WHITESTONE NY: Vespers on the 4th Sunday of Great Lent
On the fourth Sunday of Great Lent (22 March) the pastor and faithful of Saint Nicholas Church in Whitestone NY invited guests from parishes of the New York City Deanery to come together to pray an evening Lenten Vespers service, meditate on the call of the Great Fast, and encourage one another. And did they come! The church was full of priests and believers who answered the invitation to fellowship. Archbishop Michael's sermon was a reminder that there is no “cheap grace” and as we look to the Cross we see the great price of love; we are called to respond with hearts made new and lives changed.
HIS EMINENCE, ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL
It gives us great joy to announce that the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, at its meeting concluded this past Friday, elevated our beloved diocesan hierarch to the rank of Archbishop. Liturgical commemorations should reflect this good news. Grant, O Lord, a prosperous and peaceful life, good health and salvation, visitation and good hastening in all things, to His Eminence, the Most Reverend MICHAEL, Archbishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey; and protect and preserve him for Many Years!
ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL: 5th Anniversary of Consecration CELEBRATION on MAY 9th
We will celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the consecration of His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, on Saturday, 9 May 2015. The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Passaic NJ, and conclude with a 1:00 p.m. celebratory luncheon at “The Brownstone” in Paterson NJ. Clergy and faithful from throughout the diocese are invited to attend. Reservations are required for the luncheon and seating is limited; reservations may be made on-line.
events flyer >
on-line reservation form >
SAINT ANDREW'S CAMP: "Bright Saturday" Celebration on April 18th
Visit our camp! Enjoy our camp! Learn about our camp! The clergy and faithful of the diocese are invited to a "Bright Saturday" celebration at Saint Andrew’s Camp on Saturday, 18 April. The day will begin with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Michael. Following the Liturgy, a Paschal Buffet will be served and participants will have an opportunity to tour and learn more about the camp. Overnight accommodations are available for Friday and Saturday nights (reservation required). Contact the camp for further information and let them know if you will be able to participate in this special day!
event flyer >
camp website >
BENEFIT CONCERT HONORING TCHAIKOVSKY'S BIRTHDAY
Announcing a Benefit Concert honoring the 175th Anniversary of the birth of great Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky with performances of his music by awarded pianists Alexander Beridze, Mai Kagaya, Inna Leytush, and celebrated soprano Monique McDonald. The concert is Friday, 27 March 2015, 6:00 p.m. at the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York: 9 East 91st Street, New York NY 10128. Proceeds support Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and "Downside Up" (a Russian non-profit organization which provides support and advice for families raising children with Down syndrome). Tickets are $100 and are tax-deductible.
details and ticket information >
WATERVLIET NY: Lenten Youth Retreat at Saint Basil Church
It was a great joy for the faithful of Saint Basil Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY and their Rector, Archpriest Peter Olsen, to host a Lenten Youth Retreat on Saturday, 14 March 2015. This annual regional event has been hosted for over 20 years and includes participation by local Orthodox parishes; in recent years it has been hosted by Saint Basil Greek Orthodox Church in Troy NY. This year the Lenten tradition returned to Saint Basil’s in Watervliet. Participating laity and clergy represented parishes in Troy, Albany, Ballston Lake and, of course, Watervliet NY.
“SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY”: First Sunday of Great Lent in the NJ Deanery
UPDATED: Photos Added Despite snowy and icy conditions, many faithful gathered at Saint John the Baptist Church in Passaic NJ for the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” Vespers on Sunday, 1 March 2015. After a 40-minute travel delay, clergy from our New Jersey Deanery and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA) greeted and received blessings from His Eminence, Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America (AOCA). His Eminence led the procession of clergy into the church accompanied by His Grace, Bishop Michael, and His Grace, Nicholas, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn (AOCA) and Assistant to the Metropolitan.
MANVILLE NJ: Outreach to College Students
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Manville NJ has launched a new outreach for their college students. Designed by Rebecca Oliver, an alumna from Penn State and young adult in the parish, the program is “Adopt a College Student.” The mission is to connect with college students from the parish and make sure they feel connected to their home parish. Parishioners were sought to “adopt” a college student from the parish and were given a survey to better know the interests and needs of their student. They were encouraged to sent packages, bulletins, cards, and warm messages to their adopted student. The program is off to a great start!
