Metropolitan SILOUAN visits Saint Mary's Church in Hunt Valley

When I first received an invitation to meet Metropolitan SILOUAN, I did not act because of the traveling requirement. Then I heard that he was coming to St. Mary's Orthodox Church. This is doable.

I left my house at 7:18 to ensure that I'm at the church in time for the Liturgy. Since I travel by MTA and since this was a busy weekend downtown, I knew that I better leave early to be safe. I did arrive in plenty of time.

After I entered the church and the Altar, I was immediately introduced to His Eminence, Metropolitan SILOUAN, whom I found to be a very warm and friendly hierarch. My first impression was that he was the bishop's deacon, especially since I saw Bishop NICHOLAS there and I did not know that another bishop was also coming. Subdeacon Basil also had the same impression and the three of us had a laugh over this when he told us later. This also reminded me when I first met a particular bishop at the enthronement of Metropolitan JONAH. Deacon Sergius and I both thought that he was a deacon.

I'm pointing this out because many of our bishops are models of humility. They are very approachable and real spiritual fathers. Both the metropolitan and the bishop were very friendly.

We had one priest and three deacons serving. The priest was Fr. Theodoros from St. Mary's Church and the deacons were Deacon Gabriel from St. Mary's Church and Deacon Peter from Holy Cross Church. For the second Saturday in a row I served as the second deacon.

In his sermon Metropolitan SILOUAN said that if anybody wants to receive the word of Christ, it is his and no one can take it away from him. At the dinner after the Liturgy, we said that he came here because he was hungry. He is also making pastoral visits to all the dioceses in North America.

There will be a special convocation on Thursday 5 June 2014 and all the parishes will attend. They will submit a list of three candidates to the Holy Synod of Antioch and they will select one. On Tuesday 13 May 2014 the local Synod will convene in Chicago. This is a dialog, not a debate. We pray and decide. This is a church.

Somebody asked if the Holy Synod can select somebody else and he said that in general they can't. He also said that there will be a session of the Synod on Tuesday 1 July 2014. The patriarch should call a special meeting 40 days prior to the date He hopes that this will take place in July so that he can go back home.

He also said that the church in Buenos Aires is the best in the world. They speak Spanish. They have 19 churches. Two of them have not been working for 14 years. They have 12 priests and one diocese. The Antiochians are the biggest Church in Argentina. Both the Maronites and Melkites have three parishes. The Syrian Orthodox Church also has three parishes. The Greek and the Russian Churches both have three priests.

His Eminence also told us about the annual camps and meetings that they have. They have ten meetings a year. All the celebrations are in Spanish. When the Greeks do not have a priest or a temple, they come to the Antiochians.

Fr. Elias Bitar said that he has two questions. His Eminence said that he is allowed only one. So Fr. Elias asked if he could combine the two. He wanted to know about the use of Arabic, especially for immigrants. There are only three priests who know Arabic. They have not had immigrants for 40 years. Now they are getting them at the cathedral and this year they are mixing some Arabic with Spanish.

A gentleman asked about an American church sponsoring an Argentinian church. He said that they are sponsoring us.

A member of the parish said that we have many Greeks in the area and what we have at St. Mary's is a good spiritual leader. They elected to be here at St. Mary's.

Then the metropolitan said that every one of us is a sponsor. That means that he is responsible. If everybody thinks responsibly, then he is a sponsor.

Another person said that we are going to have the best Byzantine temple in America.

We had a tour of both the new temple which is being built and the new chapel which is also being built. It was pointed out that the floor is slanted from the back down to the front so that those in the back can see better.

I cannot express in words what a wonderful blessing it was for me to be at St. Mary's Orthodox Church on this day. I am extremely happy that I made the effort to be at the church today and I hope that I will have more opportunities to meet Metropolitan SILOUAN and Bishop NICHOLAS.

Εις πολλα ετι, Δεσποτα!

 

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 56 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 54 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 60 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 61 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 41 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 36 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 40 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 54 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 53 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 52 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 46 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 42 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 48 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 21 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 46 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 41 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 42 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 51 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 42 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 41 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 30 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 32 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 48 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 46 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 41 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 38 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 32 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 37 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 36 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 35 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 26 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 27 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 25 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 26 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 26 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 26 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 27 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 27 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 32 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 28 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 24 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 25 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 43 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 41 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 42 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 42 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 33 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 31 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 44 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 40 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 32 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 58 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 41 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 38 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 28 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 29 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 46 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 50 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 40 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 29 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 37 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 42 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 57 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 58 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 58 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 61 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 61 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 64 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 64 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 64 KB)

Click to see big picture (254x380 pixels; 37 KB)

Click to see big picture (254x380 pixels; 40 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 57 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 58 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 63 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 53 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 51 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 43 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 34 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 42 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 40 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 36 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 39 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 43 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 53 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 57 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 82 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 71 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 68 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 69 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 55 KB)

Click to see big picture (568x380 pixels; 59 KB)