Joined by co-celebrants the Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Deacon Jason Blais from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, His Eminence began the day with the ordination of two Subdeacons from St. George parish – Peter Yazgi and Matthew Chatri. St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd viewing the Liturgy from our large parish hall via a large video screen.
Sayidna PHILIP spoke about the events in the Gospel of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and while this was not the first time Christ gave life to the dead, it was the most famous. Comparing it to today's world, His Eminence suggested that the event would be on "the headline biggest... the first item of news on TV!" And as the news of this miracle "spread throughout the country like wildfire" Christ could have rode triumphantly into Jerusalem as a conqueror, yet He chose the most humble and smallest beast of burden to ride upon to greet the people who shouted "Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord!". Sayidna's oration, peppered with humorous phrases in Arabic, kept all present in rapt attention.
Fr. Elias thanked His Eminence for the blessing of sharing the Feast day with us. Despite the overcast skies and cool weather, the 500+ parishioners who came to worship — much like the crowds Sayidna spoke of — processed around the church carrying palms. After the procession, Fr. Elias invited the children to come forward and sit on the steps of the Sanctuary while Deacon Michael read the Gospel. For a few hours on Sunday, we relived the experience of the joy, excitement and even chaos of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Metropolitan PHILIP's presence magnified excitement of this blessed Feast day. As the congregation began to leave the crowded parking lot, the grey skies gave forth to rain. The Lord's timing, as always, was perfect.
Many Years, Master!