Oriental Orthodox Concelebrated Divine Liturgy
On Saturday, October 12, 2013, at the Church of the Virgin Mary in Paramus, New Jersey, His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim hosted the Oriental Orthodox Concelebrated Divine Liturgy. The Hierarchs present, along with His Eminence, were His Eminence Mor Titus Yeldho, Archbishop of the Malankara Archidoceses of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America, His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America and His Grace Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox Church of North America.
The entourage of the numerous clergy from all the Oriental Orthodox Churches entering the church was truly majestic, colorful and unique in nature. The anxious audience took many photos and stood with awe as the procession continued on and on. Once everyone was in place, the service began to the ringing of the church bells.
The liturgy was in the Syriac Orthodox tradition and was structured so that each of the Hierarchs participated in the service.
In his sermon His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim emphasized that the Oriental Orthodox Churches are one in faith and doctrine. He said, “I can go to any Oriental Orthodox Church and receive holy communion.” He spoke about the shared experience of the suffering and persecution that all endured in protecting our faith throughout the centuries highlighting the current suffering of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere. He said, “so many have given up their lives rather than deny their Christian belief.” He thanked all the hierarchs and guests for attending and for participating in this activity that brings all the Oriental Orthodox Churches together. The Archbishop also thanked Very Rev. Fr. John Khoury and the Parish Council and the Ladies Aid of the Church of the Virgin Mary for their hospitality.
At the conclusion of the service all were invited for lunch which was prepared by the Ladies Aid Society of the Virgin Mary.