On Wednesday, November 9th, at 6:30 pm, St. Michael’s will host it’s third Evensong for the Persecuted Church. We will have the opportunity to hear Julianna Taimoorazy, the founder and director of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, come and speak to us about the plight of Christians in the Middle East and what we can do to pray for them. The service will be full of music and worship, and followed by a reception and presentation in the Kinloch Room. However, this year will be different than the previous two years in a few regards.
Juliana Taimoorazy is the Founder and President of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
The first year, we had a Coptic Orthodox Bishop, His Grace Bishop Youssef come and address us with a homily and then a question and answer session following. The second year, we had the Very Reverend John Meno, a Chorbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church come and do the same. This year, our speaker is not a clergyman or bishop, but an Assyrian refugee who has for years devoted her life to the aid and relief of Christians in Iraq and Syria. She has appeared on Newsmax, Fox News, and other international news networks. Her foundation is known for fiscal transparency, and has a unique network of people on the ground that can help reach the Christians that most other organizations cannot. Although 90% of what they do is humanitarian aid and relief, the other 10% is advocacy. The Iraqi Christian Relief Council has been instrumental in petitioning the US Government to recognize the genocide that is being committed against the Christians in the region.
Each year that we do this service, we worship in a way that utilizes hymns and music from the various Christian traditions that are represented in the Middle East. This year will be especially unique because congregants will have the opportunity to hear some Syriac Orthodox chant that is not available by recordings and hardly ever sung in the West. I am very grateful to have made a connection with Gabriel Aydin, the Director of the Syriac Music Institute, and editor of the very first Syriac Orthodox Hymnal ever compiled! Through meeting him this July, he has supplied the St. Michael’s choir with some beautifully exquisite, yet extremely rare chants, that one could hear at the Syriac Cathedral in Aleppo before the war. We will sing these, alongside some gorgeous Armenian, Byzantine, Greek, Georgian and Coptic chants.
Finally, this year, people will have even more tangible avenues of engagement. One always asks the question, “What can I do about this?” We hope to answer this question more fully than in any other year. We certainly must pray, stay informed, support with our resources, and establish relationships where we have the opportunity. We will engage this question even further. We will even have artwork that will be available for purchase, with the proceeds going to the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
I hope that you can come this year. It is more pertinent now than ever.
Please join us on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 6:30 pm
St. Michael’s Church
Corner of Meeting & Broad Street, Charleston, SC 29401
~ Matthew Wilkinson