BISHOPS MAKE CANONICAL VISITATION TO ST. ELIAS CHURCH
PROCLAIMED NATIONAL CATHEDRAL OF THE UAOC IN CANADA
On the weekend of November 23 - 25, 2001, Metropolitan Stephan, Primate of the UAOC in the USA and Archbishop Michael, Coadjutor to His Beatitude and Eparchial Bishop, made a canonical visitation to St. Elias parish. The weekend schedule included meetings with the parish council, men's club, ladies' auxiliary, Sunday School teachers and children and other parish organizations. There was also time for socializing with parishioners and friends of the parish.
On Saturday evening, a festive banquet was held in honor of the hierarchs. This celebration was the first of what parishioners plan to become the annual St. Elias Christmas Dinner-Dance. A full orchestra provided music for the evening. In attendance were members of the public service and diplomatic corps, including the Ambassador to Canada from Syria.
On Sunday, in gratitude to God for the many blessings bestowed on St. Elias parish, the bishops concelebrated a Pontifical Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving with the pastor, Archpriest George Ayoub, attended by over 200 faithful. The responses to the liturgy were rendered by the St. Elias Cathedral Choir. Following the Divine Liturgy, food and refreshments were served in the parish hall.
The Historical Significance of St. Elias Cathedral Choir
St. Elias Cathedral Choir is under the direction of Mrs. Michel Nejmeth, daughter of the Very Rev. Demetri Moamar, pastor in Vancouver, British Columbia. In her native Syria, Mrs. Nejmeth was the cantor at the Patriarchal Curia in Damascus for many years and is the god-daughter of His Holiness, Patriarch Ignatius of Antioch. At the Patriarchal Center, she served at the daily cycle of Divine Services celebrated by the Patriarch and is an expert in Byzantine liturgical chant. Before moving to Canada, Mrs. Nejmeth's own father, Fr. Demetri, served for twelve years as the Dean in the Patriarchal Curia, working directly with Patriarch Ignatius.
Mrs. Nejmeth also serves as the Director of Sacred Music in our Metropolia.
St. Elias Proclaimed UAOC Cathedral Church for Canada
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Stephan announced to the faithful that St. Elias has been designated as the Cathedral Church for the territory of Canada. This historic announcement was greeted by spontaneous applause from the congregation.
St. Elias parish, in a period of less than one year, has made much progress, through the dedication of their pastor, Archpriest George, his wife, Pani Matka Georgette and the sacrifice and hard work of the parishioners and various parish organizations. Some of the community functions have included an annual picnic to celebrate the feast of their patron saint, the Holy & Glorious Prophet Elias, in July and a parish dinner cruise in late summer.
May God grant to the pastor and faithful of St. Elias Cathedral peace, health and happiness for many happy and blessed years.
Below are some pictures of the Pontifical Divine Liturgy.
The bishops at the cathedra during the beginning of the Divine Liturgy.
The bishops and Father George offer the introductory prayers at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy.
Metropolitan Stephan incenses the altar at the Little Entrance.
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