“The feast of the Annunciation can be highlighted with one word: obedience,” Sayidna Joseph preached.
“The Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, represents all of the Christian ethics and virtues that we should aim for in our lives. We’ve all been baptized, but if we don’t use the means given to us by God, then we will not be any different from the world. We would hate, destroy, kill, and harm each other.”
Prior to the liturgy, His Eminence reviewed construction of the new church temple with Fr. Dimitri Darwich, the church’s pastor.
“The cross is our hope. Through the cross, joy has come into the universe.”
In his homily, Sayidna Joseph reminded the congregation that the Orthodox Church placed this feast on the third Sunday of the Great Fast as an encouragement to remain steadfast and finish this holy season strong, and to strengthen us all year long.
“By making the sign of the Cross when we wake up, our day will be blessed and guarded from any evil,” His Eminence preached. “When we travel, when we fly, we make the sign of the cross. Most people won’t understand, but at least we understand, and we are confessing that Christ the Lord is our Savior and without Him we cannot be blessed. So don’t be ashamed.”
At the conclusion of the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy, Sayidna Joseph led the procession around the church with a plate of flowers bearing a hand cross which the people came forward to venerate.
Following the liturgy, the church’s pastor, Fr. George Al-Dehneh, and the community hosted a reception during which His Eminence answered their questions. Topics included the Russian invasion of Ukraine, how to keep children in the Church and living Christ-centered lives once they are off to college, and the importance of keeping a prayer life and how it can be transformative.
Photos by Elio Nicolas