed a brief, professionally-produced video exploring the history and character of the parish.
A “Blessing of Animals” was held at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY on Saturday, 4 October 2014. The parish’s Evangelism Task Force [ETF] delivered, by US Mail “Every Door Delivery,” over 2,400 invitations to residents within a half-mile radius of the church as an outreach of neighborly welcome. Parishioners were also asked to bring flyers to their neighbors, friends, and coworkers with a warm and welcoming invitation. A highlight for those attending was participation by members of the Mounted Unit of the Rochester Police Department.
A new edition of the official diocesan publication, “Jacob’s Well,” is now available on-line! Printed copies of this highly acclaimed magazine have been sent to all parishes for distribution to parishioners and visitors, and to provide a wonderful outreach to shut-ins and “seekers” interested in Orthodoxy. This current edition, and previous publications, may be viewed on the "Jacob's Well" website. Get the current edition (Read-All-About-it!) HERE >
It was a glorious weekend, 27-28 September 2014, at Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Buffalo NY. Many guests and visitors from neighboring churches joined Father Volodymyr Zablotskyy (parish rector) and parishioners in celebration of the 120th Anniversary of the oldest Orthodox Church in Buffalo and the “senior parish” of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. Following the celebratory Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, a festive banquet took place at Creekside Banquet Facility in Cheektowaga NY.
The Annual Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey will convene at Saints Peter & Paul Church in Endicott NY on Tuesday, 11 November 2014. Bishop Michael will lead assembled clergy and laity delegates, representing all diocesan parishes, in prayerful discussion and deliberation regarding the life of the diocese. The following day, priests and deacons will participate in a Continuing Clergy Development Seminar. Complete information including important documents, forms, and official reports to the Assembly are available on a dedicated Assembly webpage. Following the Assembly, Bishop Michael’s address to the diocese and other highlights will be published on this webpage.
A Diocesan Girls Retreat for those in grades 7-12 will take place at Saint Basil’s Academy in Garrison NY from Friday-Sunday, November 14-16, 2014. Saint Basil's Academy has beautiful grounds offering dormitory style rooms, an indoor basketball court and an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool which will be available for use. There is no fee to participate in this three-day retreat. Participants may arrive beginning Friday, November 14, at 4:00 p.m. Registration documents and complete retreat information are being sent to all diocesan clergy; they are also available on the diocesan website. Registration must be submitted by 7 NOVEMBER 2014.
The 3rd annual Saint Andrew's Camp Bike Ride was joined by a “southern team” Walk providing much-need financial support from both states (NY and NJ) comprising the diocese. On Saturday, 23 August, 17 bicyclists and 17 walkers gathered at two ends of the diocese to support the camp. At the camp in upstate NY many of the bicyclists arrived on Friday to enjoy fellowship and a pasta dinner overlooking beautiful Oneida Lake. The next morning, joined by other local riders for a light continental breakfast, they took off on a 12, 30 or 60 mile loop through the beautiful countryside of central NY. The day ended at the camp with a barbeque by the lake.
The Vernak family, parishioners, and friends gathered on 17 August 2014 at Christ the Savior Church (Paramus NJ) to celebrate the 40th Wedding Anniversary of Archpriest David and Matushka Mariam Nehrebecki Vernak. A highlight was the attendance of their 6 children and their spouses, and 13 grandchildren. The children presented a memorable slide show, speeches, and other spontaneous remarks about their parents and life in the church. Subsequently, Bishop Michael was present to bless and celebrate the actual anniversary date of their marriage (8 September). May God grant Father David & Matushka Mariam “Many Blessed Years!”
At the invitation of His Eminence, Archbishop Abel (Diocese of Lublin and Chelm), Bishop Michael journeyed to Poland from 11-22 August 2014. Joining him from the diocese were Father Wiaczeslaw Krawczuk, Father John Shimchick and his son, John. Beginning in Warsaw, the group was formally received by the leader of the Polish Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa. Accompanied and guided by Archbishop Abel they visited many churches, monasteries, and pilgrimage sites. His Grace and Father Wiaczeslaw also traveled to represent the Orthodox Church in America at the enthronement in Kiev, Ukraine, of the newly elected primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry.
UPDATED Father John Bohush (Saints Peter & Paul Church, Endicott NY) fell-asleep in the Lord on Monday, 8 September. Well-known and beloved throughout the diocese, especially in the NY State Deanery for his extensive travels and labors assisting parishes during times of pastoral need, the news of Father John’s passing is sudden and heartbreaking. Information regarding funeral services is available HERE.
May his memory be eternal!
Priests and deacons from across the farthermost reaches of the diocese -- downstate NJ (Mays Landing) to upstate NY (Buffalo) -- gathered with Bishop Michael on 3-4 September 2014 in Clifton NJ, at Assumption of the Holy Virgin Church, for the 2014 Diocesan Clergy Conference. Nine accredited hours of Clergy Continuing Education [CCE] were available to meet the annual requirement of twenty CCE credits established by the Orthodox Church in America for all clergy. In addition, priests and deacons enjoyed and benefited from fellowship in prayer, unity in study, spiritual renewal, and a strengthening of brotherly affection among pastoral ministers.
His Grace, Bishop Michael, represented the Orthodox Church in America at the enthronement of the newly elected primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Sunday, 17 August 2014, in Kyiv. After the reading of the greeting of Metropolitan Tikhon on behalf of the OCA [read more here], Metropolitan Onufry was presented with relics of Saint Herman, Saint Tikhon, Saint Innocent, Saint Raphael and Saint Alexis Toth, with which he blessed the thousands of hierarchs, clergy and faithful who gathered for the occasion. In his letter to Metropolitan Onufry on behalf of the OCA, Metropolitan Tikhon wrote: "On this day, we all join in the joyful exclamation: Axios! Axios! Axios!"
The diocesan Diaconal Formation Program is a two-year course of study, accredited by Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, offered at the Endicott NY Campus (Saints Peter & Paul Church). Classes meet every Saturday of the academic year. Upon completion of the course, students are awarded the Certificate of Diaconal Formation. Completion of the course of studies fulfills the necessary academic requirements for ordination to the Holy Diaconate. In accordance with Canon Law, all decisions regarding ordination rest with the diocesan hierarch. Applications for the program beginning with the upcoming Fall Semester are now being accepted.
The four-week 2014 camping season at Saint Andrew’s Camp in Jewell NY concluded on 2 August. Weekly themes included: Horse Week, Music Week, Ecology Week, and Teen Week. According to camper and webmaster Raphael Platte of Rochester NY, “Saint Andrew’s Camp had a wonderful season this year! Nearly 70 campers came over four weeks to learn, play, and pray.” On 23 August (Saturday) the summer activities at camp will conclude with an Annual Bicycle Ride fundraiser. To register for the bike ride, go HERE!
The weekend of 19-20 July was inspirational and memorable as the faithful of Saints Peter & Paul Church, Bayonne NJ, welcomed Bishop Michael for an Archpastoral visit. Philip Benda, a lifelong parishioner, was tonsured to the rank of Reader during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday and blessed to wear the sub-diaconal orarion. Another happy event of the day was the 90th birthday celebration for Wilfred Royer (father of Archpriest Sophrony Royer, parish rector). Parishioners and guests were inspired by His Grace’s words and prayers, and enriched by the chance to reconnect with friends and relatives, from near and far, during a luncheon following the Sunday Liturgy.
UPDATED! The 2014 Parish Council Conference, conducted regionally in all three deaneries, featured the theme: “Parish Vitality.” Father John Reeves was the conference facilitator and provided those in church leadership with valuable information, insights, and tools to evaluate and improve the health and well-being of their local parish communities. A conference video (parts one and two) are available on this website now! Anyone involved or interested in the building-up of their parish will find these presentations helpful. See the special icon-link on this homepage ... “PARISH COUNCIL CONFERENCES AND RESOURCES” ... for information on this and previous conferences. To view the 2014 video, go HERE!
On Saturday, 19 July 2014, twenty-five people from various locations and parishes gathered at Saint Nicholas Church in Cohoes NY for “Basic Conducting: What’s All That Hand Waving About?” This music workshop, organized by the Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM], was taught by Professor (Dr.) David Drillock -- a master teacher and conductor. It was an opportunity to learn from one of the most highly respected musicians in our church.
The New Jersey Deanery held its annual “Clergy Family Picnic” in Paramus NJ on Sunday afternoon, 13 July, hosted by Bishop Michael. Due to inclement weather, the picnic became a cook-out/eat-in affair. Father David Vernak and Matushka Tamara Skvir ventured outside to prepare hamburgers and hot dogs between the rain drops; Matushka Eugenia Nehrebecki prepared a favorite chicken recipe, served on elegantly prepared tables for the nearly 40 clergy family members who enjoyed being together for fun and fellowship. Those present expressed their gratitude to His Grace for making the joyful day a reality.
In order to provide much-needed financial support to our seminarians, mission parishes, and struggling older parishes, 118 individuals and 24 parishes or organizations from throughout our diocese and beyond have boarded the 2014 DDB Train ... and, we’re rolling down the track in another year of grace ... strengthening our diocese, our parishes, and our faithful! Thanks to their commitment and generosity to diocesan ministries, DDBs have contributed $59,850 so far this year; over $420,000 since the beginning of the DDB initiative in 2011. A train station near you is open for business, and it’s easy to get a ticket (yes, you can do it on-line)! If you are able to share of the blessings you have received from God, “welcome aboard!”
Two-and-a-half years ago Bishop Michael’s video series, “Lessons in Our Faith,” was launched on the diocesan website. Since then, a total of 14 lessons have been produced. On a variety of subjects, each video is 8-15 minutes in length and offers a concise presentation of Orthodox teaching and practice in a straight-forward manner suitable for both church faithful and those who are not currently members of the Orthodox Church: seekers, inquirers, catechumens. On the 4th of July this year, one of the lessons (“Fasting: 7 Questions & 7 Answers”) reached the milestone of being viewed 3,000 times; in all, there have been 10,020 viewings of the videos by a world-wide audience including 27 countries.
A series of interviews, some video and some audio, with our esteemed senior clergy and their wives has been prepared by Father John Shimchick and is now available on our website. The series, which will be expanded in the days ahead, is: “Gift and Grace: Stories of Orthodox Clergy and their Wives.” An icon-link to CLERGY STORIES is displayed on this homepage along with other valuable icon-links to items of interest. “I hope as well this may encourage similar oral history projects within our parishes,” said Father John. “We know our seniors represent a unique and irreplaceable treasury of knowledge and experience, and of witness a kind of martyria of love and dedication to God, pastoral work, and love. Let's all commit to this effort of documenting and learning from the lives of those who have served our Church with such energy, clergy and lay people, married and those who are single. It's important to be reminded of those stories around us that have led ‘to a further, more complete, more total service of Christ and his Church.’ The stories are out there!”
On Sunday, 22 June 2014, the parishioners of Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY celebrated the 100th birthday of parishioner Eugenia Zaharchuk. Eugenia, a lifelong member of the parish, received the well-wishes of her friends and a special congratulatory letter from Bishop Michael. Over 100 birthday cards, along with a blessed icon of Saint Eugenia (her patron saint) were presented to her. After the Divine Liturgy a special coffee hour and birthday celebration was held in her honor. May God continue to bless her for “Many Years!”
Hushed silence, hearty laughs, and even some clapping could be heard at Holy Apostles Church in Saddle Brook NJ when the Konevets Quartet from Saint Petersburg Russia performed a concert of both hymns and folk songs on the evening of Tuesday, 24 June 2014. The concert lasted about two hours and drew over 100 people from diverse backgrounds. Orthodox churches in the area were represented including: OCA, Russian Patriarchal, Ukrainian, Antiochian, and Greek parishes. There were also a dozen parishioners from Saint Philip’s, the neighboring Catholic church.
On 21-22 June, Bishop Michael made his annual visitation to Holy Spirit Church in Wantage NJ. After the Divine Liturgy, His Grace honored parish high school and college graduates presenting them with copies of the myrrh-streaming icon of Saint Anna and the Theotokos. A dinner was held in the church hall after the services. Later in the afternoon, the parish council and their spouses were invited to the rectory along with His Grace to discuss the life of Holy Spirit Church, its spirituality and ideas for continued growth and outreach to the area.
On Saturday, 21 June 2014, college students, clergy, and laity gathered at Holy Apostles Mission Parish in Lansing NY for “The Fields are White for Harvest: Welcome to College Ministry.” Father John Diamantis (Chairman, Diocesan Department of College Ministry) remarked: “It is appropriate and inspiring for us to meet at a mission parish for this conference since the spirit of missions, which the Apostles had, is embodied in this community and permeates every aspect of what we all will be doing with college ministry. More than just a way of keeping our own students connected to the Church, college ministry offers a fantastic opportunity to reach the un-churched and lapsed.”
The 2014 Clergy Continuing Education Symposium at Saint Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan PA) convened on 17-19 June 2014. As a generous and accommodating pastoral outreach by the seminary faculty and staff, the school provided the symposium to assist Orthodox Church in America clergy in fulfilling 20 hours of continuing education annually as mandated by the Holy Synod of Bishops. Six three-hour session/lectures were offered, each pre-approved for a total of eighteen hours of clergy continuing education available.
On Sunday, 15 June 2014, Christ the Savior Church in Paramus NJ welcomed Bishop Michael for an Archpastoral visit. During the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, His Grace ordained Subdeacon David Maliniak to the Holy Diaconate. Deacon David, who is also the Senior Warden of the parish, is a 2014 graduate of the Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program in conjunction with Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, Philadelphia campus. Deacon David’s family (Matushka Elizabeth and their daughter Sophia), the parish community, and visitors enjoyed a delicious brunch following the Divine Liturgy.
On the feast-day of Pentecost, 8 June 2014, Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY held its annual 5K WALKATHON in support of providing scholarships to campers attending Saint Andrew’s Camp this summer. The walkers had a beautiful day and enjoyed the scenery of Highland Park ... home of the famous “Lilac Festival” ... on route to Mount Hope Cemetery where prayers were offered at the graves of Father Cyril and Matushka Gretel Stavrevsky (parish rector, 1979-2003) and on behalf of all departed parishioners and loved ones. Upon return to the church, ice cream and fellowship were a delightful reward. The Camping Program at Saint Andrew's Camp begins on 6 July 2014 and continues for 4 weekly sessions.
Bishop Michael visited Holy Spirit Church in Wantage NJ on Monday morning, 9 June 2014, to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on the patronal feast of the parish. Archpriest Samuel Kedala (parish rector) and parishioners welcomed and greeted visitors from other churches. A festal meal was served in the church hall after the celebration of a spiritually uplifting Liturgy and homily delivered by His Grace.
His Grace, Bishop Michael has issued an Archpastoral Letter to the faithful of the diocese for the Feast-Day of Holy Pentecost celebrated on 8 June 2014. In part, he writes: “Pentecost has happened to us … the fire of the Holy Spirit has been ignited in each of us. . . We are all responsible for fueling and feeding the fire that God lit in us when we were Baptized and Chrismated. . . On this glorious Feast of Pentecost, my prayer for us all is that we will ignite anew in our lives the fire of the Holy Spirit … and live for Christ and like Christ, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit -- such that our lives will be a witness to our Lord and Savior, others will be drawn to Him through us, and we will give glory to the God Who loves us more than we love ourselves.”
