By Ruth Bedevian
FAIR LAWN, N.J. — On Sunday, December 8, the choir members of St. Leon Armenian Church, Fair Lawn NJ, wore their robes and sang Khoroott Medz and Oorakh Lehr at the Pan-Orthodox Christmas Concert sponsored by St. Mark’s Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, Paramus. Proceeds from ticket sales were earmarked to relieve the suffering of Christians in present turmoil in Syria.
This was the first of hopefully more future concerts to share in the spiritual diversity and at the same time, unity of orthodox believers. Praise to the Almighty in all languages is to “Sing to the Lord a new song, Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.” Psalm 96: 1-2
The impressive program booklet contained the printed words to the hymns in the languages of the respective participating churches which included Greek Orthodox Church, Orthodox Church of America (OCA), the Coptic Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Armenian Orthodox Apostolic Church and the host church, the Syriac Orthodox Church.
An authentic collection of hymns all praised the Nativity of Christ, including some prayerful hymns of thanksgiving to describe St. Joseph’s Revelation, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and the Annunciation to Zachariah the Priest (Syrian Orthodox Church) and a Chanting of “ Truly We Believe” (Ethiopian Orthodox).
Several hierarchs and clergy were in attendance and a welcome message was delivered by Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for Eastern US. Following the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, Archbishop Elpidophoros who is chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the US rendered an “opening word,” expressing the UNITY of Christian love and the oneness in the body of Christ.