CHRIST IS BORN! LET US GLORIFY HIM!
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!"
read the Archpastoral Letter >
PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS
The feast-day of Our Lord's Nativity is drawing near! As we "prepare the way of the Lord" through the remaining days of the Nativity Fast, our efforts of prayer, fasting, and charity lead and point toward a truly joyous festal celebration. Churches throughout the diocese are "making ready" for the rich and precious worship services that open the door to our experience of God's love for us in the birth of the Lord, Jesus. In the hope that, as He was born in Bethlehem, He will be born anew in us now ... let us participate in the spiritual gifts offered in worship during this holy season.
UPSTATE NEW YORK: Celebrations of Saint Nicholas & Christmas "Yolka"
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.
MEDFORD NJ: Christmas Cookies of Appreciation
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".
BAYONNE NJ: Celebration of Saint Andrew & Saint Nicholas
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.
FIRST ANNUAL GIRLS RETREAT
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.
ROCHESTER NY: Evangelism Task Force
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).
LANSING NY: "Mission on the Move!"
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.
EAST MEADOW NY: "CROP" Hunger Walk
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.
COHOES NY: Parish Celebrates 100th Anniversary
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.
DIOCESAN ASSEMBLY: Videos, reports, and more now available!
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!
go to the Assembly website >
JACKSON NJ: Archpastoral Visit
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.
RANDOLPH NJ: Parish Celebrates 50th Anniversary
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.
ROCHESTER NY: Blessing of Animals
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.
“JACOB’S WELL”: Summer/Fall 2014 Edition Available
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 >
"Jacob's Well" website >
BUFFALO NY: Church Celebrates 120th Parish Anniversary
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.
DIOCESAN ASSEMBLY: NOVEMBER 11th
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.
go to the Assembly webpage >
reports & information from previous Assemblies >
DIOCESAN GIRLS RETREAT: 14-16 NOV 2014
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.
Release # 2014.13.1 >
Registration Documents and Information >
event flyer >
MUSICIAN APPRECIATION DAY
"On Sunday, September 28th, 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." -Bishop Michael
ANNUAL SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP BIKE RIDE & WALK
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.
WEDDING ANNIVERSARY: Fr. David & Matushka Mariam Vernak
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!”
BISHOP MICHAEL: Visit to Poland with Fathers Krawczuk & Shimchick
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.
MEMORY ETERNAL: Father John Bohush
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!
ANNUAL CLERGY CONFERENCE
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.
BISHOP MICHAEL ATTENDS ENTHRONEMENT OF METROPOLITAN ONUFRY OF KYIV AND ALL UKRAINE
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!"
DIACONAL FORMATION PROGRAM: Register Now for Fall Semester
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.
information and registration >
CAMPING PROGRAM A “HIT!”: Saint Andrew’s Camp
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!
BAYONNE NJ: Archpastoral Visit
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.
REGIONAL PARISH COUNCIL CONFERENCES
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!
COMMISSION ON LITURGICAL MUSIC: Workshop “Conducted” in Cohoes NY
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.
CLERGY FAMILY PICNIC: New Jersey Deanery
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.
DISTINGUISHED DIOCESAN BENEFACTORS: “ALL ABOARD!”
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!”
see the list of passengers on the 2014 DDB Train >
learn about DDB and get your ticket >
INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO SERIES “hits” 10,000 viewings!
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.
visit “Lessons in Our Faith” >
Stories of Orthodox Clergy and their Wives
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!”
visit “Clergy Stories” >
SADDLE BROOK NJ: Konevets Quartet Concert
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.
HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY: Eugenia Zaharchuk
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!”
WANTAGE NJ: Archpastoral Visit
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.
“WELCOME TO COLLEGE MINISTRY!”
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.”
Continuing Education Symposium at Saint Tikhon's Seminary
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.
PARAMUS NJ: Archpastoral Visit and Ordination
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.
ROCHESTER NY: “Kids-to-Camp” Annual 5K WALKATHON
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.
more information >
WANTAGE NJ: Archpastoral Visit on Patronal Feast-Day
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.
PENTECOST: Archpastoral Letter from Bishop Michael
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.”
read the Archpastoral Letter >
SEMINARIAN SCHOLARSHIP: Created in Memory of PETER J. GELETA
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.
