As the autumn sets in each year, one annually thinks of a new Ecclesiastical and school year, football season, and the changing colors of leaves. For our Antiochian seminarians, another staple of the fall every year is their annual dinner with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. Each year Sayidna welcomes his spiritual children to the Archdiocese headquarters, where they pray, eat and talk together. This year, seminarians and their wives from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, St. Tikhon's Seminary, and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary were in attendance, along with the archdiocesan clergy who teach them at the various seminaries.
The evening began with Great Vespers, with the seminarians chanting the entire service under the direction of Rassem El-Massih, who is finishing his studies at St. Vladimir's. After Vespers and a group photo, all present enjoyed a scrumptious dinner prepared by the archdiocesan chef Almaza Farhat and her staff.
His Eminence then welcomed the seminarians and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn also addressed the gathering, reminding them that our Lord is with them, even when they will face difficult times in their ministries.
After dessert, Metropolitan Philip spoke to the seminarians about the importance of touching the lives of their future flocks by being present with them through their joys and sorrows, and by ministering to the faithful in their respective parishes, in the midst of various circumstances and challenges. The seminarians then thanked Sayidna for his hospitality and love, and the evening ended with them singing "Many years" to their father in Christ.