Patriarchate News

On December 9, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Dr. Thuraya Bachaalani, Acting General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.

She was accompanied by Ms. Huguette Salameh, Communication and Public Relations Department Director, and Mr. Ghassan Shahin, Director of MECC-Syria.
 
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, attended the meeting.
 
Dr. Bachaalani reported to His Holiness about the administrative and theological projects led by MECC. They also discussed the agenda of the next meeting of the Executive Committee of MECC which will be hosted by our Syriac Orthodox Church next January.
 
Mr. Shahin gave an overview about the relief and help projects executed by MECC in Syria with the collaboration of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC) as well as all the relief committees of the member churches.
 
Then, Ms. Salameh reported about the work of the department of communication and public relation, remarking the department’s aim of moving from the informative media towards media of positional media.
 
His Holiness assured that the role of the member churches is to support the work of the council for what important mission it has in strengthening the presence of Christians in the Middle East in the face of all agendas that aim at the opposite.
 

On December 8, 2018, on the occasion of the International Volunteers Day (Dec 5), His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met a group of volunteers who serve various projects at St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC), at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.Mr. Shadi Sarweh, Executive Director of EPDC, welcomed His Holiness, and gave an overview about the work of EPDC.

His Holiness encouraged the volunteers to continue serving their fellow human beings, carrying to them a message of love, service, sacrifice, and self giving.He emphasized the role of volunteers, who spend their spare time serving others, in the relief and support of people affected by crises, especially children and vulnerable people.

At the end of the meeting, His Holiness presented tokens of appreciation for the distinguished volunteers who showed leadership and enthusiasm in their work.

His Holiness was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Dayroyo Boutros Dekrmenjian.

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On December 4, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Mr. Antoine Mrad, Counselor of the Executive Chairman of the Lebanese Forces for the Presidential Affairs and Coordinator of Church Affairs, accompanied by Mr. John Al-Alam, Ex-Coordinator of Church Affairs, and Lawyer Elie charbetji, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Bikfaya – Lebanon.
 
During the meeting, Mr. Antoine conveyed to His Holiness the love of Dr. Samir Geagea, Executive Chairman of the Lebanese Forces, to the Syriac Orthodox Church.
 
His Holiness and his guests stressed the importance of working together for to preserve the presence of Christians in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon which plays a great Christian role in the region.
 
They also discussed the general situation in Lebanon and assured the significance of forming a new government, which will help keep the security and economy stable, as well as help improve the living conditions in the country.
 
The meeting was attended by their Eminences Mor Chrysostom Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus. His Eminence Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahle and Bekaa, also joined the meeting.
 

On December 3, 2018, upon the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, a workshop about Antioch Syrian University’s regulatory compliance plan was hosted at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, BIkfaya – Lebanon.
 
The workshop was organized by a team of specialists from the King’s College London in the United Kingdom.
 
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Dr. Rakan Razouk, President of ASU, as well as members of the administrative board of ASU, and a number of representatives of the academic bodies in Syria and Lebanon, also attended the workshop.
 
During the workshop, the participants shared ideas about the regulatory landscape influencing ASU’s future strategy in Syria, Lebanon, the region, and internationally, as well as establishing ASU’s regulatory compliance plan and priorities for Syria, the wider region and establishing relationships with potential university partners in the UK and other countries.
 

 
On December 2nd, 2018, which is the Sunday of the visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Aphrem Church in Tripoli – Lebanon.
 
Their Eminences Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, and Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Shemoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness thanked the Lord who gave him the opportunity to visit St. Aphrem Church in Tripoli. He prayed for Lebanon, so that God may protect the country and all its citizens from all bad. His Holiness recalled the long history of Syriacs in Tripoli, especially that St. Severus of Antioch was baptized in its Church. He also described how the faithful of our Church came to Tripoli at the beginning of the 20th century, fleeing Sayfo genocide. He also praised the role of Tripoli citizens, especially the faithful of St. Aphrem Church, in receiving the refugees from Syria and Iraq.
 
His Holiness also commented on the scripture reading, and spoke about the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, and how this event joins a young virgin with an old barren, both pregnant. This assures that with God nothing is impossible. He also spoke about the role of John the Baptist as forerunner before his Lord and Master who comes to redeem humankind.
 