SADDLE BROOK NJ: Parish 45th Anniversary
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.
ROCHESTER NY: Parish 50th Anniversary
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!
more information >
YONKERS NY: Archpastoral Visit & Ordination
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.
MUSIC WORKSHOPS: 19 July 2014 in Cohoes NY
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.
information & registration >
CONTINUING CLERGY EDUCATION: 17-19 JUNE at St. Tikhon’s Seminary
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
complete information & details here >
BROOKLYN NY: Re-Dedication of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral
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.
MEDFORD NJ: Covenant House Benefit on 1 June 2014
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.
get the event flyer >
BISHOP MICHAEL: 4th Anniversary of Consecration on May 8th
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!"
WAPPINGERS FALLS NY: Parish 50th Anniversary
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.
BRIGHT WEDNESDAY: NJ Deanery Celebrates Vespers
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!”
2014 ANNUAL LENTEN YOUTH RETREAT
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!
read Release # 2014.6.1 >
photos added! see more information
CONFERENCE ON EVANGELISM: 3 MAY 2014 in Elmira Heights NY
“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!
information & registration >
PASCHA: The Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ
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)
Bishop Michael’s Archpastoral Letter >
Great and Holy Saturday
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)
Great and Holy Friday
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)
Great and Holy Thursday
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)
PALM SUNDAY: Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem
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)
MANVILLE NJ: Outreach to Community
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.
PEARL RIVER NY: Holy Mystery of Unction
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.
LENTEN TRIAD: Prayer, Fasting & Charity
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.
learn about the DDB >
WHITESTONE NY: Archpastoral Visit on 4th Sunday of Lent
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.
TRENTON NJ: Community Service Project
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.
"Welcome to College Ministry”
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.
information and details >
HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS: Bishop Michael Attends Spring Session
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.
more information >
CONGRATULATIONS: Members of Our Diocesan Family!
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!
WANTAGE NJ: Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts
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.
SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY: First Sunday of Great Lent
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.
UPDATE: OPERATION PRINCETON
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!
see the Princeton NJ update >
YOUTH RETREAT: 4-5 April 2014
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.
information & registration documents >
ARCHPASTORAL LETTER for the BEGINNING OF GREAT LENT
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.
read the Archpastoral letter >
Russian version >
visit “Lessons in Our Faith” >
WATERVLIET NY: Saint Tikhon’s Choir visits Saint Basil Church
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.
ALTAR SERVERS RETREAT
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.
NEW WEBSITE: DEPARTMENT OF COLLEGE MINISTRY
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!
visit the new DoCM website >
NY CITY DEANERY: DDB Appreciation Dinner
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.
NY STATE DEANERY: DDB Appreciation Dinner
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.
NY STATE DEANERY: Family & Youth Retreat
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.
PARISH TEAM TRAINING: MARCH 1, 2014
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.
information and registration >
EAST MEADOW NY: Feast of the Meeting of the Lord
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.
CLIFTON NJ: DDB Appreciation Dinner for NJ Deanery
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.
BROOKLYN NY: Parish Celebrates “Old Calendar” Christmas
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.”
Adult Home Closes after 37 Years
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.
more information >
DISTINGUISHED DIOCESAN BENEFACTORS: Appreciation and Invitation!
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!
Get complete information HERE! >
BUFFALO & ROCHESTER NY: Fellowship Continues to Build!
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.
LANSING NY: Blessing of Water at Cayuga Lake
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.
Feast-Day: Theophany of Our Lord (6 January)
[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!
feast-day sermon of Saint John Chrysostom >
WATERVLIET NY: Feast of Saint Basil Celebration
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.
YONKERS NY: Archpastoral Visit, Ordination, Award, Blessing, and more!
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.
CHRIST IS BORN! LET US GLORIFY HIM!
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!”
read the Archpastoral Letter >
NEW VIDEO: The Nativity of Christ
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.
go to “Lessons in Our Faith” >
EAST MEADOW NY: Christmas Concert & Parish Program
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.
ANNIVERSARY OF ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD
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.
NATIVITY APPEAL: The Bethany School for Girls in Jerusalem
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.
read the News Release for details >
letter from Bishop Michael >
DIX HILLS NY: Feast-Day of Saint Andrew Celebration
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.
SAINT NICHOLAS DAY COMMEMORATIONS
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.
