His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH Presides over the Celebration of Great Economos Michel Najim's 30 years in the Holy Priesthood - 09/23/2007Los Angeles, California
Thirty years ago, Father Michel Najim and his new Khouriyee Eva began their life together as husband and wife. Not long after their wedding in the Holy Orthodox Church, Father Michel received his ordination to the Holy Priesthood. After ten fruitful years of ministry in Lebanon at the St. John of Damascus School of Theology, Father Michel and Kh. Eva came to Los Angeles with their three children (Theodore, Subdeacon Maxime and Lydia), where they have served at St. Nicholas Cathedral for the twenty years they have been in America. On Sunday, their parish family joyfully celebrated all of these anniversaries with a festive luncheon and a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated by their lifelong friend: His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH.
It was Sayidna who played a pivotal role in uniting this godly couple in the late 1970s. Though Father Michel received countless requests to stay celibate for the purposes of becoming a future metropolitan, he flat out refused, and enlisted Sayidna's (then a deacon) help to find a woman angelic of soul, heart and voice. Sayidna found that woman in Eva, whose dream it was to become the wife of a priest and the “mother” of a church. Once the two were married, Father Michel went to His Beatitude, Patriarch ELIAS IV of Antioch, of thrice-blessed memory—who put the most pressure on Father Michel to remain single—and told him he was now ready for ordination.
After ten years as a professor and dean of the seminary in Balamand, Lebanon, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP called Father Michel to the West Coast in 1987 to serve as assistant pastor of the Cathedral, and also as an theological educator for the thousands of recently chrismated converts who joined Holy Orthodoxy. His family came with him and, thanks be to God, they have been with us ever since. These communities, as well as the countless others the Najims have touched with their gentle spirits and great examples of Orthodox Christian piety and livelihood, have no doubt been enriched our lives in many dimensions.
During his homily in the Liturgy and in the luncheon following, Sayidna thanked the entire parish for the love it has shown and will continue to show the Najim family. He said he cherishes his friendship with Father Michel and Kh. Eva that has lasted for decades, and that he has such trusted advisors in his life. Subdeacon Maxime spoke admiringly of his parents, saying he is glad he and his siblings are not alone in calling Father Michel and Kh. Eva “father” and “mother.” “A person’s perception and relationship with God as Father is influenced by their own perception and relationship with their own father and mother,” Subdeacon Maxime said. “It is no accident, then, that you find the three of us—Theodore, myself, and Lydia—so close to our father and mother and, equally so, attached to our Heavenly Father and to our Heavenly Mother, the Church.” Father Michel and Kh. Eva both expressed their gratitude to the entire Cathedral community for a wonderful twenty years together. We pray to almighty God that He keeps this great couple and their entire family with us for many more years.
By Subdeacon Peter Samore