On Saturday, May 13, in the presence of his brother hierarchs, clergy, Board of Trustees and faithful, His Eminence Metropolitan Saba (Isper) was enthroned as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.
A choir of chanters led by Fr. John El Massih, Protopsaltis of the Archdiocese, sang the service of thanksgiving that included hymns for St. Nicholas, St. Saba, and Pascha. The hundreds of attendees chanted with them.
"This prompts me to ask the clergy for their cooperation, dedication, and the sanctity of a personal life, so that every clergy can be a servant of Christ according to the heart of Christ, and not according to his personal will," Sayidna Saba said.
"I ask our faithful people to be receptive to every call that makes His Church a true Church of Christ, so that the faithful people may participate in the development and the growth of His Church on the material front, spiritual and sanctity."
Metropolitan Saba received the pastoral staff from His Eminence Metropolitan Antonios (El Souri), Metropolitan of Zahle, Baalbek and Dependencies (Lebanon), and former Patriarchal Vicar of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Sayidna Antonios represented His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, presenting the praxis defining the hierarchal authority of Metropolitan Saba, and reading His Beatitude's address (English) (عربي).
"Sayidna Saba, you have been in your life a fine icon of the Good Shepherd. Remain as you are. Many are the spiritual sons and daughters whom you have carried in your heart and prayers as a priest in Lattakia, and later as a bishop in Bosra and Houran. Fasten round you again the girdle of service to show forth the face of Christ throughout our Antiochian Archdiocese of North America."
His Eminence Metropolitan Niphon (Saikaly), the Antiochian Patriarchate's representative in Moscow to the Patriarchate of Russia, read a letter of congratulations from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
"Now the All-Wise Divine Providence has entrusted you with the mission of shepherding the large Orthodox community of the Patriarchate of Antioch on the American land. Having a wealth of experience as an archpastor who carried out his service in Syria and vast knowledge of church life in the USA, you are a worthy successor to your predecessors, striving to set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Tim 4:12)."
Also participating in the ceremony from the Holy Synod of Antioch were Their Eminences Metropolitan Silouan of the British Isles and Ireland, Metropolitan Ghattas of Baghdad, Kuwait and Dependencies, Metropolitan Isaac of Germany and Central Europe, and the auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese: Their Graces Bishop Thomas, Bishop John, Bishop Anthony and Bishop Nicholas.
Sayidna Saba also received congratulatory addresses from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Archdiocese of America and Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church of America, and Protopresbyter Vasilije Vranic on behalf of His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
They all expressed their desire to continue building a common Orthodox Christian witness to North America built on fraternity.
His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, highlighted the historic relationship between ROCOR and the Patriarchate of Antioch. He noted that Orthodoxy in America is rooted in the 20th-century mission of St. Tikhon and his "right hand," St. Raphael of Brooklyn, the founder of our Archdiocese. Vladyka Nicholas presented Sayidna Saba with an engolpion and cross.
His Eminence Metropolitan Niphon, the Antiochian Patriarchate's representative in Moscow to the Patriarchate of Russia, presented Sayidna Saba with an engolpion and cross from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
Her excellency, Dr. Abir Audi, Consul General of Lebanon in New York, offered congratulations to Metropolitan Saba. A representative of Mayor Eric Adams of New York City read the proclamation of "Metropolitan Saba Day" in the city. Brooklyn borough and state leaders offered best wishes for His Eminence, in turn asking for his prayers.
Mr. Fawaz El Khoury, vice chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, congratulated Metropolitan Saba upon his enthronement. He also thanked His Grace Bishop John and the members of the Temporary Operating Committee for their leadership during the transitionary time before His Eminence's election. And Mr. El Khoury especially thanked His Eminence Metropolitan Antonios, the former Patriarchal Vicar, for his great pastoral care. On behalf of the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese, he presented Sayidna Antonios with an icon of the Bridegroom Christ, asking him to remember us in his daily prayers.
Source: Antiochian Archdiocese of North America
Photo Credits: Subdn. Peter Samore; photos by Ken Hoglund