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Regional Subdeacons Hold Retreat at St. Nicholas Cathedral - 02/12/2011

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By: Subdeacon Peter Samore

Following the words of St. Paul, “Let everything be done decently and in order,” (I Cor. 10:40) seven subdeacons from around the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West gathered to learn how to best serve with and assist His Grace, Bishop JOSEPH when he makes pastoral visits. This has become a vital ministry, and the retreat defined the subdeacons’ roles and responsibilities so that Sayidna can devote every possible moment of his visits to preaching and ministering to his flock. Their first gathering was Saturday, February 12 at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles.

The Episcopal Assistant, Subdeacon Michael Habib, led the engaging retreat that produced great dialogue and understanding. With Sayidna’s blessing, Michael established the regional subdeacon program to reduce confusion so that more attention is given to prayer and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ in the divine services. These subdeacons have graciously accepted to serve at any parishes in their areas when Sayidna comes to visit. They received training on the basic, routine aspects of the bishop’s visit such as attending to him at the hierarchical throne, packing and unpacking his liturgical suitcase, setting up for the Liturgy and serving the Liturgy.

The morning session in the Cathedral’s upstairs conference room covered all the “theory” behind an episcopal visit, and the afternoon session inside the Holy Altar put that into practice. The subdeacons prepared Sayidna’s vestments, service book and texts, trikiri and dikiri and all of his other elements just as if he would be celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy that day. They also practiced their own movements in and around the holy sanctuary, like when Sayidna censes the holy table.

Though the retreat provided a tremendous amount of information to digest, the subdeacons agreed that they must not be afraid of all that they learned. Rather, they are to serve in the fear of God with love, piety, common sense and attentiveness. The subdeacons closed the day with Vespers and gave thanks to God for the honor and privilege of serving in His holy altar.

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