Holy Apostles Orthodox Church, Saddle Brook NJ, commemorated the 45th anniversary of its founding on Saturday, 31 May 2014. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace, Bishop Michael, and concelebrated by Father Matthew Brown (Rector) and guest clergy: Father Thomas Edwards (former parish rector for 29 years), Father John Nehrebecki, Father Paul Kucynda, Father David Vernak, Father Stephen Krivonak, Father Stephen Evanina, and Father Igor Kseniuk. Assisting during the service were: Deacon Nicholas Garklavs and Sub-Deacons Peter Eagler, Mark Federoff, and Alexander Vlachos. Following the service, festivities continued well into the afternoon.
With a donation of $10,000, the membership of the Orthodox Christian Association of Cohoes NY has created a Memorial Seminarian Scholarship in the name of the late Peter J. Geleta. This donation is inspired by the “Vision for Our Future” initiative and Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors program instituted by His Grace, Bishop Michael.
Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church (Rochester NY) celebrated its 50th parish anniversary on 17-18 May 2014. The weekend commemorations included a festive banquet on Saturday followed by Great Vespers, and a joyous Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday. Celebrating the Liturgy with Bishop Michael were the parish rector, Father Ken James Stavrevsky (a “son of the parish”), Father Thaddeus Wojcik (first permanent rector of the parish, 1968-1975), and Father John Dresko (also a “son of the parish”). Photos of the events, the commemorative book, and audio recordings of the presentations made at the banquet, are available HERE!
On Sunday, 25 May 2014, Bishop Michael made an archpastoral visit to Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY. During the visit, at the request and on behalf of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon (Orthodox Church in America), His Grace ordained Deacon Kyle Parrott to the Holy Priesthood. Father Kyle is from the Archdiocese of Canada and is a graduating senior at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood NY). He has spent the past academic year serving as a pastoral intern in the Yonkers parish.
Two music workshops will be held in conjunction on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at Saint Nicholas Church in Cohoes NY. Sponsored by the Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM], one workshop (for adults) is “Basic Conducting: What’s All That Hand-Waving About?” and the other workshop (for children) is “Making Music with Kids: An Orthodox Experience.” The workshop leaders are well-known and highly esteemed in the area of liturgical music: Dr. David Drillock & David Lucs. These outstanding opportunities will begin at 10:00 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. Lunch and all materials are included in the registration fee.
Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan PA) will host its annual Continuing Clergy Education Symposium on 17-19 June 2014. The school provides this symposium to assist Orthodox Church in America clergy in fulfilling 20 hours of continuing education annually as mandated by the Holy Synod of Bishops. All courses are available and pre-approved for Clergy Continuing Education credit. The cost (including lecture registration, room & board) is only $100.00 per person. To register for this exceptional opportunity -- a generous and accommodating pastoral outreach by the seminary faculty and staff -- call Saint Tikhon’s Seminary (570-561-1818) or send an email to Sophia Pierce at email@example.com
One of the oldest Orthodox churches on the East Coast -- Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Brooklyn NY -- was re-dedicated following a complete restoration and renovation. On 3 May 2014, Bishop Michael attended the evening Great Vespers service and, following the service, Archpriest Wiaczeslaw Krawczuk (parish rector) served a Panikhida in memory of the church founders and former parishioners. Hundreds of names were mentioned. The following day (Sunday, 4 May), His Grace joined concelebrating clergy in blessing the interior and exterior of the Church.
The choir of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross (Medford NJ) and the Northern Burlington County Regional High School Chorale will present “An Evening of Choral Music” to benefit Covenant House of Camden NJ on Sunday, 1 June 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served following the choral presentations. Information and directions are available HERE.
His Grace, Bishop Michael was consecrated to the Episcopacy on May 8th, 2010 and the following day (May 9th) he was enthroned as “Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey.” Since that time, our diocese has seen new life and vitality as our beloved bishop leads by an example of sacrificial service, pastoral care, loving compassion, ceaseless visitation, fervent prayer, and seemingly boundless energy. We have been abundantly blessed by God, witnessing an overflowing of enthusiasm and labors as the “good fruits” of the Lord’s vineyard in New York & New Jersey are planted and harvested. May God grant our beloved Archpastor "MANY BLESSED YEARS!"
Saint Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church in Wappingers Falls NY celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 26-27 April 2014. The joy of this occasion was enriched by the presence of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon (Orthodox Church in America), His Grace, Bishop Michael, and His Grace, Bishop Seraphim (retired, former Bishop of Sendai, Japan) who, together with Father Alexis Vinogradov (parish rector), Father Michael Plekon, visiting clergy, members of the parish and visitors joined together for liturgical services to give thanks to God for half-a-century of blessings bestowed on the parish community.
On the evening of Bright Wednesday, 23 April 2014, clergy and faithful from throughout the New Jersey Deanery gathered with His Grace, Bishop Michael, to celebrate a joyous Paschal Vespers. The deanery’s traditional annual service was held at Christ the Savior Church in Paramus NJ. Following the service all were treated to a delicious Agape meal prepared by members of the parish. “Christ is Risen!”
On 4-5 April 2014 the diocese held its annual Lenten Youth Retreat at Holy Resurrection Church in Wayne NJ drawing teens from New Jersey and New York. The theme of the overnight event was "Miracles in Our Midst" and was led by Father Jason Vansuch (Chairperson, Department of Youth Ministry). “It is so important for our diocesan youth to come together as often as possible to strengthen their faith and have fun,” said Danielle Geeza (retreat facilitator) of the host parish. A 5-minute video of the event may be viewed HERE!
photos added! see more information
“Sharing Orthodoxy: Conversations on Faith with Family and Friends” ~ a Conference on Evangelism ~ will be held at Holy Trinity Church in Elmira Heights NY on Saturday, 3 May 2014. Sponsored by the Commission on Mission and Evangelism, the conference will show and teach an approach to sharing Orthodoxy with others of various, or no, religious backgrounds by “speaking the truth in love.” This is an all-day event beginning at 9:00 a.m. and concluding with Vespers at 5:00 p.m. There is no fee to attend!
This is the day of resurrection! Let us be illumined by the feast! Let us embrace each other! Let us call “brothers” even those that hate us, and forgive all by the resurrection, and so let us cry: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” (Paschal Canon)
Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the tree of the cross. The King of the Angels is adorned with a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in a purple robe of mockery. He who is the new Adam, manifested at His baptism in the Jordan, is slapped on the face. The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the cross with nails. The Son of the Virgin is crucified and pierced by a spear. We worship Your passion, O Christ! We worship Your passion, O Christ! We worship Your passion, O Christ! Show us also Your glorious resurrection! (Antiphon Fifteen)
When Your glorious disciples were enlightened at the washing of their feet before the supper, then the impious Judas was darkened by the disease of avarice, and to the lawless judges he betrayed You, the Righteous Judge. Behold, O lover of money, this man Judas who because of avarice hanged himself. Flee from the insatiable desire which dared such things against the Master! O Lord who deals righteously with all, glory to You! (Troparion of Holy Thursday).
As the Savior went to his passion, he said to his friends: “Everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another. Be at peace with one another and with every one. Be of humble mind, and you will be exalted. Acknowledge me as Lord! Praise and extol me to all ages." (Matins of Holy Monday)
The Orthodox churches of Saints Peter and Paul, Holy Ghost, Saint Mary and Saint Athanasius (Manville NJ) participated in creating 32 meal baskets and Easter baskets for those in need. In addition to the participating churches, Christ the King School in Manville also donated items. The project, on 12 April 2014, was a wonderful team effort among those participating in outreach to the local community during the season of Great Lent.
The Orthodox Christian Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Pearl River NY celebrated the Holy Mystery of Unction with Bishop Michael and 6 concelebrating priests on Tuesday evening, 8 April 2014. In his homily, His Grace expounded on the image of our Lord Jesus Christ as Healer with the theme: “By His stripes we are healed” and the Church as the place of healing. This was the 7th annual celebration with a full complement of 7 priests serving. It is a tradition well received and joyfully anticipated by parishioners as well as the invited clergy and faithful from the region.
The days of Great Lent will soon come to an end; we will enter Holy Week and the journey to Our Lord’s passion, the Cross, His three-day burial, and glorious Resurrection on PASCHA! Acts of charity and almsgiving are an essential part of our Lenten effort, along with prayer and fasting. One way to offer a portion of your material blessings is through the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program that supports mission parishes, seminarians, and struggling parishes.
As part of an on-going effort to bridge the gap between Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church (Trenton NJ) and the surrounding community, the parish Church School sponsored and organized a field trip to Mercerville Nursing Center on Sunday, 30 March 2014. Eighteen students and parishioners brought gifts, sang songs, told jokes, danced, read poems and played piano for 20 residents. To close the program the children sang the Lord’s Prayer, a Communion Hymn and “God Bless America” before handing out small gifts to the residents.
Bishop Michael served, preached, and encouraged the faithful of Saint Nicholas Church in Whitestone NY at Saturday evening Vespers, Sunday morning Liturgy, and a Sunday afternoon Deanery Vespers service on the 4th Sunday of Great Lent, 30 March 2014. The faithful presented His Grace with a contribution to the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program, given to assure Bishop Michael that they have heard his plea for a more Christian means of supporting the vital work of the Church.
The Department of College Ministry ~ in conjunction with Orthodox Christian Fellowship and the Orthodox Church in America Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry ~ presents: “The Fields are White for Harvest: Welcome to College Ministry.” Saturday, 21 June 2014 at Holy Apostles Church in Lansing NY.
The Holy Synod of Bishops is the supreme canonical authority in the local Church. It includes, as voting members, all the diocesan bishops of the Church. The Metropolitan is the Chairman of the Synod. The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America concluded its spring session on Friday, 21 March 2014. In his opening report, titled “The Apostolic Work of the Church,” Metropolitan Tikhon presented his vision for the Church’s ongoing ministry. The Holy Synod elected His Grace, Bishop Mark [Maymon] as Bishop of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth Johnson has released a new children’s book, “The Miracle of the Red Egg.” She is a member of Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY. Anthony Cassar, lead altar server at Mother of God Orthodox Church, Princeton NJ, took first place in the 2014 NJ State Wrestling Tournament - 195 pound Weight Class - on his 18th birthday (March 9th). Congratulations to Elizabeth and Anthony!
NEW photos added! Parishes throughout the diocese participated in evening commemorations of the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” (the first Sunday of Great Lent) on 9 March 2014. The traditional Lenten Vespers service celebrates the truth and treasure of the Orthodox faith while providing an opportunity for a common gathering of faithful from Orthodox parishes of various canonical jurisdictions within a particular geographic location. For example, in Buffalo NY the service was at Saint George Orthodox Church; in Rochester NY the service was at Saint Mary “the Protectress” Ukrainian Orthodox Church: in Binghamton-Endicott NY the service was at Saints Peter & Paul Church.
His Grace, Bishop Michael visited Holy Spirit Church in Wantage NJ on Wednesday evening, 12 March 2014, to celebrate the Liturgy of the Holy Pre-Sanctified Gifts. Faithful from the parish and Archpriest Samuel Kedala (rector) greeted visitors from other churches in attendance. A Lenten meal was served in the church hall after the celebration of a spiritually uplifting experience during the second week of our Lenten journey to PASCHA.
The Mother of God Orthodox Church mission in Princeton NJ is making great progress in building and establishing their new home of worship. Following the success of a diocesan-wide initiative, OPERATION PRINCETON, work continues with great enthusiasm and commitment. In large part, this has been possible thanks to the contributions of our Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB]. Offering your financial support to mission parishes, seminarians, and struggling parishes through DDB is one way to participate in an act of almsgiving during this season of Great Lent. To learn more about the DDB, go HERE!
The diocese will host an overnight Lenten Youth Retreat at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Wayne NJ for students grades 7-12 on Friday-Saturday, 4-5 April 2014. The theme for the Lenten Youth Retreat is: "Miracles in our Midst.” Orthodox and non-Orthodox students are invited to attend. This is a great opportunity for Orthodox young people to invite a friend.
Bishop Michael has issued an Archpastoral Letter to the faithful of the diocese for the beginning of Great Lent on 3 March 2014. In part, he writes: “As we begin the Lenten journey of the Great Fast this year, I am mindful of a question often asked of us by non-Orthodox - ‘Why do you fast in Lent?’ - and a question often asked by our own fellow Orthodox Christians - ‘Why do we have to fast during Great Lent?’” In addition to his letter, His Grace has offered two valuable teaching videos on “Great Lent” and “Fasting” that are available as part of the “Lessons in Our Faith” series.
Saint Basil Orthodox Church was honored on 22-23 February to host a choir from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary for a Vespers Services on Saturday and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday. Under the direction of Benedict Shaheen, choir responses were sung with a beauty that filled the temple with love and joy. Archpriest Steven Voytovich (Dean of the Seminary) accompanied the choir while Father Matthew Markewich assisted Father Peter Olsen (parish rector) with the services. After the Sunday Divine Liturgy a light dinner was served in the Church Center with all welcomed to greet the seminarians.
The 4th Annual Diocesan Altar Servers Retreat was held at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY from 14 February (Friday) to 16 February (Sunday) 2014. Over 45 participants were present for all or part of the weekend. Altar servers and clergy came from each of the three deaneries -- New York City, New Jersey, New York State -- as well as from the Moscow Patriarchate and Carpatho-Russian Diocese. Bishop Michael led the retreat together with four Priests, two Deacons, a Sub-deacon and Reader.
The diocesan Department of College Ministry [DoCM] has launched a new and informative website. Father John Diamantis (Chairperson) and webmaster, Levan Kiknadze, encourage the active participation of clergy and faithful to work with them in making the opportunity for Orthodox Christian college students throughout New York and New Jersey to share in fellowship and mutual support a reality. With the fervent support of Bishop Michael, the DoCM is fully committed to growing this vital ministry within the life of the church. Help them “spread the word” by sharing the new website with our college students!
Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDBs) from throughout the New York City Deanery gathered in East Meadow NY on Sunday, 16 February, for an Appreciation Dinner. Bishop Michael expressed his profound gratitude to the individuals, parishes, and parish organizations for their sacrificial giving to the program that allows many diocesan projects & efforts to the Glory of God.
Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDBs) from throughout the New York State Deanery gathered in Endicott NY on Sunday, 9 February, for an Appreciation Dinner. During the year 2013, DDBs contributed a record-breaking total of $145,194 to support vital ministries; the work of the Church is being funded as never before! There are visible “fruits” of their labors and efforts as mission parishes are being established and supported, seminarians are receiving scholarships, and struggling parishes are being revitalized.
The New York State Deanery Family & Youth Retreat welcomed Bishop Michael as over 110 people participated in the three-day event, 7-9 February 2014 at Greek Peak Resort in Cortland NY. The main theme challenged all participants, young and old, to compare and contrast the Kingdom of God with the kingdom of this world, and our place as being "in the world but not of the world," especially as it relates to peer-pressure and temptations. The atmosphere was one of trust, mutual acceptance, and love by time spent in conscious awareness that the Lord is present in all that is happening.
The diocesan Commission on Mission and Evangelism will conduct a Parish Team Training session (1 March) for parishes to learn more, and do more, in the area of parish health, growth and revitalization. The tools, resources and processes used are known as Orthodox Natural Church Development. Parishes need to assemble a team of 5-6 to participate.
