In a solemn Divine Liturgy, the Episcopal Ordination of Archimandrite Arsanios Dahdal took place in the Maryamiyah Cathedral in Damascus.
The service was presided over by Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, in the presence of Metropolitans, Bishops, and believers. The ordination ceremony began on Friday evening, November 19, 2021. On this evening, the elect was summoned to the patriarchal hall and then the Vespers prayer was held in the Maryamiyah Cathedral. The Patriarch presided over the Vespers and the elect initiated the prayer at the end of which the confession of faith was recited.
On Saturday morning, the Patriarch of Antioch presided over the Divine Liturgy and was assisted by the Metropolitans: Elias (Tyre and Sidon), Saba (Houran), George (Homs), Basilios (Akkar), Antonios (Zahle), Nicholas (Hama), Athanasius (Lattakia), Ephraim (Aleppo). Their Graces, Bishops Moussa Al- Khoury, Dimitri Sharbek, Youhanna Batch, and a group of priests and deacons were among the attendees.
The Chargé d’Affairs of the Greek Embassy, Ambassador Nicholas Protonotarios, the Consul of Greece in Syria, many members of the People’s Assembly, officials, and many believers also attended.
At the end of the liturgy, and after Patriarch John crowned the new Bishop and enthroned the newly ordained Bishop, His Beatitude delivered a speech in which He listed the virtues of the new bishop and praised the faith in his small family while growing up. This faith incited Bishop Arsanios to dedicate himself to the ministry of the Church and his teacher, Jesus Christ.
Then Bishop Arsanios delivered the following speech:
Your Highness, Your Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of the Great City of God Antioch and all the East, the most blessed and most respectful.
Your Eminences, Metropolitans, the members of the Holy Antiochian Synod and, highly respected bishops.
Fellow brethren monks and nuns,
I raise glory to God; I prostrate thankfully and praisefully for His tenderness.
For He qualified me, undeserving of the honor and greatness of archpriesthood.
I thank you, Your Beatitude, and I thank the honorable fathers of the Holy Antiochian Synod for the trust you have granted me.
Despite being filled with the feeling of greatness of the ministry of archpriesthood, I am overwhelmed with fear and trembling, before the transcendent responsibility and faithfulness. You have entrusted me with responsibility and faithfulness to appear blameless before the throne of the Lord, whenever He comes to judge us all.
Your Beatitude, the Maryamiyah Cathedral, the mother of all Damascene churches, has a great impact on my heart. I grew up in this church, chanted in its choir, and lived among its fathers.
Here, I met the Thrice blessed Ignatius IV, whose paternal affection deeply resonated in my heart. Despite my departure in 1994 to the monastery to live the life of monasticism, and my long absence due to my studies in Greece, He did not forget about me. He brought me back to minister in this cathedral in 2010, under His patronage.
I shall not forget the first chanter of the Holy Antiochian See, the late Dimitri Kaplanis, who took care of me as his son and instilled in me a love for church music.
Here, Your Beatitude, in this cathedral, every morning, a liturgical service accustoms us to experience the greatness and liturgical beauty of Orthodoxy, and the fragrant scent of its saints filling the universe.
Here the Theotokos brought me together with many of my peers and caught me with her purity and virtues. Hence, the love of Christ is poured into us, and the love of ministry inflames us.
So we, with our leaders in the Orthodox Sunday schools, go out to the countryside, establish choirs, serve education in the villages, and hold vigils.
Today, as the Lord has qualified me with the grace of His Holy Spirit to become the head of the priesthood, the weight is accumulating and the service is increasing. I feel that the Virgin is calling me again to serve, with Your blessing and guidance, the children of this blessed city, the brothers of Jesus, thus imitating my teacher Who wore a loincloth and washed the disciples’ feet.
Priesthood is a service baptized with the love of sacrifice and caring for the brothers of Jesus. It is sacrifice and crucifixion with Christ out of love for every human being. It is a kind of love that goes to the extent of redemption and self-sacrifice. Nonetheless, it never ceases to guide patiently, straighten gently, exhort patiently, and reproach with love, when it is deemed necessary.
At this blessed hour, allow me, Your Beatitude, to thank my father and mother who have watched over my upbringing. No word is capable of describing their sacrifice and love.
My siblings who are my support and consolation. They have accompanied me in every step of my life and have always been by my side.
Al-Dahdal, with all the branches of the family tree, who were and are still exemplified by the love of God and patriotism, faithfulness and zeal for the Holy Orthodox Church.
My friends and brothers in the Orthodox Sunday Schools, from whom and with whom I have learned so many things.
My brothers in spirit, the monks among whom I have smelled the perfume of holiness. I shall not forget the womb from which I was born, the monastery of Our Lady of Hamtoura.
My sons, the monks of the monastery of St. George Al-Humaira, who have served and still serve with love and silence, all who thirst for the oasis of the holy monastery.
I must thank the Greek government for the assistance it has granted me in completing my theological studies. I should not forget to mention the Greek Church in which I gained great experience, especially mentioning the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki, His Holiness Anthimos.
I also thank in particular His Eminence David, the Metropolitan of Grevena, who has surrounded me with his fatherly love and has supported me spiritually throughout my studies.
I want to thank the Greek Government for the help it has given me to complete my theological studies. I also thank the Church of Greece from which I gained great experience, His Holiness Anthimos for his paternal love, and especially I thank His Eminence the Metropolitan of Grevena who surrounded me with his paternal love.
I thank all the clergy and laity, the members of the Orthodox Sunday Schools, the people of my village, and all who have rejoiced me today with their presence, especially those who have come from faraway places.
I thank the choir members and ceremonial teams, and the media staff, who have granted special splendor to this service and celebration.
I especially thank their Eminences, the Metropolitans, who have shared this great joy with me.
The greatest thanks remain to you, Your Beatitude, as you bestowed upon me your love and gave me great confidence, as you confined to me six years ago, the dearest monastery to your heart, where my heart resides and rests. Today again, you call me to the great archpriesthood, and to carry the cross of greater service, so I thank you cordially and say, “Blessed be it, Your Beatitude, and glory to God for everything”.
Source: Patriarchate of Antioch