Following Bridegroom Orthros on Holy Monday night at St. Matthew Church in Torrance, California, His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH surprised two faithful priests of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America with special honors for their service to Christ’s holy Church. As Protopsaltis Kenneth Woolsey put it, “It was like the joy of Pascha came early.”
Sayidna JOSEPH bestowed upon Right Rev. Paul Doyle the high honor of the Gold Order of St. Raphael for his more than four decades of priestly ministry in a variety of capacities. To name but a few: founding pastor of St. Matthew Church, dean of the Southern California Deanery, and Protosyngellos of the Archdiocese. Fr. Paul has retired from those ministries, but he remains an active and trusted spiritual father to countless clergy and laity. He received his award with his typical humility. Sayidna JOSEPH remarked that Fr. Paul’s sole agenda has always been to serve the Lord and His people.
Immediately after that, Sayidna JOSEPH elevated the current pastor of St. Matthew Church, Rev. George Aquaro, to the dignity of Archpriest, bestowing upon him a gold pectoral cross. Fr. George came into the Orthodox Church at this parish, graduated from St. Vladimir Seminary in New York, and returned to St. Matthew as its pastor in 2006. Sayidna JOSEPH commended Fr. George for teaching around the world on overcoming the passions and addictions. Both he and Fr. Paul have been reliable assistants to His Eminence over the years.
We pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to enflame the ministries of Fr. Paul and Fr. George for many years to come.