Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

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His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim Celebrates The Holy Liturgy on Christmas Day

His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim celebrated the Holy Liturgy on Christmas Day at St. Mark’s Cathedral. The Tuesday morning liturgy marked the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago in the little town of Bethlehem.

The Cathedral quickly filled to capacity with standing room only and noticeably, the large number of young people in attendance drew everyone’s attention.

In his sermon, the Archbishop recalled the story of the Nativity and drew comparisons between the difficulties, fears and struggles of the Holy Family with those of families in today’s society, especially those members of our church community throughout Syria. He asked everyone to pray for those struggling in Syria and asked everyone to remain cognizant that “those presently in Syria have no food, no clean water, no gasoline, no medicine and no basic necessities.” The Archbishop continued, “While we are here enjoying Christmas with all its festive and celebrative activities, we must keep in mind, our brothers and sisters in Syria who are celebrating Christmas with very little.” Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim extended his Christmas wishes and greetings to Our Beloved Patriarch, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, wishing His Holiness a Blessed Christmas with health and contentment as he continues leading our Holy Church. Likewise His Eminence Mor Cyril extended wishes for a Merry Christmas to the Archbishops of the Holy Synod, all the clergy of our Archdiocese, the deacons and the Parish Councils. On a special note he thanked all the organizations of the Cathedral, including its pastor, Rev. Fr. Joseph Chamoun for all their efforts throughout the year.

The grand procession is always the highlight of the Christmas Service. Led by the raised cross, held high by one of the deacons, and followed by the young altar boys and an entourage of senior deacons, the procession moved slowly around the Cathedral with parishioners being blessed by the Archbishop. Choir sang joyfully the traditional “O Come all Ye Faithful” accompanied by the Cathedral’s organist and ten of the Cathedral’s young violinists, lead by their teacher, Shamosho Elias Sarkar, the choir master of the Caherdal, until the procession entourage arrived back at the altar for the Christmas service.

Many of the faithful who observed the Christmas Fast, along with other parishioners, received Holy Communion. The Archbishop was assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Shabo and Rev. Fr. Joseph Chamoun with the dispensation of the Holy Communion.

At the conclusion of the Holy Liturgy, In the spirit of Christmas, His Eminence received the greetings and good wishes of the faithful at the Archdiocesan Complex, adjacent to the Cathedral.

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