06 December 2018

Saint Nicholas of Myra in Lycia, Patron Saint of Sailors

The feast day of St. Nicholas in both East and West is celebrated on 6th December. Traditionally it is called "winter Nicholas" because the Orthodox Church also commemorates him on 9th May and this day is called "summer Nicholas."

St. Nicholas was born into a wealthy family in Patera, Lycia, in Asia Minor (modem Turkey) sometime between 240-280AD. He died about 326 or 342AD. Since childhood he is said to have fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays as he refused to suck his mother's milk on those days. Butler's "Lives of the Saints" quotes that Nicholas "was exceedingly well brought up by his parents and trod piously in their footsteps" and "he kept untarnished the innocence of his heart". When he was five years old he began to study the "sacred sciences" and "day by day the teaching of the church enlightened his mind and encouraged his thirst for sincere and true religion". Later in life he entered the monastery of Holy Sion, near Myra and was later made abbot by the archbishop who founded this monastery. Myra was the capital of Lycia in Asia Minor. It was an archiepiscopal See, having been founded by St. Nicanor. In later ages thirty-six suffragan bishops were subject to this See of great dignity. The metropolitan church became vacant during Nicholas' lifetime and he was chosen to be archbishop. In that exalted See he became known for extraordinary "piety and zeal", and numerous miracles. Hence he came to be called "the wonderworker".

He was put into chains and exiled in the sixth century during the persecution of Diocletian. St. Nicholas was also among the three hundred bishops who took part in the Council of Nicea in 325AD. This council condemned Arianism and promulgated the Nicean Creed that stated Christ is consubstantial with the Father, i.e. one being or of one substance. Nicholas was imprisoned at this council for having slapped Arius in the face in accusation of his heresy. During his imprisonment St. Nicholas had a vision in which he saw the Mother of God and Christ who gave back to him his gospel book and amaphorion, a symbol of his episcopal dignity. His bishopric was duly restored.

The Translations of the Relics of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas' relics were kept in Myra with great honour. But in 1087AD they were taken to Bari, a seaport in Naples, Italy, where the relics are still kept today. The commemoration of his relics is kept in the Russian Orthodox Church on 9th May, the day when his relics safely landed at Bari in 1087. According to an account supposed to have been written by a certain Archdeacon John at the order of his archbishop, it happened that certain merchants from Bari sailed in three ships to the coast of Lycia. They kept watch that no Mohammedans were near and went to the church where St. Nicholas' relics were kept. The church stood in a desert place three miles from the sea and was guarded by a small community of monks. The merchants broke open the marble coffin in which the sacred bones lay and carried them off to their ships. The inhabitants, upon the alarm given, pursued the robbers to the shore. But the Europeans were safe on board. They landed at Bari on 9th May in 1087 and the relics were deposited by the archbishop in the church of St. Stephen. On the first day after the relics were placed in the church, thirty people were cured of ailments through imploring the intercession of the saint. From that time to this present day Bari has been a famous destination for pilgrimages.

What We See in the Icons of St. Nicholas

The general features of St. Nicholas portray him with an oval head, well groomed beard, and his hair falling neatly in rhythmical waves. His face displays courage and firmness. When he is depicted if as a bust, his right hand is often blessing and he holds a closed Gospel book in his left hand. He wears an amaphorian and a phelonian with a pattern of crosses on it. Whether depicted in a bust form or standing, he is shown to have a sturdy build. Sometimes icons of St. Nicholas depict stories of his life, starting with his birth and a variety of miracles and acts of mercy ending with his death.

A selection of his miracles and acts of mercy include:

St. Nicholas saving three girls from prostitution by throwing three bags of gold for their dowries into their bedroom window at night.

St. Nicholas saving three men unjustly condemned to death by his coming to the place of execution and releasing the prisoners. He reproached Euthsathius the governor for accepting a bribe to have these men put to death.

St. Nicholas saving sailors in distress off the Lycian coast when they invoked his aid and so were brought safely to port.

St. Nicholas appearing in a dream to the Emperor Constantine who had imprisoned three innocent men after Albavius a prefect had procured their imprisonment from the Emperor. Albavius also experienced a similar dream. After he and Constantine compared their notes regarding their dreams, the three men were sent for questioning. The prisoners told them they had called on the name of Nicholas of Myra when praying to God. On hearing this, Constantine set them free.