Students and their families at Holy Trinity Church in East Meadow NY gathered on 1 February 2014 for dinner and to make candles for the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord (2 February). The candles were blessed before the Vespers service so the children and congregation could hold them during the evening candle-lit service.
Supporters of the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDB) program from throughout the New Jersey Deanery gathered at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Clifton NJ on Sunday, 26 January, for an Appreciation Dinner. His Grace, Bishop Michael, expressed his profound gratitude to the individuals, parishes, and parish organizations for their sacrificial giving to the program that allows so many diocesan projects and efforts to exist and produce fruit to the Glory of God.
The Russian Orthodox Transfiguration Parish in Brooklyn NY commemorated its 106th celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ on 6-7 January 2014. Bishop Michael celebrated the feast-day with the parish. Just as long ago, people gathered at church on Christmas Eve for the evening service: Great Compline and Matins. The next day, His Grace came to the cathedral for a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the feast-day according to the “old calendar.”
Saints Cosmas and Damian Adult Home, Staten Island NY, recently closed its doors after 37 years of service. Rising costs, increasing regulations by the State of New York and New York City, and the inability to make capital improvements over the years became insurmountable for the non-profit facility. The Home was founded in 1977 by the late Protopresbyter Alexander Warnecke with the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney [Bekish] and the assistance of the Saint Panteleimon Society of New York City and young Orthodox Christians of various jurisdictions.
Thanks to the sacrificial generosity of DDBs from throughout the diocese and beyond, over $360,000 was contributed during the first three years (2011-2013) of the program! Last year a record-breaking total of $145,194 was received. As a result, vital ministries have received much-needed support; the work of the Church is being funded as never before! There are visible “fruits” of our labors and efforts as mission parishes are being established and supported, seminarians are receiving scholarships, and struggling parishes are being revitalized. Three regional (by Deanery) 2013 DDB Appreciation Dinners will take place in January and February. And, the 2014 DDB Program has been launched! Here's your invitation to become a DDB this year!
Youth and families from three Western Upstate New York Parishes came together on Saturday, 4 January 2014, for a day of prayer, fun, and fellowship at Palm Island Indoor Water Park in Batavia NY. This was the third youth gathering in the past several months, bringing together the parishes of Saints Peter & Paul, Saint George (Buffalo) and Saint John the Baptist (Rochester). Over 25 children and adults participated thanks to the diligence and coordinating efforts of Sub-Deacon Sean McNulty, a graduate of our Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program.
For the third year, the faithful and friends of Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission Church in Lansing NY blessed the waters of Cayuga Lake during the Theophany season. On Saturday, 11 January 2014, sixteen hearty people made the trek to the lakeside and joined their voices in joyous prayer to God to bless the largest of the magnificent Finger Lakes. A bonfire was lighted on the point at Myers Park, but the weather was marvelous, reaching nearly 50 degrees during the service.
[Troparion Hymn] When You, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, and called You His beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself, and have enlightened the world, glory to You!
Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet (Maplewood) NY celebrated its feast-day commemoration of Saint Basil the Great on 1 January 2014. Services included an evening Vigil (on the feast-day eve) and, the next morning, a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Grace, Bishop Michael. The traditional blessing of "Saint Basil’s bread" (Vasilopita) was performed; the bread was then distributed to parishioners in customary fashion at the conclusion of the service, and a luncheon was served at the Saint Basil’s Church Center.
Bishop Michael visited Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY on 21-22 December 2013 during which he ordained a Sub-Deacon, elevated a Proto-Deacon, awarded an honorary Gold Cross to the parish rector, blessed a new "Teen Room," honored a local police captain, and made a presentation on behalf of the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors.
His Grace, Bishop Michael, offers an Archpastoral Letter to the faithful of the diocese on the celebration of our Lord's Nativity. In part, he writes: “What incredible meaning this event of God’s coming in the flesh as Jesus Christ has to offer us! To reduce Christmas to anything else than what it truly is -- to foolishly equate it somehow with decorations and presents, food and fellowship, Frosty and Rudolph -- is to miss the message and the mission of 'the Son of Man come down from the clouds of Heaven' (Daniel 7:13). It is to lose the meaning of the single greatest event that had ever touched human history, and the single greatest opportunity of one’s own life!”
A new installment in the Lessons in Our Faith video series, featuring Bishop Michael, is on the topic of “The Nativity of Christ.” In this brief video, His Grace offers fundamental teaching about this feast-day in the life of the Church, and in our lives as we celebrate the joy of the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem. There are now 14 lessons included in the video series, each 8-12 minutes in length, offering concise teaching and inspiration as we strive to know and live our faith. In addition to the video, an audio version and printable outline are available. To view the videos, visit the Lessons in Our Faith icon on this homepage.
On Saturday, 7 December 2013, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in East Meadow NY held its 6th Annual Christmas Concert. The concert, open to the public, featured a selection of Orthodox hymns and traditional carols interspersed with seasonal readings from the Gospel. On Sunday, 15 December, nearly 20 youth & teens of the parish participated in the 56th Annual Christmas program. At the conclusion of the program gifts were collected from those in attendance and delivered by children and parents of the parish to hospitalized children at the Nassau University Medical Center.
Archpriest George Hasenecz celebrated his Golden (50th) Anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood on Sunday, 8 December 2013. On behalf of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, and the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, Bishop Michael presented Father George with a Synodal Gramota in recognition of his half-century of dedicated service to Christ and His Holy Church. Archpriest Ken James Stavrevsky celebrated the 35th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Holy Priesthood on Monday, 16 December 2013. An evening service of thanksgiving was celebrated by Bishop Michael at Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY.
At the 2013 Diocesan Assembly held in Yonkers NY, Bishop Michael shared the profoundly moving experience of his visit, this past May, to the Bethany School for Girls at the Gethsemane Convent of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. To that end, our faithful ~ collectively or individually ~ are invited to offer financial assistance for the Bethany School as part of their almsgiving during this Nativity Fast. An anonymous benefactor has offered the Diocese a matching grant in support of our Nativity Appeal on behalf of the Bethany School for Girls in Jerusalem. For every two dollars that is donated by Diocesan parishes, organizations, clergy and faithful, this benefactor will donate one dollar (up to $5,000). This means that if the Diocese could reach a goal of $10,000, an additional $5,000 would be matched. To contribute, please see the information in the news release.
The faithful of Saint Andrew Orthodox Church in Dix Hills NY celebrated the patronal feast of their temple’s heavenly protector, the Holy Apostle Andrew "the First-Called," on 29-30 November 2013. The feast was truly joyous as many visiting friends joined parishioners and Father John Klingel (parish rector) gathered around their Archpastor, Bishop Michael. The services proved to be a feast of faith, spiritually enriching all those who took time from their busy Thanksgiving Day weekend to offer true thanksgiving to Our Lord and His first-called apostle, Andrew.
Our Holy Father Saint Nicholas the “Wonder-Working” Bishop of Myra in Lycia is commemorated each year on 6 December. Several parishes in the diocese conducted a special day of celebration in honor of this beloved saint on Sunday, 8 December 2013. We continue in preparation and anticipation during this Nativity Fast season, and the great and holy feast-day of Our Lord’s Nativity will soon be upon us. His Grace, Bishop Michael, conveys his heartfelt wishes and Archpastoral prayers for a most-blessed festal season to all of the faithful of the diocese.
A new video installment of "Lessons in Our Faith" features Bishop Michael on the topic of Saint Nicholas, the Wonder-working Bishop of Myra in Lycia (commemorated on 6 December). In this brief 5 minute video, His Grace offers historical meaning and content to the "Santa Claus" of popular folklore. The life, witness, and intercessions of this most-beloved saint are both inspirational and timely as we approach the feast-day of Our Lord's Nativity. This is a video intended especially for children ... of all ages!
The Department of College Ministry is accepting applications for both Web-Team Internships and Student Ambassadors. The internships offer $150 per month and the experience will be a nice boost to a student’s resumé! Student Ambassadors are typically, but not always, officers of OCF chapters at their respective college/university. They are Orthodox Christian students in New York or New Jersey who are passionate about carrying out the mission of college ministry.
On 16 November 2013 the Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM] and Saints Peter & Paul Church in Buffalo NY hosted “Making Music with Kids.” The workshop, taught by David Lucs, attracted children from Orthodox and non-Orthodox backgrounds. The parish was already providing a haven of hospitality for the surrounding community through a soup kitchen, but their level of commitment doesn’t stop with food and drink. Their commitment to their neighbors was shown by their willingness to sponsor a child from the neighborhood, giving that child the opportunity to participate in the workshop. Reflecting on the workshop, Father Vlad Zablotskyy (parish rector) said, “Our children will remember this for a long time!” Another CoLM sponsored workshop for kids is scheduled at Dix Hills NY on 7 December -- get information HERE!
The Diocesan Assembly of the Diocese of New York & New Jersey convened on Tuesday, 12 November, at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Yonkers NY. Over 100 delegates (clergy and laity), observers, and support staff from diocesan parishes gathered with Bishop Michael for the annual Assembly. Reports presented by deaneries, commissions, departments and offices are available ... along with a video of Bishop Michael’s “address to the diocese” ... on a special website HERE!
A new instructional video on “The Diaconate” has been added to the Lessons in Our Faith series featuring Bishop Michael. There are now 12 lessons and each is 8-12 minutes in length, offering a concise discussion on topics (such as Fasting, Baptism, Marriage, etc) in the popular “7 Questions & 7 Answers” format developed by His Grace. On 6 December a video on “Saint Nicholas” will be available in conjunction with the saint’s feast-day. To view the videos visit the Lessons in Our Faith section of this website; you’ll find an icon link on the homepage.
On the evening of Thursday, 14 November 2013, the faithful of Holy Apostles Mission Church in Lansing NY welcomed Bishop Michael and faithful from several area churches for a monumental and historic event in its young life. Having worshipped for three years with two icons on temporary panels, Holy Apostles raised funds for the construction of an iconostasis which was delivered several weeks ago, stained and sealed, and installed by the faithful.
The Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross in Medford NJ celebrated its 40th Anniversary over the weekend of 9-10 November 2013. Joining Bishop Michael at the Divine Liturgy on Sunday were: Father John Shimchick (Rector), Father Sergius Gerken (the community's "son"), Father Sergius Kuharsky, Father John Jillions, Protodeacon Eric Wheeler, and Deacon Timothy Skuby. The parish was founded in 1973 with the conviction that Orthodoxy was a gift that did not require the acquisition of certain language skills or the love of any particular ethnic cuisine or culture. All these could and indeed would be celebrated in their own time and way but they would not be the central organizing principles.
On Saturday, 9 November 2013, an Akathist Service to Saint Nectarios was celebrated in commemoration of the saint's feast-day at Saints Peter & Paul's Orthodox Church in Bayonne NJ. Father Sophrony Royer (parish Rector) and the gathered faithful of the parish were joined by Father John Fencik (Saint Mary’s Orthodox Catholic Church, Bayonne) and several of his parishioners.
As we enter the final days of this year the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program rolls-on down the track, ever closer to its destination thanks to generous contributions from throughout the diocese and beyond in support of vital ministries: Mission Parishes, Seminarians, and Struggling Parishes. The list of DDBs continues to expand with 89 DDBs in New York, 46 DDBs in New Jersey, 14 in other states, 5 who are anonymous, and 36 parish/organization members. To "get on board" visit the Vision for Future section of this website. Go HERE!
Nearly 50 people from the Diocese of New York & New Jersey’s three deaneries joined together on 19 October 2013 to hear Father Andrew Stephen Damick (Saint Paul Orthodox Church, Emmaus PA) deliver six-hours of instruction on the differences between the Holy Orthodox Faith and non-Orthodox, or “Heterodox,” confessions. The aim of the conference was to teach and equip attendees in understanding where our non-Orthodox family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers are coming from in terms of various faith traditions, and how, in better understanding them, to share Orthodoxy.
The Orthodox Church of the Mother of God in Mays Landing NJ celebrated its 47th Anniversary with a visit by His Grace, Bishop Michael, the weekend of 2-3 November 2013. Services included Vespers on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy on Sunday. Father Daniel Hubiak and Father Matthew Searfoorce (temporary rector) concelebrated with Bishop Michael. The parish faithful welcomed many visitors to the celebrations.
UPDATED: Parish Picnic Photos Holy Transfiguration Church in Pearl River NY celebrated its forty-fifth anniversary on Saturday, 19 October 2013, with a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Michael. In his homily, His Grace recounted the life of Saint John of Kronstadt emphasizing great patience and service, and challenging the Orthodox faithful to follow this example. He congratulated the parish on having served the community with the witness of Orthodox Christianity for the past forty-five years and encouraged them to continue their ministry, in a vision to the future, looking forward to their fiftieth golden anniversary. A festive banquet followed in the parish hall.
A fundraiser party for Saint Andrew’s Camp in Jewell NY was held at Christ the Savior Church in Paramus NJ on Sunday, 6 October. Tables were beautifully and artistically decorated in fall themes for the occasion. Guests from parishes of the New Jersey Deanery were most gracious and supportive of the camp. Our children of Saint Andrew’s Camp will benefit from a $4,200 gift. A good time was had by all!
The 4th Annual CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk took place in Eisenhower Park, East Meadow NY on the perfect autumn morning of Saturday, 19 October. Sponsored by the humanitarian aid organization Church World Service, eighty to ninety mostly Long Islanders stepped off to a one or two mile course raising funds from sponsors to feed the hungry and, more especially, to provide methods and materials that help people in impoverished countries to grow better crops and themselves raise their standard of living.
"Jacob’s Well" is the official publication of the Diocese New York-New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America). It provides, as did the well in ancient communities, a place for the distribution of news and activities regarding the life of the Diocese and its parishes. It seeks to highlight functions sponsored in the areas of youth and liturgical music, and the efforts taking place throughout diocesan missions. Of special interest is the presentation of iconographic examples from diocesan parishes. Read the new Summer/Fall 2013 edition HERE!
On Saturday, 12 October, children from the New York City area gathered at Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral to learn about, and experience, liturgical music. The workshop led by David Lucs was the fourth offered by the diocese's Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM]. "The kids had a great time learning about music as it is used within the liturgical life of our Orthodox Faith," said Mr. Lucs. "It's a blessing from God to see their enthusiasm and those 'a-ha!' moments when they discover something new."
The historic icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, visited to Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in Saddle Brook NJ on Tuesday, 8 October. The Icon has been making a pilgrimage across the world beginning two years ago on the pacific coast of far eastern Russia. Since then it has weaved its way through Orthodox and Catholic churches in Russia and Europe. The primary purpose of the pilgrimage is to raise awareness for the sanctity of life across the spectrum: the young, the old, and the unborn. The icon is an exact replica of the original which resides in Czestochowa Poland. It is venerated by both Orthodox and Catholics and has through its long history belonged to either church at various times. Before its final resting place in Poland, the icon also resided in the Ukraine, Constantinople, and the Holy Lands.
The Diocesan Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey will convene on 12 November 2013 at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY. Up-to-date information, documents, and reports for the Assembly are available on the special website HERE and featured as a direct link icon on this homepage. The DELEGATE (Clergy/Laity) and OBSERVER CERTIFICATION forms, which may be downloaded and printed from the website, should be completed and submitted prior to the Assembly. Visit the website often as reports will be added and available as they are received.
