BOERUM HILL — In a moment signaling the start of a new era for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Most Rev. Saba Isper was enthroned as the metropolitan, the senior spiritual leader, of the Archdiocese of North America at a gathering attended by hundreds of the faithful at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Boerum Hill on May 13.
Metropolitan Saba, who was born in Syria, will oversee 275 parishes and various missions in the archdiocese, which consists of the U.S. and Canada.
He pledged to be an approachable leader. “I will be with you and among you,” he told the faithful. “With you, I will seek His will and His blessing.”
Bishop Robert Brennan congratulated Metropolitan Saba and remarked on the strong ties between Catholics and other Christian denominations.
“On this Day, May 13, 2023, we rejoice in the friendship and fraternal communion that has grown between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church over the past 70 years,” he said.
Bishop Gregory Mansour of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, who attended the enthronement, said significant efforts have been made to forge closer ties among different Christian denominations.
That effort accelerated following Vatican II, he said. “It’s worth every effort we can make because Catholic and Orthodox have the same apostolic succession, same sacraments, same faith — maybe just different practices along the way. Even those can be overcome,” he explained.
Bishop Brennan praised the Orthodox community’s presence in Brooklyn.
“The Antiochian Orthodox community has a venerable history in our borough, dating back to 1902 when the St. Nicholas congregation was transferred from Manhattan to Brooklyn,” he said, adding that the cathedral “remains a vital center for Christian Orthodoxy in New York City.”
According to the World Council of Churches, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church has approximately 4.3 million members around the world.