Among temples St. Nicholas destroyed was that of Artemis, the principal one in the district, and evil spirits fled, howling before him.

Patronages attributed to Saint Nicholas

Because of his saving acts and childhood innocence, St. Nicholas is patron saint of children, sailors, pawnbrokers and merchants. He is patron saint of Russia, Greece, Apula, Sicily and Lorraine. It is interesting to note that in England, during the later middle ages, four hundred churches were known to be dedicated to St. Nicholas.

The Orthodox hymns from Vespers and Matins recall his miraculous wonders and invoke him as intercessor in a variety of ways.

Extolling the Praises of St. Nicholas and Evoking His Aid

O chief prelate of Christ, Saint Nicholas, you anoint the faces of those who ever keep your honoured memory with faith and love. Father, by your fervent entreaties to the Lord, from all tribulations, dangers and calamities you rescue them.

What crowns are there of praise wherewith we might crown worthily the holy Hierarch? While in Myra located physically, in advance he spiritually reaches all those who long to be sincerely with him. For those who are afflicted he is consolation; to those in danger he provides refuge. He is a tower of piety; the believers' champion. Through St. Nicholas the pride of foes was cast down by Christ himself, the Lord who possesses great mercy.

You are a great and ardent guardian to those surrounded by danger, O great and glorious father Nicholas, the sacred preacher of Christ, to those who are travelling by land or are sailing far and near, O intercessor sympathetic and strong. Therefore we assemble and cry out "Intercede with God to redeem us from every adversity besetting us".

Truly in accordance with your name, for the faithful people you shone as their mighty victory in trials, O Saint Nicholas, truly a servant of Christ. For whenever you are invoked, you reach them beforehand, who take refuge under your protection longingly. For at night and even daytime you are seen by faith and you save them from besetting trials and adversities.

Rejoice O sacred head of the Church, the pure abode of every virtue, O Nicholas, divine standard of the most divine holy priesthood and great Shepherd of the people, and the beaconlight that shines very brightly. You are the namesake of victory. And on the needy you take pity with sympathy. And to the prayers of the sick you incline an ear. Ready deliverer of all and guardian saving them who now religiously honour your ever venerable memory. Pray intently to Christ, O blessed one, to send down great mercy to our souls.

Rejoice pure habitation wherein the Holy Trinity made its dwelling, most sacred mind, the Church's unshaken pillar and the believers' support, for you are the help of all who are oppressed. O star that at all times dispels the gloom of adversities and of temptations by the radiance of your prayers that are well received, holy Hierarch Nicholas, calm haven wherein those who meet the turbulent storms of life and are surrounded by tempests escape for refuge and hence are saved. Pray to Christ with fervour, holy father Nicholas, that great mercy be given to our souls.

Man of God and loyal servant and minister of the Lord, man of holy desires, chosen vessel, pillar and foundation of the Church, heir to the Kingdom, be not silent in calling out to the Lord on our behalf.

O Nicholas the Hierarch, in your life and after death, the Lord greatly glorified you with miracles, holy father. For whoever simply prayed, invoking your all-holy name with all his faith and not been heard immediately or found you to be his ardent protector?

You brightly shine on earth with rays of wonders, inciting every tongue to sing praises and glory of God whoever has glorified you on earth, O wise Nicholas. Pray Him earnestly as one select of the fathers, that we who keep your feast with faith and love be delivered from all needs.

As you are hovering over the towers of the Church being yourself a fledgling of the nest of angels, O Nicholas thrice blessed, you ever cry unto God on behalf of all who in temptations and perils invoke your aid; and you rescue them by fervent prayers.

By means of practical virtue you made the elegance of sacerdotal virtue shine with greater resplendence, O God-bearing Father. Hence as priest you accomplish terrific deeds and from lamentable woes you deliver us, as you work your famous miracles.

Miracles and Saving Acts

You appeared to Constantine the king in a dream, and also to Albavius. You frightened them. Speaking sternly, you commanded them: "With haste release from the dungeon the prisoners whom you hold unjustly; for the unlawful slaughter they are innocent. If you refuse to obey me, I will make petition against you when I pray to the Lord, O Emperor".

