On Friday, February 3/2017, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East arrived in Jaramana, Syria to consecrate a new parish dedicated to the greatly beloved St. Paisios the Athonite. According to several posts on the Antiochian Patriarchate’s Facebook page, the temple was consecrated on Saturday, with the first Liturgy being celebrated on Sunday.
Patriarch John entered the church in Jaramana, five miles southeast of Damascus in southwestern Syria, to the music of the Scouts of St. Anthony the Great and accompanied by a number of bishops, priests, and deacons. The glorious rite of consecration was celebrated accompanied by Byzantine chants and clouds of incense.
During the service, the patriarch exhorted the joyful gathered: “Man, you are the temple of the living God … so you must make your heart an altar to the true God, and your life an offering upon that altar.” Such an altar and such a sacrifice is evident in the life of St. Paisios the Athonite, canonized in 2015.
The various pictures and videos available on the patriarchate’s page show a great host of joyful faithful gathered for the consecration of the church which will be home to 4,500 Orthodox families, loudly proclaiming their gratitude to God.