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Source: Religion News Service / Staten Island Real Time News BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Two weeks before Christmas, one of the most powerful storms to hit the Middle East in a century dumped several inches of snow on the hills of Bethlehem. In addition to shuttering schools and businesses, the storm caused runoff to trickle down the walls of the Church of the Nativity, built above the traditional birthplace of Jesus. Fortunately, the water damage was relatively minor, church officials say, thanks to a rare cooperative venture already underway to repair the basilica’s roof, leaky windows and old wooden beams,…

Source: The National Herald By Theodore Kalmoukos BOSTON, MA – An effort started some six years ago by Dr. Maria Koulmanda, a prominent physician, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School in the fields of children’s diabetes and transplantation, has developed into an officially-recognized nonprofit organization. “Agape and Elpida,” which stands for “Love and Hope” 501 (c) (3) is the new philanthropic organization in Boston which gives “love and hope” to the heroes of this country, the U.S. Homeless Veterans of the Boston area. Its founding members besides Dr. Koulmanda are Themis Karpouzis and Angeliki Kalmoukos. Koulmanda and some friends…

Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, expressed his grave concern over current rhetoric by some Turkish state officials regarding the intention to convert the historic Hagia Sophia (the magnificent 6th-century Orthodox Christian Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) from a museum to a functioning mosque. Such a step might be interpreted as an expression of intensification of state Islamization policies causing an elimination of Christianity from its 2000-year presence in its lands of origin. Hagia Sophia’s significance as a religious site and globally recognized symbol of intercultural respect…

Source: RIA Novosti MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church presented the nation’s answer to Frank Sinatra with a top award on Wednesday for his public service, adding to the flamboyant now-lawmaker’s already glittering array of decorations. Patriarch Kirill awarded Joseph Kobzon, who has in the past been denied a US visa over his purported links to organized crime, the Order of Glory and Honor second degree for the crooner’s work in “developing national culture and the moral and patriotic education of his contemporaries.” Kobzon, who turned 76 in September, was a hit singer…

Source: Orthodox Church in America To the Honorable Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and Pious Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America, My Beloved Brethren and Blessed Children in the Lord, Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Today, as we proclaim with joyous hearts that “God is With Us,” we give glory to God for the Feast of the Nativity in the Flesh of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. At the same time, we are surrounded by a host of images, symbols, icons, and representations of what the world thinks this Feast is, and what it should be. From Christmas trees…

Source: Independent Catholic News His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in the United Kingdom yesterday, 17 December after expressing concern about the current challenges facing Christians in some Middle Eastern nations, and to meet members of those communities resident in the United Kingdom. His Royal Highness was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. During this historic visit, Prince Charles and Prince Ghazi were received at the Centre by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, with numerous official, government, ecumenical,…

Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announces to all the Orthodox faithful in America the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Nov. 27, 2013. The Holy and Sacred Synod, in which His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America participated, entered in the registry of the Saints of the Orthodox Church hieromonk Porphyrios Kafsokalyvitis (1906-1991) whose memory will be celebrated December 2, and hieromonk Meletios of Ypseni, Rhodes, born at the end of the 18th century and his memory will be celebrated February 12. Following is the official…

Source: Orthodox Church in America SYOSSET, NY [OCA] – December 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Orthodox Christian military chaplaincy to serve the spiritual needs of Orthodox personnel in the United States Armed Forces. At the time of America’s entry in World War II, there were no Orthodox Chaplains in the US Armed Forces. Father Vladimir Borichevsky became the first Orthodox priest to enter the US Armed Forces in December 1943. By then, America had been at war for two years, but no one knew how long the war would last. He was soon joined by Fathers Michael…

Source: Orthodox Church in America SYOSSET, NY [OCA] – Friday, December 13, 2013, the Feast of Saint Herman of Alaska, marks the 30th anniversary of the repose of Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary and a leading 20th century Orthodox Christian theologian. Father Alexander was born in Estonia in 1921 to a family of Russian emigres. He spent his youth in France, where he received his secondary and university educations. He also completed theological studies at the Orthodox Theological Institute of Saint Sergius in Paris, which at that time was the center of Russian Orthodox scholarship after the…

Dear Readers, OCL Members and Supporters,   A friend of OCL has offered to match – dollar for dollar – every contribution to OCL, up to and including $500 each, made between now and December 27th.  If you have already made a contribution this year, consider an additional one to take advantage of this matching opportunity. Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or Pay Pal if possible.  If you mail a check, please send it in time for us to receive it by the 27th. (Mail checks to: OCL, PO Box 6954, West Palm Beach, FL 233405-6954). Questions? Call 877-585-0245. Please help us take advantage…

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