Come all believers, let us praise the great arch pastor, hierarch and prelate of those in Myra, Saint Nicholas, and extol him; for he delivered many people from wrongful death, appearing in a dream to the Emperor and to Albavius, thereby rescinding the unjust sentence.

Rejoice. With divine zeal filling you, you extricated from abduction by treachery, through your awesome intervention and your appearing in dreams, those who had unjustly been condemned to die.

As you appeared in a dream to the pious emperor and thus from death rescued those unjustly imprisoned, intercede unceasingly so that now we who worthily sing your praise be likewise rescued from temptations, perils and every pain, O Father Nicholas.

What songs are there extolling prophesy wherewith we might praise the holy Hierarch? For he could foresee what lay far ahead and would speak beforehand, announcing it clearly as if it were present. Moreover he continually circulates the world, rescuing everyone suffering injustices. Once from unjust execution he delivered prisoners by appearing in a dream to the godly-minded king. He has richly deserved great mercy.

Defender and Upholder of the Faith

Blessed father Nicholas, you are a foremost defender of the faithful, guard and shield, venerable saint. It is clear that you redeem every one, O finest honour and glory of hierarchs.

St. Nicholas is remembered in the service of Matins and Vespers for his defences against Arianism, but there is no tactful approach: Nicholas you are a well that gushes forth myrrh oils in Myra, that thoroughly waters souls and drives away and eradicates tares of errors and heresy. Winnowing shovel that threshes the chaffy doctrines of Arius. Pray to Christ intently, holy Father, that He send down great mercy to our souls.

What songs are there wherewith we might melodiously sing praises of the Hierarch? Champion is he of correct belief and adversary of impiety; one of the Church's chief leaders; the mighty great defender and expositor; the teacher who disconcerted all the heretics; the destroyer of the ardent strong Arius. For through him did Christ our God demolish the arrogance of Arius, since He is the One of great mercy.

O Nicholas, manifestly you protected the Church of Christ with the utmost zeal, refuting godless beliefs and doctrines of heresies, censuring them with candour. And you were clearly Orthodoxy's rule of faith and great intercessor for all who follow your divine teachings and conferences.

An Invitation for All to Rejoice on this Feast

Let us sound the trumpet with clarion of song, and festively let us leap for joy, and exultantly let us join chorus for the annual celebration of the God-bearing Father. Let the kings and princes run together and with hymns extol him who by his fearsome appearance in a dream convinced the Emperor to release the three imprisoned officers, for they were innocent.

Shepherds and Teachers, let us come together and praise the Shepherd and zealous imitator of the Good Shepherd.

Those of us who are sick let us praise the physician.

For he is our rescuer, in perils.

For sinners, our defender.

Those who are poor he makes rich.

You in tribulation, your consolation.

You who travel, a fellow traveller.

You who pilot and sail the seas, a protector.

And everyone extol him who anticipates everywhere, quickly come and deliver us from present needs, and save your flock by your supplications.

This gives prayerful insight to St. Nicholas as a great saint revered and invoked in time of need in the early church. It is no wonder that his popularity both in the religious and secular sphere led to him being known as Santa Claus. The name "Santa Claus" comes from the Dutch "Sinterklaus", itself a version of "Saint Nicholas". It appears to have evolved among Dutch settlers in America, where the name and modern concept of Santa Claus first became popular. Probably our own custom of giving presents at Christmas time derives from the Dutch, German and Swiss custom of doing this on the 6th December, the saint's feast day. Such customs have mingled the religious and secular observances with boy bishops for children.
As we rejoice in the true popularity of St. Nicholas before and during the Christmas season, we can be invited to pray one more of the hymns:

Nicholas, the refinement of hierarchs and the glory of the Father, fountainhead of miracles and the greater helper of the faithful, let us feast lovers come together and extol him with songs of praise and say to him:

Rejoice guard and divine bishop, immutable pillar of the peoples of Myra.

Rejoice all resplendent luminary, that lights up the end of the world with miracles. Rejoice divine joy of the troubled and most fervent protector of the injured.

And now, O blessed Nicholas, cease not interceding with Christ God on behalf of those who with faith and longing ever honour your joyous and festive memory.