NEW VIDEO! SAINT NICHOLAS
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!
visit "Lessons in Our Faith" to watch the video >
OPPORTUNITY FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: Internships & Ambassadors
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.
more information >
BUFFALO NY: "Making Music with Kids" Workshop
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!
Video of Bishop Michael's "Address to the Diocese"
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!
Diocesan Assembly website >
LESSONS IN OUR FAITH: New Video “The Diaconate”
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.
Lessons in Our Faith >
LANSING NY: New Iconostasis Blessed
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.
MEDFORD NJ: Parish Celebrates 40th Anniversary
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.
BAYONNE NJ: Akathist Service to Saint Nectarios
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.
"ALL ABOARD!" - The DDB Train Rolls On!
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!
see the DDB honor roll >
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.
MAYS LANDING NJ: Parish Celebrates 47th Anniversary
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.
PEARL RIVER NY: Holy Transfiguration Church Celebrates 45th Anniversary
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.
SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP FUNDRAISER
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!
EAST MEADOW NY: C.R.O.P. Hunger Walk
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": New Issue Released
"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!
MUSIC WORKSHOP IN NEW YORK CITY: "Making Music with Kids"
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."
SADDLE BROOK NJ: Icon of Czestochowa Visits Holy Apostles Church
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.
2013 DIOCESAN ASSEMBLY: 12 NOVEMBER in YONKERS NY
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.
"OPERATION PRINCETON" PHASE I: Mission Accomplished!
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.
ORTHODOX TOURS: Upcoming Pilgrimage Tours Announced
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."
BALLSTON LAKE NY: Parish Celebrates 25th Anniversary
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.
SADDLE BROOK NJ: Icon Visit & Healing Service
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).
event flyer >
JACKSON NJ: Archpastoral Visit
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.
CHURCH MUSICIAN APPRECIATION DAY
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!"
message from Bishop Michael >
Watervliet NY: TEACHER TRAINING EVENT
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.
Trenton NJ: ICONOGRAPHY TOURS
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! >
Learn more >
Become a DDB! (on-line contributions accepted) >
WHITESTONE NY: Wedding Anniversary Celebration
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.
MEMORY ETERNAL! Archpriest Daniel Pavelchak
[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.
WANTAGE NJ: September 11th Memorial Service
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.
SAINT ANDREW'S CAMP: Bicycle Ride 2013
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!
POTSDAM NY: Newly Established Mission Parish
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 email@example.com
BUFFALO & ROCHESTER NY: Parishes Join for "Family Day"
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.
ANNUAL DIOCESAN CLERGY CONFERENCE
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.
DIOCESE ACCEPTS CONTRIBUTIONS OF FINANCIAL ASSETS
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.
details and instructions >
An Invitation to Support Ministry!
"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?
watch the 60 second video now >
Become a DDB now >
DIACONAL FORMATION PROGRAM: Academic Year Begins Soon for New & Returning Students
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.
more information >
2013 CLERGY CONFERENCE: “Ministry to the Elderly”
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.
details and registration >
read the Chancellor's Letter >
BISHOP MICHAEL: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"
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!
ARCHPASTORAL VISITS: Paramus NJ and Rochester NY
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!
CHURCH SCHOOL CONFERENCES
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: Bike Event
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
get the Bicycle Ride event flyer >
YOUTH DAY: Thursday, 22 August
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
Information and Registration >
Passaic NJ: Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Theotokos
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.
SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP: Successful 2013 Camping Season!
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.
"REDUCING THE RISK OF SEXUAL ABUSE" & CHURCH SCHOOL CONFERENCE
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.
get the Conference flyer >
visit the FaceBook Page of the Department of Christian Education >
Ordination: Deacon Demetrios Richards
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.
New Dean Named at Saint Tikhon's Seminary
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!
NJ Deanery: Clergy Family Picnic
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!”
2013 PARISH COUNCIL CONFERENCE
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.
read the News Release >
2013 Parish Council Conference website & VIDEO >
Archpriest Joseph Lickwar: 50th Anniversary of Priesthood
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.
Russia: Pilgrimage to Holy Sites
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.
article with photos by Nilus Klingel >
Glen Gardner NJ: Consecration of Saint Gregory Palamas Church
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.
