Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Day of Blessings: Elevation of His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia to Metropolitan

By Emmanuel Brikha

The Assyrian community of Australia and New Zealand, was this Sunday blessed by the presence of the Patriarch of the Assyrian church of the East His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV. He arrived in Australia last week for the elevation of His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia from his rank of Bishop to Metropolitan of Australia and New Zealand. The Metropolitan of Lebanon, Syria and all of Europe His Beatitude Mar Narsai Debaz along with metropolitan of India His Beatitude Mar Aprem Mooken and the newly ordained Bishop of California His Grace Mar Awa Rouel, all of who arrived in Australia for a two weeks of big events in the Assyrian church and community.

Assyrian faithful started to pack the church as early as 4am on the raining Sunday morning. By 6am more than 2000 people were ready to welcome the Patriarch, and by 7.30 there was huge crowds at the church as the clergy convoy entered the grounds of St Hurmizd Assyrian cathedral at Greenfield Park, Sydney.

More than 100 deacons, choir members and children formed an isle from the alter all the way to outside the church entrance doors. The Patriarch along with the metropolitan and Bishops entered the church doors with a welcome of prayers and roses which were thrown at his feet. Thousands of people were crying and cheering as the scene was to overwhelming for them.

As the clergy made there way up to the alter the ceremony began. His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia had read his oath and promise of loyalty to his church, Patriarch and ranks. He was then blessed with the laying of the hand and elevated to the ranks of Metropolitan. As soon as he was elevated the crowds clapped, screamed, and celebrated with cheers that their church leader was made Metropolitan.

More than 3700 people had attended this event many from interstate and from other countries. As food was being served outside the church hall people were greeted by the clergy before leaving to get ready for the evening dinner which was to follow.

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