Metropolitan Saba enthroned as head of Antiochian Archdiocese of North America (+VIDEO)

New York, May 15, 2023

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Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, and faithful came together on Saturday, May 13, for the joyous enthronement of the new head of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

His Eminence Metropolitan Saba (Isper) was enthroned at the Antiochian Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, the Archdiocese reports.

His Eminence was among the three hierarchs nominated by the Archdiocesan special convention in January. He was then elected by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch in February.

In his enthronement address, Met. Saba called on all the clergy to lead a personally sanctified life, “so that every clergy can be a servant of Christ according to the heart of Christ, and not according to his personal will.”

He also called on the laity to “participate in the development and the growth of His Church on the material front, spiritual and sanctity.”

“I am here now among you in this blessed Archdiocese to accomplish together the great commission of rooting the church of Christ in the heart of the society in North America by witnessing to the beauty of Christ in our world today. A society which is searching for a witness to the Word of life,” he said.

“We need to become witnesses to Christ and the true life in Him on a personal as well as a communal level,” he encouraged.

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Met. Saba then received the pastoral staff from His Eminence Metropolitan Antonios of Zahle, Baalbek, and Dependencies, who served as Patriarchal Vicar over the Archdiocese following the resignation of Metropolitan Joseph and until the election of Met. Saba.

Met. Antonios then read out the address of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East

His Beatitude wrote:

On this day in which the arch-pastoral staff is offered to you in order for you to care for our Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, there is an icon that is envisioned before my eyes and in which I see you in it: it is the icon of the Good Shepherd. The iconographer portrays Jesus, the glorious Lord, with the Cross behind Him and the pastoral staff laid on His forearm, having His hands carrying a white lamb, and fastening round Him the girdle of service.

Sayidna Saba, you have been in your life a fine icon of the Good Shepherd. Remain as you are. Many are the spiritual sons and daughters whom you have carried in your heart and prayers as a priest in Lattakia, and later as a bishop in Bosra and Houran. Fasten round you again the girdle of service to show forth the face of Christ throughout our Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.

A letter of congratulations from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was also read by His Eminence Metropolitan Niphon, the Antiochian Patriarchate’s representative in Moscow.

Also participating from the Holy Synod of Antioch were Their Eminences Metropolitan Silouan of the British Isles and Ireland, Metropolitan Ghattas of Baghdad, Kuwait and Dependencies, Metropolitan Isaac of Germany and Central Europe, and the auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese: Their Graces Bishop Thomas, Bishop John, Bishop Anthony and Bishop Nicholas.

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Congratulatory addresses were also offered by His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas, and Protopresbyter Vasilije Vranic on behalf of His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Following the enthronement, a banquet was held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. Financial proceeds from the banquet will go for earthquake relief in Antioch.

His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who didn’t participate in the enthronement due to the participation of Abp. Elpidophoros (as the Russian Church broke communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople following its anti-canonical invasion of the ecclesiastical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 2018), spoke at the banquet, highlighting the historic relationship between ROCOR and the Patriarchate of Antioch. He then presented Sayidna Saba with an episcopal Panagia and cross.

Met. Niphon also presented him with a Panagia and cross from Pat. Kirill.

The banquet was also attended by local and state offcials, who congratulated Met. Saba on his enthronement. A representative of New York Mayor Eric Adams read the proclamation of “Metropolitan Saba Day” in the city.

And on behalf of the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese, Fawaz El Khoury, vice chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, presented Met. Antonios with an icon of the Bridegroom Christ in gratitude for his leadership in the Archdiocese’s transitional period.

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