05 December 2018

Saint George the Trophy-Bearer Patch

On the EOCS: Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting Facebook page, I read that a Roman Catholic Activity Badge was available to non-Roman Catholics, and weary of such a thing, I checked it out. This is actually a cool little activity for Orthodox Christian Scouts:

About this activity
The goal of this activity is to share the life of the saint so that the youth might relate to what this saint has done and maybe look to the saint as a role model.

How to start
  • Read about Saint George.
  • 1st - 5th Grades - Complete 4 requirements and 2 of the activities.
  • 6th - 12th Grades - Complete 5 requirements and 3 of the activities.
Requirements
  1. Where and when was St. George born?
  2. When is the feast day of this saint?
  3. St. George is considered the Patron Saint of?
  4. What is St. George known for (major accomplishment)?
  5. St. George is probably best known for the legend of St. George and the Dragon. What was this legend all about and what similarities does it have to St. George's real life?
Activities
  1. Draw a picture showing some of his actual accomplishments. Introduce others to St. George by telling the story and sharing this picture with your family and friends.
  2. Identify the next Religious Emblem of Faith that you can earn as a scout and meet with your Scout leader or family and start working on this next program.
  3. Create signs and posters that get people to ask themselves how they can be a better Christian. Place these in your school or church.
  4. Perform an examination of conscience.
  5. What would you do if you saw someone being bullied? How might you imitate St. George?
Completion of the Activity
After completing the requirements, the participants will order the patch online.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • May only Roman Catholics Scouts earn this? No. Any Scout may earn any of the activity patches. The requirements are grade-specific.
  • Is this activity considered a religious emblem and may a Scout receive a religious knot after earning this activity? No. This activity is considered a religious activity, not a religious emblem. Scouts may not receive a religious knot for earning any of the activity patches.
  • Who may serve as an adult mentor for this activity? Any parent or adult who meets the standard BSA YPT requirements.
  • Is there any time requirement? Only that the grade-specific requirements need to be completed while in the respective grade level.
  • Do the answers need to be submitted? No. The answers should be reviewed by an adult. The Order Form and patch fee are the only things that need to be submitted.
  • Who do I check with once I complete the requirements for my grade level? Any knowledgeable parent, Scout leader, Priest, Deacon, Monastic, or Catechist.

21 October 2018

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Excommunicated by the Moscow Patriarchate of All Rus' and All the North

From RT:
In the biggest rift in modern Orthodox history, the Russian Orthodox Church has cut all ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate, after it accepted a [schismatic sect claiming to be part of the] Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent. 
The Holy Synod, the governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, has ruled that any further clerical relations with Constantinople are impossible, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s External Relations Department, told journalists, de facto announcing the breach of relations between the two churches. 
“A decision about the full break of relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate has been taken at a Synod meeting” that is currently been held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Hilarion said, as cited by TASS. 
The move comes days after the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate decided to eventually grant the so-called autocephaly to two [vagante] branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thus legitimizing the two clerical organizations. 
The Moscow Patriarchate also said that it would not abide by any decisions taken by Constantinople and related to the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “All these decisions are unlawful and canonically void,” Hilarion said, adding that “the Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize these decisions and will not follow them.” 
At the same time, the Russian Church expressed its hope that “a common sense will prevail” and Constantinople will change its decision. However, it still accused the Ecumenical Patriarch of initiating the “schism.” 
The move taken by Moscow marks arguably the greatest split in the history of the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054, which separated [Roman] Catholics [from the] Orthodox Christians, as it involves a break of communion between the biggest existing Orthodox Church – the Moscow Patriarchate – and Constantinople Patriarch, who is widely regarded as a spiritual leader of world’s Orthodox Christians, even though his status is nothing like that of the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church. 
Constantinople’s decision seems to be serving the interests of the Ukrainian [political] leadership rather than the Orthodox Christians living there. While most Orthodox clerics in Ukraine still pledge loyalty to the head of the Russian church, Patriarch Kirill, and consider themselves to be part of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kiev actively supports a schismatic force, which has been unrecognized by any other Churches until now. 
This religious movement led by the former Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, who is now [claiming to be the] "Patriarch Filaret in Ukraine", has sought to gain the status of an independent Orthodox Church, “equal” to the Moscow Patriarchate, since 1990s. Meanwhile, it did not hesitate to seize Moscow Patriarchate’s churches by force. 
In its October decision, the Holy Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate “canonically reinstated” Filaret and his followers “to their hierarchical or priestly rank” and restored their communion with the Church, thus effectively declaring that it does not see them as schismatic. This particular move also provoked angry reaction in the Moscow Patriarchate [and other canonical Orthodox Churches around the world]. 
“A schism remains a schism. And the leaders of a schism remain as such,” Hilarion said, adding that “a Church that recognized schismatic 'priests' and entered into communion with them … excluded itself from the canonical field of the Orthodox Church.” 
He also named restitution of Filaret’s and his followers’ hierarchical or priestly ranks as one of the major reasons behind the Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod’s decision to break all ties with Constantinople. 
According to TASS, 40 churches have been forcefully seized by the Kiev Patriarchate between 2014 and 2016. In the first half of 2018 alone, Ukraine witnessed 10 new [violent] attacks on Russian Orthodox Churches. Now, as Constantinople is launched a procedure of granting independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, such attacks might further intensify, some experts warn.
As such, members of the Russian Orthodox Church, including ROCOR, can no longer attend, commune, marry, confess, or receive any mysteries at any church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Likewise clergy of the MP and ROCOR may no longer concelebrate with priests under the Patriarch of Constantinople. Russian Orthodox Christians may continue to attend and receive the mysteries at any other Patriarchate Church, Canonical Autonomous Orthodox Church, or Canonical Autocephalous Orthodox Church worldwide.

