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The Right Reverend, Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Reverend Deacon, and all the Faithful of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West:

Greetings and blessings in the Name of our Lord.

August 1, 2006, marks the One-Year Anniversary of the Website of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West. In the last year, we have grown from 160 visitors in the first week to having as many as 1,956 visitors in a week from more than 85 countries in the world. This growth can be attributed to, you, the clergy and faithful who have used this website as a tool and provided input on ways that we can improve it. Of course, we are always looking for more ways to improve the website and your feedback is essential to our continued growth.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Members of the Diocesan Website Committee: Deacon Andrew Andrews of St. John the Evangelist Church in Orinda, California, Subdeacons Peter Samore, Max Najim and Michael Habib of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, California, and Reader Michael Haddad of St. George Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Without their tireless commitment and support, this website would not be possible.

Praying that this website will remain a tool to spread the Holy Orthodox Faith to the whole world, I remain,

Your Father in Christ,

Bishop of Los Angeles and the West

“Growth” is the one word that can summarize the website of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West. As we celebrate its first birthday, “growth” can be termed in the number of visits to the site; the number of pages added; and the number of new committee members. Most importantly, “growth” signifies the expansion of an internet ministry of the Orthodox Church that reaches parishioners in this God-protected Diocese and people of all walks of life globally.

His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH envisioned the website, and even came up with the name: It would be an Antiochian Orthodox Christian website that would remain loyal to its roots in the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate and the Self-Ruled Archdiocese of North America. Yet, it would offer a unique perspective and outreach to the Antiochian Church in western North America; hence, the name. Sayidna JOSEPH originally commissioned a small group of people to launch the site: Subdeacons Michael Habib, Maximos Najim and Peter Samore. Together, they assembled a website to present to the clergy and faithful that would be comprehensive yet easy to navigate. The website launched on the World Wide Web on August 1, 2005.

Within the first year, the Diocesan Website has been visited by more than 76,000 people, with more than 50,000 unique hits. Our visitors come not just from the United States and Canada, but from nearly all countries in the Middle East and 85 countries from around the world.

The website offers all the latest Diocesan news and events, perspectives on non-Christian dogma (such as “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Judas Document”) that confront all Orthodox Christians, various helps and resources to clergy and laity alike, and the “Liturgics” page with the “Services Texts” so that chanters are not sifting through various service books during the divine services, thus concentrating on prayer and worship. The main goal, of course, is for to offer a clear view of the Apostolic Faith in western North America.

In the fall of 2005, the Website Committee welcomed Deacon Andrew Andrews and Reader Michael Haddad. They have made significant contributions to the original work of the website, and they will be able to assist in major redesigns and the addition of sacred music to the website.

The ministry of will never cease, as it constantly expands its reach out to the entire world. The website always works to meet the needs and to increase the education of the faithful and all those who desire to know the Orthodox Church. Without their input, the website cannot meet its full ministry potential. We encourage everyone to submit their constructive criticism and feedback to the Contact Us section so that the Committee can meet even more needs.

The Diocesan Website Committee thanks all of its supporters and visitors during this past year, and with your holy prayers, we will keep this outreach strong for many years to come!

By Subdeacon Peter Samore

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