San Esteban, Mexico: Construction continues on missionary residence
The Diocese of Mexico of the Orthodox Church in America continues construction work in the rural village of San Esteban, Hidalgo, Mexico. [See related story.] During 2013 and 2014, the Diocese received a modified OCA Church Planting Grant to meet its unique missionary needs. In this case, it was decided to construct a missionary residence to house a resident priest and provide housing for visiting mission teams. According to Priest John Parker of the OCA’s Department of Evangelization, it is hoped that the construction will be completed by June 2015, in time for this summer’s joint OCA-OCMC Team to San Esteban. [See additional information here.]
Hamilton, ON, Canada: Alaskan Orthodox Texts Project marks 10th anniversary
All Saints of North America parish, Hamilton, ON, Canada, celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its Alaskan Orthodox Texts Project on May 1, 2015. The Project has made available the world’s largest on-line library of resources chronicling Orthodox missions to the linguistically diverse nations of Alaska.
“We are celebrating our parish’s efforts to research and re-transcribe historic Orthodox Christian texts in the Native languages of Alaska,” said Priest Geoffrey Korz, Rector of All Saints. “These are the ‘written relics’ of Saints Innocent Veniaminov and Jacob Netsvetov and many others.”
The idea for the project came about after reading the Akathistos Hymns honoring these saints, Father Geoffrey continued. “The translation work of these two saints is well known and parallels the work of Saints Cyrill and Methodios, but where were the actual translated materials? They were not on-line in 2005, and very few libraries held copies of these Alaskan-language texts.”
Photocopies of the first texts in the Aleut (Unangan) language were procured in April 2005, and typing/re-typesetting began on May 1 of the same year, with the blessing of the OCA Archdiocese of Canada and the Diocese of Alaska. Fittingly, the first text to be completed was Saint Innocent’s “Indication of the Pathway into the Kingdom of Heaven”—the first full-length book written in the Aleut (Unangan) language in 1833 and published in 1840. Since then, the parish has worked with “a great cloud of witnesses” of the Alaskan Orthodox literary tradition, without whose help the project would not have been possible. Deepest gratitude is due to the late Archpriest Paul Merculief, the late Reader Richard John Dauenhauer, Archpriest Martin Nicolai, Archpriest Michael Oleksa, and Reader Jeff Trofim Leer.
Over the course of the last decade, the project has completed 75 electronic publications for download in the Aleut (Unangan), Alutiiq, Tlingit, Yup’ik, Russian, and English languages, and contributed to the electronic development of the Alaskan Cyrillic alphabet. There are currently eight known Alaskan-language manuscripts left to complete, including the Tlingit-language Gospel of Saint Matthew (1850s), the Yup’ik-language “Teachings from the Old and New Testaments” (1887), and a trilingual (Aleut/Russian/English) Church magazine from Unalaska (1904), among others.
“The remaining texts are a bit difficult to decipher due to fading of the manuscripts and complex handwriting styles, but with the Lord’s help and help from our Alaskan fathers and brethren in faith, we will do what we can to hand these over to future generations”, Father Geoffrey added. “Please visit the Alaskan Orthodox texts web site, but above all, please pray for us and this work, that this sacred inheritance ‘does not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.’”
Brookline, MA: Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia to speak at HC/HC
His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware] of Diokleia will offer the keynote on “Divine Compassion and Restoring the Human Icon” for the Divine Compassion Distinguished Lectureship at the Maliotis Center of Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. The event is being co-sponsored by Saint Catherine’s Vision [SCV], an international Pan-Orthodox organization of women theologians and other lay servant-leaders, HC/HC and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston. A brief discussion-group opportunity related to SCB’s “Divine Compassion and Human Trafficking” initiative will be offered as a supplemental option at the end of the event. A brunch will follow. Detailed information may be accessed here, while an event flyer may be downloaded here.
Simpson, PA: Parishes unite for celebration of Holy Unction
For the first time, the faithful of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Uniondale, PA; Saint John the Baptist Church, Dundaff, PA; and Saint Basil the Great Church, Simpson, gathered on the evening of Great and Holy Wednesday at Saint Basil’s for a combined celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Unction. According to Priest Gabriel Bilas, “the choir was made up of faithful from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary and the area parishes.” Other concelebrating clergy, in addition to Father Gabriel, included Archpriest Dr. Steven Voytovich, Dean of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary; Archpriest Dennis Swencki; and Priest Benjamin Johnson.
Venice, FL: Holy Spirit Church completes expansion
Sunday, March 8, 2015 was an historic day in the history of Holy Spirit Church, Venice, FL.
“Since the 1980s, the parish has been worshipping in a former bank building,” said Archpriest Stephen Lourie, Priest-in-Charge. “With just one room, the church area had to be converted into coffee hour space following each Divine Liturgy. Many plans to expand the building had been made and forgotten over the years, and by the grace of God we were able to double the size of the building while completely renovating the old section.
“Construction began in November 2014, during our parish’s 30th Anniversary year,” Father Stephen added. “We are so grateful for the Diocese of the South and its debt management program, without which we most likely would not have been able to expand. We now have a beautiful church, a new kitchen for our baking projects, a nice office and classroom, new landscaping and a resurfaced parking lot.”
Clergy from neighboring Greek Orthodox parishes joined Father Stephen and the Holy Spirit faithful for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and the door opening ceremony, during which the new construction was blessed.
“The generosity of the parishioners over the years, who have been so faithful, is to be congratulated,” Father Stephen added. “The building committee, chaired by Marie Maruskin, did a great job as well and we are so blessed.”