Antiochian Village

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The Antiochian Village is a center for Orthodox activities in Bolivar, Pennsylvania that was founded in 1978. It is under the jurisdiction of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and consists of a conference center and a camp. It was the site of the Ligonier Meeting in 1994.

Contents

Conference and retreat center

The conference center has one hundred guest rooms, meeting rooms, a banquet hall, dining facilities, and a theological research library. The Saints Peter and Paul chapel is also located within the center. In 2004, the Antiochian Village Heritage Museum was opened, featuring historical artifacts of Orthodox significance, such as icons and vestments.

"The Village" hosts Orthodox as well as external events and retreats. The Orthodox Christian Fellowship East Coast College Conference takes place at the conference center each December. There is an annual Sts. Thekla and Raphael Pilgrimage every fall. St. Thekla is the patron saint of an outdoor chapel on the camp grounds, and St. Raphael is buried just next to the outdoor chapel. The Antiochian Archdiocese has many of its national delegate's meetings and its biennial Clergy Symposium at the conference center, due to the central location and facilities that are conducive to host such meetings.

Camping program

The Antiochian Village Camp program holds both a summer and winter camp each year. The summer camp consists of four 2-week sessions from June to August each year. Approximately one thousand campers between the ages of 9 and 17, as well as sixty staff, attend the camp every summer. Some main parts of the summer camp program are daily services in the St. Ignatius chapel, Christian education classes, a challenge course, an overnight camping program, and afternoon sports and activities. There are two 4-day winter camp sessions for older campers (12 to 17 years old) over long weekend breaks from school in the winter. Winter camp includes a day trip to go snow tubing and various outdoor winter activities. The camp also has a family camp for families to attend together, and in 2005 started the Villedge Adventures program for 16 to 18 year old campers. In the summer of 2006, there will be "Sacred Arts Camps" for Byzantine Chanting and Iconography.

In addition to St. Thekla and St. Raphael, the camp's patron saints are the child saint Artemius, St. Herman of Alaska and St. Ignatius of Antioch. The reliquary at the St. Ignatius Chapel includes relics of St. Herman, St. Moses the Ethiopian, and others.

The camp is currently conducting a capital campaign called "Village 2010" to raise money for many neccesary upgrades to facilities. The St. Ignatius Chapel will be expanded, five new cabins will be built, a new dining hall will be created, as well as numerous other projects.

History

The Antiochian Village was the vision of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The 280-acre grounds were purchased from Camp Fairfield, a Presbyterian camp, in 1978, and the first camping season was the summer of 1979. The Conference and Retreat Center was built in 1985 and doubled in size in 1990.

Camp Directors:

1979-1988 Fr. John Namie 1989 Fr. Matthew George 1990-1991 Fr. Paul Finley 1992 Fr. George Alberts 1993-1996 Fr. Joseph Purpura 1997-2006 Fr. Michael Nasser 2007-Present Fr. Anthony Yazge

Fr. John Namie served as the camp's founder and first camp director. Under his tutelage and leadership the camp grew from a meager 2 camper session into an ACA accredited camping program that served hundreds of Orthodox Youth each summer bringing our country's children closer to their faith.

After an unsteady 8 years of turnover of the camp director position, Fr. Michael Nasser brought the turbulent camping program back on track, as the camp again started to realize Metropolitan PHILIP's original vision.

Under Fr. Michael's guidance and genius the camp grew from a 3 session summer program into the perennial powerhouse of all Orthodox camping and youth development institutions in all the universe. The camp now contains 4, 2 week summer sessions, as well as 2 winter camp sessions, 2 family camp sessions, iconography camp, chanting camp, Villedge Adventures, and the Villedge Roadtrip. Through his work the camp now reaches out to over 1000 Orthodox Youth throughout North America. Fr. Michael Nasser left his final mark on the Antiochian Village by jump starting the Village 2010 campaign, which ensures a brighter future for continuing success in ministering to America's Orthodox youth.

Fr. Anthony Yazge completed his first full year as camp director continuing Fr. Michael's work towards the 2010 program. He also hired the best staff of all time in Village history in the summer of 2007. Greg Hakim led an all-star set of male counselors as they reached out and transformed the troubled lives and ensured the salvation of hundreds of of Orthodox youth within the borders of Lebanon, Brazil, California, and Canada. This incredible male staff also created their own personal prayer to help bind and unite them together in their undivided purpose of promoting the Christian lifestyle.

Along with Greg Hakim's excellent guidance of the male counselors, a few of his counselors stepped up their game. Namely his cousin and 3 time returning all-star counselor Dan Hakim, and younger brother of Charles Abdelahad, Nick Abdelahad. Both served as challenge course facilitators and thrived in every aspect of camp life. Nick, better known as session 2's session priest Fr. Michael Abdelahad's son, survived the summer without any major injuries, as is his norm.

As if Greg's influence could go no farther, he revolutionized the art of late night food runs in the unit. Instead of sticking the the typical pizza and Sheetz, he brought us a new and exciting way to enjoy each other's company in the unit. This consisted of piles and piles of Dino's meat filled wings. Although the excessive wing's sauce smothered the top of the picnic table, unit 4 campers were still unable to detect the previous evening's events.

To experience the male staff's love and unity, you need not look farther than their revolutionary alarm clock system. With reliance on each other and their undeniable faith in God above, the male staff worked to ensure punctuality in attendance of Daily Orthros and Divine Liturgy, the climax of the Orthodox Christian life. The importance of this is invaluable because as we all know early is on time, and on time is late.


Edited by: Dan Hakim and Nick Abdelahad

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