23 September 2018

My DNA: Tracing my ancestory to Noah, Adam, and Eve!

I recently had my DNA tested by 23andMe. If you'd like to check out your DNA, you can save by registering at this link: https://refer.23andme.com/s/ir2tk I guarantee that you will find it fascinating!

Most of it was unsurprising, such as having Irish ancestry. My paternal grandfather was born in Ireland shortly before immigrating with his mother, Queen Tobin Stanosheck to America. Recently we learned that my maternal grandfather's family had lived in Ireland for some time before immigrating to America. Through my maternal line it appears we are related to Clan McLaren/MacLaren too.

Both my maternal grandmother's and grandfather's families had lived in Germany so having German DNA was not surprising.

Now the last names of my grandfathers are Polish-Russian and Welsh. So having DNA from Poland and Great Britain was not a surprise. But what was a surprise was that although my last name is a blend of Polish and Russian, I have no Russian DNA, but do have Ukrainian DNA. (I've actually had an intuition about this before getting tested).

Surprise #2 is that we were always told that my maternal grandmother was Czech, but according to my DNA, she was actually Slovak, as I have Slovak DNA but no Czech DNA.

Surprise #3 is that my DNA can be traced all the way back to Noah. We are related to Noah via his son, Japheth, his grandson Gomer, and his great-grandson, Ashkenaz.

It looks like someone in my ancient family members moved from Syria to the Slavic lands, and then up to Scandinavia. Where exactly, my DNA doesn't know, but it was in my mother's side of the family.

So many people who get their tests done get surprise African or Asian DNA, but my test showed my DNA to be solely European (as far as it can go back). Here is the exact (to 99.98% accuracy) breakdown:

Here are the histories that my DNA tells:

The stories of all of our paternal lines can be traced back to just one man: the common ancestor who lived in eastern Africa at the time, Adam.

Your paternal-line ancestors gradually moved north, following available prey and resources as a shifting climate made new routes hospitable and sealed off others. Then a small group ventured across the Red Sea and deeper into southwest Asia. Your ancestors were among these men, and the next step in their story is marked by the rise of  your ancestors in the Arabian Peninsula.

Passing through the Middle East, your paternal-line ancestors continued on to the steppes of Central Asia, vast grasslands stretching all the way from central Europe to the eastern edge of Asia.

The next step in your story can be to the common ancestor of a man who likely lived in Central Asia. His descendants roamed the vast steppes of the continent, where they hunted huge mammals like the mammoth.

Your ancestral path forked off again in western Asia, but farther south in the Iranian Plateau your ancestors flourished.

