Under the auspices of His Eminence Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar of the Eastern United States, the Archdiocese Youth Organization hosted the 33rd Annual Syriac Orthodox Youth Convention for the United States in New Jersey from July 7-10, 2016.
The theme of this year’s Youth Convention was inspired by St. Paul’s second letter to St. Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
The Convention received over 300 young Suryoye from all over the world, who over the four days focused on spiritual, educational, cultural and social activities.
Morning and evening prayers were held everyday in Syriac and English. Some hymns were translated into English and sung with traditional Syriac tunes to provide a more spiritually comprehensive experience for the Youth. His Eminence gave the Youth inspiring spiritual messages on various topics applicable to their daily lives in a modern era.
Friday kicked off the convention’s workshop schedule, with workshops being held on Friday and Saturday that included:
- “Spirit of Power and Love”, by Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan of the Armenian Orthodox Church;
· “Spirit of a Sound Mind”, by Rev. Fr. Anthony Messeh of the Coptic Orthodox Church;
· Bible Study led by Mr. Thomas Barhe;
· Our Last Stand, a documentary about the suffering Christian communities of Syriac, Assyrian and Chaldean heritage featuring our own Helma Adde and her journey to Iraq and Syria;
· Video sermon on the gifts that God has given to each one of us; and
· Interactive workshop on the Book of Psalms
Friday evening the Youth were invited to Church of the Virgin Mary in Paramus, NJ for dinner and a social evening filled with Syriac music and memories.
Saturday morning started with morning prayers and continued with workshops, after which the Youth were invited to the pride of Suryoye in the Eastern United States, the Archdiocese Building “Mor Aphrem Center” in Paramus, NJ for a tour, lunch and evening prayers.
The Youth Convention concluded on Sunday at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Teaneck, NJ where His Eminence Mor Dionysius John Kawak celebrated Holy Liturgy.