METROPOLITAN STEPHAN ELEVATES FR. GEORGE AYOUB TO THE RANK OF CANON FOR THE ARCHEPARCHY OF CANADA
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Stephan, Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of North & South America - Sobornopravna and Eparch of Canada, honored Archpriest George Ayoub, Pastor of the Cathedral of Mar Elias in Mississauga, Ontario and Protosyncellus of the Archeparchy of Canada by elevating him to the rank of Canon for the eparchy.
Emanating from the tradition of the church in Ukraine, a Canon is a priest who is part of the eparchial bishop's curia and works closely with him in the administration of the eparchy. Originally, each cathedral church had a "chapter of canons" who were responsible for the celebration of the daily "canonical hours" or the Divine Office - Vespers, Matins and the other liturgical hours. Eventually, the title of Canon was extended to include those chief priests from the various regions of the eparchy, who play an important role in its functioning.
The honor took place on Easter Sunday, at the conclusion of the Paschal Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral Church, the seat of His Beatitude, the Primate. Concelebrating with the His Beatitude was His Eminence, Metropolitan Michael and Canon George Ayoub. As Metropolitan Stephan prayed the prayer of elevation and placed a jeweled pectoral cross on Fr. George, the cathedral choir sang joyously, "Axios, axios, axios."
The Cathedral was filled to capacity for the services of Passion Week, with over 500 faithful attending and receiving Our Lord in holy communion at the Easter Pontifical Divine Liturgy, which was distributed by Vladyka Michael and Canon George from two chalices.
Canon George Ayoub is responsible for the daily functioning of the cathedral and Canadian eparchy. In his address at the conclusion of the liturgy, Metropolitan Stephan remarked to the gathered faithful,
"It is a blessing from God that Mar Elias Cathedral has grown over the past two years, since joining the UAOC - Sobornopravna. We now have seven new parishes and are growing each day in Canada as well as in the United States. Much of this remarkable success is attributed to the dedicated clergy who have come from other, "main line" jurisdictions. Thanks to their hard work, we have been able to open approximately one new parish every other month in Canada and are presently awaiting the arrival of monastic clergy from Lebanon to help in the establishment of a monastery and a home for the elderly. With God's continued blessings, we look forward to serving all regions of Canada as well as expanding our work in the United States."
His Beatitude continued:
"It is truly sad that we cannot have a working relationship with certain "main line" Orthodox Churches, but due to a few members of the clergy who have slandered our church, we have had a harder time in proving our work to others. Now however, they see that we are truly a real church which only wants to do God's work and we have gained the respect of many of the clergy who at one time would not even speak to us. Our intentions were to be only a missionary jurisdiction, working in the poorest parts of the world, bringing the Gospel of Christ to those who seek Him, never thinking that we would be asked to accept parishes that were not happy in the present situation of Orthodoxy today. We have built parallel jurisdictions to the main line churches, not by choice, but by necessity. Perhaps one day, more will see first hand, who we are and the work that we do and not judge us by the opinions of others, who speak harmfully about us. Unity of all and cooperation in the Christian spirit is the only way that Orthodoxy can and will be saved in the Diaspora."
At the Cathedral of Mar Elias, Sunday School enrollment has grown to over 75 children and ground breaking will take place soon for the erection of the new cathedral and bishop's residence.
During the Easter weekend, the hierarchs also had the opportunity to visit the neighboring Holy Dormition (St. Mary's) Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, where they had the pleasure of witnessing one of the favorite traditional Ukrainian Easter folk customs - the "water dousing games" of Bright Monday. This practice reminds the faithful of their own baptisms and of the baptismal character associated with the Feast of Christ's Resurrection.
On Easter Sunday afternoon, the parish council hosted a paschal banquet in honor of Metropolitan Stephan and Vladyka Michael, which was well attended by the parishioners (pictured above). During the dinner, the parish presented their pastor, Fr. George Ayoub with a gift in honor of his dedicated service and elevation to the rank of Canon.
A special treat for parishioners was the presence of the youngest member of the cathedral parish, Steven Tohme, pictured below with Metropolitan Stephan.
Easter Photo Highlights from Mar Elias Cathedral.
Mar Elias Cathedral Website.
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