Patriarchate News

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the service of the washing of the feet at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma, Damascus.
During this service, His Holiness called twelve young people who represent the twelve Apostles and washed their feet following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ Who washed the feet of His disciples.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke Humility; He said: “Our Lord Jesus has put humility at the top of all virtues, just after love, for because of pride man fell into sin.” He then explained that Christ came to heal us from this sin that came to existence because of the first human. “Jesus came to heal us from the sin of pride” His Holiness said, “only if we throw away pride we can return back to the stage of children of God.”
He alerted the faithful that “we still fall on a daily in this great sin, though with different types and names, this is why we should love one another.” He added “it is sorrowful that we, as disciples of the Divine Master, cannot humble ourselves before one another! We always prefer our own benefit, what is good for ourselves, our homes and family only.” He considered that “this is the reason of wars and troubles in our world; it is also the reason behind natural disasters, for by our greed, we unbalance the environmental equilibrium.” His Holiness added “millions of people suffer hunger because, on the other side, millions are not satisfied with what they have! Only if humility fills the hearts of all humans, our world shall live in peace and security.”
His Holiness recalled that “the voice of Christ still calls us today to wash the feet of one another; not physically but through loving one another as we love ourselves. This way only can we be called real disciples of Christ.”
At the end, His Holiness prayed to the Lord, who humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross, to “strengthen our faith and provide us with His support when we try to become humble.”
 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo on Maundy Thursday at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar at the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus was present.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the Passover lamb which was a symbol for the salvation of the Jewish people from the slavery of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. “The lamb” His Holiness said “depicts the symbol of Christ Who completed the Passover lamb at the upper room and showed His disciples that He is the Lamb of God Who came to be killed thus taking away the sin of the world.”
His Holiness reminded the faithful that “whenever we gather in the church to celebrate the Holy Qurobo, where bread and wine are presented, we believe, that they become the Body and Blood of Christ in a miraculous way which we cannot humanly understand.” His Holiness added: “This way, Christ becomes our Passover, our Bread, our Life, for He said: ‘I am the Bread of Life.'”
His Holiness then emphasized that “Christ gave us His Flesh, not something similar to His Flesh; How can some assume that they only participate in the commemoration of the Flesh of Christ? This indeed is an incomplete faith! Communion is essential for our life, for through it, we become one with Christ, through Whom we live, exist and move.”
At the end of his sermon, His Holiness beseeched the Lamb of God to “give us strong faith, that does not fail, in His Person, confessing that He is God who was incarnate, died and rose again for us.”
 

His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited his brother in Christ His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia for the Armenian Orthodox Church, in the Catholicosate headquarters in Antelias, Beirut.

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

His Holiness congratulated Catholicos Aram I for the Easter, and invited him to the meeting of the heads of the oriental orthodox churches which will be held at the new patriarchal residence in Atchaneh.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mr. Talal Barazi, the Governor of Homs, at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Homs. His Excellency welcomed His Holiness in the city and conveyed greetings for Palm Sunday and the coming feasts. His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Metropolitan of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, was also present.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the special service of the Nahire (Lights) on the eve of the Passion Week at the Lady of the Girdle (Zunoro) church in Homs.

All the lights of the church were turned off and the faithful, deacons and clergy held candles in a procession followed by special prayers of the rite of the Nahire.

In his sermon, His Holiness commented on the parable of the virgins, he said that the bridegroom is the Lord Jesus Christ who engaged the church when he paid His pure blood on the cross for her. “Thus”, His Holiness said, “we are no longer owners of our own selves, but are the properties of Him Who bought us by His blood.” He added “Each one of us should consider himself the property of Christ; this is not slavery but real freedom, the freedom of Christ Jesus.”

His Holiness asked “Is it too much for us to go out and meet Him Who died for us on the cross?” he then explained that there is no communion between light and darkness; “we thus should go out to meet him with lamps filled with the oil of good deeds, just as the wise virgins.” His Holiness assured that God does not differentiate between humans, for He died for all, not just for those who love Him. However, our deeds will decide on which side we shall reside, His right or left; hence, with Christ we affirm that we should watch for we know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Finally, His Holiness asked the Lord that we may be good servants who make profit out of the talents given to them; therefore, we shall not hear that voice saying: “I do not know you” but “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Metropolitan of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, was also present.

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On the occasion of Palm Sunday, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at the Lady of the Girdle (Zunoro) Church in Homs.

He was assisted by His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Metropolitan of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs. Priests, monks, deacons and the choir of Lady of the Girdle served the Qurobo which was attended by hundreds of faithful.

In his sermon, His Holiness said: “Here is Christ, the awaited Messiah – who was king, but not as the Jewish people had expected; they had not understood that His kingdom is not of this world, it is not an earthly kingdom, for Christ did not ask for armies to walk before Him, He entered Jerusalem on a donkey, walking on clothes of the people”. His Holiness added: “Christ comes in a humble manner, full of kindness, fulfilling the prophecies, with the children shouting aloud: “Here is our king… blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. Moreover, His Holiness pointed out that the Lord Jesus is a just, humble, victorious and kind king; these qualities seldom belonged altogether to an earthly king. He said: “Truly, Christ is not a king for slavery, but a king of freedom, a delivering king”. His Holiness asked if, today, we would be with the children welcoming Jesus as our king? or among the disciples offering our clothes and lives before Him? Or among the chief priests desiring to mute the crowds? He added: “if we allow the Lord to reign over our lives and world, we wouldn’t observe any famine, poverty, persecution or war”. At the end of his sermon, His Holiness prayed the Lord Jesus Christ to enter our hearts, and lead our lives into justice, humility and victory. He pray for the leaders of the world, inviting them to resemble the heavenly king. He prayed for the Syriac church and the city of Homs hoping that it will be completely rebuilt and life would return to normal in it soon.