Passaic NJ: Archpastoral Visit on the Feast of the Ascension
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.
PENTECOST: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
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.”
read the Archpastoral Letter >
Ukrainian version >
Russian version >
Regional Parish Council Conferences in June 2013
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!
information & details >
Father Joseph & Matushka Shirley Lickwar: 50th Wedding Anniversary
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!"
Continuing Clergy Education Opportunities
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 >
Wantage NJ: Holy Spirit Church 25th Anniversary
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.
JUNE 9 (SUNDAY): Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday
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!
Princeton NJ: College Ministry Conference on 8 June 2013
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!
Information & Details >
Saint Tikhon’s Monastery: Memorial Day Weekend Pilgrimage
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/
Whitestone NY: Saint Thomas Sunday
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.
Staten Island NY: Bright Monday Liturgy
Bishop Michael celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the morning of Bright Monday (6 May) at Saints Cosmas and Damian Adult Home, Staten Island NY.
Bishop Michael: 3rd Anniversary of Episcopal Consecration & Enthronement
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!
Pearl River NY: Holy Mystery of Unction
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.”
2013 Diocesan Lenten Youth Retreat
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.
Whitestone NY: Deanery Vespers Service on 21 April
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.
Alpha NJ: Hierarchical Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts
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!”
Watervliet NY: Saint Anna Icon at St. Basil Church
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.
Syracuse NY: Archpastoral Visit on Sunday of the Cross
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.
NJ Deanery: Mission Vespers on 14 April
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.
Buffalo NY: Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on 12 April
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.
Lenten Youth Retreat on April 19-20, 2013
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.
Watervliet NY: St. Basil Church Supports “Open Table Soup Kitchen”
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.
New Video: “Lessons in Our Faith”
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!
New Jersey Deanery: Mission Vespers Service
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.
Dix Hills NY: Visit by Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Octet
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).
Saint Tikhon's Seminary: Search for New Dean
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.
Great Lent: Mission Vespers in NJ and NYC
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.
Let us begin the fast with joy!
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!"
Wayne NJ: Children Discover Liturgical Music
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.”
Altar Servers Retreat
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.
Alpha NJ: Archpastoral Visit
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.
Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors
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!
Altar Server Retreat: 1-3 March at St. Basil's Academy
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.
more information >
complete details & registration documents >
driving directions >
NEW VIDEO: "Lessons in Our Faith"
“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!
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS: Closed 16-24 February 2013
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.
Clifton NJ: DDB Appreciation for New Jersey Deanery
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.
Medford NJ: Choir Concert on 24 February
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
event flyer >
Bayonne NJ: Exhibit of Orthodox Books & Artifacts
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.
Brooklyn NY: “Rejuvenation” at the Cathedral of the Transfiguration
“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.”
Bishop Michael: 40th Anniversary of Priesthood
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.
read the Chancellor's letter >
Watervliet NY: Celebration of Patronal Feast-Day
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.
Hurricane Sandy Assistance
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.
Assistance Relief letter >
Application for Assistance >
Glen Gardner NJ: Ordinations
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!”
Father Paul Shafran: 65th Anniversary of Ordination
[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!
Saint Andrew's Camp Receives Generous Donation
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.”
South River NJ: Council of Congregations Food Bank
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.
Binghamton NY: Singing Christmas Carols for Veterans
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.
Christ is Born! Let us Glorify Him!
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."
read the Archpastoral Letter >
Spanish version >
Russian version >
Watervliet NY: Extraordinary Event for St. Basil’s Orthodox Church
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.
Clifton NJ: 2012 Diocesan Assembly
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.
more information >>>
Archpastoral Letter: Tragedy in Newtown CT
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?'"
read the Archpastoral Letter >
December has arrived! “Count-down” for 2012 DDB Contributions!
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!
Choir Workshop: “Making Music with Kids”
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.
Watervliet NY: Christmas “Yolka”
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!”
Diocesan Assembly on December 11, 2012
The annual Assembly of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey will convene at Assumption of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Church in Clifton NJ on December 11, 2012. Bishop Michael will greet clergy and laity delegates representing parishes from throughout New York and New Jersey for a day-long gathering of prayer, reflection, deliberation, and decision-making. A dedicated webpage provides all of the documents and reports for the Assembly; additional reports will be added as they are received. Visit the DIOCESAN ASSEMBLY WEBPAGE here!
