JERUSALEM – On Friday, April 12, the new Archbishop and Patriarchal Vicar of the Syro-Orthodox Church, Gabriel Dahho, made his solemn entrance into the Holy City, at Jaffa Gate. The representatives of all the major Christian confessions in Jerusalem awaited him.
Ordained Archbishop last April 10 in Amman, Fr. Gabriel Dahho was also received in the Hashemite capital, having been appointed by the Patriarch of Damascus, His Beatitude Ignatius Ephrem II as Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem.
Two days later he took possession of the Jerusalem Archbishopric of Syriac Orthodox Church.
The new Archbishop entered at Jaffa Gate, where he was awaited by the members of all the major Christian denominations of Jerusalem. The Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo was present for the Catholic Church.
The entry of the Syro-Orthodox Archbishop was accompanied by a parade of four different scout groups – the Catholic Arabs, the Greek Orthodox, the Syro-Orthodox and the Greek-Catholic Melkites – who played in unison for the occasion.
From the square in front of the Jaffa Gate, the procession arrived at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, surrounded by numerous faithful, including many who came specifically for the event from Sweden (where a large Syro-Orthodox community currently resides).
Waiting for the Archbishop at the entrance of the Basilica were those responsible for the various religious confessions of the Holy Sepulcher. Once inside, Archbishop Dahho kissed the stone of the deposition, located in the atrium between Golgotha and the Sepulcher. He then visited the Anastasis accompanied by the Coptic and Armenian-Orthodox bishops.
Once outside the Edicule, the new Archbishop and the various delegations went to the Armenian-Orthodox chapel. In fact, there is a profound and secular harmony between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Armenian Church both from an historical and theological point of view. In this location, Archbishop Gabriel was received and presented to the guests with great solemnity by the same Orthodox-Armenian bishop. After the reception rite, all moved to the Coptic Orthodox chapel which is located under the apse of the colonnade surrounding the Anastasis.
According to protocol, after visiting the Holy Sepulcher, Archbishop Gabriel crossed the streets of the Christian quarter to reach the Syro-Orthodox Archbishopric, near the Church of Saint Mark the Evangelist, right where, according to the Syriac tradition, one of the first Christian communities of Jerusalem met. The structure of the same name houses not only the Archbishopric but also a cloister and a small monastery and is famous in Jerusalem for the ancient and precious manuscripts it preserves.
In the Church of Saint Mark, the Syro-Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar was presented to the bystanders through the reading in Aramaic (Syriac liturgy) of the edict of installation. In accordance with the rite, the enthronement was raised to the triple cry of “Axios” (which means “he is worthy”) and from the top of his seat the Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem proclaimed the Gospel.
After the inauguration ceremony, all moved to the adjacent premises of the Syrian Orthodox Archbishopric where civil authorities also paid tribute to him.
Filippo De Grazia