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Published: Saturday, 9/1/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

4 area Orthodox churches plan 1st combined service in 2 years

Sylvania to be site; 3 others to suspend rites for special holiday weekend event

The grounds of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 4940 Harroun Rd., Sylvania are to be the site of the combined services. The grounds of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 4940 Harroun Rd., Sylvania are to be the site of the combined services.
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Four area Orthodox churches will hold a combined outdoor service Sunday, with four priests and a combined choir.

The Orthodox Clergy Association of Greater Toledo will hold the Pan-Orthodox Outdoor Combined Divine Liturgy in the Pavilion at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 4940 Harroun Rd., Sylvania.

A barbecue will take place after the services for a nominal cost. The Pan Orthodox Churches in Toledo are Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 802 N. Superior St., Toledo, where Rev. Aristotle W. Damaskos is priest; St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral, 3754 Woodley Rd., Toledo, led by Rev. Basil Koory; St. George Orthodox Cathedral, 740 Glenwood Rd., Rossford, led by Rev. Paul Gassios, and St. Elias, led by Rev. Ignatius Warren. 

Services will not be held at the other Orthodox churches Sunday.

The last time the combined service was held was two years ago at Olander Park in Sylvania, said Father Aristotle. It is usually held in mid to late September, but scheduling issues pushed the event up this year, he said.

“We usually get 150 to 200 people, but with the holiday weekend it could be lower,” he said.

Other than having four priests and a combined choir, the service will be the same as an indoor Divine Liturgy, Father Aristotle  said. In the event of rain, the service will be moved indoors at St. Elias, he added.

Members of the churches enjoy and look forward to the service each year, he said.

“It is for fellowship and to share our common Orthodox faith, even though we come from various ethnic backgrounds,” he said.

There are other events throughout the year that the congregations come together for, he said.

During Lent, the churches meet each Sunday evening for vespers and a potluck and speaker.

 The first Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and the churches combine for the procession of the icons. On Easter Sunday, the four churches come together for the Agape Services, Vespers of Love. A Pan-Orthodox Christmas Concert will be Sunday, Dec. 9, he said.

“We also have combined vacation Bible school,” Father Aristotle said. “We sponsor the OCF [Orthodox Christian Fellowship]. It is our campus ministry program. The priests rotate each week and go on campus and meet with the Orthodox students and the students sponsor activities, as well. St. George Coptic Church in Monclova is involved with this, also.”

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.

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