Staten Island, NY – On Saturday, April 29, 2023, His Grace Bishop Makarios and His Grace Bishop Sinoda celebrated the Divine Liturgy together sealing the unity of their respective flocks into a single diocese jointly overseen by both bishops. Their Graces celebrated the Liturgy in the Ge’ez Rite common to the Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churches.
The Liturgy was hosted at the St. Mary of Zeitoun Coptic Orthodox Center by the President of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of New York & New England, His Grace Anba David. Also participating in the Liturgy were His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian (Ecumenical Officer & Diocesan Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church), His Eminence Mor Titus Yeldho (Archbishop of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church), His Grace Anba Gabriel (Patriarchal Exarch and General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of North America), the Vicar of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church The V. Rev. Father Simeon Odabashian (representing His Reverence Hayr Mesrop Parsamyan, the Primate), The V. Rev. Father Gabriel Alkass of the Eastern Diocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church (representing His Eminence Mor Dionysios John Kawak), and priests and deacons of the Armenian, Malankara-Syriac, Ethiopian, Coptic, and Eritrean Orthodox Churches.
During the course of this blessed day, two babies were baptized into the Church and the secretary of the Standing Conference – Deacon Gebre Kristos Nicholas Siniari – was elevated to the rank of archdeacon by the assembled bishops. At the invitation of His Grace Bishop Makarios and His Grace Bishop Sinoda, His Grace Bishop David gave the homily after the Gospel and His Eminence Archbishop Vicken gave the concluding remarks. Both speakers emphasized the importance of unity in Christ and of standing up for our Orthodox Christian Faith at all costs. Both also remarked upon the courage, humility, and fortitude exhibited by the Eritrean Bishops in leading their flocks into unity in Christ. The Eritrean Fathers, in turn, thanked Bishop David and Archbishop Vicken for their tireless efforts on behalf of their church.
The Fathers of the newly-unified Eritrean Diocese also made it abundantly clear that they are ready and open for any dialogue which will heal the remaining divisions within the Eritrean Church at home and abroad, and called upon the Standing Conference to continue its good work by assisting in the process.
After the Liturgy, the faithful assembled for an agape meal featuring delicious Eritrean cuisine.