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Festive Patriarchal Divine Liturgy Concludes Antiochian Archdiocesan Convention

By Subdeacon Peter Samore

With one patriarch, fifteen metropolitans and bishops, scores of clergy, two large choirs and nearly 2,000 faithful, the 52nd Convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America concluded, as is tradition, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 26, 2015. This year, leading worship inside Boston's Hynes Convention Center Auditorium – converted into a church for the gathering's purposes – was the father and chief shepherd of the ancient Orthodox Christian see of Antioch, His Beatitude the Most Blessed Patriarch John X. He described the partaking of the "Lamb of God" as "the fulfillment of the work of this convention."

"You are the children of God, as St. Paul tells us," His Beatitude said in his sermon, referring to Sunday's Epistle lection from Galatians (3:23-4:5). "This directs us to the dignity that is our relationship to the likeness of the Father. This is a means of strength, to be called the children of God, but it should also give us a sense of humility."

Patriarch John reminded everyone present that they are all one in Jesus Christ. "As we become brethren with love for one another, we become one holy family in Christ Jesus." His Beatitude stressed that Christians are adopted as God's children through the mystery, or sacrament, of baptism. "We put on Christ, were buried and resurrected with Him at the same time. More precisely, we emulate daily all that Christ did."

His Beatitude gave thanks for the clergy and faithful who came from near and far, sacrificing their time and resources to bear witnesses to the message of today's Epistle.

"I thank my dear and beloved brother, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, for inviting me so that we can be together to love one another," His Beatitude said in his sermon. Turning to the faithful, he said, "I thank all of you for putting in the hard work to keep the faith and preserve this holy tradition."

In turn, Metropolitan Joseph also thanked the visiting hierarchs from the Middle East, his brother bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and hierarchs of other Orthodox jurisdictions in Boston. He also thanked the host parish of St. Mary in Cambridge, Mass. – especially the pastor, V. Rev. Antony Hughes and the convention chairpersons Mary Winstanley O'Connor and Raymond Sayeg – for making the biannual gathering a huge success.

Following the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude, His Eminence and other hierarchs took time to pose for dozens of pictures – including "selfies" – with the clergy and faithful, knowing how much those small mementos mean to them.

View a photo gallery from the Convention, and read more about it on Facebook.