After the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness received the guests who came to welcome His Holiness in Tripoli, including mnay distinctive figures, headed by His Excellency the Mufti of Tripoli and the North Sheikh Malek Shaar and His Excellency Mgr. Georges Abou Jaoude, Maronite Archbishop of Tripoli. His Holiness also blessed all the faithful who came to receive his benediction.
 
Before the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness had lit the Christmas tree which His Eminence Mor Theophilus George Saliba named “Tree of the King of the World”, at the public square in front of the church.

 

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On November 29, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received at the Patriarchate in Bab Touma, His Excellency Mr. Alexander Ponomarev, Ambassador of Belarus, on the occasion of the end of his diplomatic mission in Syria.
His Excellency thanked His Holiness for his warm reception and recalled the good and steadfast ties between Belarus and the Syriac Orthodox Church.
His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem II appreciated the important role of His Excellency and the Government of Belarus in promoting peace in Syria as well as in conveying the reality of what is going on in Syria to their people. He also wished His Excellency all success in his new mission.
The meeting was also attended by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the closing ceremony of the initiative “Towards Peace” organized by St. Ephrem Patriarchal Choir, and held at Dar El Assad Opera House in Damascus.

His Holiness took a tour at the “Art for Peace” exhibition where pieces of arts, namely paintings, and visual art items, were displayed by the participants of the competition organized the initiative “Towards Peace” in poetry, music, drawing, painting and visual art, under the title “Art for Peace”.

Then, His Holiness attended the performance of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Choir who sang different songs on peace, nostalgia, forgiveness, reconciliation as well as traditional songs from different parts of Syria.

In his speech, His Holiness congratulated the Choir for their great work, and emphasized the importance of this initiative in bringing together the Syrian people in celebrating art for peace. He talked about peace, not only as contrasted with war and destruction, but as a gift from God to all human beings. He stressed the fact that peace is an innate right to all people and that it is the greatest crime of all to deprive someone from their peace. In concluding his speech, His Holiness reminded that it is our mission to preserve our peace and to build peace in our societies, not waiting for others to give it to us.

At the end of the ceremony, His Holiness distributed trophies for the winners in the competition “Art for Peace”.

His Holiness was accompanied by Very. Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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On November 25, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received a delegation from the executive committee of the Global Group of Syrian Businessmen Organization (GGSBO), at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Damascus.

The delegation was led by Dr. Khaldoun Al-Muwaqqih, Head of the GGSBO.

The committee informed His Holiness about the programs and works of the organization.

The meeting was attended by His Eminence Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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On November 24, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II ended his first apostolic visit to Bahrain.
 
Ms. Betsy Mathieson, Secretary of His Majesty King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and Board of Trustees Second Deputy Chairperson of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and President of This is Bahrain Society, and His Excellency Dr. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the “King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence”, represented His Majesty King of Bahrain at the farewell of His Holiness at Bahrain International Airport.
 
Their Eminences: Mor Coorilos Geevarghese, Patriarchal Vicar in Bahrain, Mor Gregorios Joseph, Metropolitan of Cochin and Secretary of the Regional Synod, and Mor Anthimos Matthews, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom and Ireland, also came to the airport to say good bye to His Holiness.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Rev. Fr. Markose, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs.
 

On November 23, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a celebratory reception held in honor of his first apostolic visit to Bahrain.
 
Their Eminences: Mor Coorilos Geevarghese, Patriarchal Vicar in Bahrain, Mor Gregorios Joseph, Metropolitan of Cochin and Secretary of the Regional Synod, Mor Anthimos Matthews, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, as well as the Reverend priests and deacons, and a large crowd of the faithful of our church, attended the ceremony.
 
Ms. Betsy Mathieson, Board of Trustees Second Deputy Chairperson of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and President of This is Bahrain Society, represented His Majesty King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
 
In his word, His Holiness expressed his great joy to meet his beloved spiritual children and be with and among them. He also thanked them for the true and faithful love they showed him, and for the great steadfast loyalty they have to the throne of Antioch.
 
Ms. Betsy then gave a speech in which she welcomed His Holiness on behalf of His Majesty. She expressed the respect and love of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Syriac Orthodox Church as well as to all Christians. She also spoke about religious tolerance, and emphasized the importance of love to God, the self, and the neighbor.
 
Then, Ms. Betsy presented to His Holiness a gift from His Majesty as a token of respect to him and to the Syriac Church.
 
The ceremony included lighting the flame of peace, in addition to several musical and performances, as well as chants in Syriac and Malyalam.