Local Synod Met October 29 in Naples, Florida
The Antiochian Orthodox Parish of St. Paul, Naples Florida was our host for an historic weekend of events from October 29 through 31, 2004. During this weekend the Local Synod of this Archdiocese had its meeting, as well as the Board of Trustees. The weekend concluded with an outdoor Divine Liturgy, and the groundbreaking prayers that marked the start of the construction of the new St. Paul church complex.
On Friday, October 29, 2004, the Local Synod of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America met for their regular Fall meeting. However, this meeting was anything but “regular”. The meeting table was adorned with the Holy Gospel, the Precious and Lifegiving Cross, Icons of our Lord and the Theotokos, and candles. The meeting began with the opening prayer, led by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP. Also in attendance were Bishop ANTOUN of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, Bishop JOSEPH of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, and Bishop BASIL of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. The prayers included the chanting of the Troparion and Kontakion of Pentecost, as a reminder that the work of the Synod is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The main item on the agenda was a report by His Eminence on his trip to the Middle East to attend the meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch, and the election of three new Diocesan Bishops.
The results of the election were as follows:
Rt. Rev. Thomas Joseph as the Bishop Elect for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the East
Rev. Fr. Mark Maymon as the Bishop Elect for the Diocese of Toledo and The Midwest
Rt. Rev. Rafeek Mufarrij as the Bishop Elect for the Diocese of Ottawa and Upstate NewYork
It has since been confirmed that the consecration of these Bishops Elect will take place at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus, Syria on December 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 2004.
The meeting of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees was held during the evening of Friday, October 29th, and continued to the morning of Saturday, October 30th. The main order of business was to consider and discuss the proposed changes to the amended Constitution that have been suggested as a result of the meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch, which concluded on October 14, 2004. The Board decided to submit these proposed changes to the Department of Legal Affairs for consideration. The Department of Legal Affairs will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees at their Spring meeting in June, 2005. Finally, the Board of Trustees will recommend final action to be taken by the General Assembly of the Archdiocesan Convention, scheduled for July, 2005. The Board also heard reports from the following Archdiocesan departments: 2004 Parish Life Conferences, Antiochian Village Camp, Antiochian Village Heritage & Learning Center, Antiochian Village Council, Finance, Antiochian Women, Christian Education & Tithing, Youth & Parish Ministry, Order of St. Ignatius, Planning & Future Development, and Communications & Information.
This historic weekend continued with a banquet on Saturday evening for the celebration of the 45th Anniversary in the priesthood of Very Rev. Joseph Shaheen, pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Naples, Florida.
The events concluded with an outdoor Divine Liturgy on the site of St. Paul Church, presided over by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, and the prayers for groundbreaking for the new St. Paul Church, which is to be constructed.
Truly this was a blessed and historic set of events for the self-ruling Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.