HB Patriarch John X participates in the Silver…

HB Patriarch John X participates in the Silver Jubilee for the Al Ra'i Saleh Choir
He says: "Al Ra'i Saleh Choir has presented to the world a gospel of the spirit for the youth and the elderly.
Latakia, May 29, 2024
Within the context of his pastoral visit to the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Latakia and its dependencies, His Beatitude, the Most Blessed and Most Reverend Patriarch John X participated in the Silver Jubilee for the Al Ra'i Saleh Choir.
The epitome of this pastoral visit was a historic station in the depths of the Antiochian heritage. The music entered deep into the soul and moved its strings with the fervor of the Gospel, during a recital of hymns that inflamed the hearts of the attendees for two consecutive hours.
The young and the old alike sang with the fervor of faith and presented the best that they had to spread the scent of joy in the skies of Latakia, which is the cradle of holiness, thought, and knowledge.
In addition to His Beatitude, the following official attended: the Governor of Lattakia, Eng. Amer Hilal, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Shepherd of Latakia and its Dependencies, Metropolitan Athanasios (Fahed); the Secretary of the Arab Socialist Baath Party branch in Latakia Governorate, Comrade Haitham Ismail, the Commander of Latakia Governorate Police, Major General Abdo Yousef Karam, the Member of the People's Assembly Iskandar Haddad, the Chairman of the Latakia Governorate Council, Engineer Tayseer Habib, the Director of Culture in Latakia Governorate, Mr. Majd Sarem, the Member of the Party Branch Leadership, Mr. Nicolas Martisho, the Head of the Executive Office and Deputy Governor, Mr. Houssam Khoury. In addition, many metropolitans, bishops, priests, and deacons, members of the General Administration Council and the Latakia Center for Orthodox Sunday Schools, members of the Millet Council, representatives of the media, and a large audience of believers were present. The celebration began with the Syrian Arab Anthem, followed by a speech by the moderator of the ceremony, Madonna Bechara, who said:
"A quarter of a century and the hearts of generations and generations with radiances of creativity, of love for the Creator and creation. We gather today to acknowledge the blessed efforts made in the field of evangelism and spreading the message of the Church in love and giving through words and melody. The blessed journey began in 1996, when the choir set off as a creative pulse in the heart of the Church, carrying the message of heaven to earth. With the dawn of a new era in 2006, the choir witnessed a transformational phase when the Children's Choir was established, which was like a small plant growing into a lush tree that shaded generations of young talents. The Ra'I Saleh Choir has been a torch that illuminates the paths of love and peace over the years, and an oasis that embraces souls thirsty for beauty and joy. This effort was crowned by winning first place in the Syrian Choirs Competition at the Assad House of Culture Theater in Damascus in 2022.
The hymns were adorned with a brief speech by the choir leader Elias Semaan, in which he expressed his joy at the presence of His Beatitude and the transformative move of the choir, which now includes, as flowers, youth, women, and children. Afterwards, there was a moving speech by Patriarch John, who said:
"My words are impotent and my vocabulary is at a loss. The situation gets more difficult when it is the silver jubilee of the Ra'i Saleh Choir. Then silence becomes more eloquent than speech. Twenty-five years ago, the journey of this choir began with a hymn and an anthem that entered hearts. All this is not a strange thing to the Church of Antioch. It is the church of hymnographers, the church of musicians and poets, and the crucible of church and folk melodies If the icon is the gospel of the eye, then music is the gospel of the soul."
His Beatitude added:
"The Ra'i Saleh Choir has presented a spiritual gospel for the youth and elderly so that its music has entered the soul and moved its strings with the fervor of faith. You chose the name of the Good Shepherd, and the Good Shepherd uses music with his sheep. The sheep do not know the language of the shepherd, but they know the tone of his voice. Blessed are those souls for this choir to move from idea to application.
He added: "They ask us, 'Aren't you afraid of the future?' We tell them, 'We are not afraid. Come and see how our people love their church, their land, and their country. Here we shall stay, steadfast and rooted."
At the end of his speech, His Beatitude presented an icon of the Virgin Mary to the choir leader Elias Semaan. The choir in turn presented a shield in appreciation to His Beatitude on the occasion of their silver jubilee.
At the end of the celebration, the choir sang the anthem of the Latakia Center "Lovers of Christ" which has become the anthem of the Orthodox Sunday schools in Latakia.