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“I am here for a mission, and in order to accomplish this mission, I am visiting as many parishes as I can.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Antonios, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese, visited two parishes in Maryland over Thanksgiving weekend. He held dialogues with the congregations to hear their concerns, needs and aspirations as the Archdiocese prepares for a special convention to nominate a new Metropolitan.

Sayidna Antonios also asked them to explain their thoughts of the mission and role of this archdiocese, not just in North America, but in the heart of the Antiochian Patriarchate.

“Our Church, since its beginning, has grown in the grace of God through the blood that was shed in order to preach Christ and the word of the Lord,” His Eminence preached after Great Vespers on Saturday, November 26 at Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Hunt Valley. “That is why we in the homeland and you here carry this inheritance, this legacy, this treasure of the deep spiritual life that is present in Antioch.”

On Sunday, November 27, Sayidna Antonios celebrated the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Potomac. In the day’s epistle reading (Eph. 2:14-22), St. Paul said that “Christ is our peace.” In the day’s gospel reading, (Luke 18:18-27), Jesus told the rich young man to sell everything he had and distribute to the poor so that he could have treasure in heaven and follow Christ.

“If we do not become strangers in the world, then we cannot be Christians. We have a different logic, different objectives,” Sayidna Antonios preached. “If a man wishes to earn money to feel safe, Christ tells us, ‘No, you should give, because true safety comes from Me. He who entrusts his life to Me will never be afraid.’

On Sunday night, Sayidna Antonios finished his visits in Maryland by meeting with the clergy of the Chesapeake Deanery.

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