On Saturday, 21 September, approximately 70 people gathered at a construction site located on Cherry Hill Road in Princeton NJ for “OPERATION PRINCETON” to help establish a new place of worship for the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Christian community. The day was beautiful, the sun shined and the air was filled with the voices of people sharing, laughing, and conversing about their common work effort. The task was simple, the work a great effort! Young and old worked together to separate stone and soil from a large mound resulting from the digging of the foundation for the new temple.
Bishop Michael joined Father Igor Burdikoff and members of Christ the Savior Orthodox Christian Church in Ballston Lake NY on Sunday, 29 September, to mark the 25th anniversary of the church's founding. Parish children greeted His Grace with flowers and special cards they had made. A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy followed, along with a procession outdoors to bless the prayer garden and newly-constructed bell tower.
Saint Mary's Church in Jackson NJ had the honor of a visit by Bishop Michael on 20-22 September to celebrate the parish feast-day of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Mary (Julian Calendar). The whole parish, lead by Matushka Ludmilla Prokopiuk, contributed to the wonderful three-day commemorations that took place around their festal celebrations. And, they ensured that everyone was welcomed and well-fed in celebration of the feast-day.
OrthodoxTours.com specializes in custom tours and pilgrimages to the holy pilgrim sites and places of interest of the Early Church and Eastern Christendom. Themes include Sacred Art, Christian Monasticism and uniquely tailored tours that combine elements of pilgrimage to the most revered sites of the Christendom with interesting educational historical excursions. The director and spiritual advisor of the company is an Orthodox priest. To see the upcoming tours, go to "more information."
Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in Saddle Brook NJ will host a replica of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa on Tuesday, 8 October. A healing service with anointing will be held at 3 p.m. and Vespers with anointing will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Information about the icon and the pilgrimage of the icon across Russia, Europe and America can be found HERE. For details, call 201-972-0014 (Father Matthew Brown).
The Diocese of New York and New Jersey celebrated “Church Musician Appreciation Day” on Sunday, 29 September. Rectors, parish councils, and the faithful of our parishes joined Bishop Michael in offering special thanks to all choir directors, singers, composers, arrangers, and those who teach church music to our children. May God grant them "Many Years!"
Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY (Archpriest Peter Olsen, Rector) on Saturday, 21 September, hosted “Educating Ourselves and Our Children in Godliness” ~ a pan-Orthodox endeavor for continuing education of the faithful, coordinated by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission [OCEC] Department of Teacher Training. Participants were able to benefit not only from the wealth of knowledge and experience that the trainers had to offer, but from the opportunity to share challenges, successes and ideas with each other. The day-long event proved to be a valuable and unique experience, sure to contribute to building up our church school programs.
Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church in Trenton NJ held two iconography tours on Saturday, 21 September. “Windows Into Heaven” served as an outreach to the greater Trenton community, a fundraiser and social event for the parish. More than 80 people attended the day’s two tours. Each tour began with a procession of children entering the church, venerating the cross in the center and lighting their candles, then singing the Lord’s Prayer.
As of today, the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program has gratefully accepted contributions from throughout the diocese and beyond. DDBs include: 137 People and 34 Parishes & Organizations. Essential ministries in support of Mission Parishes, Seminarians, and Struggling Older Parishes count on funding that is solely provided thanks to the generosity of our DDBs. We are currently at 64.4% of our goal for this year. Please consider becoming a DDB now. If you have already entered the DDB family of diocesan ministry supporters, "Thank-You!"
UPDATED 24 SEPT: see the ever-growing list of DDBs! >
A celebration for the 44th Wedding Anniversary of Father Joseph and Charlotte Woodill was held after Sunday Divine Liturgy on 22 September by the faithful of Saint Nicholas Church in Whitestone NY. Refreshments, congratulations and a grand chocolate cake marked the occasion. May God grant “Many Years!” to Father Joseph and Matushka Charlotte.
[LATHAM NY] Very Reverend Archpriest Daniel Pavelchak, pastor emeritus of Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Cohoes, age 80, of Latham passed away Wednesday September 18, 2013 at the Eddy Village Green Nursing Facility, Cohoes NY embraced by his loving family. Born in Simpson, PA, he was the son of the late Theodore and Anna Pavelchak and the beloved husband of the late Matushka Barbara Pavelchak (Gurka). Archpriest Daniel relocated to the Capital District in 1971 and was pastor at Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Maplewood NY and Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Cohoes.
A memorial service was held at Holy Spirit Church in Wantage NJ in remembrance of the terrorist attacks on 9-11. Members of the local fire department, police department, and West Point Military Academy were present and participated. This marked the 12th annual memorial service held at the parish in memory of the lives lost during the attacks on our country.
As the Chapel bell rang, the 2nd annual Saint Andrew’s Camp Bicycle Ride began in Jewell NY along the shore of Oneida Lake. Congratulations to all who participated on Saturday, 24 August. Eighteen riders from across New York State peddled their way on a 12, 30, or 62 mile course. A great barbecue greeted the riders at the finish line. What a fun way to support the camp!
The newly-formed Orthodox Christian Mission in Potsdam NY had the honor, pleasure and blessing of having His Grace, Bishop Michael, visit on 30 August and 1 September, accompanied by Subdeacon Nilus Klingel. The Watertown Daily Times/Courier Observer featured Bishop Michael's visit. See the news article HERE! The Mission is on the "look-out" for students attending SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, SUNY Canton, or other Orthodox moving to the area. Contact Dr. Jessica Suchy-Pilalis at firstname.lastname@example.org
In an unprecedented and inaugural effort toward inter-parish fellowship, families from three Western Upstate New York churches gathered on 7 September for a day of prayer and fun highlighted by a visit to the Buffalo Zoo. The parishes - Ss. Peter & Paul, St. George (Buffalo), and St. John the Baptist (Rochester) - participated thanks to the initiative and efforts of recent graduates of the Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program: Deacon Dr. Mark Hoeplinger and Sub-Deacon Sean McNulty. Following this extremely successful event, future fellowships are planned.
The Annual Diocesan Clergy Conference on the topic of “Ministry to the Elderly” convened on Thursday, 5 September in Clifton NJ. Over thirty priests gathered with Bishop Michael at Assumption of the Virgin Church for the conference which provided seven continuing education hours accredited as part of the OCA Continuing Clergy Development program. The facilitator was Matushka Natalie Stavrevsky BSN, RN, MBA (Senior Director of Nursing & Resident Care Services; Unity Health System, Rochester NY). Since becoming the diocesan hierarch, Bishop Michael has blessed and provided an annual opportunity for the clergy of the diocese to assemble in priestly brotherhood and fellowship. Each year, a topic of pastoral concern is addressed and discussed while, at the same time, His Grace is given a forum to speak with the clergy about matters and concerns effecting the life and well-being of the parishes throughout the diocese.
In response to a number of requests, the Diocese of NY & NJ has established a securities account to facilitate the contribution of financial stocks and other financial investments. To make a gift of stocks, please inform the Diocesan Treasurer of the company stock/mutual fund you intend to transfer and the approximate value of your gift as well as your stock broker’s name and telephone number, and purpose in the Diocese your gift should go towards.
"Click on" the image above and watch a 60 second video invitng you to join the ever-growing list of Distinguished Diocesan Benfactors who joyfully support the on-going work of our diocese. Their support allows us to provide assistance to new mission parishes, scholarships to seminarians, and much-needed encouragement to older struggling parishes. How about you?
The Diaconal Formation Program is conducted in collaboration between the diocese and Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan PA). All classes and instruction take place at the Endicott Campus located at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Endicott NY. Interested students should speak with their parish rector; rectors should invite and encourage qualified prospective candidates. The support and recommendation of the rector for admittance into the Diaconal Formation Program is required for all applicants.
Our Annual Diocesan Clergy Conference (5 September 2013 ~ Assumption of the Virgin Church ~ Clifton NJ) on the topic of “Ministry to the Elderly” will count for seven continuing education hours accredited as part of the OCA Continuing Clergy Development program. The presenter will be Matushka Natalie Stavrevsky BSN, RN, MBA (Senior Director of Nursing & Resident Care Services; Unity Health System, Rochester NY). All associated course costs will be funded by the diocese.
The Diocesan Faithful offer their greetings to His Grace, Bishop Michael, on the occasion of his birthday on August 29th. "We value His Grace for his knowledge of Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition, pastoral skill, the setting of high standards, and the invaluable gift of communicating these," said Archpriest Joseph Lickwar (Diocesan Chancellor). "Knowledge and skill are precious for an Archpastor and for the life of the faithful of the diocese. We pray that our Lord will grant His Grace long life, health, peace and salvation in the service of Christ and His Church." Eis polla eti, Despota!
Bishop Michael continues his travels throughout the diocese, visiting parishes and communities across the vast territory of New York and New Jersey. His commitment to regular Archpastoral visitations to parishes ... large and small, established and missions ... is a testimony to his pastoral guidance and concern as Spiritual Shepherd of the diocesan flock entrusted to his care. Recently, in a 3-day period ... 16-18 August 2013 ... His Grace visited Paramus NJ and Rochester NY (350 miles apart), and then he was off to Lansing NY (94 miles) for a Clergy Family Picnic on-route to the Diocesan Chancery (228 miles). Let us pray for his God-protected and blessed travels!
Thanks to the financial support of the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program, the second annual series of Church School Conferences ~ one in each Deanery (New Jersey, New York City, New York State) ~ was conducted during the month of August. Church School personnel, Parish Council members, and all parishioners who have contact with children in the course of their work in the Church were invited.
Saint Andrew’s Camp in Jewell NY, just north of Syracuse on the shore of Lake Oneida, will sponsor its sag-supported Second Annual Bicycle Ride on SATURDAY, 24 AUGUST. Ride distances are 62 miles, 30 miles, and 12 miles through the beautiful scenery of Upstate New York. Complete details at: StAndrewsCamp.com
All the young people of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey -- from elementary to middle school, to high school, to college -- are invited to join Bishop Michael, together with old and new friends, for a day of fun, fellowship, and amazing rides! The day begins at 9:00 a.m. with prayer and the annual "Stump the Clergy" contest at Saint Mary's Church Hall in Jackson NJ; then participants will board a bus bound for Six Flags Great Adventure! The cost is $32 per person. It includes Admission to Six Flags Great Adventure, round-trip bus transportation from the Church Hall to Six Flags, and a meal voucher worth $11.75
The faithful of Saint John the Baptist Church in Passaic NJ had a rare opportunity for parishioners and friends to venerate the Hawaiian Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Theotokos on 31 July 2013. The icon is renowned to have healed many of sickness, disease, and chronic pain. It currently resides at the Russian Orthodox Church in Honolulu, but frequently travels throughout the world bringing forth healing and cures to all who have shown faith and love for Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother.
It was a great year at Saint Andrew’s Camp! Camper Raphael Platte of Rochester NY reports: “Camp started out with ‘Horse Week,’ by far the most popular week, with over 20 kids attending. Many children, (including my little brother, Myron) had their first experience with horses this week. ‘Ecology Week’ with Tara and Gary was enjoyed by all, with activities centered around the natural surroundings of the camp, including making a rain garden and making fish print t-shirts. After that came ‘Music Week’ with Basil Kozak. Highlights included the re-writing of the camp song, a trip to the zoo, and mini golf. A Q&A with Bishop Michael was held every Tuesday night, as well as a Divine Liturgy every Wednesday morning with the Bishop.” ‘Teen Week’ brought the 2013 camping season to an end on August 3rd.
The Diocesan Chancellor, Archpriest Joseph Lickwar, reports: "During the month of August the Diocese is presenting ... in each Deanery ... a Workshop for Church School personnel, Parish Council members, and all parishioners who have contact with children in the course of their work in the Church. The morning segment of this Workshop is a seminar entitled, "Reducing the Risk of Sexual Abuse In Your Parish," presented by Michael Herzak, CEO of Insurance Systems, Inc., Certified Risk Manager, and parishioner of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church in Cleveland OH. This seminar provides the training mandated by the 2012 Diocesan Assembly to protect our children, families, teachers, and parishes from even the potentiality of an incident or accusation of abuse. The second half of the day is offered especially to Church School directors, teachers, and helpers. Its purpose is twofold: to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, challenges, and successes; and to offer a sample lesson, taught in succession for three successively older age groups. Please encourage all your Church School faculty to come and be inspired as we all work together to deepen our children’s foundation in the Faith." Specific dates and locations for the three regional conferences are listed in the "Upcoming Events" section of this website.
On Sunday, 28 July, Bishop Michael ordained Demetrios Richards to the Diaconate and Matthew Boncella to the office of Reader during a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter & Paul Church in Herkimer NY. Deacon Demetrios is a 2013 graduate of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey’s Diaconal Formation Program accredited by Saint Tikhon's Theological Seminary. He is attached to the parish in Herkimer.
The Very Reverend Dr. Steven Voytovich, a licensed professional counselor who spent many years of his career in the field of pastoral care and education, has been named dean of Sant Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan PA) effective August 18, 2013. More information HERE!
Since becoming the Hierarch of our Diocese, Bishop Michael has hosted a Clergy Family Picnic for each of the three deaneries every summer. On Sunday, 14 July, the New Jersey Clergy Family Picnic was held on the grounds of Holy Assumption Church, Clifton NJ. The wonderful picnic was organized by the parish rector, Father Stephen, and Matushka Jessica Evanina. The weather was anything but temperate, but the gathering was delightful. “The event was light hearted,” said Father Gary Breton, “and all of those present had a very enjoyable time!”
The 2013 Parish Council Conference for the diocese was conducted regionally in three locations representing the Deaneries of New Jersey, New York City, and New York State. Parish leaders from across our diocese agree that bringing new life into our churches is an urgent priority. At the invitation of Bishop Michael, the conference facilitator was Very Reverend Constantine Nasr. A video of the conference presentations is now available. It is highly recommended that parish rectors, council members, and all interested parishioners utilize this video ... individually and together ... as a highly valuable resource for parish health and vitality. To view the video, visit the "PARISH COUNCILS" icon on this homepage.
The 50th Anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood of the Archpriest Joseph Lickwar (Chancellor, Diocese of New York and New Jersey) was celebrated on July 7, 2013 at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Jersey City NJ. Father Joseph was ordained by His Eminence, Orestes (Chornock) of the American-Carpatho Russian Orthodox Diocese, on July 7, 1963 at Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Johnstown PA following his studies at Christ the Saviour Seminary. He and Matushka Shirley have served parishes in Akron OH, McKeesport PA, and East Pittsburgh PA, Whitestone NY, and are beginning their 23rd year in Jersey City.
Bishop Michael made a pilgrimage to holy sites in St. Petersburg, Valaam, Novgorod, Pskov, and Moscow from June 24 to July 6 in conjunction with a tour organized by OrthodoxTours. Over the course of the thirteen-day pilgrimage, His Grace and 38 pilgrims from America, Germany, England, and Australia witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Church of Russia, which has experienced a miraculous resurrection following the fall of the Soviet regime and its official state atheism.
A momentous occasion took place on Sunday, 2 June, as the altar and church building of Saint Gregory Palamas Orthodox Church in Glen Gardner NJ were consecrated. After more than thirty years of worshipping in a variety of temporary locations the parish, comprised of Orthodox Christians of various backgrounds, successfully paid-off the mortgage on their property in 2012. The church is a former Methodist church dating to the mid-19th century. With a church home financially secured, the parish ... under the leadership of the acting rector, Hieromonk Kilian (Sprecher) ... was able to petition His Grace, Bishop Michael to consecrate the church building, the new altar, and holy vessels.
