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A Cloud of Witnesses
February, 2009
Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, O Virgin Theotokos, for from thee has risen the
Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, enlightening those in darkness. Rejoice, thou
also, O righteous Elder, as thou receivest in thine arms the Redeemer of our souls,
Who grants unto us the Resurrection.
All Saints Orthodox Church
Salina, Kansas
All Saints Orthodox Church
2818 Scanlan Avenue, Salina, KS 67401
Church: 823-3735
Personal: (785) 320-0486
E-mail: [email protected] Website:
Right Rev’d. Fr. Daniel S. Griffith, pastor
(E-mail: [email protected])
Very Rev’d. Fr. Thomas Neustrom, (823-2410)
Please note the above changes in Fr. Daniel’s personal contact information!
A Forgotten People
As I hope that you are aware that on Sat. Feb. 21, our mother
church, St. George Cathedral, Wichita, will hope its annual
Orthodoxy Alive from 9:00am-4:00pm. The speaker will be Dr.
Maria Khoury, whose subject will be “Christian Witness in the
Holy Land I & II”. A graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox
Seminary, Brookline, MA, & a long-time resident on the West
Bank [of the Jordan River], she will address the subject of the
Palestinian Christians, the majority of whom are devout members
of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It behooves us to
be aware of the trials a difficulties of these our brothers & sisters
in the Faith.
Who are these people who are so frequently ignored by the very
powers which decide their fate? They are an ancient people.
Certain of these families can trace their Christian roots to the age
of the Apostles themselves. One of the great tragedies of events in
the Middle East is that the Christian presence in the land of her
birth is very rapidly disappearing. Caught between an ever more
militant Islam & a hostile Israeli force, they are slowly but surely
being pushed out. Today at lest 60% of Palestinians live abroad &
will never be allowed to return to their land, the birthplace of
Christianity. Today those still residing in the land of their ancestors constitute no more than 2% of the
total Palestinian population. As a friend of mine once commented a few years ago: “If our Lord, God &
Saviour Jesus Christ, delay His coming much longer, the only ones of His own to greet Him in the Holy
City, in fact, in the land of Palestine, will be a handful of Cypriote pilgrims
Perhaps a little history will help us to put this dwindling, yet courageous, body in its proper context.
The Acts of the Apostles states that the first Christians in Jerusalem were Jews, historians believe that
even after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, Christianity in the Holy Land kept its Jewish flavor. Until the
Jewish revolt of Bar-Kokhba, all the bishops of Jerusalem were of Jewish background. However, the
numbers of Gentile converts to Christianity grew steadily & the number of Jewish converts dwindled after
ca. 90 AD when the statutory prayers recited in the synagogue were amended to include a paragraph
which, if a Christian should read it, he would be damning himself. The Bar-Kokhba revolt in 132-135
proved to be the death-knell of Jewish-Christianity, for, having secured for a time their independence, the
Jews became fierce persecutors of the Christians. When Rome finally put down the revolt, the Emperor
Hadrian expelled all Jews, including all Jewish Christians, from Jerusalem & rebuilt the city as a Gentile
city, renaming it “Aelia Capitolina” & the country of Israel “Palestine.” With this blow, the Christian
Jewish community effectively disappeared.
The conversion of Constantine in 313 gave rise to a new Christian presence in the Holy Land. St.
Constantine’s mother, St. Helena, helped populate the land with churches & monasteries, & over the next
three centuries, the Holy Land witnessed an influx of Christians from various parts of the Roman empire,
including Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, Egyptians & Syrians. The Byzantine emperor, meanwhile,
governed the land.
This period of Byzantine rule entrenched Christianity in the Holy Land, & Christians became the
majority. Famous theologians made the Holy Land their home, including St. Jerome, who translated the
Bible into Latin in the 5th century & St John of Damascus., the great Byzantine theologian, in the 7th.
