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October 1998

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Oriental Orthodox Concelebration of the Divine Liturgy

October 17, 1998

Teaneck, New Jersey.

An Oriental Orthodox concelebration of the Divine Liturgy with the participation of the hierarchy, clergy, deacons and choirs of the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Malankara and Syrian Archdioceses was held in the morning of Saturday, October 17, 1998 at St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Cathedral, 260 Elm Avenue, Teaneck, New Jersey. The concelebration was sponsored by the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches.

The principal celebrants were His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, of the Armenian Diocese of the Eastern United States; H.E. Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Syria; H.E. Mor Cyril Ephrem Karim, archbishop and patriarchal vicar of the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Eastern United States; H.E. Archbishop Matthias, of the Ethiopian Archdiocese of North America; and H.G. Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Diocese of North America.

The celebration commenced with a procession from the archdiocesan office to the cathedral with the bishops and clergy of the four Oriental Orthodox rites in their vestments. After the procession into the Cathedral, hymns were chanted in Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopian and Coptic.

The divine liturgy was celebrated according to the rite of the host church. Mor Cyril, the host Archbishop, started the Public Celebration. Archbishop Barsamian of the Armenian Church read the Proemion. Then, Mor Cyril continued with the Blessing of the Chains (the censer).

The Anaphora (Holy Liturgy) was commenced with the Prayer of the Kiss of Peace by Archbishop Mathias of the Ethiopian Church, assisted by his deacons. Mor Cyril performed the blessing and breaking of the bread and the blessing of the wine, as well as the Invocation of the Holy Spirit.

The Diptychs, commemorating the Living Fathers, Living Brethren, Christian Kings, Saints, Doctors of the Church and the Departed, was celebrated by Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Church and the deacons accompanying him.

While Mor Cyril performed silently the Prayer of Fracture (of the bread), hymns were chanted according to the Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopian rites, after which Mor Gregorios performed the Prayer preceding the Lord's prayer and the Elevation of the Offering.

Mor Cyril delivered the sermon in which he welcomed the bishops of the sister churches and their clergy and pointed out the common faith of the Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Armenian rites despite their differences in language, liturgy, music and culture. "Let this full communion of our Churches be a model for all Christendom," said Mor Cyril.

The Very Rev. Choreposcopos John Meno, Dean of the host Cathedral, performed the Prayer Upon Confession of Sin for the faithful. The Archbishops took part of the Holy Qurbono (Eucharist). Mor Cyril gave the Holy Qurbono to the visiting clergy. Two Syrian Orthodox priests gave the Holy Qurbono to the faithful.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving was performed by Archbishop Barsamian of the Armenian Church, after which Mor Cyril conducted the dismissal of the faithful. The celebration ended amidst the ululation of the crowd.

Reported by: Dr. George Kiraz



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