Monday, November 3, 2008

His Beatitude

Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch, all the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (isn't that a cool title?), came to visit Boston this weekend. He celebrated Divine Liturgy at Annuncation Melkite Cathedral on Sunday for the occasion of the church's 100th anniversary. What a Liturgy! Incense, blessings, candles, many priests and altar boys, a huge choir (so beautiful!), and a church full of faithful people. 
Naturally there was a huge reception: "We of the Middle East have been known for our hospitality since the time of Abraham!" (the pastor of the Cathedral proclaimed). 
Also, T and I met His Beatitude the patriarch at the reception (thanks to Fr. DePaulo, our married Byzantine priest friend!). After we kissed his hand and asked for his blessing, Fr. DePaulo told him that we were Byzantine. His Beatitude contemplated Taylor's face for a brief moment and then proclaimed "Ruthenian!" to which we nodded. He then admitted "Is Byzantine!" and there were many smiles and much laughter. We posed for a picture with him.. I hope to find it soon and post it here. We didn't have our cameras out, but we know a couple who knows the lady that took the picture. And that lady probably knows the "regular" guy who was snapping photos of the stream of people waiting to meet His Beatitude. 
He was a delightful man--so gentle and kind. I think he was quite jolly, though that may not be the right word.  One could tell that he was at peace and full of joy, which he seemed to spread everywhere he walked. He blessed a new baby as he processed into the Church (lucky baby), and blessed several children as they came up for Communion. Since Sunday was the feast of the Relics of St. George (Taylor's patron saint!), the youth group and Sunday school classes performed a play about his (St. George's) life. Afterwards, His Beatitude thanked the children and sang us all a song about St. George he learned (in French) while at seminary in Rome.  What a treat! How often does something like that happen? 
So, we had a great Sunday. We spent most of the day at the parish since, of course, Liturgy was 2 1/2 hours long and the reception was huge and food was plentiful. All in all, a great day :) 

1 comment:

  1. How neat! I hope you find that picture too. I miss the Byzantine liturgy so much. I am looking forward to this Sunday because I'm going home so I'll get to go to St. John's, yay!