This Week in Orthodoxy, April 4, 2014

This Week in Orthodoxy, April 4, 2014


Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy,” the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church.

Segment 1: News from around the Globe

Vandalism at a Sacred Site in Constantinople
Our top story this week. On Sunday, March 23, vandals invaded the courtyard and chapel of Agia Paraskevi outside the old Byzantine walls of Constantinople.

For at least five hours, according to the testimony of the church sacristan and as reported by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the crowd of youths looted and dishonored the chapel, which sits on the site of a Sacred Spring. The vandals scattered sacred vessels and priestly vestments on the floor, caused significant damage, broke the candle pangari, and stole a bell.

The church sacristan and his family, who live on the premises, fled to the local police station, only forty meters away, but the police declined to intervene on the pretext that doing anything would provoke the crowd.

Upon being informed of the events, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed sorrow and indignation for the vandalism at the Sacred Spring.

IOCC: Transforming Lives through Clean and Safe Water
Our next story involves water of another kind. Access to clean and safe water can make the difference between sickness and health, abject poverty and self-sufficiency. Yet more than one billion people living in impoverished urban and rural areas struggle to survive each day without access to safe drinking water.

With efforts in multiple countries, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is working to help those who don’t even have the most basic of necessities: clean water.

For example, in rural northwestern Cameroon, IOCC is making clean water available to 9,000 schoolchildren and teachers through rainwater harvesting systems installed at three of the area’s largest schools.

And in Syria, with tens of thousands of families displaced because of war, IOCC and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch are working together to address the critical water shortage in affected villages by drilling wells that will greatly increase the water supply desperately needed by displaced Syrians and their new host families.

Find out more at

Syrian Bishop Speaks at Hellenic College/Holy Cross
Our next story highlights the continuing plight of religious minorities in Syria. On March 28, Bishop Elias Toumeh, who resides in “Wadi al Nasara” (the Valley of Christians) near the Syrian city of Homs, spoke at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts.

In his lecture, the Bishop explained the historical, political, and religious aspects of the current crisis; shared personal stories of how the war is affecting people on the ground; and emphasized the Church’s role as a peacemaker amidst peoples of many religions.

After sharing stories of how he intervened in dangerous situations, Bishop Elias said the experience in the last few years has taught him that “being a bishop is not about thrones and dinners. Being a bishop is about being willing to sacrifice your life for your flock.”

A recording of the entire lecture should be available on soon.

Metropolitan Philip Buried at Antiochian Village
Last week, we featured a special tribute to the life and ministry of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Saliba, who recently reposed in the Lord after nearly 50 years as the primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.

After several days of memorial services, liturgies, and a funeral attended by Orthodox hierarchs from around the world, His Eminence was laid to rest at Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania on Monday, March 31. May his memory be eternal!

Segment 2: News from OCN

Lenten Fundraising Appeal
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have expressed your appreciation for this program. With your support, we’re able to bring you news, images, video footage, and special coverage of the life of the Orthodox Church throughout the world. There’s nothing like it on the web today.

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That’s it for “This Week in Orthodoxy.” Let us know if you enjoyed watching. See you next week!

About author

Seraphim Danckaert

Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.