Leaders of the Oriental Orthodox family of churches gathered to offer prayers for peace and justice in a troubled world.
The service organized by the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches (SCOOCh) took place on the evening of Friday, July 17, 2020, at St. Mark’s Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in Paramus, NJ. It was hosted by the leader of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Eastern U.S.A., His Eminence Mor Dionysios John Kawak.
Assembled at the altar were other Oriental Orthodox leaders: Bishop David of the Coptic Church (who also serves as the president of SCOOCh), Archbishop Titus Yeldho of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Bishop Daniel of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.
Clergy of the Armenian, Coptic, Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Syriac Orthodox churches also took part in the service, all suitably separated throughout St. Mark’s impressive sanctuary as per current practice during the pandemic.
Bishop Daniel delivered the homily after a vespers service in the Syriac Orthodox rite, in which he said that the true peace and justice the world clearly needs cannot be found apart from the faithful embrace of Jesus Christ. He made note of the numerous crises ravaging the world—the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest in the U.S., deep issues of racial injustice across the world, and the recent military aggression of Azerbaijan against Armenia, as indicative of the desperate need for healing that only Christ can deliver to the world and its people.
He also offered the experience of the Oriental Orthodox—whose diversity of origins is no impediment to a sense of common mission, family solidarity, and mutual love—as an example that holds needful lessons for the rest of the world. He stressed that the example is not merely one of unity, but of genuine Communion in the sacramental sense.
The service was broadcast on the Facebook and YouTube channels of the Syriac Archdiocese. Click the link to view the recorded broadcast.