Then suddenly the warriors of a new faith, Islam, burst from the Arabian deserts, quickly invading the
Holy Land & taking Jerusalem in 640. What followed was the gradual decline of the Church in the Holy
Land, as Muslim overlords reduced Christians to servitude (dhimmis) & prohibited Christians from
proselytizing Muslims. Still, various Christian groups survived, the Greek Orthodox being by far the
largest. Gradually the majority of these Christians adopted Arabic as their primary language.
Christians from Arabia also joined their brethren in the Holy Land, & the “Palestinian” Arab Christian
population began to assume a distinct identity. The Crusader kingdom of the 12th & 13th centuries rose &
fell, but Eastern Christians continued to call the Holy Land home in spite of the return of Muslim power.
Over the next 600 years, the heavy taxes exacted by Muslim sultans impoverished Christian communities,
forcing many to convert to Islam to escape the burden. Further the sultans allowed bloody outbreaks of
persecution. Christians appealed to their old master, the Byzantine emperor, who graciously intervened
for them with ransoms & bribes. But Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453; & for protection, Christians
turned to France, which supported Franciscan holdings in the Holy Land acquired after the Crusades.
By the 19th century, the Christian population in the Holy
Land numbered only 15,000, over 80% of these being
Greek Orthodox. These numbers actually rose over the
course of the century, as Ottoman military power declined
& European nations like Russia, France & Britain exerted
pressure on the Turks to “liberalize” their rule. At the same
time, Western Protestants began sending missionaries to
the Holy Land; Anglicans, for example, first visited
Jerusalem in 1820 where they built new churches & set up
schools & clinics. Soon a host of other Protestant
denominations joined them, including Lutherans, the
Church of Scotland, etc. Catholics too sent missionaries to
the Holy Land. Since they were unable to convert Muslims,
all their proselytizing efforts were directed toward the
poorer segments of the Greek Orthodox faithful.
Muslim rule came to an end with the British occupation of
the Holy Land in 1917. The British Mandate provided
Christians with a welcome respite from Turkish control;
high birth rates contributed to an increase in the population.
When the state of Israel declared itself in 1948 & an
estimated 750,000 “Palestinian” Arabs fled the country
(never to be allowed back in), many Christians stayed, doubling
the ratio of Arab Christians to Muslims, especially in towns
like Nazareth & Bethlehem.
Despite this, Palestinian Christians have suffered
discrimination—& brutality—from Israel. Even though the
Israeli constitution assures Christians “freedom of religion,
conscience, education & culture,” they live as 2nd-class
citizens. Israel refuses to allow them to serve in its military,
& Palestinian Christians have fewer educational &
employment opportunities. Also, Israel’s troops, in
response to suicidal terrorists bombing Israeli citizens, have
confiscated land belonging to Palestinian Christians.
Since the founding of Israel, massive numbers of
Palestinian Christians have left the Holy Land, due to
Israel’s occupation of their land & the dismal state of the
economy in Palestinian towns. Today, they make up only
2% of the country, when they claimed 17% of the
population around 1900.
Most Palestinian Christians support the quest for a homeland. But Christians familiar with the rising tide
of Muslim persecution in other parts of the Middle East must ask what kind of government the Palestinian
Authority (PA) might create once/if Israel releases control. Various watchdog organizations point out that
since the PA took over Bethlehem in 1993, Christians have dropped from 60% of the population to 30%,
& they cite incidents of Palestinian police harassing Christians. It would seem then that Palestinian
Christians are caught between a wary, unfriendly Israeli state & increasingly hostile Muslim neighbors.
On the Election of the Patriarch of Moscow & All Rus
Epistle of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Regarding the Election of His Eminence
Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk & Kaliningrad as the Patriarch of Moscow & All Rus.
Dear in the Lord Pastors, Divinely-Wise Monks & Nuns, Beloved Brothers & Sisters, faithful children of
our Holy Church!
