Friday, June 29, 2012

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in Antioch, 2012

Arabic original here.

Celebrations for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul were held in Antioch with magnificence and strong participation from the faithful. They were distinguished by the attendance of the Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara Rai who was visiting the Maronite congregations in Turkey.

The liturgy was presided by the shepherd of the Archdiocese of Aleppo, representing His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius Hazim. His Eminence talked about the meaning of the feast, as represented in the icon "Peter and Paul's Kiss", which demonstrates the virtues of each of these saints. All of the priests of Hatay participated, as did a number of priests who were visiting for the feast.

The church choir and a choir from Sweden chanted in Arabic and Turkish and all participated in an agape meal after the divine liturgy.

His Beatitude Patriarch Beshara Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, attended the divine liturgy along with his accompanying delegation, the papal nuncio in Turkey, the Maronite Metropolitan of Aleppo Anis Abi Ad, the Metropolitan of Anatolia, and the superior of the Antonin monks, as well as accompanying laymen and journalists. Metropolitan Paul Yaziji welcomed the guest and his delegation. He relayed to the Maronite patriarch the love and greetings of Patriarch Ignatius Hazim then he spoke about the history of cooperation and common thinking between the Orthodox and Maronite Patriarchates of Antioch for the sake of caring for the Christian presence in the Middle East and making its role and witness effective in the Arab world. His Eminence pointed to the role of Patriarch Mar Beshara in establishing the work of the Church in cooperation and love and in establishing her witness to the divine Word. This is clear from his work in establishing church institutions such as universities and developing media for the sake of explaining and spreading the Word.

Afterwards, Mr. Fadi Khoury, president of the Antioch Society spoke, welcoming the patriarch and pointing to the role of the parish of Antioch today in preserving Christian life in this historically important Christian city, whose name is carried by the patriarchs of the Middle East. He offered the patriarch and the accompanying delegation commemorative gifts.

The Maronite patriarch continued his visit to the city of Antioch, which began with a visit to the Turkish authorities Thursday afternoon, where he expressed his desire to establish a patriarchal center for Maronites in Antioch and he spoke of the importance of the history of dialogue and shared life between Muslims and Christians in the Middle East, in Turkey, and especially in Lebanon and Syria. He then visited the Church of Saints Peter and Paul and the Antiochian congregation where the feast was celebrated.

On Friday Morning, the patriarch will celebrate the divine liturgy in the historical cave of Saint Peter.

The shepherd of the [Orthodox] Archdiocese [of Aleppo] visited the parish in Alexandretta where he joined in prayer with the members of the parish and a meal was held. Metropolitan Paul met with priests and members of associations in Alexandretta, Mersin, and Antioch over the course of regular meetings to discuss administrative, endowment, and pastoral matters.

The shepherd of the Archdiocese of Aleppo congratulated in the name of His Beatitude Patriarch Hazim all the clergy and members of our Antiochian parishes in the region. He likewise congratulated in their name His Beatitude the Patriarch and all the bishops of the See of Antioch and all Antiochian parishes wherever they are found on this general feast of the Holy See of Antioch.

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