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For full photo slide-show go to: abpnathaniel_30thanniversary_photos.html

On Saturday evening, November 8, 2014, our local Metro-Detroit Orthodox community participated in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Enthronement of His Eminence, the Most Blessed Nathaniel, as Archbishop of Detroit and Ruling Hierarch of the Romanian Episcopate of America.

The celebration took place in the presence of the precious relics of St. George the Great Martyr (photo, reliquary on the left) and St. Nektarios of Aegina, (whose feast-day was November 9th), (photo, reliquary on the right), at St. George Romanian Orthodox Cathedral in Southfield, beginning with Great Vespers and a Moleben  Service of Thanksgiving.

Participating in this milestone celebration with H.E. Archbishop Nathaniel were His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of the Metropolis of Detroit of the Greek Archdiocese of America, and His Grace Irineu, Bishop of Dearborn Heights, Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Episcopate and Abbott of Ascension Monastery in Clinton, MI.

Concelebrating with the three hierarchs were about 25 priests and 5 deacons, with Protopresbyter Laurence Lazar, Dean of St. George Cathedral, presiding, including both of our priests, Fr. Roman and Fr. Daneil. The Very Reverend Mother Gabriella, Abbess of the Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, MI, was also present. The responses were beautifully sung and chanted by a male ensemble of 7 voices, led by Subdeacon John E. Lazar. In addition to the many Romanian clergy and laity present, some coming from Ohio, Indiana, and other states, there were also numerous other clergy and faithful from most of the many different Orthodox jurisdictions in southeast Michigan, including Matushka Rose Marie and Sister Ioanna from our Parish of St. Innocent. Many of the current and past officers and members of the Council of Orthodox Christian Churches (COCC) were also present, including Fr. Roman, who had been both President and Spiritual Advisor for many years, until recently. All in all, this celebration was an important Pan/Inter-Orthodox event for the Orthodox community of southeast Michigan, and was itself an important expression of Orthodox unity. Thus, it was an appropriate tribute to H.E. Archbishop Nathaniel, who has been very dedicated to building pan/inter-Orthodox unity in America during his 30 years as the Head of the Romanian Episcopate.

Following the prayerful Vespers and Moleben services, and veneration of the holy relics, there was a glorious reception in the cathedral’s spacious and lovely Cultural Center, that was indeed a worthy tribute in honor of Archbishop Nathaniel’s 30 years of labors in the Lord’s vineyard. The large hall was packed, with almost every seat taken. Beautifully arranged and decorated tables were filled with a huge variety of delicious hors d’oeuvres and desserts, which were enjoyed by all. Two exquisite torte cakes were baked by the monks of the Ascension Monastery.

Fr. Roman had a chance to visit with his long-time friend from seminary, Fr. Garabed Kochakian, priest at St. John's Armenian Orthodox Church in Southfield.

After the food and fellowship, comments in honor of the occasion were offered by Protopresbyter Laurence Lazar, Very Rev. Dr. Remus Grama of St. Mary Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, H.G. Bishop Irineu, and H.E. Metropolitan Nicholas, and special gifts were presented. A ten-voice ensemble of the COCC’s Orthodox Choir of Metropolitan-Detroit, conducted by Matushka Victoria Kopistiansky, offered a special short concert of beautiful hymns. Fr. Roman and Matushka's daughter, Elizabeth (to the left of Abp. Nathaniel), sang with the ensemble.

A superb 142-page, full-size color commemorative book of countless photos and several articles documenting Abp. Nathaniel’s life and his contributions to the Romanian Orthodox Church, designed and compiled by Sdn. John E. Lazar, was distributed to everyone present.

The evening’s celebration to honor and pay tribute to H.E. Archbishop Nathaniel for his 30-years of service as ruling hierarch of the ROEA ended with His Eminence himself making a few comments. The cathedral, as usual, did an exquisite job in arranging and hosting this marvelous event.

For full photo slide-show go to: abpnathaniel_30thanniversary_photos.html