The Local Council, held on Jan. 27-28, 2009, at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, addresses you with
the words of the Apostle: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, & the love of God, & the communion of
the Holy Ghost, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
The Council has deemed worthy the fruits which, by the mercy of God, our Church has brought to the
Lord over these last 18 years since the last Local Council. At that Council, by the will of the Holy Spirit,
the Hierarchy & the people of God chose His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow & All Rus of
blessed memory. This Council approved the works of the Councils of Bishops from 1990-2009, & the
ecclesiastical efforts in various areas made during the Patriarchal service of His Holiness the late
Patriarch. Expressing due gratitude to him for all his labors & cares, we appeal to our pastors & children
of our Church to prayerfully remember our late Patriarch. His Holiness strove tirelessly to preserve the
unity of the Church, protecting her from schisms & divisions, uniting people of various nationalities,
generations & social strata. The main deed achieved by His Holiness the Patriarch, together with the late
Metropolitan Laurus [Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia – ROCOR] of blessed memory,
was the reestablishment of the unity of the Russian Church Abroad & the Church in the Fatherland. And
today, remembering the legacy of our late Patriarch, we must preserve & strengthen church unity, not
allowing anyone to sow the seeds of discord among us.
Keeping “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3) is a sign of the presence of Christ
Himself in the community of His followers.
Even as we preserve unity in the main
thing—the Holy Orthodox Faith—we can
have differences in individual questions
relating to the life of the Church or society.
But these differences must lay the
foundation for enmity, division & unfair
accusations. The Local Council supports the
document of the Holy Council of Bishops of
2008 “On the Unity of the Church” & calls
upon the Fullness of the Church to follow it.
On Jan. 27 of this year, by the will of the
Holy Spirit, the Council elected His
Eminence Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk
& Kaliningrad as the Patriarch of Moscow
& All Rus.
We ask the entire Church flock to fervently pray that our Chief Pastor, the Lord Jesus Christ, bountifully
pours forth His mercies on the service of the new, 16th Patriarch of Moscow & All Rus, that He grant him
undiminished help in all his efforts, strengthen his spiritual & physical powers towards service to the Holy
Church, that the Patriarchal labours of His Holiness Vladyka, our Father, the newly-elected Patriarch
Kyrill, bring fruits blessed by God.
During the last century, our Church passed through the furnace of tribulations, preserving faith &
devotion to Christ. Today, new possibilities arise before her: missionary work, which we must actively
pursue, for the Christian mission is the direct legacy of the Saviour. The Resurrected Christ calls upon His
disciples to follow Him & preach Divine Truth. The Lord came to save, but, in the words of the Apostle,
“How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of
Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). May we all be
servants & preachers of Christ the Saviour, “by Whom we have received grace & apostleship” (Romans
The pastoral word & the example of Christian good works must reach the hearts of those who call
themselves Orthodox Christians, but do not live a churchly life. For they are also a part of our Church,
called by the Lord towards salvation. Rejoicing at the growing number of churches & priests, we must
remember that it is the condition of the souls of men, their participation in the Mysteries & divine
services, their moral & spiritual image that are the essential criteria of the efforts of the Church. We are
called upon to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel of Christ, “that they might have life, & that they
might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). We must declare that only by following the eternal &
unchanging moral values granted by Divine
Revelation will we be able to overcome
internal individual crises, the disintegration of
the family & social problems. The Church
carries this testimony to the entire world, to
all people, especially children & youth. This
is precisely why we must take the opportunity
today to turn boldly to the young generation
through preaching, through school, through
the mass media.
Service to the church has always been yoked
to care for people, those who need help &
sympathy. Our duty is to feed the hungry, give
shelter to the homeless, defend the unfairly
injured, help the elderly, support the lonely,
lighten the burden of the ailing, console those
in despair.
