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Sunday of Orthodoxy 2016 at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Ottawa

The First Sunday of Lent marks the celebration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the triumph of the Orthodox faith. As usual, St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa celebrated this beautiful day with much hope and prayer that the righteous faith dwells in the hearts of all the children of God.

Following the Divine Liturgy, on Sunday March 20, 2016, The Very Rev. Fr. Ghattas Hajal and Assistant Pastor The Rev. Fr. Nektarios Najjar led the faithful of St. Elias, the altar boys, and church school students through a procession with the holy icons, remembering the procession of the year 843 led by Empress Theodora, Emperor Michael and Patriarch Methodius.

This great Feast continued in the evening when St. Elias Cathedral hosted Ottawa’s pan-Orthodox Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers. The Vespers was presided by His Grace Bishop Ioan Casian of Vicina of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas. Priests and faithful from all Orthodox jurisdictions participated in what we can describe as glorious yet pious Vespers. Following the procession with the holy icons, the Synodicon of the Sunday of Orthodoxy was declared out loud and then Bishop Ioan Casian preached on the meanings behind the Sunday of Orthodoxy and the significance of icons in the Orthodox worship, faith and life. This blessed day was concluded with a Lenten Agape Meal prepared by the generous St. Elias Aniochian Women.

May the Sunday of Orthodoxy be celebrated every year in all the world until the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to remind all Christians of the legacy and burden we have inherited, calling ourselves Orthodox, and that this requires that we all aspire to become living icons of Jesus Christ, walking among the difficulties of this world spreading light, faith and hope.