MARYLAND: On Sunday, March 25th from 3PM – 7PM, at St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church, in Silver Spring, MD, the MGOCSM of the DC-MD-VA (DMV) Area, organized a special Acolyte Assembly and Training for the services of Passion Week.
The Acolyte Training was presided over and led by the various parish priests of the area and one senior Acolyte, including:
- Rev. Fr. K.P. Varghese – Vicar of St. Thomas Church, Baltimore, MD
- Rev. Fr. Reji Chacko – Vicar of St. Thomas Church, Damascus, MD
- Rev. Fr. Laby George – Vicar of St. Gregorios Church, Washington, D.C.
- Rev. Fr. George C. Mathew – Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Northern VA
- Rev. Fr. Andrew Daniel – Vicar of St. Thomas Church, Greater Washington
- Mr. Justin Mathews – Senior Acolyte from St. Mary’s Church, Northern, VA
The initiative came about when various acolytes from the area came together and wanted to learn more about the services of passion week to better serve the altar, their Achens, and their church. They sought out the tutelage of their area’s parish priests, who were all well versed in the Holy Orthodox Traditions from both Seminaries in India as well as America. These parish priests and acolytes were able to come together and learn about the richness of the Liturgy of Holy Week.
The event was filled with various workshops, led by various leaders . Rev. Fr. K.P. Varghese led the group with an invocation prayer and a welcome message to set the tone for the Holy Week that would be coming soon. Next, Mr. Justin Mathews gave a detailed explanation of the spiritual significance and richness of traditions in each of the Passion Week services. Rev. Fr. K.P. Varghese returned again to lead a workshop to elaborate on the various processions of Holy Week. Afterwards, Rev. Fr. George C. Mathew led the acolytes in teaching the subtle nuances of the services from Palm Sunday to Pesaha. Later, Rev. Fr. Andrew Daniel and Rev. Fr. Reji Chacko helped lead a workshop on the days of Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Subsequently, Rev. Fr. Laby George led the group and went over various songs of Good Friday service. Finally, all the Achens of the area helped to answer the various questions of the acolytes in a Q&A session.
Overall, it was a true blessing for all the acolytes of the area to increase their fellowship with fellow servants of the altar and to be led by their respective parish priests in this special training. Continuing forward, the priests and acolytes wish to make this an ongoing ministry to train up the acolytes of the area to better serve God.