The Local Council calls upon all the devoted
flock of our Church to strengthen their unity
in the Name of Christ under the omophorion of our new Primate, His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of
Moscow & All Rus. Through unified effort we must “work out [our] own salvation with fear &
trembling” (Philippians 2:12) & participate in the spiritual education of those near & far. “Pray,” said the
Apostle, “that the word of the Lord may have free course & be glorified” (2 Thessalonians 3:1). The most
important thing is that we abide in the love of Christ, which supersedes state borders, national or other
divisions, that we may fulfill the testament of the Saviour, Who prayed His Heavenly Father for those
who believe in Him: “that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, & I in Thee, that they also may
be one in Us” (John 17:21).
May the Lord God, glorified in the Holy Trinity, through the intercession of the Most-Pure Mother of
God, by the prayers of the New Martyrs & Confessors & all the saints of our land, have mercy upon us &
save us, through His grace & love for mankind. Amen.
Orthodox glad to claim Polamalu as one of their own
Sunday, Feb. 01, 2009
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana / Post-Gazette
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu watches from the
sidelines against the Vikings at the Hubert Humphrey
Stadium in Minneapolis in Aug. He is often seen
crossing himself—right to left—during games.
Most NFL fans are familiar with the sight of Steelers
safety Troy Polamalu crossing himself during games,
but one subset of fans is gleefully aware that he
crosses himself from right to left, rather than left to
“Each time there is an important play, he makes his cross the Orthodox way. Nobody else does this, & it is
a beautiful thing,” said Metropolitan Maximos, of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh, who
officiated at the wedding of Troy & Theodora Polamalu 4 years ago.
Mr. Polamalu, an ethnic Samoan, long has had a strong Christian faith, but was non-denominational until
he joined his wife’s Greek Orthodox Church. The metropolitan is quick to note that Orthodox enthusiasm
for Mr. Polamalu isn’t intended to denigrate any other branch of Christianity.
“I’m very proud of him. But, to be honest, I don’t care if his background is Roman Catholic or Greek
Orthodox or any of the Protestant communities, as long as the guy is a faithful person. & Polamalu is that,
& his wife is as well,” he said.
When football doesn’t allow the Polamalus to worship together on Sundays, they make weekday visits to
the Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Saxonburg. Their infant son was baptized there.
But the nuns won’t be watching him play in the Super Bowl, Metropolitan Maximos said, because they
don’t watch anything on television that isn’t religious.
Orthodoxy & Catholicism—which split in 1054 over issues of church authority—have a different ethos.
The monks of St. Vincent Arch-abbey in Latrobe, the Catholic monastery on the college campus where
the Steelers practice, are unabashed fans. One monk, now deceased, went into earlier playoffs with a gold
“7” on his black habit & called himself “Big Ben-edictine.”
St. Vincent Arch-abbot Douglas Nowicki said Mr. Polamalu prays in their basilica during training camp &
is close to the monks.
“He’s Orthodox, but I think he embodies that spirit of selflessness & humility & is so well-grounded in
who he is, that people of every faith relate to him. There is something deeply spiritual about him that all
of us experience in being with him,” he said.
But for the Orthodox, he’s something special, said Damian George, the youth director at St. George
Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland.
When teens attend national Orthodox conferences, “the kids from Pittsburgh kind of brag about Troy, not
only that he’s a Steeler, but that he’s Orthodox. & even the kids from Philly & New York get excited about
it. He gives them a good role model because he’s able to play at a high level & keep his faith at an equally
high level,” he said.
Orthodoxy has no tradition of celebrities who testify to their faith, said the Fr. Thomas Soroka, pastor of
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKees Rocks. There are lists of celebrities who have belonged to the
church, including Tina Fey & Tom Hanks. But none are considered exemplars of Orthodox spirituality.
Current online discussions of an Orthodox celebrity that don’t involve Mr. Polamalu tend to bewail the
conduct of Rod Blagojevich, who was removed as Illinois governor last week after a four-day
impeachment trial.
“A lot of times when people are Orthodox, it’s more of an ethnic or cultural thing. Troy stands above that
by being a practicing, committed Orthodox Christian,” Fr. Soroka said.