On Thursday, 13 June, the faithful of Saint John the Baptist Church in Passaic NJ joyfully celebrated a hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Ascension with Bishop Michael. His Grace presented the traditional honorary “Jeweled Cross” to the parish rector, Archpriest Sophrony Royer, in recognition and thanks for his many years of faithful priestly service to Christ and His Holy Church. “Many Years!” to Father Sophrony.
Bishop Michael has issued a letter to the faithful for the celebration of Pentecost on Sunday, 23 June. In part, Bishop Michael writes: “On this Great Feast of Pentecost, the Descent of the Holy Spirit and the Birthday of the Church, let us recommit ourselves in the faith and service of Christ’s Holy Church. Let us rejoice that God has called us to be His “fellow workers.” (1 Corinthians 3:9) Let us focus on finding, and fulfilling, our role and our part in the Body of Christ. This is the holy work in which God has invited us to assist Him. Let us build up Christ’s Body, unto the glory of Almighty God -- not just for today, but until He comes again.”
Bishop Michael fervently reminds all Parish Rectors and Parish Council Members of his expectation that they attend one of the three regional "Parish Growth & Evangelization" Parish Council Conferences scheduled during the month of June. All parishioners interested in growing their parishes and spreading the Gospel should be encouraged to attend as well! The Conference leader, Very Reverend Father Constantine Nasr, oversaw the growth of a modestly sized parish in Oklahoma City OK to a truly thriving community of over 1,000 souls during his three decades of pastoral ministry. Parish leaders from across our diocese agree that bringing new life into our churches is an urgent priority. Father Constantine will share his years of expertise and highly practical methods for making our faith contagious and our churches inviting ~ to new visitors and to those who have fallen out of regular participation in parish life. See "Upcoming Events" on this webpage for dates and details!
The "First Couple" of the Diocese of New York & New Jersey, Chancellor Archpriest Joseph and Matushka Shirley Lickwar, were honored by a special gathering of friends from among the faithful laity and clergy lead by His Grace, Bishop Michael, on the occasion of their 50th Wedding Anniversary. The celebration on 8-9 June 2013 at Saints Peter & Paul Church in Jersey City, was a testimony to the love, faithfulness, and dedication exhibited by Matushka Shirley and Father Joseph to one another in the bond of marriage, and to their shared labors and sacrifices in service to Christ and His Holy Church. May God grant them "Many Years!"
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America established the Department of Continuing Education [DCE] to provide for the ongoing development of clergy and lay leaders. They simultaneously mandated a continuing education requirement of twenty (20) hours annually for all priests and deacons. The DCE carries out its mandate primarily through the Continuing Clergy Development [CCD] Program. To fulfill requirements, clergy must complete Continuing Clergy Education [CCE]. Our diocese is offering clergy opportunities to fulfill this continuing education requirement this year.
REVISED on 4 June! Information & details >
Holy Spirit Church in Wantage NJ celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its founding on Saturday, 1 June 2013. A Grand Banquet at the Lafayette House followed the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Many faithful from parishes in the New Jersey Deanery, and beyond, came to the celebration. Remarks were offered by Father George Hasenecz, Father John Nehrebecki, Father Joseph Lickwar, Father Samuel Kedala (parish rector), and Bishop Michael. A superb meal was served and many wonderful memories were exchanged.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America has issued a 2013 Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday Encyclical. In part, they write: “We call on all Orthodox Christians -- both clergy and laity -- to emulate the faithfulness of the Apostle Luke by participating in the Church's ministry to those who are in prison, and by offering support and encouragement to all those who bring the Gospel of hope and salvation to the incarcerated.” Read the entire encyclical HERE!
This conference, on June 8th, is for college students, laity, and clergy. The goal is to take positive action to impact the spiritual lives of the college students of our diocese. God has blessed this effort with great speakers: Mr. Evan Bittner (student chapter president of OCF at Penn State University); Mr. Andrew Boyd (Director of the OCA Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries); Deacon Alexander Cadman (Secretary of the Board of Directors of OCF, North American office); and Father John Diamantis (Chairperson, NY & NJ Diocesan Department of College Ministry). Interested college students, laity, and clergy are encouraged to attend!
Clergy and faithful of our diocese are warmly invited to join hundreds of their brothers and sisters in Christ in the 109th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Pilgrimage at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan PA. Events and liturgical celebrations will begin on May 24th and continue through May 27th. The complete schedule of events is available HERE! You may also visit the monastery website for details: http://sttikhonsmonastery.org/
On “Saint Thomas Sunday,” 12 May, Bishop Michael visited Saint Nicholas Church in Whitestone NY. His Grace illustrated his sermon and punctuated important points on the true meaning of Pascha ~ the Risen Christ ~ by walking among those present and distributing eggs to the delighted children. He then joined the community after liturgy for a joyous and bountiful Saint Thomas Sunday Feast.
Bishop Michael celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the morning of Bright Monday (6 May) at Saints Cosmas and Damian Adult Home, Staten Island NY.
His Grace, Bishop Michael was consecrated to the Episcopacy on May 8th, 2010 and the following day (May 9th) he was enthroned as “Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey.” Since that time, our diocese has seen new life and vitality as our beloved bishop leads by an example of sacrificial service, pastoral care, loving compassion, ceaseless visitation, fervent prayer, and seemingly boundless energy. We have been abundantly blessed by God, witnessing an overflowing of enthusiasm and labors as the “good fruits” of the Lord’s vineyard in New York & New Jersey are planted and harvested. May God grant our beloved Archpastor MANY BLESSED YEARS!
The Orthodox Christian Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Pearl River NY was the venue for the Holy Mystery of Unction celebrated by His Grace, Bishop Michael, with six priests on Tuesday night, 23 April 2013. In his homily Bishop Michael recounted many of the healings recorded in the Holy Gospel and emphasized: “We are a healing Church and the same authority and gift to heal given by our Lord Jesus Christ to His Holy Apostles is given, also, to the priests of the Church.”
With the blessing of Bishop Michael, under the direction of Father Jason Vansuch (Chairperson, Department of Youth Ministry), teenagers gathered for an overnight retreat 19-20 April at Holy Resurrection Church in Wayne NJ. This has become an annual tradition for 7th-12th grade students during their Lenten journey to Pascha. Parishes from Long Island, Manhattan, and throughout New Jersey were represented.
On Sunday night, 21 April, the final Lenten Vespers service of 2013 for the New York City Deanery was celebrated at Saint Nicholas Church, Whitestone NY. The church was full of faithful from throughout the deanery and beyond. In his homily, Father Wiaczeslaw Krawczuk (Dean, New York City Deanery) offered a reflection that drew together all of the major themes of Great Lent and encouraged all present to make the Lenten effort to grow in Christian virtue.
The faithful of Saint John Baptist Church in Alpha NJ welcomed Bishop Michael for a Hierarchical Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts on Friday evening, 19 April. His Grace inspired all with words of encouragement on the Lenten journey to PASCHA. During the service, Archpriest Bohdan Ostash was awarded the Palitza with a “grammata” (certificate of appreciation) for his many years of priestly ministry on the occasion of his 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood. May God grant Father Bohdan good health and all good things for “Many Years!”
The Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Saint Anna visited Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY on Friday, 12 April. Over 120 parish faithful and guests attended the Molieben and Akathist to the Holy and Righteous Joachim and Anna celebrated by Father Peter Olsen (parish rector). Assisting clergy were Father Igor Burdikoff and Father Matthew Markewich.
The faithful of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Syracuse NY welcomed Bishop Michael for Saturday evening Vespers, Sunday Divine Liturgy, and an evening Lenten Mission Service on 7 April. The celebrations coincided with the annual Lenten commemoration of the Cross. The parish rector, Father John Chupeck, presented His Grace with a donation to Saint Andrew's Camp (website HERE) . Bishop Michael presented Olga Shewchuk with a certificate of appreciation - “grammata” - for her years of service to the parish and commitment to the OCA.
On Sunday afternoon, 14 April, the New Jersey Deanery (Northern region) parishes and priests gathered at Holy Spirit Church in Wantage NJ. The Chancellor of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, Archpriest Joseph Lickwar, led the Mission Vespers Service. An outstanding homily was delivered by Archpriest Stephen Evanina, rector of Holy Assumption Church in Clifton NJ. After the service the parish rector, Archpriest Samuel Kedala, invited all to join in fellowship in the parish hall where refreshments were provided by families of the parish.
Bishop Michael joined clergy and faithful of the Buffalo NY area for Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on Friday, 12 April, at Saint George Orthodox Church. The faithful of the parish were joined by members of their sister parish (Saints Peter and Paul Church, Buffalo), and friends from around Western New York State who gathered for worship together with His Grace and local clergy. Bishop Michael inspired all present with words of encouragement on the Lenten journey to PASCHA.
The diocese will sponsor an over-night Lenten Youth Retreat at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Wayne NJ for 7th-12th grade students on 19-20 April 2013. The retreat is entitled: “Keeping It Real: Isaiah 41:10”. Orthodox and non-Orthodox students are encouraged to attend. This is a great opportunity for Orthodox young people to invite their non-Orthodox friends! Complete information, details, and registration documents are available HERE.
On Wednesday, April 3rd, students and teachers of Saint Basil Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY, together with Archpriest Peter Olsen (parish rector), helped out at the “Open Table Soup Kitchen” (an outreach project of the Watervliet Methodist Church). The activity involved food preparation and set-up for the meal served later in the day. The soup kitchen serves approximately 100 people every Wednesday. Saint Basil Church School is also leading an effort to increase the on-going food collection by the parish for the “Open Table Pantry” during Great Lent.
Bishop Michael offers a new video installment in the acclaimed “Lessons in Our Faith” series. The topic is “Great Lent (Our Spiritual Life).” Using his popular 7 Questions & 7 Answers format, His Grace presents the fundamental teaching and experience of the Church regarding this subject in a clear and concise manner ... in 8 minutes. Other topics in the series are also most appropriate for viewing during the Lenten season: Fasting ~ Confession ~ Time, Talent, Treasure ~ and more. See all of the videos in the “Lessons in Our Faith” section of this website. Or, go HERE!
Bishop Michael joined the clergy and faithful of the New Jersey Deanery for a Lenten Mission Vespers Service on Sunday, 31 March (2nd Sunday of Lent: Saint Gregory Palamas) at Christ the Savior Church in Paramus NJ. There are several Lenten Mission Vespers Services planned throughout the diocese on the Sunday evenings of the Lenten season. See the “Upcoming Events” section of this website for details.
On 31 March the Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Octet visited Saint Andrew's Church, Dix Hills NY, for a morning parish visit during the Divine Liturgy and to participate in the New York City Deanery Lenten Mission Vespers that evening. Attending along with the Octet were the seminary’s Chancellor (Archpriest Chad Hatfield) and SVS Press Marketing Manager (Deacon Gregory Hatrak).
The Board of Trustees of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan PA announces a vacancy in the office of Dean, to be filled effective July 1, 2013. Applications, nominations, and expressions of interest for the position of Dean are now being accepted. Additional information is available HERE.
UPDATED 21 MARCH The New Jersey and New York City Deaneries will sponsor Lenten Mission Vespers services on several Sunday evenings during Great Lent. These provide an opportunity for clergy and faithful from local parishes to assemble together for prayer and worship as the journey of the Great Fast progresses. Information and details are available in the “Upcoming Events” section of this webpage.
His Grace, Bishop Michael has issued an Archpastoral Letter for the Great Fast which begins on Monday, 18 March this year. In part, he writes: "All too often, we see the Great Fast in negative terms: The Church wants me to give up meat and dairy products; to pray more and read the Bible and come to Lenten services instead of watching TV and enjoying other forms of entertainment; to give to the poor and other causes; and to come to confession! That’s seven weeks of heavy burdens on my already overstretched personal life!"
On Saturday 9 March, Holy Resurrection Church in Wayne NJ welcomed nineteen young people to sing and learn about Orthodox liturgical music. The workshop ~ “Making Music with Kids” ~ was under the direction and leadership of David Lucs (choir director and composer from Long Island NY) as he guided the children through a program introducing basic concepts of music and four hymns for the upcoming season of Lent and Pascha. “The children were a joy to work with,” said the workshop leader, “their enthusiasm was contagious and it was wonderful to see them discover the beauty and meaning of the hymns of our Orthodox Faith.”
The 3rd Annual Diocesan Altar Servers Retreat was held at Saint Basil’s Academy in Garrison NY from Friday, March 1st to Sunday, March 3rd. Over 60 participants were present for all or part of the weekend. Altar servers and clergy came from each of the three deaneries (New York City, New Jersey, New York State) as well as some from the Moscow Patriarchate, Carpatho-Russian Diocese and one young man from the local Academy community.
On the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (24 February) Bishop Michael made an archpastoral visit to Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Alpha NJ. It was the third visit to the parish by His Grace as ruling hierarch of the diocese. Great Vespers was served on Saturday evening with Litiya (blessing of loaves, wheat, wine, and oil); after Vespers parishioners and their rector, Archpriest Bohdan Ostash, had a discussion with His Grace during a fellowship reception.
UPDATED PHOTOS! The three regional 2012 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] Recognition Dinners have concluded ~ to honor those who “stepped up” to the challenge of funding essential ministries in the diocese. They provided financial support for mission parishes, support for seminarians, and support for struggling parishes. Over $125,000 was contributed in 2012! And now, the 2013 DDB Program is underway!
The 3rd Annual Diocesan Altar Server Retreat will take place at Saint Basil’s Academy in Garrison, New York on 1-3 March 2013. Saint Basil's Academy has beautiful grounds offering dormitory style rooms, an indoor basketball court and an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool available for use. There is no charge to participate in the retreat! Arrival and registration is Friday, 1 March beginning at 4:00 pm. Participants should complete REGISTRATION as soon as possible.
“Lessons in Our Faith” is a series of instructional videos produced by the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America) featuring His Grace, Bishop Michael. In this installment, the topic is ANGELS. Using his popular “7 Questions and 7 Answers” format, Bishop Michael discusses this subject in a concise and direct manner. In twelve minutes, the video offers the fundamental teaching about angels within the life of the Church. You'll find all of the videos in the "Lessons in Our Faith" section of this website ... or click here!
The Diocesan Office of Communications will be closed from Saturday, February 16th to Sunday, February 24th. Please visit the diocesan administration webpage (here) for essential contact information during this period. News items and announcements received during this time will be processed as soon as possible when the office resumes operations.
The first of three Distinguished Diocesan Benefactor Appreciation Dinners was held for the New Jersey Deanery on Sunday, 10 February in Clifton NJ. The DDBs were honored and recognized with gratitude for their generous contributions in support of diocesan mission parishes, seminarians, and struggling older parishes. Without DDBs, these vital ministries would lack much-needed funding. With DDBs, over $220,000 has been offered over the last two years and these ministries are bringing forth much good fruit in the Lord’s vineyard planted in New York and New Jersey.
