Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Planned Parenthood hacked, details unfolding

(The Hill) - Planned Parenthood confirmed Monday that anti-abortion hackers have attempted to infiltrate the organization, potentially exposing sensitive data on their employees.

Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood executive vice president, called the incident a “gross invasion of privacy” that could put staff at risk.

“Today Planned Parenthood has notified the Department of Justice and separately the FBI that extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood's mission and services have launched an attack on our information systems, and have called on the world's most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members,” Laguens said in a statement.

“We are working with top leaders in this field to manage these attacks,” she added.

A hacker going by the name of “E” took partial credit for the cyberattack early Monday, claiming the hackers had pilfered internal files, emails and worker information.

The digital thieves have already apparently leaked information on Planned Parenthood employees, and are threatening to decrypt and unveil the organization’s internal emails next. The organization has not confirmed the intruders actually have this information.

The attack comes on the heels of a bruising week for the nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services, including contraception, cervical cancer screening, sexually transmitted disease testing and abortions.

Anti-abortion activists last week released edited videos (and also the unedited videos the media seems to not like mentioning) showing an organization official discussing the costs and methods of preserving fetal tissue for donation. The advocates had posed as buyers from a medical research company to get the meeting.

The videos spurred arguments on the airwaves and on Capitol Hill about the practice, and led to renewed calls to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding.

The hackers indicated that the videos had also motivated them to launch the digital assault.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Diocese of the Midwest new liturgical guidelines

(OCA) - Bishop Paul reported that he does not intend to issue any “global liturgical directives” at this time, as he feels that he needs another year or so to observe the liturgical life of diocesan parishes. Should issues arise, he should be consulted.

With regard to Vesperal and Baptismal Liturgies, he explained that these may be effective in some parishes, but he hopes that a single “version” of each could be developed for the sake of consistency.

With regard to the attire of readers and subdeacons, he noted that in light of the sexual misconduct guidelines, we must not be “overly clerical” with minor orders. Readers may wear cassocks only when they are discharging their duties; if they are not reading at a given service, they should not wear them. Readers and subdeacons are not to wear cassocks when they visit other parishes.

In the future, altar servers may be blessed to wear oraria in the Byzantine style – that is, not crossed as customary for ordained subdeacons – and henceforth will be referred to as “senior altar servers” rather than “blessed subdeacons.” Only those who are capable of serving Hierarchical services will be ordained to the Subdiaconate proper.

In response to a question with regard to occasions on which seminarians are permitted to wear cassocks, Bishop Paul responded that they are blessed to do so at their respective seminaries.

... and ascended into heaven ...

The blessing of a business

Tony Backos owner of Old 41 Restaurant in Bonita asked Fr Hans to Bless his business. So this past Sunday, in the middle of the busiest time, the restaurant and its patrons got blessed! Watch how wonderful it is to welcome Jesus Christ everywhere, even into the kitchen and the freezers.

A church to St. Panteleimon who is celebrated today (NS)

(Diocese of Mozambique) In Thessaloniki, the Church of Saint Panteleimon (Greek: Ναός Αγίου Παντελεήμονα) is a late Byzantine church in Thessaloniki, Greece, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The church lies in the eastern part of the old city, near the Tomb of Galerius (the "Rotunda"), at the junction of Iasonidou and Arrianou streets. Its current dedication to Saint Panteleimon was given to the church after the end of Ottoman rule in 1912, and its original dedication is therefore disputed. In Ottoman times, it was converted into a mosque in 1548 and became known as Ishakiye Camii ("Mosque of Ishak [Isaac]"), which in the prevailing scholarly interpretation points to an identification with the late Byzantine Monastery of the Virgin Peribleptos, also known as the Monastery of Kyr Isaac after its founder Jacob, who was the city's metropolitan bishop in 1295–1315 and became a monk with the monastic name of Isaac. A counter-argument however supports the theory that the present church is unrelated to the Peribleptos Monastery, and that it was converted into a mosque ca. 1500, when the city's kadı (judge), was Ishak Çelebi, whom the mosque was named after. However, the church's architecture and decoration, which date to the late 13th/early 14th centuries, appear to support the former view.

The church is of the tetrastyle cross-in-square type, with a narthex and a (now destroyed) ambulatory (an aisle running around the east end of a church, esp one that passes behind the sanctuary) that is connected to two chapels (still extant). Very few of the building's original wall paintings survive. Ottoman remains include the base of the demolished minaret and a marble fountain.

Theotokos, Helper in Childbirth

An important icon to have.

(Uncut Mountain Supply) - The Theotokos the "Helper in Childbirth" is the cherished icon of future mothers who ask our Most-holy Lady to protect them and to bless them with a sucessful delivery and child.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Not to be lost in the recent video kerfuffle...

