12 November 2008
New York, NY – On Thursday, October 30th, Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) and of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America (SCOOCH) celebrated the 8th Annual Prayer Service for the United Nations. His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern), welcomed His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), the Chairman of SCOBA, assembled Hierarchs, Clergy, Ambassadors and Dignitaries of the UN Diplomatic Corps and laity to the Saint Vartan Armenian Cathedral, the traditional site when the service is hosted by an Oriental Orthodox Church.
Archbishop Barsamian presided over the Vespers Service, which included liturgical chanting by Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopian choirs. The Vespers marked a significant milestone in the life of SCOBA, as for the first time, Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk (Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate) participated in the Vespers as a full Member of SCOBA. Additionally, there were present Archbishop Mor Cyril of the Armenian Church (who is also President of the NCC), and Bishop Seraphim, (returned Bishop of Sendai, Orthodox Church of Japan,) representing the Orthodox Church in America.
His Excellency, Ambassador Negash Kebret, the Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia to the United Nations addressed the assembled faithful. Following the conclusion of Vespers, led by the Hierarchs and Diplomatic Corps, over 300 of the Clergy and Faithful attended a reception in the Kavookjian Hall.