ISIS destroys Iraq's oldest Christian monastery

The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble

Satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press confirm what church leaders and Middle East preservationists had feared: The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble, yet another victim of the Islamic State group's relentless destruction of heritage sites it considers heretical.

Theophany in Homebush

On the Great Feast of Theophany, 19 January 2016, His Grace Bishop Irinej celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Anglophonic parish of the Holy Archangel Michael in Homebush, New South Wales.

Concelebrating with him was the Reverend Veselin Svorcan, Parish Priest, assisted by Deacons Aleksandar Ivanovic and Miladin Tripic. Presently, a parish of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church, this unique parish initially consisted of faithful from the Russian tradition who desired liturgical services in the English language for the sake of their future generations. Today, its parishioners herald from a wide array of Orthodox backgrounds, as well as those from non-Orthodox backgrounds, who have embraced Holy Orthodoxy.

Synaxis of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

In the Orthodox Church it is customary, on the day following the Great Feasts of the Lord and the Mother of God, to remember those saints who participated directly in the sacred event. So, on the day following the Theophany of the Lord, the Church honors the one who participated directly in the Baptism of Christ, placing his own hand upon the head of the Savior.

St John, the holy Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, whom the Lord called the greatest of the prophets, concludes the history of the Old Testament and opens the era of the New Testament. The holy Prophet John bore witness to the Only-Begotten Son of God, incarnate in the flesh. St John was accounted worthy to baptize Him in the waters of the Jordan, and he was a witness of the Theophany of the Most Holy Trinity on the day of the Savior’s Baptism.

The Feast of the Theophany

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today we celebrate a day that is called by many names: the Baptism of our Lord, Theophany, and it is also called Illumining. We commemorate our Lord's baptism today in the Jordan. Theophany is the appearance of God, where indeed the Holy Trinity manifested Himself after Our Lord's baptism. Why would we call it Illumining? It is because through baptism we are indeed illuminated.

Feast of the Cross at Cathedral church in Belgrade

Feast of the Cross at Cathedral church in Belgrade
Feast of the Cross at Cathedral church in Belgrade
Feast of the Cross at Cathedral church in Belgrade
Feast of the Cross at Cathedral church in Belgrade

His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, celebrated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy at the Cathedral church in Belgrade on the Feast of the Cross, 18 January 2016.

The Liturgy was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje-Niksic. The clergy of the Cathedral church concelebrated to the Patriarch. The First Belgrade's Singing Society sang responses.

Mayor of Chicago Proclaims Saint Sava Academy Day

The Honorable Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, has officially proclaimed January 27th, the feast day of the revered Serbian patron saint of education and culture, as Saint Sava Academy Day in Chicago in recognition of the school’s work and for its contributions to the community.

The Mayor’s proclamation also noted that Saint Sava Academy is “the only full-time elementary school in Chicago offering dual language education in both Serbian and Russian languages,” “offers a safe community where students are able to express their culture and religious beliefs,” and “sustains an Orthodox faith-based education that provides students a strong spiritual compass both inside and outside the classroom.”