Joining them was His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America. (See the OCA’s account of the joyous celebration here.) His Eminence Metropolitan Sabba and His Eminence Metropolitan Vasileios also concelebrated at the Liturgy.
Prior to Sunday’s Liturgy, the parish of Ss. Peter & Paul hosted Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph for several events. A concert of Orthodox liturgical Christmas music on Friday, December 12, featured selections from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, and Byzantine Nativity selections sung by Archmandrite Elias Bitar, George Theodoritis, and Raseem El Massih. On Saturday night, Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph presided over Great Vespers, and then attended a banquet held in their honor.
View the full schedule here, courtesy of Ss. Peter and Paul Church
View a full photo gallery here, courtesy of the Orthodox Church in America.
“The Church in North America is well aware of the trials and tribulations that have afflicted the faithful of Syria and the Middle East and it is good, not only when brothers dwell together in unity, but when they pray together and bear one another’s burdens,” said Metropolitan Tikhon at the conclusion of Sunday’s Divine Liturgy.
“The faithful of the Orthodox Church in America have been praying for Your Beatitude, for your brother, Metropolitan Paul, and Mar Gregorios Youhanna, who are held in captivity, and for all peoples within the territory of the ancient and venerable Patriarchate of Antioch.” Metropolitan Tikhon also presented Patriarch John X with an icon of St. Nicholas, and presented an icon of St. Sergius of Radonezh (patron of the OCA Chancery’s chapel), to Metropolitan Joseph.