“Orthodoxy is quite sober. It’s not flashy or attractive to those who are looking for stardom. It’s much
more introspective, & I think Troy embodies that.”
But it helps that Mr. Polamalu is cool & handsome, with Samoan warrior hair that hasn’t been cut in
seven years. His plays appear to defy the laws of physics.
“Being faithful & devout isn’t always cool. So it’s great when you can point to Troy Polamalu & say,
‘Look, faith isn’t stupid. It’s something really special,’” said James Purdie, 26, a subdeacon at St. George
“Seeing him crossing himself after a play, or praying on the sidelines, it’s a way of witnessing that your
faith can be incorporated into your everyday life.”
Mr. Purdie saw the Polamalus at a lecture at Duquesne University by Orthodox theologian Bishop
Kallistos Ware.
“A lot of the younger folks went up to him afterward & were asking him questions—theological questions
as well as football questions. His answers showed that he was knowledgeable in his faith. And it was nice
to see his humility. He was very approachable,” Mr. Purdie said.
One Orthodox leader who does not tell stories about the Polamalus is their pastor, the Fr. John Touloumes
at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, North Side. He wants to respect the family’s privacy. But he will
say that Mr. Polamalu has steeped himself in the Orthodox faith.
“Troy has received the faith with great dedication & great enthusiasm in his personal life. He does share it
on the field with others when he believes it is his calling to do that. & he shows it through his life, through
his humility & his good works,” he said.
“He has a particular love for the younger people & they have responded very warmly to his gentle
personality, his athletic talents & his deep faith.”
The Fr. Patrick Carpenter, pastor of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, South Side, joined a Troy Polamalu fan
group on Facebook & took part in its “Steelers prayer wave.” But he won’t pray for a Steelers win.
“We don’t pray for victories. We don’t pray for defeats. We pray for the safety of the team.”
Of course, Mr. Polamalu is the safety of the team.
News from the Parish
On Sun. Jan. 20 , 2008, our newly-inducted Parish council met to elect its new officers for the year 2008.
The following were elected:
Chair Monica (Paula) Lambert
Patrick (Willis) Bell
Seraphima (Dena) Berquist
Catherine (Meghan ) Mai
The Parish of All Saints Orthodox Church,
2818 Scanlan Avenue, Salina, KS,
Invites you to attend the dedication of our parish hall
To Saint Thomas the Apostle
In honor of The Very Reverend Thomas Neustrom,
Benefactor of the parish and beautifier of the temple.
Thursday, February 12th, 2009
5:30pm Vespers presided by His Grace Basil,
Bishop of Wichita and Mid-America
6:30pm Service of dedication, followed by festive banquet
Memory Eternal
May God grant rest to the soul of His servant Paul Karabinas in the bosom of Abraham in the Paradise of
Delight. Our sincerest condolences go out to his son, Nicholas & to all his
surviving family.
From the Desk of David & Sophia (Jan) Leopold
Top picture, Sadie Rose Leopold at 6 weeks. (Pat & Megan’s baby born Dec. 8,
Bottom pictures, Eleanor (Ellie) Meinhard Leopold at 5 days. Ellie was born
on Jan. 18 to Chris & Sara. It’s hard to get a picture of Ellie with her eyes
open. They have to wake her to eat, she stays awake about 15 minutes & goes
back to sleep until her next feeding! Wow! I only hope she continues that
pattern. It sure would be nice for Chris & Sara but, someow, I doubtful that it
is a permanent arrangement!
Both are as sweet as they can be. Now we just have to get Brian’s & Tracy’s
little gal here in May.
Applications for Camp St. Raphael, 2009, are currently available on the camp website.
Sun., Feb. 15th: All Saints’ Men’s Association (host reader John), 6:00-7:30pm
Sun., Feb. 22nd:
Meat-Fare Sunday, Meaty-Covered-Dish & Talent Show to follow the Divine Liturgy
Mon., March 2nd:
Pure Monday (Beginning of the Fast of Great Lent)
Sat. & Sun., March 7th & 8th: ASOC Craft Sale, 4-H Building
Wed., March 25th: Feast of the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel to the Theotokos.
