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Source: Orthodox Church in America Deadline for Planting Grant applications in the OCA is August 31, 2015 SYOSSET, NY [OCA]  The deadline to apply for 2016 Church Planting Grants, available from the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Evangelization, is August 31, 2015. Detailed information on the grants may be found here.  Applications may be downloaded here. Fledgling mission communities may apply for first-year grants of up to $24,000.00 for the exclusive purpose of providing a salary for a full-time resident priest.  Qualifying missions, deaneries or dioceses must match this amount.  Grants may be renewed for a maximum of three…

Source: The Sofia Globe Bulgarian Orthodox Church Plovdiv Metropolitan continues campaign for mayoral candidate The controversial Metropolitan of Plovdiv, Nikolai, has continued his campaign for a candidate in Bulgaria’s forthcoming mayoral elections, issuing an endorsement on one of the holiest days in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church calendar – and again attacking incumbent mayor Ivan Totev. Open support for an election candidate is unprecedented in Bulgarian Orthodox Church history. Nikolai, who recently endorsed Zdravko Dimitrov – who has been expelled from the parliamentary group of national coalition government majority partner GERB for announcing his candidacy against GERB’s official candidate in Plovdiv,…

Source: Ancient Faith Ministries Is Orthodoxy in Decline? Alarming statistics are reported on the decline of Christianity (-8% in seven years) across all denominations in the U.S.; as well as significant data on the Orthodox Church in the U.S. Be the Bee’s Steven Christoforou and Fr. Jonathan Ivanoff, the director of the Orthodox Natural Church Development program, join Kevin Allen to discuss. Click here to listen.

Source: The Moscow Times Orthodox Church Calls for Alternative Financial System in Russia By Anastasia Bazenkova As the Russian economy reels from low oil prices and Western sanctions, the country is seeing rising interest in unorthodox financial solutions, most recently one pitched by the Orthodox Church. Last week, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry threw its support behind a so-called Orthodox Financial System developed under the aegis of the Moscow Patriarchate and strongly resembling the better known Islamic financial system. “The Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports the creation of the Orthodox Financial System … and is ready to provide its platform for detailed and professional discussion of these questions together with the relevant committees of the chamber,” the chamber’s press service reported last Friday…

Source: Archaeology in Bulgaria BULGARIAN ARCHAEOLOGISTS SHOW LEAD CROSS RELIQUARY FOUND IN MEDIEVAL CITY MISSIONIS (KRUM’S FORTRESS) by Ivan Dikov A lead cross, which is also a reliquary, found during the excavations of the Early Byzantine and medieval Bulgarian city of Missionis, also known as Krum’s Fortress, whose ruins are located near today’s northeastern city of Targovishte, has been presented to the public for the first time byBulgarian archaeologists. “This is an absolutely unique item. Personally, I have never seen lead crosses that are also reliquaries. I have seen lead icons which are used as reliquaries but lead crosses – never,”…

Source: Daily Sabah Black Sea monastery set to celebrate Orthodox Divine Liturgy The Orthodox faithful from Turkey and around the world will attend the Divine Liturgy at Sümela, a historic monastery in Trabzon, a province in the Black Sea region, on Aug. 15. The mass will be the sixth religious service held since the restoration of the monastery.The monastery, on UNESCO’s temporary list of World Heritage sites, is expected to host the faithful from Russia, Georgia, Greece and other countries with a large Orthodox Christian population. Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, who presided over last year’s liturgy, is expected…

Source: Order of St. Andrew the Apostle – Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Archon Judge Nicholas Tsoucalas named recipient of Nicholas J. Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship New York, NY – The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle is pleased to announce that Archon Judge Nicholas Tsoucalas, Archon Hartoularios, has been nominated as the recipient of this year’s Nicholas J. Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship. A special tribute dinner dance will be held at the New York Hilton Hotel, Friday evening, Oct. 16, as part of the Order’s annual three-day assembly, Oct. 16-18. Archon George Safiol, Award Committee chairman,…

Source: Orthodox Church in America Beginners’ on-line Choral Conducting Course SYOSSET, NY [OCA]  The Department of Liturgical Music of the Orthodox Church in America will once again offer an on-line course, “Choral Conducting for Beginners,” beginning September 14, 2015. “The class sessions are devoted to demonstrating basic conducting techniques, starting with elementary conducting patterns and concluding with an emphasis on conducting liturgical chant,” said Prof. David Drillock, Department Chair, who will teach the course.  “The course, which will be limited to 12 participants, will consist of 12 sessions over a 13-week period. “The first half of the course will concentrate…

Source: The National Herald Greek-Americans and Miracles over the Decades [On August 2, Newsday featured an article titled “Claims of religious miracles on Long Island and in New York City,” focusing on various accounts of miracles over the decades relayed by residents of Long Island and New York City. Some of those individuals were Greek American; we provide excerpts of those stories here.] NORFOLK RD. MIRACLE “In 1960, Pagora Catsounis was praying before an icon of the Virgin Mary that hung on the wall in her bedroom in Island Park,” Newsday wrote, “when she says she saw a tear emerge…

Source: Christ J. Kamages The Earliest Known Prayer to the Theotokos The earliest known prayer to the Theotokos (Greek, Θεοτόκος, meaning “Bearer of God”) is a prayer found on a fragment of papyrus dating back to approximately AD 250. In 1917, the John Rylands Library [1] in Manchester, England, acquired a large panel of Egyptian papyrus. The prayer is located on the fragment recorded as reference number Greek Papyrus 470. The prayer appears to be from a Coptic Christmas liturgy or vespers written in Koine Greek although the fragment in question may be a private copy of the prayer. The prayer is still…

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