From Jordan comes this colorful description of a Melkite diaconate ordination, via Msgr. John Kozar of CNEWA, who is on a pastoral visit to the Middle East:
We were invited by the archbishop and Abuna Boulos to concelebrate at the ordination liturgy for a subdeacon and deacon. What an honor for Father Guido and myself. Not only did the archbishop make us feel welcome, he even vested us in the Melkite vestments used for their liturgy. It was a very proud moment for both of us.
I had a singular honor of processing through the congregation holding up the Gospel book and having people touch it or kiss it as I passed. The pastor made special mention of Ra’ed Bahou, Father Guido and me as special guests and participants in the Divine Liturgy and expressed appreciation for the many forms of assistance rendered by CNEWA to all of the five parishes that he covers.
A couple of impressive sights from the ceremony: Being welcomed outside the church as we arrived with the archbishop by all the men removing the agal, or cord, from their kaffiyeh, a traditional head covering. It was a sign of deepest respect given to us. The men were robust in their handshakes and in their welcoming.
After the ceremony, after all the elders and people of the parish had personally greeted the new deacon and given him a kiss on each cheek, a group of younger parishioners hoisted the deacon on their shoulders and began dancing to the beat of their chanting which created a most festive mood.
There’s much more. Read the rest.