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Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. George Church + Washington, D.C.

Fr. Joseph Rahal writes:

The week of May 6-11, 2015 was a glorious week for the city of Washington and the Parish of St. George. On Wednesday, May 6, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, accompanied by Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih, arrived in Washington, D.C. for an official visit.

On Thursday May 7, His Eminence, accompanied by the Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Pastor of St. George Church of Washington, D.C., the Very Rev. Isaac Crow of Ss. Peter & Paul Church of Potomac, MD, and Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih, attended and participated in the 100-year commemoration of the Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Antiochian genocide that took place in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire in Turkey.

On Friday May 8, His Eminence attended a private dinner with members of the parish council of St. George, their spouses and other prominent members of the Parish at the home of Jamal & Amal Motran in Fredrick, MD. During this gathering many topics were discussed. Those in attendance were:

Eric and Patricia Granahan
Nancy Tzentzera
Nicola Said
Vickie Berberi
Mike and Dianne Rishmawi
George and Grace Ghareeb
Nabil and Nahida Berberi
Samer and Nayfeh Makhlouf
Nicolette Aftimos
Marwan Hinnawi
Elias and Maysoon Rizkallah
Eli and Mariana Souri
Joe and Lourdes Moutran
Jamal and Amal Moutran
Josephine Motran
Jamil & Diana Bahri
Rami & April Motran
Dr. John & Mariam Motran
Issa and Roudeyna Ayoub
Dr. Tony and Grace Chehade
Habib and Zeina Chehade
Assaad and Roxanne Saliba
Walid and Angela Saliby

(Note: each couple of the above mentioned people donated $100 toward this weekend expenses).

Saturday May 9: His Eminence had a private lunch with a family.

At 3:00 PM His Eminence met with the Teen SOYO of the parish. Members of the Teen SOYO asked several questions and they had a very productive meeting together.

At 4:00 PM: His Eminence met with members of the Ladies Myrrh Bearing Society of St. George. The Ladies served him refreshments and a discussion about the role of the Ladies within the Church. His Eminence thanked the Ladies for all the good work they do.

At 5:00 PM: His Eminence met with members of the Parish Council and he challenged them to be "servant" of the Church, emulating our Lord Jesus Christ.

At 5:30 PM: His Eminence presided over the Great Vespers Service. Several members of the Clergy from this area were in attendance. Our Choir, throughout the weekend was superb and the Metropolitan was very impressed with them, along with our Chanters: Norma Achor and Eyvonka Rizkalla, and of course Sub-Deacon Rassem El-Massih with his beautiful voice.

At 6:30 PM: The Grand Banquet in Honor of the Metropolitan was held at St. George Ballroom. More than 300 people were in attendance, with soft music in the background. Walid Saliby was the MC for the evening and Mrs. Nyla Louh sang the National Anthem. A moment of silence was observed for the Genocide that took place 100 years ago in Turkey, for the Armenians, Antiochians, Syriacs, Assyrians and many others. Mr. Eric Granahan, Chairman of the Parish Council welcomed the dignitaries and the guests that were present amongst them were former Ambassador Dr. Clovis Maksoud, Mr. Paul Monteiro former Director of Public Engagement at the White House, and other dignitaries.

Sunday May 10:
The climax of the entire weekend. His Eminence presided over the Divine Liturgy. In attendance were Mr. Antoine Chedid, the Ambassador of Lebanon; Dr. Clovis Maksoud, former Ambassador of the Arab League to the United Nations; and Brigadier General George Shreim, Military Attache at the Lebanese Embassy.

During the Liturgy, His Eminence elevated Deacon Workineh Belesse to the dignity of Arch-Deacon, and the end of the Liturgy he inducted the following people to Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch:

Mr. Eric Granahan
Mr. George Ghareeb
Mr. Michael Rishmawi
Mrs. Nancy Tentzeras

Following the Liturgy, the Ladies with their president, Ms. Nicolette Aftimos, served a superb lunch for everyone.

It was an exhilarating weekend. My most sincere thanks to each and everyone of you for your good work.

Respectfully submitted,
The Very Rev. Joseph Rahal