His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with His Beatitude, Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East at Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church here on Sunday, December 14, 2014.
Patriarch John arrived in the US on December 4 to preside at the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph, which took place at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY two days later. Metropolitan Joseph was selected by the Holy Synod of Antioch on July 3, 2014 to succeed His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, who fell asleep in the Lord on March 19. He formerly served as the Bishop of the Archdiocese’s Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.
Also concelebrating were His Eminence, Metropolitan Sabba and His Eminence, Metropolitan Vasileios.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Tikhon presented an icon of Saint Nicholas, patron of the Antiochian Archdiocese’s Brooklyn, NY Cathedral, to Patriarch John. He also presented an icon of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, patron of the Chapel at the Orthodox Church in America’s Chancery, to Metropolitan Joseph.
“I would like to express my gratitude to His Beatitude, Patriarch John X, for his invitation to concelebrate with him and with my newly-enthroned brother in Christ, Metropolitan Joseph, as well as their Eminences, Metropolitan Sabba and Metropolitan Vasileios,” Metropolitan Tikhon said in his greeting. “The Church in North America is well aware of the trials and tribulations that have afflicted the faithful of Syria and the Middle East and it is good, not only when brothers dwell together in unity, but when they pray together and bear one another’s burdens. The faithful of the Orthodox Church in America have been praying for Your Beatitude, for your brother, Metropolitan Paul, and Mar Gregorios Youhanna, who are held in captivity, and for all peoples within the territory of the ancient and venerable Patriarchate of Antioch.
“As an expression of the love and the prayers of the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America, I would like to present Your Beatitude with this icon of Saint Nicholas, who is truly one of the universal saints of our Orthodox Church,” Metropolitan Tikhon continued. “May it be a reminder to you of our support for you and your flock and an aid for you in these difficult times.
“I also have great joy today in offering my congratulations to His Eminence, Sayedna Joseph, whom I have known and worked with for many years now as a brother in Christ and fellow-laborer in His vineyard,” Metropolitan Tikhon concluded. “I know that his ministry as First Hierarch for the Antiochian Archdiocese will be blessed by our Lord and I look forward to continuing our common work together. Your Eminence, I would like to present you with this icon of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, the patron of my chapel at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America, and ask that you remember me and our Church in your prayers and also accept it as a standing invitation to visit us at the Chancery.”
On Saturday evening, Metropolitan Tikhon attended a festive banquet in Patriarch John’s honor held at the parish.
Earlier on Saturday, Metropolitan Tikhon responded personally to the invitation to meet with the Armenian Ambassador to the US, His Excellency, Tigran Sargsyan. Ambassador Sargsyan, who prior to his appointment to his current position three months ago had served as Prime Minister of Armenia for six years, spoke about the situation of the Armenian Apostolic Church.. He noted that some 85 to 90 percent of the nation’s population identifies with the Church. He also spoke of the forthcoming celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, slated to be held in Etchmiadzin, in April 2015.