As the people of the Fertile Crescent domesticated plants and animals for the first time. Around 8,000 years ago, the first farmers and herders began to push east into Central Asia and north into the Caucasus Mountains. Some of them eventually reached the steppes above the Black and Caspian Seas. There, they lived as pastoral nomads, herding cattle and sheep across the grasslands, while their neighbors to the south developed yet another crucial technology in human history: bronze smelting. As bronze tools and weaponry spread north, a new steppe culture called the Yamnaya was born.

Perhaps triggered by a cold spell that made it difficult to feed their herds, Yamnaya men spilled east across Siberia and down into Central Asia. To the west, they pushed down into the Balkans and to central Europe, where they sought new pastures for their herds and metal deposits to support burgeoning Bronze Age commerce. Over time, their descendants spread from central Europe to the Atlantic coast, establishing new trade routes and an unprecedented level of cultural contact and exchange in western Europe.

The men from the steppes also outcompeted the local men as they went; their success is demonstrated in the overwhelming dominance of the lineage in Europe, especially Ireland and Wales.

You descend from a long line of women that can be traced back to eastern Africa. If every person living today could trace his or her maternal line back over thousands of generations, all of our lines would meet at a single woman who lived in eastern Africa, Eve. The story of your maternal line begins with her it.

While many of her descendants remained in Africa, one small group ventured east across the Red Sea, likely across the narrow Bab-el-Mandeb into the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Your story continues with one of two branches that arose from southwestern Asia. Researchers have long debated whether they arrived there via the Sinai Peninsula, or made the hop across the Red Sea at the Bab-el-Mandeb. Though their exact routes are disputed, there is no doubt that the women migrated across all of Eurasia, giving rise to people from Portugal to Polynesia.

One of those branches traces back to a woman who likely lived in the Middle East or the Caucasus Mountains. Her descendants appear to have migrated into northern Europe, and then through southwestern Asia as far as Pakistan with the expansion of agriculture about 8,000 years ago.

Women carrying this haplogroup likely migrated into and across Europe during this stretch of milder climate.

Today, they are mostly spread across southeastern Europe and into the Middle East, including in the North Caucasus and northern Iran. Some can also be found in the northern and western reaches of Europe, including in Britain, Finland, and even western Siberia.

25 February 2018

DESMOS: International Link of Orthodox Christian Scouts

The International Link of Orthodox Christian Scouts (DESMOS, from Greek "Δεσμός", bond) is an autonomous, international body committed to promoting and supporting Orthodox Scout associations and to be a link between the Scout movement and Orthodox churches.

DESMOS was founded in 1994 with the mandate of the World Scout Bureau, in consultation with the Deputy Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and with the blessing of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

It enjoys consultative status with the World Scout Committee and forms the World Scout Inter-Religious Forum together with the Council of Protestants in Guiding and Scouting, International Catholic Conference of Scouting, International Union of Muslim Scouts, International Forum of Jewish Scouts, Won-Buddhism Scout and World Buddhist Scout Brotherhood.

The object of the Link is as follows:
  1. To develop and promote the spirit of brotherhood and understanding among Scouts of the Orthodox Christian Faith.
  2. To promote warm relations and co-operation between Scouting and the official local Orthodox Churches.
  3. To develop an educational curriculum that should enhance the spiritual dimension in the personalities of young Orthodox in accordance with the purpose, principles and method of the Scout Movement.
  4. To introduce Scouting in such states or areas where Orthodox Church is established.
  5. To co-ordinate the activities of "DESMOS" with non-Scout Organisations having the same objectives.
  6. To motivate co-operation among "DESMOS" members.
  7. To motivate and promote Scouting to Orthodox boys and girls on global basis.
Member organizations include:
  • Armenia: Hayastani Azgayin Skautakan Sharjum Kazmakerputiun
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Savez izviđača Bosne i Hercegovine
  • Bulgaria: Organizatsia na Bulgarskite Skauty
  • Cyprus: Cyprus Scouts Association
  • Finland: Suomen Partiolaiset
  • Greece: Scouts of Greece
  • Israel: Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation: Christian Orthodox Scout Association
  • Jordan: Jordanian Association for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides
  • Lebanon: Lebanese Scouting Federation: National Orthodox Scout Association - Scout National Orthodoxe
  • Macedonia: Sojuz na Izvidnici na Makedonija
  • Moldova: Organizaţia Naţională a Scouţilor din Moldova
  • Palestinian Authority: Palestinian Scout Association: Palestinian Orthodox Scouts Association
  • Poland: Polish Scouting and Guiding Association
  • Romania: Cercetaşii României
  • Russia: Russian Association of Scouts/Navigators
  • Serbia: Savez Izviđača Srbije
  • Uganda: The Uganda Scouts Association: Uganda Orthodox Scouts
  • Ukraine: National Organization of Scouts of Ukraine
  • United States: Boy Scouts of America: Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting

