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His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH Preaches at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Archdiocesan Convention - 07/26/2009

Palm Desert, California

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The 49th Convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America came to a successful conclusion on Sunday, July 26 with His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH delivering the homily. He made sure to thank the tireless efforts of the host parish of St. Michael of Van Nuys, California and its Convention leadership: Very Reverend Timothy Baclig; co-chairmen Don Meena and Michael C. Srour; the honorary chairman, Adeeb G. Sadd; and all those who labored. Sayidna also gave thanks to Their Eminences, Metropolitan PHILIP of New York and North America, and Metropolitan PAUL of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, and to all the bishops of the North American Archdiocese. Sayidna JOSEPH showed much gratitude to all the attendees from around the continent who sacrificed to come together in Palm Desert, California.

After starting on this theme of thanksgiving, Sayidna JOSEPH addressed a packed hotel chapel – converted from a hotel ballroom for the week – on the unity of the Orthodox Church that is found in the person and icon of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Whether we are consecrated or ordained or parishioners, we have to see the icon of Jesus Christ in the people around us, and not to be indifferent,” His Grace said. “The theology is one, the Church is one, the Archbishop, the Bishops, the clergy and all the faithful are one holy family, because the icon of Jesus Christ is one. Therefore, it makes all of us one as the holy Chalice makes us united to one another.”

Sayidna then remarked at the love and mercy many showed one another during the Convention week. “We greet each other with nice words, and we hug each other, because we see in our brethren the real icon of Jesus Christ,” His Grace said. “Yes, we make mistakes, but only God and the people of God can forgive our sins and mistakes. We must not lose our hope, our faith and our joy at any time.”

Sayidna JOSEPH concluded his homily with a message to take back to their homes and parishes, to be shared with those who could not attend the convention. “I need you to be ordained,” His Grace said to the clergy. “But whether we are consecrated or ordained or parishioners, we have to see the icon of Jesus Christ in the people around us, and not to be indifferent.”

By: Subdeacon Peter Samore

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