Eriterian Orthodox Church – Diocese of North America
FILE NEWS-MAY 2011
On the combined occasion of his 80th birthday, 60th year of monastic life and the 20th year anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, H. G. Bishop Makarius received recognition at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Secaucus, New Jersey on May 1, 2011. The event was organized by the Coptic Orthodox Church in North America.
The invited guests to the special reception included, four other Coptic bishops, many Coptic, Eritrean and Ethiopian clergies and over 400 people. Many of His Grace’s accomplishments were spoken of by several representatives of Coptic churches he has helped found and nurtured. Even children and young people who have grown under his pastoral care and influence gave moving messages.
There was a large contingent of Eritrean men women from the New York City and New Jersey area. Their ululation and applause as an expression of their appreciation on seeing such great honor being bestowed on their beloved bishop gave the event an added significance.
Representing the Eritrean Orthodox Church’s Archdiocese of North America, Fr. Prof. Athanasius Ghebre-Ab delivered the first message of the evening. He expressed the gratitude and indebtedness of the Eritrean people in general, but the Eritrean Orthodox Church and that of the Archdiocese’s in particular for the support and encouragement His Holiness Pope Shenouda has shown since the crisis in the Church surfaced six years ago. Fr. Athanasius reminded the audience about the continued imprisonment of His Holiness Abune Antonius, the canonical Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church.
Speaking of the insightful and resolute leadership H.G. Bishop Makarius has given to the Archdiocese, Fr. Athanasius underscored his “tenderness towards his flocks.” He added, “But when the situation calls for, Bishop Makarius has also shown his fearless side as well.” He cited as an example the most recent and much publicized homily he delivered to the people of Eritrea when nearly 400 Eritrean young men, women and children drowned off the coast of Libya. Fr. Athanasius concluded that the Eritrean people have shown their elation over having His Grace to talk to them and for them in such a time of national tragedy. In Him, they have found a true father.
H. G. Bishop David as well as so many others also paid Abune Makarius tribute to Bishop Makarius’ spiritual leadership and his decades of committed service to God and his church. Moreover, Bishop David reiterated once more on this fitting occasion and to a sustained applause and a standing ovation that the Coptic Church “recognizes no other canonical Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, but H. H. Abune Antonius.
May God continue to grant H.G. Bishop Makarius good health and many more years of service to God and the church.