HOUSTON: Sunday of Orthodoxy 2009

Each year, Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers is hosted by a different parish in the Houston area; this year: Holy Forty Martyrs Mission in Sugar Land. Hairy, here, is Fr John Whiteford; thinnin’ and bespecaled is moi; Fr Florin Craioveanu follows.

Wait! That priest looks Early!

New to the Houston area, Fr Stephen Burke, center (with Christ), is flanked by Reader Herman Engelhardt and Archpriest John Salem at the Chanter’s stand.

Our senior priest, Archpriest Joseph Shahda, leads the way in the procession, followed by the pastor of Holy Forty Martyrs, Priest Gabriel Karam, and our guest preacher, Archpriest Chad Hatfield.

The service was beautified by the polyphonic Pan-Orthodox voice of the St Romanos Chorale, under the direction of Dr Bill Attra.

That’s me encouraging the gathered faithful to give generously to the needs of our local Orthodox Clergy Association. The annual collection during Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers, other than parish dues, is our sole means of income toward sponsoring Pan-Orthodox events and projects in Southeast Texas.

The Chancellor of St Vladimir’s Seminary, Fr Chad Hatfield, delivered a rousing sermon on Orthodox unity in America.

A beaming Fr Gabriel Karam welcomes the 20+ clergy and hundreds of Orthodox faithful to Holy Forty Martyrs Mission. It was a blessing to see the nave and the hall packed with people from all over Southeast Texas.

This year we were also blessed with an hierarchical presence — His Grace, Bishop IRINEU (Duvlea), of the Orthodox Church in America, Romanian Episcopate.

Why red vestments? Because it was the eve of the Patronal Feast of the Mission dedicated to the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.

(Click here for tons more pics.)

Through the prayers of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, may God have mercy on us and save us!

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