2015 ANNUAL ALTAR SERVERS RETREAT
The 5th Annual Diocesan Altar Servers Retreat was held at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison NY from Friday, 6 February to Sunday, 8 February 2015. Over fifty participants were present for all or part of the weekend. Altar servers and clergy came from each of the three deaneries (New Jersey, New York City, New York State) as well as from the Carpatho-Russian Diocese. His Grace, Bishop Michael, together with six priests, a deacon, a sub-deacon, and a tonsured reader led the retreat. The participants enhanced their skills as servers at the Lord's altar and learned about the history and theology of the Divine Liturgy. They are now prepared to better assist during the divine services in their home parishes.
2015 DISTINGUISHED DIOCESAN BENEFACTORS PROGRAM
UPDATED - NYC Deanery photos As all three of our Deaneries (New Jersey, New York City, New York State) mark the incredibly successful conclusion of last year’s Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors [DDB] program with appreciation dinners, the 2015 DDB has been launched with an expectation for another year of commitment and generosity from the faithful of the diocese and beyond. As part of the “Vision for Our Future” articulated by Bishop Michael, the DDB Program specifically supports three major initiatives: (1) support for seminarians, (2) support for mission parishes, (3) support for older parishes in need of revitalization. With thanks to God and gratitude to our DDBs, last year was record-breaking with $157,000 in contributions.
CLERGY STORIES: Six Interviews with Esteemed Senior Priests
Interviews with four senior priests and their wives are available as videos, and two interviews as audio presentations, as part of “CLERGY STORIES” on this website. “Stories can help us understand the formation of individuals, communities, and our Faith. They can teach, change, and perhaps even save us. They can bring into focus and clarify the key moments of our lives,” said the interview series producer, Father John Shimchick. “Getting older, I find myself more interested in knowing about the paths of those who have come before me.” The most recent addition is an interview with Father Daniel and Matushka Dunia Hubiak.
visit “Clergy Stories” >
GREAT LENT begins on Monday, 23 February 2015
As we make ready for our Lenten journey to PASCHA (the Resurrection of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ), we are offered a period of time to prepare ourselves for the increased spiritual effort of prayer, charity, and fasting. The Lenten journey begins on Monday, 23 February and culminates in the joyous PASCHA on Sunday, 12 April. There are two videos in our “Lessons in Our Faith” series that may be particularly helpful! They are: “Great Lent: Our Spiritual Life” and “Fasting: 7 Questions & 7 Answers.” Each video is a very brief and concise discussion (8 minutes each); they have been very popular and highly acclaimed (viewed over 3,000 times). To view these instructional videos, visit “Lessons in Our Faith” ... HERE!
SAINT ANDREW’S CAMP: It’s Time to Plan a Camping Experience!
The weather outside is frightful (and cold!) but thoughts of a summer camping experience at Saint Andrew’s Camp are delightful. It’s not too early to make plans to attend one of the sessions at our only fully staffed sleep-over camp for children and teens. In 2015 there are four week-long sessions for kids 7-13 years-of-age, and one week for teens. Located in Jewell NY on the shore of Oneida Lake, the camp offers a unique experience of fun, faith, and worship in a truly Orthodox environment. Registration may be accomplished on-line HERE!
see the “Music Week” poster >
see the “Horse Week” poster >
see the “Teen Week” poster >
TRENTON NJ: Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) Ministry
On Tuesday, 10 February 2015, Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church in Trenton NJ held the first meeting of a brand new ministry: Mothers of Pre-Schoolers [MOPS]. MOPS meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to Noon, providing free childcare for mothers of pre-school children as well as expectant mothers, during which the moms gather for a couple hours of fellowship, activities, discussion, and fun! "Our parish strives to be constantly aware of the needs of the community around us,” said Father John Diamantis (parish rector). “It is my hope and prayer that by reaching out to mothers, whether they are stay-at-home moms by choice or necessity, that we can help to replace some of their stress with Christ's love, warmth and comfort -- if only for a few hours every month."
ORDINATION TO THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD: Father Gregory White
On Saturday, 31 January 2015, Deacon Gregory White was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace, Bishop Michael, at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Church in South Canaan PA. Father Gregory, whose home parish is in Elmira Heights NY, is a recent graduate of our Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program and is now concluding his full-time/resident studies at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. May God bless and grant “many years” to Father Gregory and his wife, Matushka Katherine, as they begin this next phase of their public ministry to the glory of God and the good-estate of His Holy Church abiding in the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. “AXIOS! He is worthy!”
JERSEY CITY NJ: Archpastoral Visit on the Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee
Saints Peter and Paul Church in Jersey City NJ welcomed Bishop Michael for an annual Archpastoral visit on 31 January to 1 February 2015. The commemoration of the “Publican and Pharisee” (Luke 18:10-14) on Sunday marked the first preparatory Sunday leading to the beginning of Great Lent on 23 February, and the usage of the “Lenten Triodion” for liturgical texts leading to PASCHA ~ the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ ~ on 12 April.
