It was on the Sunday after Theophany…
…that the faithful of our blessed Archdiocese gathered in celebration for the ordination of Reverend Father Phillip Saba to the Priesthood, by the hand of His Eminence, Metropolitan Basilios.
A capacity St. Nicholas parish gathered together, under the patronage of His Eminence, in prayer for this blessed occasion. Along with our Archbishop and priests of our archdiocese were 2 choirs- English and Arabic- leading the faithful to pray in one accord.
Prior to the ordination, His Eminence gave personal and practical direction to Fr. Phillip. Addressing the (still) deacon, His Eminence highlighted the personal duty to replicate the Forerunner’s reminder that “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30). His Eminence expounded the role of Priest, who although called Father and Shepherd, is responsible to decrease in himself and evangelise Christ: The True Father and the True Chief Shepherd.
Khouriyeh Mandy, their son Jonah, and their unborn child were acknowledged by His Eminence, and thanked for their personal sacrifice as an extension of the Priesthood.
With emotional, yet refined words, Fr. Phillip returned his heartfelt appreciation for the prayers and support of the Archdiocese, during the many years of his personal ministry. In particular, Fr. Phillip offered gratitude for the personal care and love that His Eminence had provided over the past years. In addition to the clergy, his family, and his friends, three special women were given worthy appreciation: our most Holy Mother, the Theotokos- who never failed to nurture him; his mother, Georgette; and his wife, Kh. Mandy- all of whom have supported him unconditionally.
Despite how full the church was, the silence was profound as all knelt to hear the ordination prayers, read by our Archbishop:
“You the same Lord, fill with the gift of Your Holy Spirit this man whom it has pleased You to advance to the degree of Priest; that he may become worthy to stand in innocence before Your altar, to proclaim the Gospel of Your kingdom, to minister the word of Your truth, to offer to You spiritual gifts and sacrifices; to renew Your people through the font of regeneration, that when he shall go to meet You, at the second coming of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ”
Those who were fortunate to be present were left in awe as the Holy Spirit descended. The former deacon was called to rise, and being presented with his Priestly vestments, His Eminence lead to say “Mustahiq!”… “Axios!”… ”He is Worthy!”. Those in attendance erupted in fervent response and approval.
Serving as first Priest, at the right-hand of the Archbishop, for the remainder of the Divine Liturgy, Fr. Phillip concluded the service. Following thereafter, the hundreds who were gathered to celebrate sharing in fellowship in the parish hall and offered a personal greeting of “Mustahiq”. It was certainly a joy and blessing to celebrate as a Church, and inspirational experience for the many who had not witnessed a Priestly ordination.
Fr. Phillip, who is a graduate of Balamand’s St. John of Damascus Theological school is the leader of St. Kassiani’s Archdiocese choir, is now granted a new ministry. Our Archbishop asks the faithful to continue praying for Fr. Phillip and his family, as they give their collective lives on a pathway that few are granted, and for the sake of many.
Truly, he is Worthy!
Photo credit: Assaad Attallah