This Week in Orthodoxy, January 16, 2015

Hello, I’m Emmy Louvaris with “This Week in Orthodoxy,” the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church.

These are this week’s top stories:

  • The Orthodox Church gets a new saint.
  • The IOCC is on a mission to keep Syria’s children warm this winter.
  • Ethiopian Patriarch Mathias I embarks on a historic visit to Egypt for the first time.
  • The fifth Climacus Conference is scheduled to be held next month in Louisville, Kentucky.

Segment 1: News from Around the Globe
Canonization of Elder Paisios
First to Constantinople, where the Holy Synod, by a unanimous decision on Tuesday, has accepted the canonization of Elder Paisios. Saint Paisios the Athonite, as he is now called, was born in 1924 in Farasa, Cappadocia, in modern-day Turkey.

One week before the Greeks of Farasa were removed during the “population exchange,” Saint Paisios was baptized Arsenios Eznepidis by St. Arsenios, who was a priest known for his healing abilities and for providing a safe haven for Greek Orthodox Christians during the genocide. St. Paisios spent his early childhood recording the miracles performed by St. Arsenios while developing a desire to follow a monastic life.

During the Greek Civil War, St. Paisios served as a radio operator and was noted for his bravery, moral fortitude, and self-sacrifice. At the monastery, St. Paisios came under the tutelage of the abbot, Father Cyril, and then under Elder Symeon, who gave him the Small Schema in 1956 and the name Paisios.

By 1966, St. Paisios’ health was failing, and a lung operation left him in need of blood, which was provided by a group of novices from the monastery. Following his recovery, St. Paisios met and became a disciple of Elder Tikhon in 1968 and continued to live in the hermitage long after Elder Tikhon’s death.

In 1979, St. Paisios made his final move to Panagouda, part of the Koutloumousiou monastery on the Holy Mountain.

Although his health was deteriorating during the 1980s and 1990s, St. Paisios would accept, on a continual basis, pilgrims seeking healing. He would often leave himself with no more than 3 hours each night for rest. Even on his journeys from the mountain, to health facilities, he would accept pilgrims along the way, adhering to that long-held belief in self-sacrifice.

In late 1993, St. Paisios was diagnosed with cancer that required an emergency treatment. While in post-op and in critical condition, St. Paisios continued to listen to the hardships of searching pilgrims and offer consolation to them.

He fell asleep in the Lord on July 12, 1994, leaving behind four published books and a legacy of premonitions, earning himself the nickname “the Greek Nostradamus.”

IOCC Helps Syrian Children Survive Winter
Now on to Syria, where a hard winter in the war-torn country has thousands of children combating cold weather, with temperatures in the high teens and low twenties. The ongoing conflict has created a shelter deficit that leaves many residing in shelled-out buildings with little security from harsh snow falls and winds.

In total, 11 have died so far; 7 of those eleven were children.

In response, the International Orthodox Christian Charities has distributed hand-made sweaters to nearly 600 Syrian children. The sweaters were woven by the hands of 34 Syrian refugee women who were taught knitting through the cash-to-work program.

Cash-to-work was a joint venture created in 2013 by the IOCC and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. It provided a one-month skills training so that participating women could financially provide for their families. Qualifying women must be unemployed, have no alternative source of income, be physically able to work for the duration of the program, and must use the income to provide for their families.

To learn more about the IOCC and what it does or to financially assist with IOCC’s International Emergency Response Fund, you can visit www.iocc.org or call, toll free, 1-877-803-IOCC (4622).

Patriarch Mathias I Visits Egypt
Moving to Cairo, Patriarch Mathias I has begun a six-day visit this past Saturday, arriving in Cairo for the first time since his enthronement in 2013. The trip is designed to strengthen relationships between the Coptic church and the Ethiopian Church since their official split in 1959.

The visit comes on the heels of a recent disagreement over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The dam, when completed, would produce hydroelectric power for Ethiopia, which in turn would be provided to neighboring countries.

Egypt believes the construction of the dam will decrease the Nile’s downstream water supply, creating a hardship for the ancient city. The churches have played an integral role in promoting their respective countries’ interests in this dispute.

During his visit, His All Holiness is expected to meet with Egypt’s Coptic Pope and government officials, and will also deliver a speech on the relationship between the two churches.

Climacus Conference in Kentucky
Finally, a Pan-Orthodox meeting of minds is set for the weekend of February 13th in Louisville, Kentucky. The fifth Climacus Conference will feature the theme of “Beauty, Truth, and Goodness Will Save Us,” and will feature scholars and voices on a wide array of subjects including Theology, Patristics, History, and Politics.

Among the featured speakers will be Father Jonathan Tobias from St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Pittsburgh, who is the Professor of Pastoral Theology at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

To RSVP, visit the following website: http://www.climacusconference.org/

Segment 2: News from OCN

“Share the Light” Sunday
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That is it for “This Week in Orthodoxy.” For everyone in our studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.


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Constantine (Dean) Argiris is a lifelong Orthodox Christian from the…
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