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Happy New Year – 2011 January 3, 2011

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, Saints, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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The Saint George Orthodox Military Association would like to wish you and your loved ones a very safe, prosperous and blessed New Year!

As SGOMA enters this new year we will be working on expanding our Ancient Faith Podcasts to include new episodes from our various Orthodox Chaplains and Orthodox Military Members stationed around the World.

SGOMA is also ramping up our Great Lent Survival Packages. If you know of someone who is deployed or will be deployed, in Iraq or Afghanistan, over Great Lent and Pascha please send us their mailing address and SGOMA will put together a survival package and send it to them. If you would like to sponsor a Great Lent Survival Package for someone you know, or for any Orthodox Military Member deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can send us a donation for the package. The general donation is $50.00, this includes the cost of the contents and shipping ($12.50 – APO Priority Mail).

SGOMA is also in the process of trying acquire MP3 players to ship off to our Military folks. These MP3 players will include Divine Liturgies (Slavic, Greek and Western Rite), Interviews, Stories and much more. Keep tuned to SGOMA’s Facebook page as well as this Blog site for more details about this new ministry outreach in the near future.

As always, SGOMA needs your support to continue to find ways to reach out and assist our Orthodox men and women serving in the US Armed Forces around the World. We realize that the economy is bad, and many other charities are seeking your donations as well. However, we would welcome your donation, not matter the size. Will you assist us? For more information about how to donate to SGOMA please view the “Donation” page on our website at: http://www.orthodoxmilitary.org/Donations.html

Again, we would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year – 2011! Please continue to keep our Men and Women in the US Armed Forces in your prayers!

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SGOMA Remembers the 1st Anniversary of the Blessed Repose of PCF Serge Kropov, USMC December 20, 2010

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Memorial, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, Saints, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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Private First Class Serge Kropov, USMC

Born: July 28, 1988 in Moscow, Russia
Killed in the line of duty: Dec. 20, 2009, in Bastion, Afghanistan
Interment: Monastery of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Cemetery, South Canaan, PA

Brief Bio:

Private First Class Serge Kropov, of Hawley, Pa., was killed Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Bastion, Afghanistan.

Born July 28, 1988, in Moscow, Russia, he was a son of Igor and Allison (Alevtina) Kropov.

He was a military career man who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the military Tour of Iraq and the military Tour of Afghanistan. Kropov was assigned to a Marine aircraft group based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, which is near San Diego, California.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Sergey and Nina Kropov; and his maternal grandparents, Anna and Vladimir Patrusheva. Surviving, in addition to his parents, is his sister, Anna Kropov.

Funeral Services with full military honors were held at  the Monastery Church of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, South Canaan, PA, with His Grace, Bishop Tikhon, officiating. Interment followed in the Monastery Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Monastery.

A Panikhida will be offered by the Saint George Orthodox Military Association on the 1st Anniversary – December 20, 2010

Memory Eternal!  Vichnaja Pamjat!

Nativity & Epiphany Services in Afghanistan December 4, 2010

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Memorial, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, Saints, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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Attention Orthodox service members in Afghanistan, their loved ones, friends, and supporters!

Orthodox Chaplains, Fr. Jerome Cwiklinski and Fr. Christopher Moody will be provide Nativity and Epiphany services at various locations in Afghanistan.  Please pass the word, so that anyone in need of the Orthodox sacraments and desirous to observe these feasts, may make arrangements through their unit chaplains.  Orthodox personnel may request to be visited at their site, or request to travel to another site where these services will be offered.

Start asking your unit Chaplain about Orthodox services.  Fr. Jerome himself plans to go around twice, once for each of the Feasts, and on other days to make the Liturgy and Sacraments available, and just to have fellowship with fellow Orthodox service members.  He would be honored to provide services on days other than Sunday.

Father Jerome can be contacted anytime at the following:

C. J. CWIKLINSKI
CAPT, CHC, USN
I MEF/MARCENT Chaplain
(760) 725-9032/9821 (Office)
365-9032/9821 (DSN)
carl.cwiklinski@usmc.mil or carl.cwiklinski@usmc.smil.mil

First Orthodox Liturgy in Canadian Forces in 50 years November 30, 2010

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On Saturday, 6 November 2010, CFB/ASU Wainwright’s Chapel was the site of the first (in over 50 years) Orthodox Divine Liturgy to be conducted by an active duty regular force Canadian Forces Chaplain who is an Orthodox Priest. Captain (Father) Charles Baxter, one of the Base Chaplains at CFB/ASU Wainwright, served the Divine Liturgy with the assistance of Father John Lipinsky and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada’s (UOCC) Bonnyville Alberta District’s faithful and choir. Following the Divine Liturgy, a brief Memorial Service was held to honour the fallen service members who gave their lives in defence of Canada.

