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Source: BBC News Egypt’s Coptic Christian Pope Shenouda III has died at the age of 88, state television has announced. The leader of the Middle East’s largest Christian minority was reported to suffer from cancer that had spread to several organs. Coptic Christians make up 10% of Egypt’s population of 80 million. After attacks on Coptic Christians in recent years, Pope Shenouda urged officials to do more to address the community’s concerns. Pope Shenouda led the church, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, for four decades. His political adviser Hany Aziz told Reuters news agency that Shenouda…

Source: Orthodox Church in America KANSAS CITY, MO [FOCUS] The Board of Directors of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) North America, has announced the appointment of Nicholas J. Chakos as their new Executive Director. Says FOCUS NA Chairman Charles Ajalat, “The Board of Directors is extremely blessed and excited to have found such a great leader to take FOCUS North America to the next level.” Nick Chakos has over 15 years of experience in Orthodox non-profit leadership, fundraising, strategic planning, and program development. In his 13 years with the IOCC, he served as Interim Executive Director,…

By George Matsoukas The Orthodox Christian Laity Winter Board Meeting took place in Columbus, Georgia the last week of February 2012 at the Hilton Gardens Inn. Advisory Board member and former mayor of Columbus, retired Colonel Robert S. Poydasheff, was the host of the productive meeting. President Bill Souvall from Salt Lake City, UT presided. The Orthodox Christian Laity Winter Board Meeting took place in Columbus, Georgia the last week of February 2012 at the Hilton Gardens Inn. Advisory Board member and former mayor of Columbus, retired Colonel Robert S. Poydasheff, was the host of the productive meeting. President Bill…

Source: St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary | Deborah (Malacky) Belonick [SVOTS Communications, Yonkers, NY] “It is now possible for students to come to our seminary with their tuition fully funded,” announced Archpriest John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, as he unfolded a new plan designed to help theological graduate students cover the cost of their education. “Effective for this coming academic year,” explained Fr. John, “we’re instituting a newly devised ‘matching grant’ program for students seeking either a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts degree in theology, and we’re expanding tuition grants available to students in…

Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America NEW YORK – National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas on January 17, 2012 issued an immediate appeal to all Philoptochos Presidents, members nationwide and their respective communities to support a drive for the welfare of the people of Greece. President Skeadas stated, “We enter 2012 mindful of the dire economic circumstances and supreme hardships faced by our brothers and sisters in economically ravaged Greece, our ancestral homeland. We cannot and will not turn our backs to the needs of our people.” Daily news reports document widespread poverty in Greece where many parents can no longer…

Source: Orthodox Observer | Archdeacon Panteleimon The Greek Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music (ASBM) has recently published Byzantine Music: Theory and Practice Guide to assist novice-level Byzantine music students and to enrich liturgical music programs in local parishes. Prior to the guide’s publication, the only sufficient Byzantine music textbooks were available in Greek. After the first year of the school’s operation, officials re-evaluated the teaching methods and the resources offered to ASBM students. They concluded that a theory book in English was needed and formed a committee to produce a student-friendly beginner’s level textbook. An audio CD also was created…

Source: The Sofia Echo | Clive Leviev-Sawyer [January 27, 2012] If there is a hell with a department specially set aside for Bulgaria’s communist-era State Security and leaders of the atheist state, they may be chuckling right now, between being prodded with pitchforks and otherwise tormented. In its early history in power, the communist regime used brutal tactics against all its enemies, the church included. Clergy were executed or murdered, jailed with or without trial, sent to “labour education” camps. While the tactics changed over time, to seeking to subvert and manipulate the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, one tactic was consistent…

Source: Commentary Magazine | David Aikman February 2012 Abstract On October 2011, when the so-called Arab Spring took a dark turn in Cairo, Egypt, the social media and smartphone technologies that had aided protesters in their fight for freedom captured new and dangerous developments. On video-hosting websites such as YouTube, one can see footage of the Muslim mobs that began throwing rocks at Coptic Christians on October 8. These young Copts had been protesting the burning of a Coptic church in Aswan and the failure of the Egyptian authorities to respond satisfactorily. Frustrated with the traditional Coptic adoption of a…

Source: News24 Saidnaya – Divine intervention prevented a shell that pierced the walls of a Syrian convent from detonating, swears the mother superior of Our Lady of Saidnaya, a spiritual retreat near Damascus. “The Virgin Mary stopped the shell from exploding with her own hands,” said Mother Verone, who interpreted the close call as a divine message that “God is watching over sacred places” amid the unprecedented unrest rocking Syria. The sound of explosions and gunfire from nearby towns echoes around the normally tranquil convent. The nuns say the blasts come from the neighbouring towns of Rankus and Talfita, focal…

Orthodox Christian Laity Winter Board Meeting – February 23-25, 2012 Hilton Garden Inn Columbus, Georgia Local Contact Person: Robert Poydasheff 706-317-3224 Thursday evening: Hilton Garden Inn. Board Meeting Overview – 6:30 pm in Dining Room. Friday morning: 9:00 am Board Meeting in Conference Room. 25th Anniversary Update. Principles of Charter for a Unified Orthodox Church. Friday evening: If a priest is available, Vesper at Holy Transfiguration Mission. Dinner at Local Club. Saturday morning: 10:00am Meet and Greet Faithful. OCL 25 Years of service. Holy Transfiguration Mission, 4612 Gilbert Avenue, Columbus, GA 31904. Interested faithful from Atlanta including: Annunciation…

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