On Sunday, 24 February, at 4:00 pm the choir of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross, Medford NJ, and the Seneca High School Chamber Singers will present a Benefit Concert in support of Covenant House, Camden NJ. Representatives of Covenant House, including Father Stephen Siniari, will be present. The concert will take place at the church: 11 Wilkins Station Rd, Medford NJ. Visit the parish website for more information: holycrossmedford.org
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Bayonne NJ was very pleased to sponsor an exhibit of books and religious/cultural artifacts of Eastern Europe at the main branch of the Bayonne Public Library during the month of January 2013. The exhibit contained a broad range of books on Orthodox Christian spirituality; these titles entered the library’s general circulation after the exhibit closed.
“The holiday season is a time for renewal and thanks,” said Father Wiaczeslaw Krawczuk (Rector of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Brooklyn NY). “It is in this spirit that we as Orthodox Christians come together to celebrate the joyful feast of the Nativity, as a family. The feeling of family relates also to our parishes, which are also rejuvenated from red to gold in the anticipation of a New Year, full of joys and challenges. My parish is going through an additional rejuvenation this year.”
A celebration honoring the 40th Anniversary of Bishop Michael's ordination to the Holy Priesthood will take place on Monday, 4 February at Holy Assumption Orthodox Church in Clifton NJ. A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will begin with the greeting of the bishop at 9:45 a.m. and will be followed by lunch. Complete information is contained in a letter from the Chancellor, Archpriest Joseph Lickwar.
Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet/Maplewood NY celebrated its Patronal Feast-Day on Tuesday, 1 January 2013. Celebrating the service for the feast-day of the Circumcision of the Lord along with the commemoration of Saint Basil the Great was His Grace, Bishop Michael, assisted by Father Peter Olsen, parish rector. The traditional cutting of the Saint Basil’s Bread (Vasilopita) containing a coin was held, with the one receiving the coin being “blessed” for the coming year through the intercession of Saint Basil.
The Diocesan Council in conjunction with Bishop Michael established a committee to create a structure for receiving donations, applications for assistance, and the distribution of assistance to the diocesan faithful who have suffered losses from Hurricane Sandy. Those requesting assistance should complete the Application for Assistance, which is available here or from the parish.
On Sunday, 30 December, Bishop Michael ordained Theodore Gregory to the Diaconate and Dr. Corrado John Altomare to the Sub-Diaconate at Saint Gregory Palamas Church in Glen Gardner NJ. May God grant “Many Years!” to the newly ordained Deacon Theodore and Sub-Deacon Corrado. “AXIOS!”
[Saint Vladimir's Seminary] On Saturday, 29 December 2012, Very Reverend Paul Shafran celebrated his 65th anniversary of ordination to the Holy Priesthood by presiding at the Divine Liturgy in Three Hierarchs Chapel at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, his alma mater, surrounded by family, friends, and fellow clergy. Father Paul, who briefly served parishes in the Byesville OH area during his days as a young pastor, most recently is Pastor Emeritus of Saint Vladimir Church in Trenton NJ. Full article and photos HERE!
The Orthodox Charitable and Educational Foundation of Saint Andrew’s Camp (Jewell NY) is a recent recipient of a generous donation from the Mutual Fire Foundation, Inc. of Exton PA. Caroline B. Mazza, the Foundation president, says that the donation of $14,500 will sponsor the construction of a cabin for campers. Ms. Mazza stated, “We honor the commitment of your organization, and hope that this donation will help with your mission.” In response, Bishop Michael stated, “Your magnanimous act of charity for the benefit of young campers is, in a very real sense, a gift to Christ the High Priest.”
The Council of Congregations, in co-operation with the Department of Health for the Borough of South River NJ, has been operating a food bank for over twenty years to assist those in need. Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church has been an active supporter of the food bank and parishioners serve as Chairman (Paul Zelanko) and members (Joan Pisuk & Joyce Major) of the Board of Health. The food bank had been located in the South River Senior Center ... until "Super Storm Sandy" brought destruction to it and the community of South River.
After the Divine Liturgy and a light lunch on 16 December 2012, choir members of Dormition of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in Binghamton NY traveled an hour to the Oxford Veterans Home, in Oxford NY to share their annual concert of Christmas carols with the residents. Dr. Philip Dzwonczyk, Chief Medical Officer at the home and devoted choir member, again organized this event for the veterans and the choir directed by Matushka Julia Gotlinsky.
His Grace, Bishop Michael, offers an Archpastoral Letter to the faithful of the diocese on the celebration of our Lord's Nativity. In part, he writes: "Once again we come upon the 'most wonderful time of the year,' as the song goes. What exactly does this mean? For some, it is simply the winter holiday season -- Frosty and Rudolph. For most, it is probably all about Santa, and making a list, and getting great gifts. Certainly for many others, Christmas is about the birth of a beautiful baby in Bethlehem … who grew up to be a great teacher, a gentle healer, perhaps even a miracle worker. But for us who are Orthodox Christians, the Feast of the Nativity is much more than all that."
On Saturday, 15 December, Deacon Matthew Markewich was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. The Holy Spirit led both Father Matthew and his wife Rebecca to Orthodoxy while college students at SUNY Albany. Both converted to Orthodoxy while attending Saint Basil’s Church under the spiritual guidance and mentoring of Archpriest Peter Olsen, parish rector. Later, they were married in the church. Having completing his studies at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Matthew was ordained to the diaconate at Saint Basil’s Church and now has been ordained to the priesthood.
The 2012 Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey convened on 11 December in Clifton NJ. Over 90 clergy and laity delegates representing diocesan parishes gathered with Bishop Michael for this annual assembly during which the vitally important work of the Church was discussed, considered, and (by the grace of the Holy Spirit) empowered. The address to the Assembly by His Grace and a video presentation on “The Year in Review” are available! Simply go to “more information” to view the videos and additional resources about this significant event in the life of the diocese.
His Grace, Bishop Michael, offers an Archpastoral Letter concerning the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on 14 December. In part, he writes: "The joyful anticipation of the Christmas celebration was shattered for many this past Friday, when the senseless murders of 27 schoolchildren and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, thrust that community into unimaginable horror and pain. This tragedy goes against the nature of morality – and against the very order of nature itself. There is nothing natural about parents burying their children. Many will ask, 'Where was God when this happened?'"
As the world counts-down the shopping days until Christmas, we are counting-down the final days of 2012 in the hope that we will meet our Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors goal to fund three vital ministries in our diocese: (1) Support of Missions, (2) Support of Seminarians, and (3) Support for Struggling Parishes. We are now at 84% of our goal! But, we have 16% ... $17,658 ... to go. Perhaps you, or your parish, can help us to cross the finish line? Donations are tax-deductable and made easy by our secure on-line payment option, or by mail. This is your invitation to get involved ... by becoming a DDB today! Get started HERE!
On Saturday, 1 December 2012, the Commission on Liturgical Music held its first Children’s Choir Workshop hosted by Saint Andrew Orthodox Church in Dix Hills NY. Led by noted diocesan conductor and musician David Lucs, the workshop was a fun-filled and inspiring day as eight enthusiastic young girls participated in learning several hymns, especially those related to the season of the Nativity, the feast of Saint Nicholas, and Theophany. The children returned home with booklets of liturgical music to share with their parishes along with their newly-acquired skills in liturgical music.
Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY held its annual “Yolka” activity on Sunday, 9 December immediately following the Divine Liturgy. A brunch luncheon was served in the Parish Center by the parents, teachers and students. After the luncheon, the Sunday School children entertained parishioners by singing Christmas Carols and performing a Christmas Play: "The Friendly Beast." A visit from Saint Nicholas with gifts for all children followed. “Everyone at Saint Basil's extends a very merry Christmas wish to all,’” said parishioner Bill Rentz, “Christ is Born! Glorify Him!”
The Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM] features many helpful resources and information on their dedicated website. For example, a new POLYCHRONION ~ “Many Years!” ~ is now available for use in our parishes, and appropriately commemorates Metropolitan Tikhon along with our Bishop Michael. The website also presents a directory of diocesan choir directors, mentors, news & events, and an ever-growing compilation of liturgical music composed or arranged by diocesan musicians. In the Divine Liturgy section alone there are now 28 offerings of music (some with an audio “LISTEN” feature). Visit the CoLM website by using the icon link on this webpage, or click here! Get the new POLYCHRONION now ~ click here!
PARMA, OH [OCA] Archbishop Tikhon, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, was elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America during the 17th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America at Holy Trinity Church in Parma OH, on November 13, 2012. Six hundred and sixty-three hierarchs, clergy and lay delegates and observers representing OCA parishes across the US, Canada and Alaska participated in the Council.
"Jacob’s Well" is the official publication of the Diocese New York-New Jersey. It provides, as did the well in ancient communities, a place for the distribution of news and activities regarding the life of the Diocese and its parishes. But like the story of the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well (John 4), it also seeks to be a vehicle which provides not just news but opportunities for reflection on the living encounter with Jesus Christ. Read the new issue, and previous issues, here!
Now that we have entered the 4th quarter of the 2012 fiscal year, it’s a good time to consider your opportunity to support diocesan ministries by joining the ever-growing list of Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors (DDBs). There is a critical need for additional support to mission parishes! Funds are also designated for seminarian scholarships and support to struggling existing parishes. For complete details, visit the “Vision for Our Future” section of this website. Go HERE!
[OCA.org] For Alaskan residents, a ticket from the Anchorage hub to Cleveland can cost nearly $800.00 — if purchased today; in a few weeks, a ticket can cost over $1,000.00 [travel from Mexico is also costly]. Our goal is to raise $15,000 to defray travel expenses so all parishes can be represented at the 17th All-American Council. An anonymous donor has offered a matching grant. For a limited time your donation will be doubled. Please give today to keep delegate costs down as much as possible. DONATE NOW!
“Lessons in Our Faith” is a series of instructional videos produced by the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America) featuring His Grace, Bishop Michael. In this installment, the topic is MARRIAGE. Using his popular “7 Questions and 7 Answers” format, Bishop Michael discusses this subject in a concise and direct manner. In twelve minutes, the video offers the fundamental teaching about this sacrament within the life of the Church. The entire "Lessons in Our Faith" series is available on this website ... here!
Junior FOCA [Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America] members will sponsor their 2012 Convention on November 10, 2012 at Saint Nicholas Church in Auburn NY. The day will include a meeting to discuss activities and elect officers, followed by a bowling tournament and evening activities at a local game center. The bowling tournament and evening activities are open to all young people (ages 8 to 18) regardless of FOCA membership. Costs are kept to a minimum and include bowling and evening activities. Meals are provided free of charge for participants with a minimal charge for accompanying parents.
Dogs, cats, hens, hamsters, roosters, fish and others were brought to Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY for a blessing on Saturday, 29 September. “We invited our neighbors within a three-block radius of the church to join our parishioners for a cook-out followed by a molieben service and blessing of their pets,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector). Flyers announcing the event were delivered, door-to-door, by Sub-deacon Sean McNulty. “My little Sammy was very well-behaved,” said Heather McNulty of her adorable and energetic canine, “I think the blessing had an effect on him!”
First-year grants have been awarded by the Orthodox Church in America to Holy Archangels Church, Annapolis MD, in the Archdiocese of Washington DC and Holy Apostles Church, Lansing NY, in the Diocese of New York & New Jersey served by Priest James Worthington. “Each of these missions receives a substantial grant of $24,000 for the first year and $20,000 for the second year, matched by the missions, in order to support the full-time ministry and missionary work of their priests,” said Priest John Parker (Chairperson of the Department of Evangelization).
An “Old Calendar” commemoration of the feast-day of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos took place at Saint Mary's Church in Jackson NJ on 20-21 September. His Grace, Bishop Michael, celebrated the Vigil on Thursday evening and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Friday. Following the Divine Liturgy, a procession was made around the temple and His Grace offered prayers at the grave of His Eminence, Archbishop Gregory (Afonsky). A festal banquet followed in Saint Mary's Church hall.
On Saturday, 29 September, Father John Diamantis was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop Michael at Holy Trinity Church, East Meadow NY. Father John is the Chairperson of the Diocesan Department of College Ministry and his wife, Matushka Andrea, is the Director of the Diocesan Department of Religious Education. May God grant them “Many Years!”
The Diocese of New York and New Jersey marks Choir Appreciation Day today, 30 September 2012, the eve of the feast day of Saint Romanos the Melodist. Rectors and faithful of the diocese should take time on this day to thank and encourage their choir leaders and singers. The dedication and abilities of these Orthodox Christians contribute immeasurably to our worship. A Liturgy without sung responses is impossible! We need to nurture and encourage our singing leaders – and thank them on this day for their pious work!
The twelve-priest Diocesan Council of Presbyters [CP] gathered with Bishop Michael at the Diocesan Center on 24 September 2012. In appointing the members of the CP, His Grace said: “In consonance with our Church’s teaching on conciliarity, handed down to us from as long ago as Saint Ignatius of Antioch, it is my intention to establish a Council of Presbyters to advise the Bishop of New York and New Jersey on matters pertaining to the life, growth and development of our Diocese.”
On Monday, October 1st, Bishop Michael will celebrate a special Service of Thanksgiving (Molieben) marking the 60th Anniversary of the priestly ordination of Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak. Father Daniel and his wife Matushka Evelyn (known by all as Dunia) have served the Orthodox Church in America with unwavering dedication and faithfulness in a number of capacities and parishes, many of them in our diocese. The service will take place at 1:00 p.m. at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Jersey City NJ. A reception in the church hall will follow.
Students participating in the Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program [DFP] began their studies on Saturday, 15 September, at the Endicott NY campus. New students joined with the returning class for the DFP intensive 2-year/4-semester program of study accredited by Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Courses include both academic study and liturgical practicum. For information about the DFP, contact Father Alexey Karlgut: email@example.com
A memorial service was held at Holy Spirit Church (Wantage NJ) for the victims of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on America. The event marked the parish’s eleventh year of offering memorial prayers for victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Alexandria VA~Washington DC, and the fallen aircraft in Shanksville PA. In attendance were firefighters from Unionville NY, Johnson NY, Franklin NJ and Sussex NJ. A fellowship reception followed the service.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its third annual meeting for all member hierarchs, that is, all active canonical bishops in its region. The meeting was held from September 10-12, 2012, at the Chicago O'Hare Hilton in Chicago, Illinois. Forty-three bishops, including Bishop Michael, were in attendance. The message signed by the hierarchs says, in part: "We reaffirm our commitment ... to safeguard and deepen Orthodox unity, to promote common pastoral action, to offer common witness in our region, and to overcome canonical anomalies... As we assemble in Chicago, we also take this opportunity to encourage all of you, the People of God, in a world exploited and polarized by greed, godlessness, and immorality. We call upon all Orthodox Christians to be faithful to their calling to be the light of the world."
On Sunday, 26 August 2012, Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY blessed the vineyards, vines, grapes, wine presses, barrels, and new wine at Deer Run Winery at nearby Geneseo NY. “Our gracious hosts and vintners were George, Joan and Scott Kuyon,” said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector). “In addition to a wide variety of fine New York State wines of the Finger Lakes Region, we are blessed to use wine grown, harvested, and lovingly fermented here for our Eucharistic celebrations.” This marked the eighth consecutive year of the annual blessing at Deer Run Winery which included a wine-tasting and fellowship meal for parishioners and friends.
Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, Otego NY, celebrated the 35th anniversary of their founding as a stavropegial women’s monastery of the Orthodox Church in America on 25 & 26 August 2012. (A “stavropegial” monastery is one which falls directly under the omophorion of the primate of the church rather than under a local diocesan bishop). The weekend events also celebrated the 40th anniversary of monastic-life profession for Mother Raphaela, Abbess of the monastery; and the 50th anniversary of monastic-life profession of Mother Michaela, a nun with the Holy Myrrhbearers Sisterhood for nearly a decade. Mother Raphaela was presented with a jeweled cross by Archbishop Tikhon on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA. In addition, before the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, Sister Deborah was tonsured to the riassa by the hand of Bishop Matthias. Hierarchs, clergy, friends and supporters from across the country and from many Orthodox jurisdictions joined the milestone celebrations! For a full press release detailing the celebration on the OCA website, please visit HERE.
Registration forms, hotel information, and related materials for the 17th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America (Tuesday, November 13, 2012) are now available. “Per the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, parishes will need to elect new delegates,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “Registration forms, as per normal procedures for an All-American Council, must be completed and received by the OCA Chancery by October 15.” Hotel reservations will open on Wednesday, September 5.
On August 29th, the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program [DFP] graduate Simeon Terry Peet was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by Bishop Michael during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Endicott NY. Deacon Simeon was a member of the program’s inaugural class at the Endicott NY Campus. He and eight of his fellow classmates graduated and received a Certificate in Diaconal Formation during commencement ceremonies at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary on 26 May 2012.
The Department of College Ministry [DoCM] held its inaugural event “The Fields are White for Harvest: Welcome to College Ministry” on Saturday, 18 August at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY. In establishing the DoCM, Bishop Michael appointed Deacon John Diamantis (Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, East Meadow NY) as chairperson. Deacon John serves concurrently in a similar capacity with the national Orthodox Christian Fellowship as District Chaplain. A website for the DoCM has been established and a direct icon-link is displayed on this homepage.
August 29th is Bishop Michael's birthday. The clergy and faithful of the diocese offer thanks unto God for the archpastoral ministry of their spiritual shepherd and enthusiastcally join together in singing "Eis Polla Eti Despota!" You may read His Grace's official biography, view his videos, and read his archpastoral letters here.
Holy Resurrection Church in Wayne NJ was the site of this year’s Clergy Conference held on 21-22 August. The conference theme was marriage counseling, with a focus on “FOCCUS” (a valuable resource for pastoral pre-marriage preparation). Through the inspiration and with the blessing of Bishop Michael, the conference welcomed 28 diocesan priests as participants.The conference facilitator/trainer was Maggie Hock. She is the North American Director of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America Department of Marriage & Parish Family Ministries. Khouriya Maggie is a fully licensed and credentialed Psychotherapist and Mediator (LMHP, CPC, LPC), specializing in crisis and trauma, individual, marital, parenting, group therapy and corporate dynamics.
The 2nd Annual Diocesan Youth Day was on 16 August as over 100 participants gathered at Saint Mary Orthodox Church, Jackson NJ. The weather was beautiful; the enthusiasm spectacular! Participants included 7 Clergy, 30 adult chaperones and 70+ youth participants representing 13 parishes in our diocese. A parish from Rahway NJ of the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese also participated. At registration each youth participant was given a green t-shirt to wear with “Orthodox Youth Day 2012” written on the front so they could easily be identified.
SYOSSET NY [OCA] ~ Holy Trinity Church, Parma OH, will be the site of the 17th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, a one-day gathering on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 -- the Feast of Saint John Chrysostom -- at which a new Primate of the Orthodox Church in America will be elected. The Council will open with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, followed by brunch. An electoral plenary session will follow, after which the newly elected Primate will be installed prior to the closing session. Space for observers will be limited. Additional information will be released in the coming weeks as final plans become available.
ADDED 24 AUG: Letter from Diocesan Chancellor>>>
[The Asbury Park Press, Dan Radel]
A visit from a bishop can turn any ordinary Sunday service into something extraordinary. But at the Orthodox Christian Church of the Annunciation on Van Zile Road in Brick, not only did Bishop Michael from the Diocese of New York and New Jersey visit the church [18-19 August], but he also blessed its newly finished iconography and bestowed a jeweled cross to the Rev. Gary Breton. “It’s a very special day for us to have the bishop come and bless the icons. They have changed the atmosphere of the church,” said parish member Mathew Petrides of Wall.
Three Church School Conferences, one in each Deanery (New Jersey, New York City, New York State), were conducted during the month of August. A “first” for our diocese, this targeted focus on parish religious education is inspired by Bishop Michael’s dedication to nurturing the spiritual growth and development of children ~ of all ages ~ by providing training and resources to program directors and teachers. Looking ahead, Church School Conferences will be an annual diocesan event thanks to the financial support provided by the Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors program [DDB]. Visit the "Vision for Our Future" link on this webpage for details, and an invitation to join the DDB.
During a Sunday Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church (Manhattan) on 12 August, Bishop Michael ordained Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program graduate David Chow to the Holy Diaconate. Deacon David was a member of the program’s inaugural class at the Endicott NY Campus; on 26 May 2012, he and eight of his fellow classmates graduated and received a Certificate in Diaconal Formation. New students will join second-year classmates in the two-year/4 semester course of intense study later this month. Those interested in the program should contact their parish rector for details.
The Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM] reports that composed/arranged liturgical music by musicians in the diocese is now available on their website, with additional submissions to be added as received and approved. To date, sheet music (some with accompanying audio files) has been published in the categories of “Divine Liturgy,” “Great Lent & PASCHA,” “Nativity of Our Lord,” and “Supplemental.” Musicians interested in submitting original or arranged liturgical music should refer to the news release available HERE. A direct-link icon to the CoLM website is permanently displayed on this website, and offers many resources to parish choir directors and singers.
On Saturday, 11 August, several Matushki (wives of priests/deacons) of the New York State Deanery enjoyed a 2-hour boat cruise upon the sparkling bluish-green waters of Skaneateles Lake. One of the extraordinary lakes of the world renowned Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, glacier formed Lake Skaneateles boasts spring fed crystal clear waters and breathtaking views.
As part of ongoing efforts at Holy Trinity Church, East Meadow NY, to strengthen the Orthodox Faith among its community, the Church School Association [CSA] organized a Parish Family Gathering on Sunday, 5 August -- the eve of the feast-day of Transfiguration. Members and friends of the parish, both young and old, gathered together for dinner and a Q&A session led by the parish rector, Father Martin Kraus, before attending the festal vigil together.
Forty church school teachers gathered at Holy Resurrection Church in Wayne NJ on Saturday, 4 August, for an entire day devoted to church school teachers/directors training. Matushka Myra Kovalak (Elevation of the Holy Cross Church, Williamsport PA), accompanied by trainers Father George Alberts and Nike Bach facilitated and led discussions on a wide range of topics. See the “Upcoming Events” section of this website for details regarding the two Church School Conferences scheduled for the New York City and New York State Deaneries.
A new installment of the highly acclaimed video series Lessons in Our Faith is now available for viewing! Using his popular “7 Questions and 7 Answers” format ... but, this time in reverse ... Bishop Michael answers 7 thought-provoking questions presented to him by 7 campers during the camping season at Saint Andrew’s Camp in Jewell NY. The questions range from bioethical concerns to ecclesiology to the sensitive issue of marital divorce and more!
On Saturday, 28 July, the Commission on Liturgical Music sponsored a conference & workshop exploring the spiritual and historical structure of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Held at Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery in Otego NY, the program featured opening comments by Bishop Michael and sessions lead by the guest facilitator, Aleksei V. Shipovalnikov (director of “The Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir” and music director of Saints Peter & Paul Church in Jersey City NJ). Professor Shipovalnikov presented insightful, essential pointers about leading the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy from a choir director's point of view. He also shared his expertise accumulated through a wealth of experiences leading liturgical singing in Russia and elsewhere.
On Thursday evening, 26 July, during Great Vespers at Saint Andrew's Camp (Jewell NY) a long-time friend and dedicated volunteer of the camp, John Kozak, was presented with a gramota by Bishop Michael. His Grace recognized John for his tireless and selfless commitment to serving the camp and its youth, and for always putting the children, their safety, their growth in the faith, and their camp experience first. Pointing to John as an example and role-model, His Grace was able to impart to the campers the importance of ministering as faithful laypeople in Christ’s church.
The conference will take place (Saturday) 18 August from 10am-3pm at Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers NY. The goal is to orient us for ministry on college campuses within the territory of our diocese. “Very often I hear from parish council members, from parishioners, and especially from parents,” said Bishop Michael, “ how we have ‘lost’ many of our college students from active membership in our parishes. This Conference is an attempt to overturn that deadly, negative current! ... I urge our priests to attend ... and to send members of their parish council, parents and other parishioners from their communities.” This Conference is free of charge to our parishes. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP your attendance. View the Conference flyer HERE!
Calling all parish Church School Coordinators and Teachers! The diocese will sponsor three regional Church School Conferences for coordinators and teachers. The dates/locations are: 4 August in Wayne NJ, 11 August in Whitestone NY, and 18 August in Endicott NY. Please see the information in the “Upcoming Events” section of this website. You will find a conference flyer and registration brochure included with the conference information for each location.
Bishop Michael visited Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY on Saturday and Sunday, 14-15 July 2012. His Grace presided at Great Vespers on Saturday and at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, during which he awarded the "Kamilavka" to Father David Cowan and also installed Father David as Rector of Holy Trinity Church. Bishop Michael stayed for a luncheon afterward in the parish Education Building, where he held an “Ask the Bishop” question-and-answer forum with the faithful.
During one hot, muggy week in July, the 11-member Orthodox Youth Mission Team was not to be found basking in the sun, nor huddling by the air conditioner. Instead, these young missionaries -- including 4 from Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers NY -- were wielding power tools and infectious smiles, rebuilding homes for families in need near Johnson City, Tennessee. This was part of the Appalachia Service Project [ASP] youth mission initiative.
DDBs are people like you! They are lay people, monastics, priests and deacons. Some are parishes, like your parish! They share in sustaining the work of the Church in our Diocese. They make things happen! They provide necessary assistance to our mission parishes, they support our seminarians, and they revitalize our older parishes. You may already be a DDB ... or, you may become one! New DDBs are being added almost every day.
Summer is in full-swing at Saint Andrew's Camp located on the shores of Oneida Lake in Jewell NY. Beginning last May, an army of volunteers has been heading up to this picturesque corner of Upstate New York to assist in getting the camp into shape: mowing lawns, getting supplies, painting walls, and a thorough cleaning of the chapel, kitchen, and bunks. Though now only halfway through its second week of this year's camping program, the place is alive with youthful energy to complement the natural beauty.
Archpriest Paul Shafran, Pastor Emeritus of Saint Vladimir Church in Trenton NJ, turned 90 on July 2, 2012. An in-home celebration was joined by many members of his extended family and a few close friends, who feted him with toasts and speeches, songs with customized lyrics, and walks down memory lane with photos and music from his younger days. We extend our warm congratulations to Father Paul and ask that God bless him with good health and all good things for many years!
On Thursday, 5 July, the clergy families of the New York State Deanery were hosted by Bishop Michael for their annual picnic. The event took place thanks to the coordination of Father James Worthington and the faithful of Holy Apostles Mission Parish in Lansing NY. Then, from Friday through Sunday (6-8 July), His Grace made an archpastoral visit to Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY where he participated in a Friday evening social with parish council members and parish ministry coordinators, the “Saturday Family Vespers Day” and, following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, the parish’s annual Pasta Dinner.
On 23-24 June, the occasion of their patronal feast-day, Saint John the Baptist Church in Passaic NJ was blessed to have a visit by Bishop Michael. On the feast-day of Saints Peter & Paul ~ Friday, 29 June ~ His Grace celebrated the hierarchical Liturgy in Endicott NY on the parish’s patronal feast-day. During the Liturgy, Mark Bohush was ordained to the holy Diaconate.
The three regional (by deanery) Parish Council Conferences for 2012 were conducted at Cifton NJ, Endicott NY, and Whitestone NY. More than 150 parish council members from diocesan parishes attended. The guest facilitator, Maureen Jury of the Diocese of the South, offered a well-received and information packed discussion regarding "Financial Stewardship." The Endicott NY conference was recorded and videos of the event will be available on this website shortly. It is hoped that all parish council members, and interested faithful, who were unable to attend one of the conferences will take the opportunity to view the videos.
NEW! Lesson outline available! The latest video installment of “Lessons in Our Faith” features Bishop Michael as he provides practical and concise teaching on the Baptism of Infants. His Grace discusses the theological and sacramental considerations of this subject with biblical references, patristic commentary, and reflections on the faith and life of the Church ... in less than 10 minutes! This is the 7th lesson available in the “Lessons in Our Faith” section of this website.
Father (Chandler) David Poling was ordained to the holy priesthood at the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection in NYC, on Fathers’ Day ~ Sunday, 17 June ~ by the Grace of God and the hand of Bishop Michael. His Grace also elevated Deacon Patrick Baumgarth to the honor and dignity of Protodeacon, and presented certificates of appreciation [“gramota”] to several recipients for their long-standing service to the Cathedral parish. Father Poling will be assigned as pastor of Saint Innocent Orthodox Mission in Oneonta NY.
The first of three Parish Council Conferences in the diocese was held on Saturday, 16 June in Clifton NJ. Nearly 100 participants gathered with Bishop Michael and the conference facilitator, Maureen Jury (Metropolitan Council and Diocese of the South Diocesan Council member). The focus of the conferences is “Financial Stewardship.” The New York State Deanery will host the second conference on 23 June in Endicott NY, and the New York City Deanery on 24 June in Whitestone NY. All parish council members in the diocese are strongly encouraged to attend; a video of the Endicott conference will be made available on DVD for council members unable to participate.
Bishop Michael made his annual archpastoral visit to Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Buffalo NY on 9-10 June with the celebration of the feast of “All Saints.” The celebrations began with Vespers with Litiya on Saturday (9 June) followed by a dinner in the newly renovated parish hall. On Sunday (10 June) the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated. His Grace encouraged parishioners to “take seriously the call to holiness and to follow the example of saints.” At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Janet Hetzel was awarded a certificate of appreciation by Bishop Michael for her faithful service to the parish.
On Saturday, 9 June, during the Hierarchical Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church in Elmira Heights NY, Bishop Michael: Awarded the jeweled cross to Archpriest Jason Kappanadze; Elevated Priest Ilya Gotlinsky to the rank of Archpriest; and Ordained sub-deacon Gregory White (a graduate of our Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program) to the Holy Diaconate. “Axios! Axios! Axios!”
The Council of Presbyters will meet with His Grace, Bishop Michael, at the Diocesan Center in Bronxville NY on Monday, 18 June. On the following day (Tuesday), the Diocesan Council will meet in the same venue. These administrative bodies assemble semi-annually and monthly, respectively, to provide guidance and collaboration in the on-going life of the diocese. We pray that their gatherings will be inspired and moved by the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit.
A new video installment of "Lessons in Our Faith" is now available! The topic is the "Sacrament of Chrismation." Using his popular 7 Questions & 7 Answers format, Bishop Michael provides clear and concise teaching about our faith. This is the sixth lesson in the series. Each video is less than 10 minutes in length, but full of information and insights.