New POLYCHRONION Released for Parish Use
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!
Archbishop Tikhon elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada
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.
read more, visit podcasts & photos >
Making Music with Kids: An Orthodox Experience
This workshop, sponsored by the Commission on Liturgical Music [CoLM], is designed to introduce children to basic music reading concepts, as well as teach them simple prayers set to music. No experience is necessary - only a desire to learn more about the services which we attend on a weekly basis. Parents are also encouraged to attend. Lunch will be provided, along with sheet music to bring home and to your home parish afterwards! All instruction will be in English. It will take place on Saturday, 1 December 2012 at Saint Andrew Orthodox Church, Dix Hills NY from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Details and registration are available in the "Upcoming Events" section or on the CoLM website (click here).
Bayonne NJ: 90th Anniversary Celebration
Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, Bayonne NJ, celebrated the 90th Anniversary of its founding. Three events marked this milestone: The first was on Wednesday, 10 October, when the miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos came for a visit; the second was on Sunday, October 14, when the Divine Liturgy was followed by the official opening of the Church Library with a Molieben served in the parish hall; the third celebration was on the weekend of 27-28 October as Bishop Michael celebrated Great Vespers, a Panikheda for departed parishioners, and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday followed by a celebratory banquet.
Hurricane Sandy Diocesan Relief Fund
Bishop Michael has established a Diocesan Relief Fund to offer assistance to those affected by the devastation of Super-Storm Sandy. In a letter to the diocese, His Grace writes, in part: "We may dare to hope that many of those left hurting in Sandy’s wake will be drawn closer to Christ when they see Christians helping them. We may hope, too, that we Christians will be drawn even more deeply to Christ as well -- by helping: prayerfully … financially … physically. Just days ago, we heard the Sunday Gospel story of the Good Samaritan. Need we ask, 'Who is my neighbor?' Our neighbors are right here … and they are hurting. Let us emulate the healing presence of the kind-hearted foreigner in that profound parable; and in so doing, may we draw our neighbors and ourselves closer to the hope, the love, and the life that are found only in Jesus Christ."
read Bishop Michael's letter and appeal >
Whitestone NY: Update following Super-Storm Sandy
We have received a video update on conditions at Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Whitestone NY produced by, and starring, Father Joseph Woodill.
Watervliet NY: Healing Service
Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY conducted a Healing Service on Tuesday evening, 13 November 2012. A Molieben (prayers of thanksgiving) to the Most-Holy Theotokos was celebrated by parish rector, Father Peter Olsen, with responses sung by the parish choir under the direction of Michael Mellin. Approximately 100 people participated, and many faithful brought their neighbors, friends, and acquaintances along with them. Everyone was welcomed!
Election Day: A Tale of Two Kingdoms
Tuesday, November 6th, was “election day.” The results will affect our nation, our states, our counties, our districts, our cities, our towns, and our villages. On Tuesday, November 13th, in Parma OH, there will be an election affecting our Orthodox Church in America, our dioceses, our deaneries, our parishes, and our faithful. In some ways, these elections are similar. But fundamentally, they could not be more different. In my opinion, to confuse them is perilous; to equate them, tragic.
Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts: YOU can help!
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy large areas within (and outside of) our diocese are experiencing outages of power, interrupted/absent communications, and scarcities of food and water. Relief efforts are underway, but limited material and manpower resources point to a lengthy and difficult period of recovery. Long Island, for example, remains mostly dark and cold with officials reporting it may take several days for a wide-scale return of residential power. Your prayers and kindness in offering financial assistance are ways you can help. “I urge parishes and individuals throughout our diocese to do what they can,” said Bishop Michael. “Please become as involved as possible in this effort.”
How can YOU help? Go HERE!
Hurricane Sandy hits Diocesan Region [Photograph by Adrian Fussell/Getty Images]
The Chancery of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey is currently without electricity or phone service, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Urgent messages can be directed to Father David Cowan, Secretary to Bishop Michael, at 914-965-6815 or email.
