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2009 Fellowship Road Trip

Monday, June 22, 2009 – Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nothing short of awesomeness can describe the excitement experienced by an intimate 8 members, including our Advisor, Fr. Saba, on the long-awaited FSJD Road Trip this past week. The intention for this trip was to experience Orthodoxy, in fellowship with one another and with our brothers and sisters on the East Coast. This was first and foremost accomplished by accepting an invitation for lunch from His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP and His Grace Bishop ANTOUN at the Antiochian Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. In visiting the Antiochian Village, other Orthodox Churches and Cathedrals, new friends were made with other Fellowships in the Archdiocese, saw beautiful Church Iconography, and learned about the history of the Orthodox Church and of the Archdiocese of North America.

A few stand-out moments:

Rammy Zanayed’s favorite experience was sitting on the left hand side of Metropolitan PHILIP and listening to His Eminence’s rich stories as leader of the Archdiocese. Rammy says “This is something I will remember for the rest of my life.” The intricate mosaics at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral awe-inspired Rammy as he walked around the Church’s overwhelming number of mosaics, which depicted various events in the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on all four walls and ceiling.

Diana Saba enjoyed the lunch with His Eminence and venerating the relics of St. John the Damascus at St. Paul’s Cathedral. After traveling and walking many hours, Diana enjoyed a nice sharwarma dinner from the infamous Stand at 53rd and 6th in the middle of Manhattan!

The atmosphere of St. Vladimir’s Seminary completely engaged Najeeb Eseed as we toured the school’s grounds where Fr. Dahdal and Fr. Saba both earned Master’s Degrees in Divinity. Najeeb particularly liked all the relics available at the Antiochian Village and at St. Paul’s Cathedral for venerating. Manhattan’s wax museum was a great time as well!

Mina Rantisi’s first visit to the Antiochian Village was majestic and overwhelmingly wonderful. Amidst the hundreds of children and staff members, Mina embraced the efforts made by our Orthodox community under the guidance of Metropolitan PHILIP to continue Orthodox education and living. Mina also enjoyed the friends made at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Yonkers over coffee and sweets hosted by their Fellowship.

Maher Eseed states “I never experienced something that holy!” when visiting the grave of St. Raphael at the Antiochian Village and learning about his influence of many Orthodox churches, including our own! Also, during lunch with Metropolitan PHILIP, Maher exclaims how pleasant and graceful His Eminence was in the cordiality extended to our Fellowship.

Rozie Asfour had a wonderful time chatting with Metropolitan PHILIP about a common interest in the preservation of the Arab Christian heritage after visiting the Antiochian Village’s museum exhibiting timeless Syrian, Lebanese, Jordianian, and Palestinian embroidery and attire. Another highlight was shopping in Manhattan for fake coaches!

George Imsaih was impressed most by the hospitality of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP and the entire staff at the Archdiocese Headquarters. George also loved walking in Times Square and visiting Ground Zero. He is thankful for the opportunity he had in visiting the area Churches after seeing how impressive these historic Churches really are.

Fr. Saba is thankful for the safe travels and return of the Road Trip participants and the wonderful time spent by all. It truly was unforgettable!

Plans for the 2010 FSJD Road Trip are already underway!

Article and photos courtesy of St. George Church in Cicero, IL.