Sun., April 19th:
Holy & Great Pascha (Easter)
Sat., April 25th:
Annual Big Fat Greek Dinner
June 10th-14th: 5th Annual Parish Life Conference, hosted by St. Mary, Wichita
June 28th-July 4th: Camp St. Raphael, 1st Session
July 5th- 11th: Camp St. Raphael, 2nd Session
July, 19th-26th: 49th Biennial Convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, hosted by St. Michael, Van
Nuys, CA, at the Palm Springs Resort, Palm Desert, CA.
Sat., Aug. 22nd: Annual Vineyard Blessing
Prayer Requests
For the health of Anastasia (Vi) Wygal
For the health of Samuel Wygal.
For the health of Joseph Shively.
For the health of the Very Rev’d Fr. Thomas Neustrom.
For the repose of the soul of Alice Smith, sister of Kh. Lukie Neustrom.
For the repose of the soul of John Osborn (March 28th), brother of Vernon Osborn.
For the repose of the soul of Fr. Bill Wells (Aug. 4th), Beautifier of All Saints’ Temple.
For the repose of the soul of Russell Brockmeier (Oct. 16th),cousin of Elizabeth Lindgren.
For the repose of the soul of Kathaleen Beryl Brunsell (Nov. 1st), grandmother of Robert Lindgren.
For the repose of the soul of Paul Karabinas (Jan. 12th), father of Nicholas Karabinas.
Holy Bread Schedule
Coffee Hour Schedule
Feb. 1
Feb. 8
Feb. 15
Feb. 22
March 1
Sun., Feb., 1
Sun., Feb. 8 (Publican & Pharisee)
Sun., Feb. 15 (Prodigal Son)
Sat. Feb. 21 (All Souls)
Sun., Feb. 22 (Meatfare)
Sun., March 1 (Cheesefare)
Wed., March (Presanctified)
Sun., Mar. 8 (Sun. of Orthodoxy)
Wed., March (Presanctified)
Please prepare 3 loaves for Sunday Divine Liturgies & 1 loaf for
weekday liturgies. When there is bread needed on a week day the
individual responsible for the previous Sunday is asked to bake extra
loaves for the upcoming week days. One recipe may be divided into 4
loaves. Bread may be baked ahead & frozen, (1 to 2 weeks ahead) sealed
in Ziploc bags with paper towel wrapped around each loaf. Thank you!
Johna Walker
Sara/Martha Osborn
Elizabeth (Michelle) Stephenson
Elizabeth (Michelle) Stephenson (1 loaf)
Elizabeth Lindgren
Seraphima Berquist
Seraphima Berquist (1 loaf)
Elizabeth Johnson
Elizabeth Johnson(1 loaf)
God Grant You Many, Many Blessed Years!
Names' Days
Lil Philips & Nancy Fawcett (Venerable Mother Brigid Abbess of Kildare, Feb. 1),
Brian McCallum (Holy New-martyr Krisios, Feb. 12),
Christian Yetter (Holy Kristos the Gardener, Feb. 12),
Addie Houchin (Holy Prophetess Mariamna, sister of the Holy Apostle among the 12 Philip, Feb. 17)
& Theodore Stavropoulos (Holy Martyr Theodore the General, Feb. 17).
Layne Lloyd (Feb. 4), Preston Gapter (Feb. 7), Nancy Fawcett (Feb. 8),
Joshua Houchin (Feb. 9), Allissa Houchin & Adrienne Gapter (Feb. 19), John Mai & Jennifer Klapp (Feb. 23)
& Lois Johnson (Feb. 25).
Wedding Anniversaries
Reese & Donna Baxter (Feb. 3) David & Carol Pantle (Feb. 12)
& Janeane & Jerry Houchin (Feb. 28).