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October 2012

Holy Apostles/St John of the Ladder Annual Church Campout

October 25, 2012

In 2000 Holy Apostles began an annual trek to the mountains to enjoy the cooling weather and the colors of fall.  That first year three families attended.  The next year three families attended. In 2002 some members from St. John of the Ladder and St. Timothy’s in Tacoa joined us with Fr. Marcus.  Eventually Fr. Jacob, Fr. Nickolay and Fr. Thaddeus have joined us.  Some winters it has been rainy, snowy, bitterly cold, and the leaves have been brown.  Others like this past one were like a dream: balmy days, cool nights, and every color of the rainbow in the trees.  The leaves are glorious in their dying.  The river was full, the rapids were noisy, and the endless water flow was mysteriously iconic.  We have witnessed the growth of little children from infancy  to adolescents every year returning to play with each other, compare growing up notes, and make memories.  Each day begins and ends with vespers, and each morning either matins, Liturgy or this year on Saturday morning we chanted the Akathist, Glory to God for all Things.  Read the text of this Akathist and imagine about fifty of us singing by the river, as the early morning sun electrified the colors in the trees, and we shared a morning of glory to God.  Then enjoy these pictures with us.

St Vladimir's Education Day

October 22, 2012

[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] St. Vladimir’s Seminary invites the public to its second annual Missions Day, Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 7:30 p.m., for a presentation on the “explosion” of Orthodox Christianity in Guatemala; in recent years 338 Orthodox churches, with 500,000 faithful and catechumens, have become part of the Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico.

The Very Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Andres Girón de Leon and The Very Rev. John Chakos will be the guest lecturers, sharing first hand their missionary activities among the indigenous people of Guatemala, within their presentation, "Mission to Guatemala: Receiving the Mayan People into the Orthodox Church." The presentations will be in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building on the seminary campus.

Father Andres, a native Guatemalan who grew up in a family of privilege, has crammed several lifetimes into one: former Roman Catholic priest, trained counselor, Senator in the Guatemalan Congress and advocate for the rural poor, Ambassador to the United States, and now, Orthodox priest among disaffected Mayan people who were searching for a spiritual home outside the Roman Catholic Church.

Father John is a “retired” Greek Orthodox priest from Pittsburgh, serving in Guatemala under the 
Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) for six months out of the year, with his wife, Presbytera Alexandra. Fr. John serves the vast spiritual needs of the new Orthodox faithful, while Presbytera "Sandy" sets up shop as a seamstress and teaches the Mayan women sewing skills that will bring them fresh purpose and needed income.

St. George Food Festival Sponsorship

October 18, 2012

Please see this letter for information on assisting our Brothers and Sisters in Christ at St George in Pharr, TX, as they get ready for their international festival to raise funds to support their food pantry.

Episcopal Search Update

October 17, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Faithful of the DOS,

Christ is in our midst!

The Synod of the OCA did not vet any potential episcopal candidates during its meetings which concluded last week, this obviously includes Fr Gerasim.  Thus we are still in a  holding pattern relative to a possible DOS Special Assembly.  In further developments, the deans, acting as a nominating group within the Episcopal Search Committee, have received cv's from several additional potential candidates.  Two of these potential candidates are being interviewed in the coming week.  It is my hope that sometime after the AAC in Parma there will be a vetting of episcopal candidates by the Synod of the OCA, and that this will give us a way forward. Thus it is still possible that we might have a DOS Special Assembly in the context of our 2013 DOS Pastoral Conference in Atlanta, GA, and certainly no later than our regularly scheduled 2013 DOS Assembly in late July.  

With this in mind and for your planning more generally for 2013, please mark your calendars with the following dates of our regularly scheduled meetings:

2013 DOS Pastoral Conference, Atlanta, GA
Feb 4 - 8, 2013
(Diocesan Council Meeting Feb 4, 5)

DOS Assembly, Jacksonville, FL (tentative)
July 22 - 26, 2013 (tentative)
(Diocesan Council Meeting July 22, 23)  

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to bring them to my attention.