Watervliet NY: Fall Harvest Festival
Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet (Maplewood) NY held its inaugural “Fall Harvest Fest” on Saturday, 20 October. The day’s activities were centered on the life of the church. Established 110 years ago, the parish welcomed guests and friends to tours of the church conducted by Father Peter Olsen (parish rector). “The Fall Fest accomplished its objective of bringing not only the faithful to the event but also afforded many local residents a casual manner of seeing and understanding Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church,” said parishioner Bill Rentz, “and to enjoy fellowship from all.”
Shirley NY: First Annual Icon Workshop
Saint John the Theologian Orthodox Church (Shirley NY) conducted a workshop from October 8-12, 2012 on iconography and iconology. Facilitating the workshop were: Father Mefodii, a monk from the Skete of Saint Maximos the Confessor (Palmyra VA/Bulgarian Patriarchate); and Adele McHugh, a student of the Prosopon School. Those interested in participating in next year’s workshop should contact: email here
Father Kilian Sprecher: US Navy Reserve Chaplain
Father (Hieromonk) Kilian Sprecher is assigned as Acting Rector of Saint Gregory Palamas Church in Glen Gardner NJ. He is also a seminarian in the Master of Theology program at Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers (Crestwood) NY. On 12 October 2012, Father Kilian graduated from Officer Development School (ODS) at the Naval Station in Newport, Rhode Island. Bishop Michael was present at the graduation ceremony. Congratulations and "Many Years!" to Chaplain and Lieutenant Christopher Sprecher, CHC, USNR.
New Issue: "Jacob's Well" (Summer/Fall 2012)
"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!
DDB: An Invitation to Join!
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!
17th All-American Council: Support Urgently Needed
[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!
NEW VIDEO: "Marriage ~ 7 Questions & 7 Answers""
“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: Upper NYS Convention Scheduled
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.
Rochester NY: Blessing of Pets
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!”
view the photos >
Lansing NY: 2013 OCA Church Planting Grant Recipient
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).
read more here >>>
Jackson NJ: Archpastoral Visit on Feast-day
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.
Ordination of Father John Diamantis: "AXIOS!"
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!”
Choir Appreciation Day
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!
Bishop Michael's letter >>>
Council of Presbyters Meet
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.”
60th Anniversary of Ordination: "Many Years!" Father Daniel Hubiak
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.
Diaconal Formation Program Begins Semester
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wantage NJ: 9/11 Memorial Service
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.
Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops: Third Annual Meeting
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."
Press Release >>> Official Message >>> photos>>>
Rochester NY: Blessing of Deer Run Winery
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.
view the photos >>>
Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery Celebrates 35th Anniversary
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.
Parma, Ohio: 17th All-American Council on 13 November
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.
registration forms >>> NEW! Delegate Handbook >>>
Ordination: Deacon Simeon (Terry) Peet
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.
Welcome to College Ministry!
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.
read Release # 2012.26.1 >
visit DoCM website >
Happy Birthday and "Many Years!"
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.
2012 Clergy Conference in Wayne NJ
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.
Youth Day 2012: “The Future of Our Church”
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.
17th All-American Council: 13 November 2012
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>>>
read more at oca.org>>>
Regional Church School Conferences
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.
BRICK NJ: Icons Blessed & Father Breton Awarded Jeweled Cross
[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.
New York City: Ordination of Deacon David Chow
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.
Music Submitted by Diocesan Musicians
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.
NY State Deanery: "Matushki Get Together"
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.
New Jersey Deanery: Church School Conference
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.
East Meadow NY: Parish Family Gathering
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.
NEW VIDEO: "Lessons in Our Faith"
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!
visit "Lessons in Our Faith" >
New York State Deanery: Choir Conference
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.
Bishop Michael Honors John Kozak: “Many Years!”
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.
Conference: “Orthodox Christian Fellowship” Campus Ministry
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 email@example.com to RSVP your attendance. View the Conference flyer HERE!
Church School Conferences
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.
2012 YOUTH DAY: 16 AUGUST
This year's Diocesan Youth Day will take place on Thursday, 16 August at SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURE THEME PARK. Complete information, details, and registration documents are available HERE.
Department of Youth Ministry website >>>
Archpastoral Visit: Yonkers NY
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.
TEENS & TOOLS: Diocesan Youth Mission to Appalachia
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.
Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors
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.
see the list of DDBs >
learn more! >
Jewell NY: A Slice of Life at Saint Andrew's Camp
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.
Happy Birthday & Many Years!
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!
