Serving with His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch
A third–year Antiochian seminarian writes about serving at a liturgy in which his patriarch, His Beatitude Ignatius IV, presided
His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch and all the East, His Eminence The Most Rev. Metropolitan Philip, archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, and The Right Rev. Nicholas, bishop of Brooklyn and resident assistant to the Metropolitan, visited St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday October 21, 2012, for Matins and Divine Liturgy. Bishop Nicholas celebrated the liturgy, aided by the Vicar-General of the Antiochian Archdiocese, The Very Rev. Thomas Zain, and other assistants. Among those were several seminarians from St. Vladimir's Seminary, who participated in the service with His Beatitude, who had arrived from Syria on October 16.
In the beautiful and spirit–filled liturgy, all of the Antiochian seminarians and the faithful were inspired with His Beatitude's words, especially when he told us, his listeners, that we are the ones who give him strength. Remembering the suffering of our loved ones overseas, a collection was taken by the faithful of St. Nicholas Cathedral and St. Mary Church of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to help the Patriarch minister to the victims of the ongoing civil war in Syria.
It was deeply inspiring to see how much love and respect there is between our hierarchs, and it was a blessing to sense how our spiritual "father of fathers" loves and cares for his children in North America. In turn, he informed us that we provide inspiration for him. Amazingly, His Beatitude is in his mid–90's. May God continue to give him strength, and grant him many years!