in Christ,

Fr Marcus

St. Vladimirs Seminary Press Childrens Book Recieves Gold Medal

October 10, 2012

[SVOTS Communications / Yonkers, NY] St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (SVS Press)— the publishing arm of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY—has garnered a gold medal for its storybook, Saint George & the Dragon, written by Jim Forest and illustrated in iconographic style by Vladislav Andrejev. SVS Press & Bookstore Marketing Manager Dn. Gregory Hatrak was recently notified that the children’s book had received a 2012 Moonbeam Spirit Award.
Moonbeam Spirit Awards are given “for dedication to children’s books and literacy and for inspired writing, illustrating and publishing,” according to Jenkins Group, Inc., which bestows the awards. This year, five books in five different areas were chosen, all gold-medal winners:
Mentoring: Your Stories, Volume 1, selected and edited by Taylor S. Joseph (Four Star Publishing)
Peacemaking: The Sky of Afghanistan, by Ana A. de Eulate; illustrated by Sonja Wimmer (Cuento de Luz)
Imagination: Pirate & Hoopoe, by Diarmid Cammell; illustrated by Karima Cammell (Dromedary Press)
Preservation: Saint George & the Dragon, by Jim Forest; illustrated by Vladislav Andrejev (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press)
Compassion: Operation Marriage, by Cynthia Chin-Lee; illustrated by Lea Lyon (Reach and Teach)
“St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press is honored that the Moonbeam Spirit Award has been bestowed upon our children’s book St. George and the Dragon,” said Theodore C. Bazil, senior advisor at SVS Press. “Many countries have appropriated this universal story, tying it to their particular culture and belief system.
“The ‘wedding’ of words by Jim Forest, incredible images by Vladislav Andrejev, and beautiful design by Amber Schley Iragui,” he continued, “represents an effort to communicate Judeo-Christian moral and ethical teaching to children and youth. This book project—conceived of and led by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press—required the identification and blending of an appropriate author, artist, and designer to publish a unique book that would stir children’s imaginations and touch their hearts.”
The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are presented by the publishing services company Jenkins Group, Inc., of Traverse City, Michigan. Jenkins Group has been involved in book packaging, marketing and distribution since 1988. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, November 10, 2012, in conjunction with the Traverse City Children's Book Festival. The festival is open to the public and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the awards ceremony will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
According to Jim Barnes, awards director at Jenkins Group, Inc.: “The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. The awards recognize and reward the best of these books and bring them to the attention of parents, booksellers, librarians—and to children themselves."
Awards are given in 39 categories covering the full range of subjects, styles, and age groups that children’s books are written and published in today. Each year's entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages. Award recipients receive gold, silver, and bronze medals and stickers, depicting a mother and child reading and silhouetted by a full moon. 

Stephen David Gidus: Memory Eternal!

October 9th, 2012

Stephen David Gidus, 50, of Orlando, FL (originally from Ashtabula, Ohio) passed away peacefully on Monday, October 8, 2012. He won his fight to eternal life with the Lord after battling cancer. He was circled in love at the time of his passing with his loving family and close friends.

Stephen was well known in the community for his strong faith and family values along with exemplary work ethic. Stephen was a devoted husband to wife, Tara, and father to two young boys, Basil, 5, and Levi, 3. Stephen was a custom home builder. He was in business with his brother, Paul, and owned PSG Construction in Orlando. More recently, he started a consulting business called REMODology and wrote five books for the remodeling construction industry.

Stephen had a passion for running and finished 17 marathons, including the Boston Marathon twice. He and his wife, Tara, ran two marathons on their honeymoon in Paris and London. Stephen had a passion for helping the homeless. He organized a clothing drive for the Coalition of the Homeless in downtown Orlando for twenty years.

The foundation of Stephen’s life was his strong faith. He attended the Orthodox Church of St. Stephen in Longwood, where he was a reader and active on the building committee and parish council. He went on several mission trips to Guatemala, Africa, and Mexico to spread his strong Christian faith. Next to his faith, his family was the most important thing to him. Along with his wife and sons, he is survived by his father and mother, Tim and Marie Gidus, and his siblings Ann Marie Mecera, Paul Gidus, and James Gidus along with their spouses and seven nieces and nephews.

Stephen will have a traditional Christian Orthodox funeral and burial. The viewing and panikhida will be Thursday, October 11 at 6:00 PM followed by the funeral service and burial beginning at 9:30 AM on Friday, October 12 at the Orthodox Church of St. Stephen at 1895 Lake Emma Road, Longwood, FL 32750. A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, October 12 at 6:00 PM in the Lee Fellowship Hall at First Presbyterian Church at 106 East Church Street, Orlando, FL 32801.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of the following: Orthodox Church of St. Stephen (address above), the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida,
639 West Central Blvd. 
Orlando, FL 32801, or to First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (address above). The money donated to First Presbyterian will be allocated to the daycare and preschool that Stephen’s sons attend. In all donations please note In Memory of Stephen Gidus. Dobbs Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.

Louisiana Mission Recieves Planting Grant

October 2, 2012

Yesterday the Holy Nativity of our Lord Orthodox Church, a Mission of the Diocese of the South, was informed that they were approved for a 2nd year in the OCA Church Planting Grant program.  Please visit  for more information on the work being done at Holy Nativity of our Lord Church.

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