This Week in Orthodoxy, March 21, 2014

This Week in Orthodoxy, March 21, 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

Assembly of Bishops to be Split in Three

Our top story this week: Press reports have confirmed that the geographical borders of the Episcopal Assemblies in North and South America will be changed.

Church leaders made the decision at the recent Synaxis of all Orthodox Churches in Istanbul.

Instead of holding one assembly for bishops in Canada, the United States, and Central America, a separate assembly will be established for Canada, and bishops from Central American countries will join the existing assembly of South America.

Once the changes go into effect, there will be three separate assemblies: Canada, the US, and Latin America.

Memorial Service for Colonel Philip Ludwell III

Our next story reveals something rather unexpected about the early days of Orthodoxy in America.

Did you know that the largest landowner in colonial Virgina and a friend and relative of many of America’s founding fathers, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, was an Orthodox Christian?

And that he translated the Divine Liturgy and other Orthodox texts into English in the 1740s, and raised his family in the Orthodox faith?

March 27th will be the two hundred and forty-seventh anniversary of the repose of Colonel Philip Ludwell III of Williamsburg, VA, the earliest known recorded convert to Orthodox Christianity in America, and an important figure in colonial Virginia.

To mark the occasion, on March 16th the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia celebrated the first-ever Orthodox Christian Divine Liturgy in a place well known to Ludwell himself: the College of William & Mary’s historic Wren Chapel, built in 1695 and the oldest college building in the United States.

Orthodox Monastery to Open in Scotland

In our next two stories, we’ll be highlighting the expansion of the Orthodox Church in places you might not expect.

First, to the west coast of Scotland, to a scenic chain of islands called the Hebrides.

Fr. Serafim Aldea, a Romanian Orthodox priestmonk, is hoping to found an Orthodox monastery for women on the Island of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides.

Nearly a million people per year travel through Mull as pilgrims on their way to the famous Isle of Iona, the center of medieval Irish monasticism.

The dream of establishing an Orthodox monastery on Mull is possible because an 18th century church has already been donated. Fr Serafim is currently in the United States, raising money to restore the church itself and to build a small number of new cells for the future monastics.

Visit for more information.

Parishioners Build Own Church in Rizal, Philippines

Now to the other side of the world and a very different ministry context.

Parishioners of the Dormition of the Theotokos Mission Church in Rizal, Phillipines are taking matters into their own hands, rebuilding their six-year-old church themselves using whatever material is at hand: sand, bamboo, coconut lumber, and hard work.

The mission parish is part of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, and serves 65 families living below the poverty line.

Segment 2: Coming Up

St. Tikhon’s Seminary to Host Vocations Retreat
St Tikhon’s Seminary will be hosting its annual Vocations Retreat on April 11 and 12.

The weekend encounter is designed to help men discern their calling to serve the Lord and His Church. The theme of this year’s retreat is “Responding to Jesus’ Call: ‘Be My Priest.’”

There is no cost for participating in the retreat. Visit for more information.

Segment 3: News from OCN

Lenten Fundraising Appeal
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Please consider making a donation during this Lenten season to help us spread the joy of Orthodoxy at Pascha and throughout the year. You can donate by visiting our website,

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Thank you so much for your support and prayers.

NOTE: Since the filming of this episode, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Saliba of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese has reposed in the Lord. May his memory be eternal!

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.