An Inexplicable Feeling and a Sign in Red
“Do I have a good miracle story for you!” my dad said on the phone. “It’s about our patriarch...”
I was intrigued. Our church just chose its 123rd patriarch–His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II. His official installation is this week. The patriarch is basically the equivalent of a pope. He’s successor to our church’s first patriarch, St. Peter, and the leader of all the Syriac Orthodox churches in the world. My family has been talking about it nonstop. Mostly because they actually know the new patriarch: Before his election, he was the archbishop of the Eastern United States and based in New Jersey.
Two weeks ago, they invited His Holiness and his patriarchal secretary over for a big celebratory lunch at my uncle’s house. My mom and aunts planned the menu for days and my dad even special ordered big welcome signs to hang on the front of the house. It was all I heard about for a good week and a half!
Finally the big day arrived and His Holiness came to my uncle’s house for lunch, wearing the red patriarchal robe. Over lunch, my dad asked if he’d felt any different leading up to the election. Did he get some sort of sign from God? Some indication that he was meant to be the patriarch?
Not exactly, he told my dad. Though he did feel an overwhelming sense of peace. In fact, ever since he was a teenager, he’d had this inexplicable feeling that he’d be patriarch one day. So leading up to the election, he didn’t campaign at all–he left everything in God’s hands.
Then the patriarchal secretary piped in. With His Holiness’ permission, he shared a story that wowed everyone at the table. The day before the election, under the supervision of another bishop, he was typing the names of all the candidates for the ballots. Something unusual happened when he finished typing one of the names–it turned bright red. Just like that.
He decided to keep this little miracle quiet until after the election. But he had no doubt just who the next patriarch would be. The very man whose name had turned red–the archbishop of the Eastern United States. And, as it turned out, he was right.
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