Kenilworth, NJ.- The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey held its 3rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Celebration on Sunday evening, December 18, 2005, at the Metropolis of New Jersey Headquarters in Kenilworth, New Jersey. His Eminence Metropolitan EVANGELOS of New Jersey, spiritual Leader of the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey, together with the Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos Society, hosted the celebration that was attended by Orthodox Faithful from throughout the Metropolis of New Jersey who filled the Metropolis Headquarters to capacity, surpassing previous years’ attendance.
Joining Metropolitan Evangelos for the festive celebration were His Excellency, Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana, Abbot of the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropeghial Monastery of St. Irene of Chrysovalantou in Astoria, NY, His Grace, Bishop Philotheos of Meloa and His Grace, Bishop Vikentios of Apameia, Deputy Abbot of the Monastery, Reverend Clergy, Mr. Nicholas Bouras, Vice Commander of the Order of Archons of the Venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Archons of the Order of St. Andrew, Mrs. Catherine Boura, Consul General of Greece in New York, Members of the Metropolitan Council, the Metropolis Philoptochos Society, Leadership 100, various Youth Organizations and Faithful from throughout the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey (Greater Philadelphia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) and of course, His Eminence’s Home City, New York.
The highlight of the evening was of course the actual lighting of the Metropolis Christmas Tree by His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, which was immediately followed by Liturgical Hymns of praise in honor of our Lord’s Nativity, led by the newly formed Metropolis of New Jersey Byzantine Choir. Furthermore, Greek and Sunday School students and children from area Parishes also joyfully led the Faithful in the singing of Traditional Christmas Carols. His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos distributed gift bags and an Icon of the Nativity to the children and all present, bestowing upon all his paternal blessings and wishing upon them the blessings of God, a most blessed and beautiful Christmas, and a healthy and happy New Year 2006.
The evening concluded with a beautiful Lenten reception prepared by the Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos. All gathered shared in the cheerful spirit of Christmas, creating a most warm and peaceful atmosphere in contrast to the cold wind that blew outside. As Christmas wishes were exchanged and New Year’s resolutions made, the Faithful left in an excited spirit of anticipation for next year’s celebration.
This annual event brings together Clergy and their families, as well as a host of Orthodox Christians from throughout the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, who gather for a festive evening of friendship and jubilation in celebration of our Lord’s Nativity.