Two upcoming gatherings will give Armenians and fellow Oriental Orthodox Christians a precious opportunity to celebrate their ancient spiritual heritage together.
The ancient Christian traditions known as the Oriental Orthodox “family” of churches share a great deal in common. At the deepest level they are bound by a distinctive theology rooted in the first three ecumenical councils. For each community, strands of their respective ethnic and cultural identities are deeply woven, often in colorful ways, into church life.
Each of these churches has experienced great periods of spiritual flourishing, as well as tragic episodes of persecution and martyrdom. Yet through most of history, the great distances separating the Oriental Orthodox homelands have been a major barrier to greater cohesion.
However, life as diaspora communities in America has allowed the clergy and faithful of these churches to routinely meet, worship, and flourish together. Two such gatherings are scheduled for the coming weeks.
First, a concelebrated Divine Liturgy of the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Malankara, Syriac, Knanaya, and Eritrean churches will take place on Saturday, October 12, at 10 a.m., at St. Leon Armenian Church (12-61 Saddle River Rd., Fair Lawn, NJ).
The leaders of four Oriental Orthodox churches will serve as principal celebrants: Bishop Daniel of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Archbishop John Kawak of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese, Archbishop Ayoub of the Knanaya Syriac Archdiocese, and Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Clergy, choirs, altar servers, and faithful from these faith communities will participate, with Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel preaching. (Click here to view an announcement.)
Three weeks later, a concelebrated liturgy for Oriental Orthodox churches of the Philadelphia area will take place at the St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Church (630 Clothier Rd., Wynnewood, PA) on Saturday, November 2. (Click here to view an announcement.)
Other parishes across the Eastern Diocese frequently hold similar gatherings. Contact your local church for information.