On behalf of Mother Raphaela, the Board of Trustees, and the 35th Anniversary Planning Committee, it is our joy to invite you to a milestone celebration for Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery in Otego NY. In addition to celebrating 35 years since the Monastery was established, this year marks the 40th anniversary of monastic life profession for Mother Raphaela and 50th anniversary of monastic life profession for Mother Michaela. May God grant them many years!
Bishop Michael has issued a letter to the faithful for the celebration of Pentecost on Sunday, 3 June. In part, Bishop Michael writes: "Having received the gift of the Holy Spirit, granted to the Apostles on that first Pentecost and given to us at our Chrismation, let us re-affirm our faith in the Triune God and express it ever more perfectly daily in His Holy Orthodox Church. Let us fulfill our destiny, growing ever closer to Christ, living more and more like the Saints, becoming more and more like God -- true sons and daughters of the Father, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Truly, He is the promise of Christ fulfilled for us on this day." All of Bishop Michael's archpastoral letters are available HERE.
Nine Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program students walked in solemn procession during the commencement ceremony on 26 May at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan PA). The students had successfully completed a two-year/4 semester course of study that challenged them intellectually, spiritually, and ... to be sure ... tested their diligence and perseverance in attending day-long sessions every Saturday of the academic year at the Endicott NY campus. Congratulations to the Class of 2012 receiving the Certificate in Diaconal Formation: Gregory Aidinov ~ Ilya Arnopolskiy ~ Mark Bohush ~ David Chow ~ Sean McNulty ~ Symeon Peet ~ Michael Pylypciw ~ Gregory White ~ Theodore Gregory (attended the Philadelphia PA campus).
On Sunday, 20 May, Archpriest John and Matushka Eugenia Nehrebecki celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary [22 May] at Christ the Saviour Church in Paramus NJ. His Grace, Bishop Michael, celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy assisted by Father John, Father David Vernak, Father Stephen Vernak, and Deacon Paul Sokol. The Choir was directed by Theodora Gramkow. His Grace preached and extolled the virtues of the couple’s marriage, especially their faithful life and labors in the Church.
On Sunday, 27 May, Bishop Michael graciously took time from his busy schedule surrounding the Saint Tikhon's Monastery Pilgrimage to visit Saint Andrew Parish (Dix Hills NY) and its faithful as they celebrated the 25th anniversary of Father John Klingel's ordination to the Holy Priesthood. At the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Bishop Michael formally awarded the jeweled cross -- a loving gift from several parishioners -- as well as the award of wearing the palitza to Father John. His Grace also tonsured faithful altar server and singer Chris Whitehorn to the rank of Reader.
On Sunday evening, 27 May, the faithful of Holy Apostles Orthodox Church (Lansing NY) and representatives from at least eight other parishes in the area were witness to a miraculous night. The myrrhstreaming (Hawaiian) Iveron Icon of the Mother of God came for a visit. The icon’s caretaker, Reader Nectarios, traveled to the little mission parish and was met at the doors by Father James Worthington and altar servers. The icon was led in procession into church and the Akathist of the Theotokos’ Icon was sung. Over 45 people prayed as the Icon adorned the middle of the church.
The Diocesan Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM] launched a new and impressive website on 24 May 2012. The website can be accessed and entered through a direct link on the diocesan website homepage. The result of a long and dedicated process, the website represents a "labor of love" on the part of CoLM co-chairs: Archpriest Daniel Skvir, Carol Wetmore, and Doreen Bartholomew. Check the website often for news, announcements, and updates.
Saint Andrew's Camp in Jewell NY is pleased to introduce and welcome Camp Director Paul McDonald, a returning counselor from the 2011 season and seminarian at Saint Tikhon's Seminary (South Canaan PA). The Saint Andrew's Camping season opens on July 8, 2012 with "Horse Week," and three subsequent weeks of Orthodox camping to follow. Join us and register your child (or yourself) today! For more information, please visit the Saint Andrew's Camp website registration page:
The Myrrh-streaming Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos from Hawaii will again visit Saint Tikhon’s Monastery on the Memorial Day weekend. Healings from cancer, demon possession and blindness have been attributed to the intercessions of the Mother of God through this Miraculous Myrrh-streaming Icon. NEW! schedule of visits by the Icon on the East Coast (May-June) >>>
The Second Anniversary Celebration of the consecration of Bishop Michael was a most joyful and inspiring gathering at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Jersey City NJ on Saturday, May 12th. His Grace was joined by twenty-four clergy and many faithful of the diocese for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with magnificent responses by the Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir under the direction of Aleksei V. Shipovalnikov.
On Saturday, 5 May, a dozen teens and adults from Holy Annunciation Church, Brick NJ; Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, NYC; and Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers NY gathered at the headquarters of His Grace, Bishop Michael, and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey for a day of much-needed yard and grounds work.
His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey presided at the Sunday Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter and Paul Church in South River NJ on 6 May. He was assisted by seven priests (including the host pastor, Priest David Garretson), a protodeacon, subdeacons and 14 altar servers. Basil Kozak directed the parish choir, which was joined by tournament participants. His Grace spoke to the participants, saying in part: "Think about this for a moment: to sink a three-pointer on the court, you have to give up the basketball; to make a strike in bowling, you have to give up the ball. So too in life, to truly be a success – as a spouse or a parent or an Orthodox Christian – we have to give of ourselves, of our time and talent and treasure; we have to sacrifice our will, our wants, our ways for the other; we have to share sacrificial love for our family and our friends, for our Lord and His Church.” read the full article >
As part of the “Lessons in Our Faith” video series, a new installment has been produced and published on the diocesan website. In this lesson, Bishop Michael discusses the Sacrament of Baptism in a clear and concise presentation that will be both instructive and helpful for Orthodox faithful and also for non-Orthodox “seekers” who desire to know more about the faith and practices of the Church. Upcoming lessons on the Sacrament of Chrismation and Infant Baptism will be produced in the near future.
The Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program will soon mark the successful completion of its second year (four academic semesters). Several students, enrolled from the inauguration of the program, have been or plan to be tonsured as readers or ordained as sub-deacons/deacons. The course of study encompasses two years (four semesters), meeting every Saturday of the academic year at the Endicott NY campus of the program accredited by Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. The third year of classes will begin in September with both returning (second year) students and new students from throughout the diocese. Those interested in the program should speak to their parish rector. NEW PHOTOS ADDED on May 1, 2012
The Diocesan Council (members listed here) gathered for a regular/monthly meeting at the Diocesan Center on Wednesday, 25 April 2012. Various matters effecting the life and administration of the diocese were discussed and, when required, decisions were taken. Notable was an update on the 2012 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] initiative which, thanks to the good-will and generosity of many, has received an excellent response to date. There is an expectation, and prayerful hope, for continued financial support during the rest of this year. DDB funds are having a significant impact on the ability of the diocese to support missions, seminarians, and existing parishes. The faithful of the diocese are asked to prayerfully consider their ability to participate as DDBs. Complete information and an on-line “donate now” feature is found HERE.
"The Church wants us to become like the Beloved Disciple was after Pascha: to live richly in our spiritual life, communicating with the Lord every day in prayer, as John did in person; to grow in God’s Word, by reading what Saint John and the others wrote in the Scripture; to come intimately close to the Lord in the Eucharist, as we are directed in the discourse in John's Gospel; to live a lifestyle of moral purity and service to Christ, as did the only one of the Twelve to live to a ripe old age and die a natural death, the very last of the apostolic witnesses on earth; and, yes, to forever be reminded in our minds, be stirred in our hearts and be convinced in our souls of that good news of greatest joy -- 'Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!'"
In addition to the ordination of Father Seraphim Joa to the holy priesthood, Bishop Michael attended the Children's Concert on Lazarus Saturday at Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood NY). "We were incredibly honored to have Bishop Michael in attendance at this concert for the second year in a row," said Danielle Miller, director of the choirs. Mrs. Miller is a veteran music teacher, choral conductor, and church musician.
On Saturday, 7 April ~ "Lazarus Saturday" ~ Saint Vladimir's Seminary seminarian Deacon William Seraphim Joa was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace, Michael (Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey). Father Seraphim is in his third year of the Master of Divinity program at Saint Vladimir’s. more information >
Holy Transfiguration Church in Pearl River NY was the venue of the fifth annual service of the Holy Mystery of Unction, celebrated in full by seven priests, on Tuesday night, April 3rd, 2012.
On the Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt ~ 5th Sunday of Great Lent, 1 April 2012 ~ the Gospel reading focused our attention on what is to come: Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." (Mark 10:32-34)
Children and adults from several Orthodox communities in the New York State Capital District and Saratoga County gathered for their annual Lenten Youth Retreat on Saturday, 31 March at Saint Basil’s Greek Orthodox Church in Troy NY. For more than fifteen years, with encouragement from the clergy of the Saint Andrew’s Brotherhood, families have participated together each year in this day of worship and fellowship.
On Saturday and Sunday, 24-25 March, the faithful of Annunciation Church in Brick NJ welcomed His Grace, Bishop Michael, for the weekend celebration of their patronal feast-day. Many visitors from the New Jersey Deanery (OCA) and from other jurisdictions joined them for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning and the Mission Vespers service later that afternoon. "Many thanks," said Father Gary Breton (parish Rector), "to all who helped make this celebration bright and joyful!"
“Lessons in Our Faith” is a series of instructional videos produced by the Diocese of New York and New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America) featuring His Grace, Bishop Michael. In this installment, the topic is the Sacrament of Confession. Using his popular “7 Questions and 7 Answers” format, Bishop Michael discusses this subject in a concise and direct manner. The entire "Lessons in Our Faith" series is available through a special link on this homepage (see the icon to the right)! Or, simply click HERE.
Priests from various parts of the New Jersey Deanery gathered together on Sunday, 18 March, for a “Mission Vespers Service” at the Mother of God Church in Mays Landing NJ. This parish is the southern-most Church in the Deanery; New Jersey is 180 miles in length, north to south. Priests from throughout the Deanery participated (some traveling 3.5 hours one way). Priest Boris Slootsky and his faithful parishioners hosted the event, followed by a Lenten meal.
“Being Called to Serve” was the theme of the Second Annual Diocesan Altar Server Retreat held 24-26 February 2012 as nearly 60 participants gathered with Bishop Michael at Saint Basil’s Academy in Garrison NY. Although the event occurred over the “Forgiveness Sunday” weekend heralding the beginning of Great Lent, it was a great turnout! Participants included 5 clergy, 9 adult chaperones, and over 45 altar servers from 16 parishes within the diocese. Altar servers had the opportunity to “meet up” with old friends from the retreat in 2011 and to make new friends with those attending the retreat for the first time.
Each year, Orthodox Christians around Southern California break from their routine of worshiping in the Divine Liturgy at their regular churches to witness something special on the first Sunday of Great Lent. The canonical Orthodox Christian Bishops of the West Coast began the tradition of celebrating the Divine Liturgy together on this day in 2008 at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles, California. Joining them this year was a brother from the east: His Grace, Bishop MICHAEL (Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of New York and New Jersey), who served as the retreat master for our clergy and faithful on the eve of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America has offered a letter to the faithful on the occasion of the "Sunday of Orthodoxy" (the 1st Sunday in Great Lent). In part, they write: "We exhort all the faithful to celebrate this Feast with special joy, and with a shared sense of our common Faith. The Assembly includes every canonical Orthodox presence in our region, and as such is a living icon of the varied traditions that have been carried to the New World by faithful Orthodox Christians from around the world. We encourage mutual celebrations and fellowship in the spirit of the Feast."
Three Appreciation Dinners were hosted by Bishop Michael to express gratitude to the 2011 DDBs, to provide them with specific details of how their support has brought forth much good fruit throughout the diocese, and to encourage them to continue as DDBs this year in their support of the diocese. A video presentation was shown at each dinner highlighting accomplishments within the diocese during 2011 made possible, in part or in full, thanks to DDBs.
With the season of Great Lent upon us, we are pleased to offer a new installment of “Lessons in Our Faith” in which Bishop Michael offers clear and concise teaching on the subject of fasting. There are currently three lessons on-line and each of these educational videos is also available in audio format, and a lesson outline may be printed. Use the “Lessons in Our Faith” icon on this homepage to enter the special section. Learn more about your faith, and share it with others!
The New Jersey Deanery has released a schedule of deanery-wide Lenten Vespers services for the season of Great Lent 2012. View the schedule of services >
His Grace, Bishop Michael, has issued an archpastoral letter to the faithful of the diocese for the beginning of Great Lent on 27 February 2012. In part, he writes: "God gives us the chance to live life over again – a new direction, a new life, if we sincerely repent of our sins and turn to Him and His ways. But repentance is more than just feeling sorry for what we have done. It must be more – a genuine return to God; a complete about-face to His way of living."
Saint Andrew’s Camp seeks talented Orthodox Christian adults/young adults, male and female, ages 18+ for staff positions & volunteer roles for the 2012 season. Volunteers come in many forms and in varying age groups. Parents may accompany their children during a week at camp and volunteer in the kitchen, with activities, and other projects. Retirees, young professionals, school teachers, clergy and seminarians also visit in volunteer capacities. The Counselor/Volunteer flyer is available HERE.
The New York State Deanery conducted a Family Conference and Youth Retreat from 13 January (Friday) through 15 January (Sunday) at Greek Peak Resort near Cortland NY. Bishop Michael was present for the retreat program which was attended by over 100 participants. In keeping with His Grace's vision of expanding ministries within the diocese, the theme of the three-day retreat was: “Depending on God.”
On the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (5 February), Bishop Michael made an archpastoral visit to Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Alpha NJ. It was the second visit to the parish by His Grace as ruling Hierarch of the Diocese. Great Vespers was served on Saturday evening with the Litiya; after Vespers parishioners and their rector, Archpriest Bohdan Ostash, had a discussion with His Grace during a fellowship reception. On Sunday morning, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated followed by a home-cooked meal prepared by the parishioners as His Grace met with the faithful and answered their questions. Father Bohdan offered his gratitude to Bishop Michael, saying: “Thank-you, Vladyko, for your archpastoral guidance and inspiring words! May God grant you many years!"
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America recently (2 Feb 2012) issued a formal "Record of Protest Against the Infringement of Religious Liberty by the Department of Health and Human Services." In part, the Assembly writes: "The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. This freedom is transgressed when a religious institution is required to pay for “contraceptive services” including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization services that directly violate their religious convictions. Providing such services should not be regarded as mandated medical care. We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, call upon HHS Secretary Sebelius and the Obama Administration to rescind this unjust ruling and to respect the religious freedom guaranteed all Americans by the First Amendment."
As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the Orthodox Faith among its youth, the Church School Association of Holy Trinity Church (East Meadow NY) organized a fellowship and service get-together on Wednesday, 1 February 2012. Youth and teens of the parish gathered to roll beeswax candles and mount icon prints, followed by dinner and a Vigil service for the feast-day of the Meeting of Our Lord. As a service project, the youth prepared mounted icon prints of the Resurrection which will be placed in Paschal baskets for homebound parishioners. The baskets will be assembled by the youth on Lazarus Saturday and delivered to parishioners who are unable to make their own traditional foods for Pascha.
His Grace, Bishop Michael, celebrates the 39th anniversary of his ordination to the holy priesthood on Saturday, February 4th. We pray that our all-merciful Lord will grant peace, health, salvation, and furtherance in all good things to our Spiritual Shepherd and Archpastor. Eis polla eti despota! Many years!