Captain Baxter is the first Orthodox Canadian Forces Chaplain to serve in Her Majesty’s Canadian Forces since the conclusion of the Second World War. “We make a proud beginning this day,” Captain Baxter said at the conclusion of services, “by praying for all of our service members and their families who serve both in Canada and around the world. We do this today with prayers for them. We also pray for the souls of  the honoured dead. My prayer is that God will continue to bless my ministry in Wainwright and to be able to witness and serve for all of our brother and sister CF members and families who are Orthodox Christians.”

Padre Baxter began his military service with Basic Officer Training at CFB Borden in September 2009. After a rigorous and challenging course that ended with graduation in mid-December, he was posted to CFB/ASU Wainwright where he serves as one of the Base Chaplains.

On the Sundays when he is not serving in the CFB Wainwright Chapel, Padre Baxter assists the nearby UOCC parish communities in St. Paul, Bonnyville, Camrose and elsewhere in Alberta. Padre Baxter is also assisting the UOCC’s ongoing rural parish projects. This includes locating prairie Orthodox church buildings that are not on the diocesean registy. Many of these buildings have not been used for services for many years. Some may, with the support and help of local communities and families, remain in good repair. Padre Baxter works with his eparchial Bishop in Edmonton in support of the church’s effort to locate and to reach out to these forgotten prairie churches.

The Canadian Forces Chaplains (also known as “Padres”) come from a wide variety of faith traditions and backgrounds from all across the country. All major Christian denominations now have active duty full-time regular force Chaplains to meet their spiritual needs. The chaplain exercises a specialized ministry within the Canadian Forces, aimed at promoting religious, spiritual, moral and ethical values, and providing spiritual care and nurture to military members and their families. The Chaplain functions both as a specialist staff officer and as a religious leader.  The Chaplain advises the commander and other staff on matters of spirituality, ethics, morale and religious accommodation.

As a staff officer, the Chaplain functions as a specialist advisor and has direct access to the commander. The Chaplain is responsible to the commander for planning and implementing religious support programs and ministry activities within the commander’s area of responsibility.

Canadian Forces Chaplains perform religious rites and ceremonies, such as The Divine Liturgy and other services for Orthodox service members, and administers sacraments and ordinances in accordance with the traditions of their own faith tradition. In so far as it is possible, the Chaplain offers appropriate spiritual support and care to all soldiers and their families, regardless of their religious faith expression. If a chaplain is unable to personally provide specific religious support, the chaplain will seek to have such support provided by another chaplain, or where possible, by appropriate civilian religious leaders.

Father Charles Baxter can be reached at the following:

Rev. Charles Baxter (UOCC)
Captain (CF)
Office: (780) 842-1363 x1252
charles.baxter@forces.gc.ca
Canadian Forces Base/Area Support Unit Wainwright
Bldg. 196 Chapel
Denwood AB Canada T0B 1B0

Happy Anniversary! SGOMA turns 1! October 20, 2010

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Memorial, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, Saints, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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October 20th, 2010 – Feast Day of Saint Artemius/1st anniversary of the Saint George Orthodox Military Association (SGOMA).

One year ago today, an idea was born to find ways to support our Eastern Orthodox Christians serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

What started out as a letter writing campaign to try to get an Orthodox Chapel on Fort Bliss, one of the largest Army Bases in the U.S., turned out to develop into a Pan-Orthodox organization of active duty & reserve military, dependents, retirees, veterans and their families, all with the same goal, to advance the cause of our Orthodox men and women serving our country at home and overseas.

In the past year…

Our Facebook page went from 2 members to over 1,360 people. Our webpage has received over 100,000 hits, with visitors from all around the globe.

With the help and generosity of Ancient Faith Radio the Association has a regular podcast series called “Orthodox Christians on the Front Lines” available for download any time at: http://www.ancient faith.com

Our Orthodox Chaplains have done an outstanding job in helping us with the Podcasts and supplying us with liturgical information, Chaplain and Chapel updates, all in order to help our Orthodox brothers and sisters in the U.S. Armed Forces.

SGOMA has sent out over 25 Orthodox Survival Packages to our Orthodox service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Through the great generosity of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese SGOMA has been able to send out over 40 “Orthodox New Testament & Psalms” to our service members in the USA and around the world.

As we enter into our second year, SGOMA will continue to work towards serving our Orthodox Troops and find new opportunities to reach out to them and let them know they are loved, cared about, prayed for and remembered by the members of our association throughout the year.

SGOMA is working with USFallen.org in order to more accurately recognize and honor those Eastern Orthodox Christians who have given their lives in defense of our country. We will continue to expand, honor, pray for, and remember all of our fallen Orthodox service members throughout the year, in special panikhidas, and during Divine Liturgies.

