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Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY

On March 5, 2017, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph celebrated the Divine Liturgy and then in the evening, pan-Orthodox Vespers for the Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. His Eminence arrived at the Cathedral for Orthros and was greeted by the Cathedral Dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain. Visiting hierarchs included: His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and His Grace Bishop John of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England. (View the photos by Subdeacons Daniel Cripe and Andre Christoforides.)

The celebratory nature of the "Triumph of the Holy Icons" was combined with another celebration, the ordination of Subdeacon Rassem El Massih to the diaconate. Ordained with the name John (the Baptist), Rassem is well-known and loved throughout the archdiocese and that love was present at the liturgy. Family and friends came from all over to pray and to shout "Axios!" as Metropolitan Joseph vested the new Deacon John.

In his words about and to the new deacon and his wife Alexis, he reminded everyone present that while Deacon John is known for his voice, it is his humility that makes him loved by all. During the lunch in Deacon John's honor, Metropolitan Joseph thanked and acknowledged the family and friends that came to witness the ordination. He especially commended the choir for a job well done;  the choir was compsed of close friends of Deacon John, and led by Protopsaltis Dr. Grammenos Karanos of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

Sayidna then relayed to the new deacon that the best advice he could give him is not a long speech, but just one simple phrase based on years of experience: "to make time for your family." Archbishop Michael then gave a beautiful teaching about the historical and theological role of the diaconate in the Church throughout the centuries. Deacon John will serve as Metropolitan Joseph's deacon and work at the archdiocese. May God grant him, his wife Shamassy Alexis, and their forthcoming child, many years as they begin their ministry of service to the Church.

Not long after the lunch finished, people from throughout the Greater New York area began to gather for the annual Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA joined the other hierarchs from the morning and delivered the homily. More than forty bishops, priests and deacons from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the OCA, and our own Antiochian Archdiocese, filled the Cathedral in a sign of our unity of faith. The "Spirit of Orthodoxy" pan-Orthodox choir from the New York area led by Aleksei V. Shipovalnikov, together with a Byzantine choir led by Cathedral Protopsaltis Fadi Broumana, sang the responses.

In his homily, Metropolitan Tikhon recounted the history of Ss. Raphael of Brooklyn and Tikhon of Moscow, reminding the faithful that just as they gathered to celebrate their common Orthodox faith more than 100 years ago, again tonight in this historic Cathedral we were gathering to do the same thing. Once again, following Vespers, everyone returned to the Cathedral Hall for a Lenten supper and shared fellowship after a long, beautiful, and inspiring day of prayer that ushered in the second week of the Fast.

03.05.17 Metropolitan Tikhon Sunday of Orthodoxy homily at St. Nicholas Cathedral (PDF)148.58 KB