8th Annual Diaconal Vocations Liturgical Practicum Dates Set!
March 18, 2014
The Arvo Pärt Project at St Vladimir’s Seminary Presents Concerts
March 16, 2014
(New York, NY)
The Arvo Pärt Project at St. Vladimir’s Seminary presents two concerts from May 31 to June 2 devoted to the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, an Orthodox Christian. The concerts will take place in New York City at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall (May 31) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (June 2), and will feature performers closely associated with Mr. Pärt’s music. Traveling from Estonia for these events are the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, with their conductor Tõnu Kaljuste.
2013 Diocese of the South Year-End Financial Reports
March 4, 2014
The 2013 Year-End Financial Reports have been posted. Mr. Milos Konjevich, Treasurer for the DOS, invites your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-522-4149. The reports can be found on this website on the DOS Financial Reports page.
An Article About St Jonah Mission in Alpine, TX
March 1, 2014
A Desert Rose
St. Jonah Orthodox Mission
Fr. Basil Zebrun
Far Southwest Texas has a unique beauty reflected in colorful sand, impressive rock formations, prickly desert vegetation, flat plains and high jagged mountains, as well as a sometimes dangerous but intriguing wildlife population: bears, coyotes, deer, elk, eagles, javelinas, mountain lions, and of course, rattle snakes. For good measure we might mention the occasional lizard, Gila monster, scorpion and tarantula. This is Texas as most people envision the Lone Star State. It is the land of John Wayne and cattle rustlin', still rough and untamed.
In the midst of such formidable beauty, like an oasis, is the town of Alpine, population 6000 people. Alpine's elevation sits at 4,475 feet, but overlooks peaks that reach as high as 6,875 feet. Just a mere hour and a half away is the popular Big Bend National Park, whose natural splendor is difficult to describe.
Residing in Alpine is the Orthodox mission of Our Father Among the Saints, Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow. The community has the distinction of being the last Orthodox mission whose initial formation was blessed by His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri prior to his retirement. Its founding core came from faithful Orthodox Christians already living in Alpine. One couple, in fact, had their roots in the Dallas Cathedral; they were introduced to other Orthodox in the area, and the rest is history.
The Church community is relatively small, but its members and the citizens of Alpine are as hardy as the territory they inhabit. Boots, jeans, heavy duty pickups, guns, as well as horses, are essential, every day tools for many who live in this part of the country. One member of St. Jonah's owns the local Big Bend Saddlery Company, which features various items for the working cowboy, including custom made saddles. His store carries everything from belts, buckles and books, to vests, wallets and whips (see bigbendsaddlery.com). In addition, the owner and his wife were instrumental in the formation of the annual Alpine Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a popular event which attracts artists, musicians and fans from across the United States, adding to the rich culture of the area (see texascowboypoetry.com).
The architecture of Alpine is as distinct as the landscape. The community of St. Jonah's, for example, occupies a renovated structure that was formerly a Methodist Church. The building is reminiscent of an adobe mission, but enjoys the protection and colorful adornment of a bright red metal roof. Traditional icon prints, as well as a hard wood floor and peaked ceiling offer an inviting interior to all who worship there. The building itself has enough interior space for 100 or more people, and sits on approximately two acres of land.
In Alpine a person becomes acquainted with his neighbors quite readily. Such a personable town affords Orthodox Christians unique opportunities to share their Faith, not only with friends, family and work associates, but with the faculty and students of nearby Sul Ross University, just a quarter of a mile from the Church. The University is at the heart of the local community. With an enrollment of approximately 1,700, the student body is made up of many locals, but has students from across the United States and from other countries as well. The campus is large and quite appealing, reflective of the hilly terrain that surrounds Alpine.
A number of Alpine residents are retirees who desire a quiet, scenic location, with a rich Texas culture, arid climate, and small town feel for their twilight years. Members of St. Jonah's invite those visiting Southwest Texas to join them for worship and Church activities. They also encourage Orthodox Christians to consider Alpine as a viable and desirable place for retirement, offering an established Orthodox Church that recognizes the missionary imperative of sharing the Faith with others.
Our Lord said that the fields are ripe, ready for harvest. In Alpine the actual fields happen to include a desert oasis with mountain views and sunsets that will take one's breath away. Figuratively, the human fields are the same as anywhere else; hardworking, personable people who desire to learn the meaning of life, and who seek -- consciously or unconsciously -- the love of the true and living God. The members of St. Jonah's invite interested people desiring a challenge and unique, peaceful surroundings to join them in their mission to far Southwest Texas. (For more information please see: bigbendorthodox.org or alpinetexas.com).