"The Child Who Was Never Born" by Martin Hudáčeka.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Armenian Catholics get new Patriarch

BEIRUT (Massis Post) — Bishop Krikor Ghabroyan (Emeritus Bishop of the Eparchy of France) was elected the new Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church. The new Patriarch has assumed the name Grégoire Pierre XX.

The celebration of its installation will be on August 9 in Lebanon. It will carry the title of “Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians”. the patriarchal headquarters is located in the convent of Bzommar and his residence in Beirut.

Pope Francis has sent a message of congratulations to the new Armenian Catholic Paticarch of Cilicia, his Beatiude Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan.

In the message Pope Francis expressed hope that his new ministry will bear many fruits, adding that his elections comes at a time when the Armenian church is confronted with various difficulties and challenges, the Vatican Radio reported.

Pope Francis referred to the terrible ordeals that some Armenian Catholics in the Middle East are facing. But he added that “illuminated by the light of faith in the risen Christ, our vision of the world is full of hope and mercy, because we are certain that the Cross of Jesus is the tree that gives life”.

Bishop Krikor Ghabroyan, born November 15, 1934 in Aleppo, Syria. He was ordained a priest March 28, 1959, appointed Bishop 3 January 1977. He was consecrated bishop 13 February 1977.

His Beatitude Grabroyan studied at the Minor Seminary of the Institute of Bzommar Patriarchal clergy; then to the College of the Marist Brothers of Jounieh (Lebanon); Armenian Leone Pontifical College in Rome; and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome

Its various departments were: School Director St. Mesrob Bourj Hammoud (1960 – 1969), rector of the minor seminary of Bzommar (1969 – 1976), General Treasurer of the Institute of the patriarchal clergy of Bzommar (1976) . Armenian Apostolic Exarch of France (1977 – 1986) and Eparch of the same diocese (1986-2013). Since his retirement, he had retired from the Paris region.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Diocesan highlights from the OCA's All-American Council

I don't believe the Diocese of the West nor of Eastern Pennsylvania put out videos.

Archdiocese of Washington

Diocese of the New York and New Jersey

Diocese of the South

Daily recaps from the OCA's All-American Council in Atlanta

Daily recaps covering highlights of the AAC for the Orthodox Church in America.






Who wants to help a family go to seminary?

Don't you want to be able say "I helped a family go to seminary!" I certainly do. As the blog's last posting of a GoFundMe campaign helped a small mission in South Carolina get a new roof (see here), I thought we could give it another go and help the Greesons get to St. Vladimir's Seminary. I'm sure every donation - large or small - will be appreciated greatly.

(GoFundMe) - In August we will be headed to St Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary in order for Daniel to study and God willing prepare for the priesthood. This calling has taken various forms over the past decade from academic work, OCF work, and serving in various capacities in our local parishes.

After a trying period in graduate school and several years of discernment we were propelled towards seminary. A major part in this discernment process was Daniel's friend Fr Matthew Baker, whose tragic death was a major impetus to act upon our years of prayer.

These funds would support us through a time when Daniel cannot work full time to support our family. Chelsea will be nannying part time and we have some funds saved, however we need additional financial help in the upcoming years.

Specifically these funds will be used for moving expenses, insurance, rent, school supplies, and unforseen incidentals.

Please as you can help us in this transition and most importantly remember us in your prayers.
Help out here!

IOCC caring for Syria's children

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Met. Elpidoforos to head Greek Archdiocese of America?

CONSTANTINOPLE (OCL) – Metropolitan Elpidoforos of Bursa, Abbot of the Holy Trinity Patriarchal Monastery on the island of Chalki, is making efforts to succeed Demetrios as the future Archbishop of America, sources in Constantinople, Athens, and New York told TNH.

But Archbishop Demetrios told TNH that he has not resigned and has no intention of doing so. “No, absolutely not,” the archbishop said, calling the information “mendacity” and “fable.”

But does he intend to resign soon? Again, Demetrios responded: “I want you to know that there is a big ‘no’ to everything that relates to resignation. As long as I am alive and I am in this [healthy] condition, God gives me health and strength and I work. There is no intention for resignation.” The Archbishop added that “these issues are up to God’s will and not man’s.”

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew recently approached Metropolitan Methodios of Boston to see if he wanted to become Archbishop of America, but the latter declined, invoking reasons of health.

That was the second time that Methodios has declined the Patriarch’s offer. The first time was in August 1999, before the Patriarchate settled on Demetrios. At that time, Bartholomew had invited Metropolitan Methodios to Constantinople and offered him the Archbishopric Throne, to which Methodios declined also then for health reasons.

TNH has learned there were other reasons for Methodios’ declining the offer, related to the composition of the Holy Eparchial Synod in American at the time.

Sources told TNH that Metropolitan Methodios told Metropolitan Elpidoforos that the hierarchs in America want the latter to be the next Archbishop, and Metropolitan Elpidoforos conveyed that to Patriarch Bartholomew, whose initial reaction reportedly was “will see”, but then said “if you think that you can do it, proceed.”

