Wynnewood, PA – This morning, on October 21, 2023, the Oriental Orthodox Christians of the Greater Philadelphia Area gathered to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy and to pray for God’s suffering people in Artsakh. The service was convened under the auspices of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches (SCOOCh) and hosted by St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church.
SCOOCh member His Grace Bishop Karas – Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, & West Virginia – presided over the Liturgy from his throne. After receiving His Grace’s blessing, Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, Fr. Kassahun Selassie of Debre Ganet Kidus Amanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Fr. Mina Shaheid of St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, and Fr. Efrem Mebrahtu and Fr. Gebreezebeher Debrezion of the Canonical Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church celebrated at the altar.
Diocesan Vicar V. Rev. Fr. Simeon Obabashian and SCOOCh Secretary Archdeacon Gebre-Kristos Nicholas Siniari coordinated the service. Also participating in the prayers were Megabe Haimanot V. Fr. Walelign Chane of Debre Ganet Kidus Amanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, V. Rev. Fr. Nerses Manoogian of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church, the hosting priest V. Rev. Fr. Armash Bagdasarian, and numerous deacons of the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Churches. His Grace Bishop Karas also gave an encouraging homily reassuring the people of God’s love even in times of persecution and other trying times. The service was well attended by faithful of all traditions who later joined together in an agape meal.
At the agape meal, Fr. Hakob and Deacon Steven Keytanjian gave presentations on Artsakh and Fr. Mina (on behalf of Bishop Karas), Fr. Gebreezebeher, Deacon Gebre Kristos, and Deacon Yonas Kenfu of Debre Ganet Kidus Amanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church read letters and gave speeches expressing the support of their respective communities for Artsakh and for the people and the Holy Orthodox Church of Armenia.
The service was a remarkable and moving expression of the unity of the One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic Church made manifest in the Oriental Orthodox Communion during times of persecution and the Standing Conference glorifies God for its convocation.