His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with His Beatitude, Patriarch John X and All the East and His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of Saint Nicholas here on Sunday, October 29, 2017.
Patriarch John arrived in the US on October 21 to participate in an “In Defense of Christians” Summit, titled “American Leadership and Securing the Future of Christians in the Middle East,” in Washington, DC October 24-26. According to the Archdiocesan web site, Patriarch John met with the leadership of the United Nations and members of the current US Administration to promote a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, to highlight the current humanitarian crisis, and to discuss the future of Christians in Syria and the Middle East. While in the nation’s capital, he celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Potomac, MD on Sunday, October 22.
Another goal of Patriarch John’s visit was highlighting the very effective humanitarian arm of the Patriarchate, the Department of Ecumenical Relationships and Development [DERD]—the largest independent local NGO operating inside Syria. Like the Patriarchate, DERD is completely independent of government involvement and seeks to “offer help to those who are in dire need, ensuring that efforts are made to provide service to all, to spread the spirit of humanity, justice, tranquility and peace among those affected, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.” See related video.
Concelebrating at Saint Nicholas Cathedral with Patriarch John and Metropolitans Tikhon and Joseph were His Grace, Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Diocese of Oakland, Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic; His Grace, Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England; and His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast.
Following the Divine Liturgy, Patriarch John was honored at a reception and fundraising luncheon. Among those in attendance were the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, His Eminence and Beatitude Patriarch Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai, and the Bishop of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, His Excellency, Bishop Gregory John Mansour. Funds raised at the luncheon were earmarked to support the victims and relief efforts of the ongoing war in Syria.