11 October 2017

CONTROVERSIAL OPINION: Why I Surprisingly Support Girls in the BSA (but not in the Boy Scouts)!

DISCLAIMER: This is my personal opinion and does not represent the official position of my Den, Pack, District, Council, Region, the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), or the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM). I'm posting my personal opinion so that I can point others to it, instead of making the same arguments over and over on social media and in emails.

Some people might be surprised. Mostly I think they are confused about what is really happening. Please read below and see what is REALLY happening. Don't trust the buzz and spin of those with agendas.

First off, Packs get to decide if they wish to remain segregated starting in Autumn 2018 , and so there can be all-boy and all-girl Packs. It is all up to the Adult Volunteers and the Chartering Organizations. (Packs and Troops are chartered by a local organizations such as churches, PTAs, charitable organizations, etc.)

If a Pack decides to become integrated, the Dens are still segregated. There are all boy dens and all girl dens. So boys still get to be boys around boys, and girls still get to be girls around girls!

What about the Boy Scouts (11-17 year old Scouts)? The press release says nothing about letting girls join Boy Scout Troops. It says it will create a new program for girls so they can earn the same ranks as Boy Scouts do. My guess is it will be called Girl Guides, the original name for female Scouts. A name still in use around the world where Scouts are segregated based on sex.

What kind of interest is out there? The survey results are overwhelming and echo the flood of requests the BSA has received from families wanting a BSA program for girls.

At a glance, from Scouting Magazine:

  • 90 percent of parents not involved with the BSA expressed interest in getting their daughter involved in programs like Cub Scouts.
  • 87 percent of parents not involved with the BSA expressed interest in getting their daughter involved in programs like Boy Scouts.

Why the interest? Well many Girl Scouts don't like the current GSUSA program. They say they want to camp, learn knots, and learn to be leaders. The GSUSA Council have been selling off camps at an alarming rate lately, and this ties in to the lack of camping. The BSA has heard this over and over again, and decided to help these girls out, when the GSUSA has chose not to.

Back to Packs, Cub Scouts is a family organization. We have sisters coming to events, doing the same thing as their brothers, enjoying the events just as much, but not being able to earn awards. Why not let them join and earn ranks and Adventure Loops, Awards, and other Badges?

What many don't even know, is that the BSA already has integrated programs with young men and women aged 15-21 in Sea Scout Ships, Venturing Crews, S.T.E.M. Scout Labs, and Exploring Clubs & Posts. Youth Protection programs including 2-deep leadership help keep them safe from predators and inappropriate behaviour.

So in the end, if you want your boy segregated from girls in Scouting, you can choose that. If you want your girl segregated from boys in Scouting, you can choose that. If you want an integrated Scouting experience for your family, you can choose that at certain ages too.

I understand that some parents with only boys in their family, may not understand this move, but take it from a parent of 1 girl and 2 boys, this is really a good move.

Please consider buying some delicious popcorn this month to help support my son's Scouting adventures this year at http://www.popcornordering.com/Popcornordering/Store/Entry?
keycode=3311354687

11 September 2017

Buy Delicious Scout Popcorn!

My oldest son is selling Popcorn to help pay his way for camping and other educational activities. Please consider supporting Scouting by purchasing some at https://www.trails-end.com/store/scout/ZXPHQBKI Everyone who bought last year said that they loved the popcorn and that it was some of the best popcorn that they have ever had. There is an option to donate popcorn to military members if you don't like this extra delicious popcorn.
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