The Patriarch of Alexandria, who presides over the entire Orthodox Church in Africa, followed up on his 2016 decision to reintroduce women deacons and appointed six nuns to be subdeaconesses.
Greek Orthodox Church
Suheir Saliba was running late as she prepared to go to the Easter Divine Liturgy with her husband, Aimad Kamal, and his family.
Saliba, a Catholic, had a late night. She, along with other Catholic and Greek Orthodox residents of the village, had attended the ceremony welcoming the holy fire at St. George Greek Orthodox Church.
Fr. Firas Aridah of St. Joseph Catholic Church was also at St. George, where Greek Orthodox Fr. George Awad lit his candle with the holy fire. Later, after the Greek Orthodox reception, Aridah celebrated Mass at St. Joseph.
The release of at least 12 Greek Orthodox nuns who were abducted in Syria in December was an answer to prayers, said regional Catholic officials.
Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III Laham said Monday that he felt "a wave of joy" along with "thousands and thousands" of other people when he heard the nuns had been freed a day earlier. Islamist rebels claimed responsibility for the abduction of the nuns in December from Syria's ancient town of Maaloula, where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is still spoken.