Upstate NY: Picnic & Archpastoral Visit to Rochester
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.
Archpastoral Visits: Passaic NJ & Endicott NY
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.
2012 Parish Council Conferences Concluded
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 Video: Baptism of Infants
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.
go to “Lessons in Our Faith” >
New York City: Ordination of Father David Poling
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.
Clifton NJ: Parish Council Conference
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.
OPERATION BUFFALO: “Marching Forward!”
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.
CONGRATULATIONS: Jeweled Cross, Archpriest, Ordination
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!”
Council of Presbyters: Meeting on 18 June
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.
New Video: Lessons in Our Faith
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.
visit "Lessons in Our Faith" >>>
read the news Release >>>
Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery: 35th Anniversary 25-26 August
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!
info letter & reservation form >>>
Feast-day of Holy Pentecost
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.
read the Archpastoral Letter >>>
read the Archpastoral Letter in Spanish >>>
Congratulations: Diaconal Formation Program!
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).
60th Wedding Anniversary: Father John & Matushka Eugenia
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.
Archpriest John Klingel Receives Jeweled Cross
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.
Lansing NY: Visit of Myrrh-streaming Icon
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.
Commission on Liturgical Music: WEBSITE LAUNCHED!
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.
read Release # 2012.13.1 >>>
visit the website >>>
Saint Andrew's Camp: Camping Program Opens July 8
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:
Invitation: Memorial Day at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery
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) >>>
A Truly Festive Anniversary
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.
Bronxville NY: Diocesan Youth “Clean Up” the Chancery
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.
FOCA National Basketball, Bowling Tournament
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 >
NEW VIDEO: Sacrament of Baptism
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.
visit “Lessons in Our Faith” >
UPDATE: Diaconal Formation Program
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
Bronxville NY: Diocesan Council Meeting on April 25th
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.
PASCHA: Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!
"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!'"
Read the Archpastoral Letter >
Bishop Michael: Visit to Seminary on 7 April
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.
see the article with photos >
Ordination to Priesthood: Father William Seraphim Joa
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 >
Pearl River NY: Unction Service Celebrated on 3 April
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.
6th Week of Great Lent leads to PALM SUNDAY on April 8, 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)
NY State Capital District: Youth Retreat Tradition Continues
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.
Brick NJ: Feast-day of the Annunciation
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: New Installment!
“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.
New Jersey Deanery: “Mission Vespers” at Mays Landing NJ
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.
2012 Diocesan Altar Servers Retreat
“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.
Sunday of Orthodoxy: Bishop Michael in Los Angeles CA
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.
read more here >
Sunday of Orthodoxy
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."
Read the Archpastoral Letter >
Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors Appreciation Dinners
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.
Fasting: 7 Questions and 7 Answers
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!
download/read Release # 2012.3.1 >
visit "Lessons in Our Faith" >
New Jersey Deanery: Lenten Services
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 >
Archpastoral Letter: Great Lent 2012
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."
download/read the Archpastoral Letter >
Saint Andrew's Camp: Seeking Counselors & Volunteers
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.
NY State Deanery: Family Conference & Youth Retreat
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.”
Alpha NJ: Archpastoral Visit
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!"
Assembly of Bishops: Statement on HHS Ruling
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."
read the entire Record of Protest >
East Meadow NY: Youth Fellowship & Service
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.
“Axios! Axios! Axios!”
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!
World Day of Orthodox Youth: February 2012
With the blessing of Bishop Michael, we will celebrate the World Day of Orthodox Youth in our diocese throughout the month of February. The proposal for a World Day of Orthodox Youth was made by the XIV SYNDESMOS ("the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth") General Assembly in June 1992, and has received the blessing of His All-Holiness (Ecumenical Patriarch) Bartholomew and the hierarchs of other local Orthodox Churches.
Department of Youth Ministry webpage >
Lessons in Our Faith: NEW VIDEO!
The Diocese of New York and New Jersey presents this video ~~ "OUR TIME, TALENTS, and TREASURE" ~~ as part of its Lessons in Our Faith series. In this installment, Bishop Michael discusses an approach to Christian stewardship and the support of the local parish community. Please visit the Lessons in Our Faith section of this website often for upcoming lessons.
visit "Lessons in Our Faith" >
"Jacob's Well" - Winter 2012 Issue Available On-Line!