SGOMA is continuing work on developing a home catechetical program and providing resources for Orthodox Home Schooling.

We are continuing to reach out to our Orthodox Troops, their families and our Orthodox Chaplains to bring you more interesting and educational Podcasts on our Ancient Faith series “Orthodox Christians on the Front Lines.”

We are very grateful for all the wonderful people who have donated to the Saint George Orthodox Military Association over the past year. Through your generosity we have been able to do the things that we have for our troops. We are still in need of more donations to continue the work that we have begun. If you would like donate to SGOMA please feel free to contact us via email at: StGeorgeOMA@gmail.com or mail your donations to us at: SGOMA, 2521 N. Main St., Unit 1, #198, Las Cruces, NM 88001. All your donations are tax detectable.

As always, we are open to ideas and suggestions on how we can better serve our Orthodox service members, their dependents, as well as our retirees and veterans. If you have any ideas please contact us and let us know.

We are excited to continue serving our Orthodox Service Members as we enter our second year. We ask for your continued prayers for our Association, but more importantly for our Airmen, Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Coast Guardsmen who so proudly and vigilantly protect our country every day. Our never-ending gratitude goes out to them!

Saint George Orthodox Military Association….we are “Supporting our Eastern Orthodox Christians serving in the U.S. Armed Forces”

Physical & Spiritual Fitness October 9, 2010

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Memorial, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, Saints, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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Walk around post in the morning and you will see Soldiers running in formation or small groups. You will see them doing push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups.

In some units, you will even see them engaged in the latest physical fitness routines, whether it is P90X, CrossFit or some other muscle-trembling, sweat inducing exercise. Right alongside all of these Soldiers you will see civilians and retirees also sweating and straining as they walk, run and bike their way to better physical fitness.

You will see the same thing at Aquatic Center as Soldiers, retirees and civilians pack the pool every day, swimming laps and doing water aerobics. The racquetball courts, weight rooms and cardio rooms at the post gyms are also full of people striving every day to push their bodies a bit more, to get an extra rep or an extra minute into their workouts as they seek the ideal of physical fitness.

Even if you aren’t one of the people on the roads pounding the pavement or sweating in the gyms, most of us know we need to exercise and wish we were in better physical shape.

Exercise is important because it is good for our health, but even the Army recognizes there is more to a person’s overall health than just physical fitness. As part of the new Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Plan, the Army says that part of being fit as a whole person is spiritual fitness. But this isn’t something the Army just came up with. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote about it around 2,000 years ago in a letter to a friend named Timothy.

“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8-9). Scripture tells us that even more than being worried about our physical fitness, though this is good, we need to be working on our spiritual fitness. So with all the time many of us spend sweating and working to be physically fit, or at least the time we spend thinking and wishing we were more physically fit, what have we done lately to be spiritually fit?

Just like physical fitness, spiritual fitness takes time and effort. It doesn’t happen to us mysteriously as we sit around doing nothing. We have to get off our rear ends and spend time and effort in the things that will get our flabby spiritual muscles into shape.

What are these spiritual exercises? Well, just like physical fitness, it doesn’t need to be complicated and most of us already know what we need to be doing to get fit. Spiritual fitness exercises can range from attending a chapel service on post or a religious service off post. It can be reading sacred scripture and books on spiritual topics. It can be establishing a regular prayer life (morning, noon and evening prayers). It could be getting involved in chapel groups or organizations on post or in your community.

There is a huge number of opportunities to become spiritually fit both on post and in your community, whether you are a service member, a retiree or a civilian.

To be spiritually fit, you need a plan and the fortitude to get started, to stick with the plan and to pick yourself back up and keep trying if you fall off the plan. This can’t be a once- or twice-a year thing. It takes repetitions over time to reach a good level of spiritual fitness. Is it hard? It can be, especially when you’re just getting started. Is it worth it? Yes, both for yourself and for your family.

If you are out there sweating to better your physical fitness, keep it up. If you aren’t, then maybe you should, but all of us probably need to spend more time and effort making sure we are spiritually fit, too. So get a plan, get started and get spiritually fit.

The Dangers of being a Military Chaplain September 2, 2010

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Although the following story isn’t about an Orthodox Military Chaplain, it brings to the forefront what all Chaplains, including our Orthodox Military Chaplains, deal with while on deployment. Our Orthodox Military Chaplains do a lot of traveling when they are deployed or TDY in combat areas to find our Orthodox Troops in the various locations spread throughout the region. Our Chaplains spend endless hours in convoyes and flights to get to their destinations.