RANDOLPH NJ: Archpastoral Visit & Priestly Award
Very early Sunday morning, 25 January, Bishop Michael stepped off a “red-eye” flight from California and proceeded directly to Randolph NJ and Holy Trinity Church for a full day of activities. A primary purpose of his visit was to award an honorary Gold Cross to the parish rector, Father David R. Fox. In recognition of faithful and dedicated service, all present echoed “Axios!” (he is worthy!) as this priestly distinction was conferred upon Father David. A fellowship luncheon followed the celebration of a joyful Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.
“JACOB’S WELL” Submission of Articles
Our diocesan publication, “Jacob’s Well,” is seeking the submission of articles for the Spring issue. The theme of the issue will be: “The Spiritual Discipline of Hospitality.” Deadline for articles is 2 March 2015. Questions and article submissions should to directed to the editor, Father John Shimchick email@example.com
visit the "Jacob's Well" webpage >
MANVILLE NJ: “Yolka 2015”
The church of Saints Peter and Paul in Manville NJ celebrated their annual parish “Yolka” on Sunday, 11 January 2015. In the spirit of the Nativity/Theophany season, the children of the parish offered a marvelously unique presentation from the “Orthodox News Network” that was both informative and highly entertaining: “Breaking News - A Star Appears Over Bethlehem!” To view their delightfully creative performance click on 'more information' below.
SADDLE BROOK NJ: Great Blessing of Water
In the days of festal commemoration of Our Lord's Theophany (6 January), parishes throughout the diocese celebrated the traditional "blessing of water" in various ways. On Sunday, 11 January, members of Holy Apostles Church in Saddle Brook NJ took a chilly five-minute walk to the Saddle River and performed the rite of Great Blessing of Waters. "It's a way to bless and sanctify all of creation," said Father Matthew Brown (parish rector). "The blessing was held this day because it is the first Sunday after Theophany, which is celebrated on January 6th."
read the local newspaper story >
WATERVLIET NY: Parish Feast-Day and Archpastoral Visit
Saint Basil's Orthodox Church in Watervliet (Maplewood) NY celebrated its patronal feast-day in commemoration of Saint Basil the Great on Thursday, 1 January 2015. Starting with the Vigil on Wednesday evening and continuing on Thursday morning with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Bishop Michael and the faithful of the parish celebrated the feast. His Grace awarded Father Peter Olsen (parish rector) the Jeweled Cross, a gift from the faithful for Father Peter’s 30+ years of dedicated service to the church. The "Saint Basil’s Bread" (Vasilopita) was blessed by Bishop Michael, according to tradition, and distributed to parishioners at the conclusion of the service.
ROCHESTER & BUFFALO NY: Fellowship in Upstate~Western New York
On Saturday, 3 January, parishioners from Saint George Church in Buffalo NY and Saint John the Baptist Church in Rochester NY met "half-way" for family fun and fellowship at Palm Island Indoor Water Park (Batavia NY). The day featured fun on the waterslides, pool basketball, and lots of splashing. As children enjoyed the water fun, adults discussed ways the parishes could collaborate and support one another in the future. Coordinating the event were Sub-Deacon Sean McNulty and Deacon (Dr) Mark Hoeplinger, both graduates of the Diocesan Diaconal Formation Program.
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 >
watch Bishop Michael's "Nativity of Christ" video >
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.
SYRACUSE NY: Retreat and Blessings at Saints Peter & Paul Church
Bishop Michael's fervent commitment to preach and teach the Gospel was manifested at Saints Peter & Paul Church in Syracuse NY on 13-14 December 2014. On Saturday, many parishioners and visitors were treated during the annual Advent Retreat to a tremendous "Overview of the Gospel of Saint John" with an emphasis on "The Good Shepherd." On Sunday, Bishop Michael celebrated the Divine Liturgy and blessed six new stained glass windows, installed to complete the Handicap Access Project in the church.
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!
On the Diocesan Calendar
March 29, 2015
Deanery North >
Deanery South >
March 30, 2015
Diocesan Council Meeting
April 5, 2015
Entry of Our Lord
April 6-11, 2015
April 12, 2015
Great & Holy
The Resurrection of
Our Lord, God, and
Savior, Jesus Christ
April 15, 2015
Christ the Savior Church
April 18, 2015
Divine Liturgy with
followed by a
Saint Andrew's Camp
April 19, 2015
NY State Deanery
Saints Peter & Paul Church
May 9, 2015
events flyer >
luncheon reservations >
Diocese of New York-New Jersey
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