Elpidoforos asked Hierarchs to support his candidacy, while also campaigning with high-ranking members of the Greek government, powerful publishers, Archons, and benefactors of the Patriarchate in Greece.

It should be noted here that Patriarch Bartholomew’s words do not amount to a conclusive decision, but rather an attempt to test Elpidoforos’ candidacy.

Elpidoforos has promised Bartholomew that he will solve the Patriarchate’s economic problems once and for all. The hierarchs, priests, and general employees, for instance, have not been paid for three months now.

Well-respected Greek-Americans, who choose to remain anonymous, told TNH that Elpidoforos would be a risk, drawing parallels to Demetrios’ predecessor, Archbishop Spyridon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

To be a fly on a wall in Winchester

(Londinopoulis) - The Centre for Marian Studies and the Orthodox Network are organising a two-day conference on the Mother of God in the Orthodox and Oriental Churches, at the University of Winchester (18th-20th August 2015).

The earliest evidence for devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary comes from the Greek and Oriental churches, and the writings of the early authors of Eastern Christianity have influenced the cult of the Mother of God in both East and West. The Western church in recent decades has seen an upsurge of interest in the liturgy and theology of the East, and this conference will draw together scholars from both sets of traditions and from the secular academy to consider the rich Marian inheritance of Byzantine, Near Eastern and non-Chalcedonian Christians, with a focus on the tradition of hymnody.

Speakers who have agreed to address the conference include Andrew Louth (Durham University), Niki Tsironis (Institute for Byzantine Research, Athens), Pierre Najem (Notre Dame University, Lebanon) and Sebastian Brock (University of Oxford).

The location for the conference is the beautiful city of Winchester, which has a long Christian (and specifically Marian!) history. Winchester is easily accessible from London and Oxford, and the University of Winchester provides excellent conference facilities and residential accommodation.

Call for papers
Papers are invited on the main conference theme, but contributions on other aspects of the cult of the Mother of God in the East will also be considered. The topics may concern any period of church history, and may be in any relevant discipline – theology, liturgy, anthropology, art history, literary studies or politics.

Fee for the full conference: £230, including full board and lodging for the first day (Tuesday 18th-Wednesday 19th), and half board (without dinner) for the second day (Wednesday 19th-Thursday 20th).
Day 1 only: £90 including dinner.
Day 2 only: £70 without dinner.
Cheques should be made payable to the Centre for Marian Studies. A reduced fee may be available on request.

Enquiries should be addressed to either
Dr Andreas Andreopoulos (University of Winchester),
or Dr Sarah Jane Boss (Centre for Marian Studies, University of Roehampton),
Email:, Telephone 07977 192458.

A draft programme is the following:

Tuesday 18th
2.p.m. onwards. Registration
3.30. Tea
4.00.-5.00. Sebastian Brock: 'Bride of Light: Mary in the hymns of the Syriac Churches'
5.00.-5.45. Bronwen Neil: ‘Mary as Selective Intercessor for Souls in Hades in Middle Byzantine Apocalyptic’
5.45-6.30. Richard Price: ‘The Mother of God in the Russian Spiritual Verses’
6.30. Evening prayer
7.00. Supper

Wednesday 19th
9.15.a.m. Stephen Shoemaker: ‘The Mother of God in the Jerusalem Chant Book’; Olga Grinchenko: ‘Hymns to the Mother of God found in the Slavonic Kontakaria and their Byzantine counterparts’; Ephrem Lash: ‘Images of the Mother of God in Orthodox hymns’
11.15. Coffee
11.45. Pierre Najem [Near or Middle Eastern texts]
12.45. Lunch
2.30.p.m. Brian Reynolds: ‘Patristic Echoes in Dante’s Mariology’;
Kevin Alban: ‘Some Eastern theological aspects of Carmelite Mariology’; and Sarah Jane Boss: ‘Theophanes of Nicaea’s On the Holy Mother of God as a foundation for Mariology’
4.30. Tea
5.00. Nikolaos Loudovikos: ‘Mary in the work of Nikolas Kavasilas’
6.30. Evening prayer

Thursday 20th
9.15.a.m. Andrew Louth: ‘The Mother of God in the theology of Fr Sergii Bulgakov’
10.15. Niki Tsironi: ‘The Mother of God in the thought and homilies of Anthony of Sourozh’
11.15. Coffee
11.45. Andreas Andreopoulos: ‘The Significance of Mary for Modern
12.45. Lunch

Reporting on the AAC

I'm not trying to avoid reporting on the OCA's All-American Council in Atlanta. There's just nothing so far to report. Things that have been put up for votes have passed easily, clergy are walking around, and it seems important to the OCA's Facebook page to post pictures looking out of hotel windows. Yawn. Should something newsworthy happen, I'll post it.