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The month of December every year is designated as Order of St. Ignatius month, in conjunction with the feast day of St. Ignatius on December 20. The Order is the philanthropic arm of the Antiochian Archdiocese and one of its most vital lay ministries, under the guidance of Metropolitan Philip and the Archdiocese Board of Trustees. Currently, there are nearly 4,000 members supporting approximately 38% of the Archdiocese’s budget, as well as a host of other worthy causes including: camping and college conference scholarships, married seminarian assistance, Antiochian Village, Teen SOYO Special Olympics, theological and religious education, clergy retirement, Project Mexico, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), The Treehouse Family Ministry, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF).
Dr. Elias K. Hebeka, the North America Vice-Chair for the Order, wrote in December 2012’s The Word magazine that the Order’s Governing Council “is a group of volunteers, elected or appointed members of our Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, that has the responsibility to make many of the important decisions for the Order. They are hard-working and dedicated parishioners from all of our dioceses across North America….They travel all over the U.S. and Canada (at their own expense) to attend meetings and to accompany our diocesan bishops during their visits to the various parishes.”
Dr. Hebeka added, “If you want to learn more about the Order, please ask your pastor or talk to the Order Ambassador in your parish or to a member of the Order. If you are not a member, I hope you will join us and enjoy seeing the fruit of your contribution to the Order of St. Ignatius. Perhaps eventually you will become part of the Governing Council, and get to meet the wonderful brothers and sisters I have described.”
Notes The Very Rev. Joseph Antypas, Chaplain of the Order, “The Order invites the faithful of our Archdiocese to a special ministry and a special way of life. Christianity calls all faithful to a life of genuine personhood in Christ. This gift of life is modeled not after human or social forums and gatherings; it is founded on the life of the Triune Godhead. It is characterized by joy and a perpetual movement of love.” (Read a reflection by Fr. Joseph on St. Ignatius’ call to unity.)
Read stories about Order of St. Ignatius members in action, in “Works of the Order.”