Under the Aucpice of His Eminence Mor Dionysius John Kawak, the Suryoyto Women’s Day, held at the Mor Aphrem Center in Paramus, NJ on November 11th, began with a 7:00 PM cocktail hour, featuring Mary Akdemir as the MC for the night.
The program featured a keynote address by Prof. Kelli Bryant Gibson, an Associate Professor in the graduate school of theology at Abilene Christian University. Prof. Gibson is part of the Antioch Bible translation review committee, working on the translation of the Syriac Peshitta Bible, a project supported by the diocese.
His Eminence Mor Dionysius John Kawak in his introductory remarks alluded to the many times one recites the Lord’s Prayer in their life and the pivotal role the prayer has in our Syriac liturgy. During her interactive keynote, Prof. Gibson delved into the significance of the Lord’s Prayer within the context of Jacob of Sarug’s homilies. According to Jacob, the Lord’s Prayer is not merely a request for needs but also a spiritual weapon against evil. Prof. Gibson drew connections between the prayer’s familiar phrases and their deeper meanings, emphasizing its role in aligning human will with the divine. She highlighted Jacob’s interpretation of “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and the link to the prayer Jesus uttered in Gethsemane.
The evening concluded with a powerful moment as all attendees recited the Lord’s Prayer in the native Syriac tongue, connecting to the words Jesus Himself spoke and passed down to the community. This event provided both an exploration of faith and a communal expression of shared spirituality among Suryoyto women.