During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness presided over the rite of the blessing of the olive branches. A procession where the children were blessed also took place in the cathedral and outside the church.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II arrived at the Lady of the Girdle (Zunoro) church in Homs. He was received by His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Metropolitan of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, as well as priests, monks, and deacons of the Archdiocese, and a crowd of faithful.

Her Excellency MP Sanaa Abou Zaid, member of Syrian Parliament, Mr. Miguel Naoum, Secretary of the First Division of the Baath Party, and the District Attorney Mr. Faris Sattouf were also present.

His Holiness entered the church where he presided over Ramsho (evening) Prayer of the Palms Sunday.

At the end of the prayer, His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh gave a word in which he welcomed His Holiness; he said: “On this blessed day, we are happy to receive Your Holiness while crying out: ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’”. His Eminence also pointed out to the love that His Holiness has for this church as well as the whole Archdiocese of Homs. He also recalled the old visits of His Holiness to Homs, during which he consoled the broken hearts; “today, however” His Eminence added, “you came to share with us the joy of Palms Sunday, the joy of the entrance of the Messiah to Jerusalem.” At the end of his word, His Eminence congratulated His Holiness for the occasion of the 4th anniversary of his election to the throne of Antioch.

His Holiness then spoke expressing his great joy to “meet the faithful of this blessed Archdiocese, especially on this glorious feast, and in this holy church of the Lady of the Girdle which has received a special blessing from the Virgin Mary.” His Holiness expressed his joy to see life returning back to the city of Homs. He then spoke about his election; he said that it is “an occasion for me to ask God to give me success in serving His Church with loyalty and hard work. It is an occasion to thank our Lord Jesus Christ, first and foremost, for this grace and this call which I deserve not, and only by Him it is completed”; he added “I thank my brothers, their Eminences Metropolitans, members of the Holy Synod for their trust and full support for me in serving the church.”

After the prayer, His Holiness inaugurated the new center for Beth Tarbitho. He then blessed the faithful at the hall of the church, where he also received by the dignitaries of the city.

His Holiness was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, Very Rev. Raban Jack Yakoub, Director of the Youth Department.

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Upon the invitation of the Lebanese President His Excellency General Michel Aoun, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended an event on the occasion of the Feast of Annunciation of Virgin Mary, at the Presidency Palace in Baabda – Lebanon.
He was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
During the events, several speeches were presented in which representatives of the various denominations in Lebanon assured the importance of the Virgin Mary for Christians and Muslims.
The event also included different performances of choirs of poets
.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended an event organized by the nuns of Mor Jacob Baradeus Monastery on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of their sisterhood.
The event took place at Mor Jacob Baradeus Monastery in Atchaneh, Bekfaya – Lebanon, and was attended by their Eminences Mor Philoxenus Matta Chamoun, and Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, as well as the sisters of Mor Jacob’s order, and a crowd of faithful.
Sister Theodora gave a speech in which she spoke about the feast of the Annunciation, listing the characters of the Virgin Mary Mother of God. Sister Theodora, then, spoke about the order of Mor Jacob Baradeus and its establishment in the year 1990, as well as the phases that the sisterhood has undergone in the past 28 years. At the end of her speech, she thanked His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, on behalf of all the sisters in the order, for his overwhelming love and spiritual guidance.
Then, a meditation about the Annunciation from Mor Jacob of Serugh was presented by sisters Rafqa and Philoxena.
A small play for the occasion followed and was presented by the children who attend the Holy Qurobo in Atchaneh. The play portrayed the story of annunciation and how children should always follow the commands of God and their parents.
In his speech, His Holiness expressed his tremendous joy to attend this very nice program, and to see the purity of children in acting and expressing what’s in their pure hearts; he said that “We felt that we are in heaven; this is the way to the kingdom of God: humility and love. Indeed, we will not enter the kingdom of God if we do not return and become like children.” He added that “to be like God, we need to see things His way not in worldly ways as do the non-believers.”
His Holiness then spoke about the humility and meekness of the Virgin Mary who gives us a vivid example in how we can live our lives and become like children. He also emphasized the fact that the Virgin Mary devoted her life to God on the day of Annunciation; and so do the nuns of Mor Jacob’s order. He prayed for the continuous progress of the sisterhood for the glory of God and the growth of His Holy Church.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Hon. Raed Ishak, Member of the Iraqi Parliament, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
His Excellency gave an overview of the recent developments in Iraq.
His Holiness discussed with Hon. Ishak the different ways to help the suffering Christians who fled Iraq and are currently in Lebanon.
His Eminence Mor Philoxenus Matta Chamoun, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, attended the meeting
.

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