At the moment Anba Antonius, together with an accompanying delegation of metropolitans, prepares to leave to Jerusalem for his seating as Metropolitan of the Coptic Orthodox Seat of Jerusalem.
The arrival of a new Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan in Jerusalem is an event of pomp and ceremony steeped in history. Adeeb Gouda al-Husseini, the Palestinian Muslim who is custodian of the keys of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, told Watani that Anba Antonius should approach Jerusalem at 11am in the morning of Saturday 5 March, in a procession that crosses the King Hussein Bridge and enters the old city through Bab al-Khalil (the Jaffa Gate which directly leads into the Christian Quarter of the Old City where the seats of the different Patriarchates are located). In the wide, open space before the gate, the metropolitans and clergy of all the Orthodox sects in Jerusalem welcome the new Coptic Metropolitan. Also in welcome of Anba Antonius would be the Coptic clergy and the prominent laity figures of the Copts in Jerusalem, as well as the Christian and Muslim public in the city.
The Coptic Orthodox Scout drummers lead the procession of the new Metropolitan into the courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where the official reception is held for him, according to the established status quo and in presence of Mr Husseini.
The Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Nourhan Manougian then leads Anba Antonius to the Stone of Anointment or Stone of Unction where the body of Jesus the Lord was anointed before burial, and where a rug and cushion are placed for the new Metropolitan to say a prayer and take a blessing. The Armenians then lead him through the church to the Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre on the head stone of which there is a Coptic Orthodox chapel. The new Metropolitan is then celebrated in the Armenian church.
The Metropolitan’s procession, led by the Scout drummers, then marches through old Jerusalem to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate. There, the Metropolitan visits the tomb of his predecessor Anba Abraham who passed away last November, and says a prayer for his soul. The seating ceremony of the new Metropolitan on the Jerusalem seat then begins.
Sunday morning should see Anba Antonius preside for the first time over Holy Mass in the chapel at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
2 March 2016