We will have one of our own Orthodox Chaplains, Father Jerome Cwiklinski, CPT, USN, going TDY to Qatar and Afghanistan during most of the month of September. He is traveling around to visit our Orthodox Troops, hold Divine Liturgies and ensure those wishing can receive the Holy Mysteries of the Orthodox Church. Please keep Father Jerome, our Orthodox Chaplains, and all the Chaplains in the Military in your prayers, for they unselfishly put themselves in harm’s way to minister to our Troops!

 

Army chaplain dies in Afghanistan bomb blast

Chaplain Dale Goetz

An Army chaplain who grew up in Hood River has become the 124th service member with strong ties to Oregon to die in combat.

Chaplain (Capt.) Dale Allen Goetz, 43, died Monday in a roadside bomb attack in Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan less than a month after he deployed. Four other soldiers also based at Fort Carson, Colo. also died.

According to published reports by the Army, the Hood River News and Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin, Goetz spent most of his childhood in Hood River and was a 1986 graduate of Horizon Christian School. He graduated from the Maranatha in Watertown, Wis. in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in Bible studies.

Goetz completed his Master of Divinity degree at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis in 2000. He was pastor of a church in White, S.D., until beginning his work toward chaplaincy. Goetz joined the Army in 2000. He was a member of the Chaplain Corps.

According to reports, the Goetz family had been transferred to Colorado in January after serving three years in Okinawa, Japan. Goetz was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Carson.

Goetz had also served 11 months in Iraq in 2004-2005.

 The News reported that the family was told by an Army casualty assistance officer that Goetz died after getting out of his vehicle to help soldiers in another Humvee hit by a first IED.

His mother, Hope Goetz, who lives in Elizabeth, Colo., was traveling to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to meet her son’s body.

Goetz is survived by his wife, Christina, who also graduated from Maranatha in 1995, and children, Landon, 10, Caleb, 8, and Joel, 1 year. A funeral service will be held in Colorado Springs with burial at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

Orthodox Chaplain set to visit our Troops September 1, 2010

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Memorial, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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ATTENTION DEPLOYED ORTHODOX MILITARY PERSONNEL:

Father Jerome Cwiklinski will celebrate the Divine Liturgy for Eastern Orthodox Christian personnel in the following locations and dates:

  • Al Udeid AFB, Qatar – 8 Sep
  • Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan – 12 Sep
  • Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan – 14 Sep
  • Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan – 19 Sep

If you are in these locations or desire access to these services from other locations, contact your unit chaplain ASAP.

Father Jerome can be contacted anytime at the following:

C. J. CWIKLINSKI
CAPT, CHC, USN
I MEF/MARCENT Chaplain
(760) 725-9032/9821 (Office)
365-9032/9821 (DSN)
(760) 725-9870 (FAX)
carl.cwiklinski@usmc.mil
carl.cwiklinski@usmc.smil.mil

Remembering our Fallen Orthodox Military August 27, 2010

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There is an Ancient custom of a Panikhida after the Liturgy on the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist for all Orthodox warriors who have laid down their lives on the field of battle. Priests and Chaplains please offer a Panikhida after this Sundays Divine Liturgy for our fallen Orthodox Service Members. Laity, please encourage your Priest to offer a Panikhida for our Fallen Troops this Sunday.

SGOMA has an incomplete listing of known Orthodox Service Members who have died while serving our Country. Please remember these brave men and women in your prayers and offer a Panikhida for them.

If you know of a Orthodox Service Member who has died serving their country, and they are not listed on the SGOMA Memorial page, then please email us with as much information on them as you have. We will gladly add them to our Memorial Page and remember them in memorials and Panikhidas throughout the year. You can email SGOMA the information at:  StGeorgeOMA@gmail.com

You can also view the Saint George Orthodox Military Association’s Memorial webpage at: http://www.orthodoxmilitary.org/Memorial_Page.html

We Remember PFC Serge Kropov July 30, 2010

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Memorial, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, Saints, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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We remember! On July 28th of this year SGOMA remembered one of our fallen Marines. July 28th is the birthday of PFC. Serge Kropov, USMC. Serge died in Afghanistan, in December 2009, while proudly serving his country. On this day members of SGOMA kept Serge in their prayers, as friends and family gathered around Serge’s grave at  St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Orthodox Monastery in South Canaan, PA, and held a Panachida for him.

Serge’s Mother has started a Facebook Memorial page for Serge. It is very touching and gives you a whole new feeling for the loss the Kropov family is feeling. This brings home the same loss that so many families around the United States feel who have lost a loved one serving our Country. You can view Serge’s Memorial Facebook page at:

 http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/?act=50599020#!/group.php?gid=217355966323&ref=ts

We here at SGOMA remember Serge every day, just as we do for all of our fallen Orthodox Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen.  Memory Eternal!