"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. 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.
visit the "Jacob's Well" page >
East Meadow NY: New Senior Program
Nearly a dozen senior members of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (East Meadow NY) gathered for fellowship on Tuesday, 17 January 2012. They were served a home-cooked meal courtesy the parish’s Sisterhood organization, and spent a couple hours in fellowship playing games. The morning gathering was designed as a way to bring long-time members back together in a very familiar setting.
Perth Amboy NJ: Theophany Celebrations on 19 January
The parishioners of Saint Spiridon Russian Orthodox Church in Perth Amboy NJ celebrated the feast of Holy Theophany on Thursday, 19 January, according to the “Old” Julian calendar. His Grace, Bishop Michael, spent two days worshiping with the faithful, and his presence and inspired words brought peace, joy and consolation to those attending the Grand Compline service on Wednesday evening and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy ~ followed by the Great Blessing of Water ~ on Thursday morning.
Brooklyn NY: “Old Calendar” Russian Christmas
This year, the Julian Calendar Christmas ~ 7 January ~ was celebrated at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Brooklyn NY. The parish rector (Very Reverend Wiaczeslaw Krawczuk) and faithful were blessed to welcome His Grace, Bishop Michael, who served the Nativity Vigil service on the eve of the feast-day and, following the service, joined church members for a traditional Russian “Holy Supper” in the church hall.
2012 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors
The 2012 Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program, an initiative designed to make the “Vision for Our Future” a reality, is now officially launched! Following an incredibly successful inaugural year in 2011, the DDB program has become a vital element in the life of our diocese by funding essential ministries such as mission parishes, seminarian education, and support for older parishes that may be struggling. The details, and an invitation for your participation, are available in the “Vision for Future” section of this website.
Go to “Vision for Future!” >>>
Dix Hills NY: Theophany Celebrations
Saint Andrew Church in Dix Hills NY was blessed with a visit on January 5- 6 by Bishop Michael for the celebration of Holy Theophany. The visit began Thursday evening with festal Great Vespers and the Great Blessing of Water, and continued Friday with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and a festive meal.
Orthodox Books for Children by Elizabeth Johnson
We have an accomplished author of Orthodox books for children residing in our diocese. Elizabeth Crispina Johnson lives in Naples NY and is a faithful member of Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church, Rochester NY. In an interview available here (in 2 parts, audio), Elizabeth discusses her inspiration and motivations in authoring books that are intended to deepen the faith of Orthodox children through a growing experience with God and His Church.
Watervliet NY: Feast-Day Celebration with Bishop Michael
Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet (Maplewood) NY celebrated its Patronal Feast-day of Saint Basil the Great on January 01, 2012. Starting with the Vigil on Saturday evening and continuing with the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy celebrated on Sunday by His Grace, Bishop Michael, the faithful of Saint Basil's parish celebrated the joyous occasion.
New Feature: "Lessons in Our Faith"
We are pleased to present a new feature on our website! "Lessons in Our Faith" is a series of video presentations offered by His Grace, Bishop Michael. In these videos, His Grace will explore matters of faith, belief, and practice within the Orthodox Church. They are intended to provide the faithful with much-needed information, guidance on their spiritual journey, and assistance in answering questions that may arise from non-Orthodox friends or acquaintances. The first of these lessons ~ "The Theotokos: 7 Questions and 7 Answers" ~ is now available, and more lessons are planned for the future. A special "icon" linking to this section will be permanently displayed on the homepage (see the logo to the right).
go to "Lessons in Our Faith" >
download/read Release # 2011.42.1 >
On the Diocesan Calendar
January 4, 2015
NY State Deanery
Twin Trees Three
January 11, 2015
NY City Deanery
January 22, 2015
Bus Trip to the
"March For Life"
departs at 6:15 a.m.
from Clifton NJ
December 31, 2014
January 25, 2015
January 28, 2015
Diocesan Council Meeting
February 8, 2015
DDB Appreciation Dinner
Holy Assumption Church
February 15, 2015
NY City Deanery
DDB Appreciation Dinner
Holy Trinity Church
April 19, 2015
NY State Deanery
DDB Appreciation Dinner
Saints Peter & Paul Church
Diocese of New York-New Jersey
33 Hewitt Avenue
Bronxville, NY 10708
914-779-6581 (Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org