Patriarchate News

On June 28th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended an official reception organized by by members of the managing committee of St Peter Church in Perth – Australia, in his honor.
The reception was also attended by: Mor Malatius Malki Malki, Patriarchal Vicar in Australia and New Zealand, Mor Milithios Yuhanon, Metropolitan of Thumpamon Diocese and Patriarchal Vicar in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, Mor Athanasios Geevarghese, Metropolitan of the Simhasana Churches in Southern Kerala and Abbot of Manjinikkara Dayro, Mor Theethose Yeldo, Archbishop of the Malankara Archdiocese in North America, Mor Iraneous Paulose, Metropolitan of Kozhikkod and Patriarchal Vicar in Oman.
His Holiness is accompanied by: Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
In his speech, His Holiness expressed his joy to be present among the Jacobite Syriac Community in Perth, especially for consecrating a new church for them. He also spoke about the unity of the church.
 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II consecrated St. Paul Chapel in St. Paul Center for the Elderly in Zahle.

His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Justinus Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahle and Bikaa, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, and Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, in the presence of their Eminences: Mor Gregorios Saliba Chamoun, Patriarchal Advisor, Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Gregorius Malke Urek, Patriarchal Vicar in Adiyaman and its Environs, Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Metropolitan of Mosul, Kurdistan and their Environs, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, Mor Georges Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar of Belgium, France and Luxemburg, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates.

His Excellency Mr. Elie Ferzli, Deputy-Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon, as well as a number of their Excellencies members of the Lebanese Parliament, and individuals and organizations who helped complete this project, as well as Archbishops and representatives of the various Churches in Zahle.

At the end of the rite, His Eminence the Patriarchal Vicar in Zahle and Bikaa gave a speech in which he welcomed His Holiness, thanking him for consecrating the chapel and inaugurating the center. His Eminence congratulated His Holiness, on behalf of all Zahle people, for the inauguration of the new patriarchal residence in Atchaneh. Then, he congratulated all Zahle people for the completion of St. Paul Center project, explaining the various stages of the project and its goals.

His Holiness then spoke congratulation His Eminence, the Vicariate, and all Zahle people for this project, assuring that humanitarian work is at the very essence of Christianity, for serving people, all people, is serving Christ Himself. His Holiness assured that this center will not be a place where elderly will wait their death, but a place where they can get the needed treatment for their recovery with all dignity.

Then, His Holiness, along with their Eminences and their Excellencies, inaugurated the center and made a tour in its various parts and facilities.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II welcomed His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, at Mor Jacob Baradeus Monastery in Atchaneh.

At the monastery entrance, sisters of Mor Jacob, led by Mother Hnayne Habil, gathered to welcome their Holinesses, who entered the church of the monastery, where they raised prayer asking the intercession of Mor Jacob. At the end of the prayer, their Holinesses blessed the nuns and all who were present.

At the end of His Holiness Pope visit to Lebanon, where he was a dear guest to our church, His Holiness our Patriarch thanked his brother in Christ for his participation in the inauguration ceremonies of the new patriarchal residence, as well as for bringing back to Antioch part of Mor Severus’ relics after 1500 years. He conveyed his sincere love to the Coptic church and all the faithful in Egypt, and wished him a safe flight back to Egypt.

In turn, His Holiness the Pope thanked His Holiness our Patriarch for hosting him and showing him an overwhelming love and respect. He finally congratulated him for the inauguration, and wished him long life and fruitful service.

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Their Holinesses Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East: Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, and Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia visited His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, at St. Elias Monastery in Shwayya.

Their Holinesses entered the church of the monastery where they prayed for peace in the Middle East and all over the world, and for the unity of the Holy Church. Afterwards, they held a brotherly meeting in the monastery.

His Holiness our Patriarch thanked His Beatitude for attending the Holy Qurobo and the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh.

His Holiness our Patriarch was accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Gregorius Saliba Chamoun, Patriarchal Advisor, and Mor Severus Abraham, Patriarchal Vicar in Kuwait, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, visited His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, at St. Mary’s Monastery in Bikfayya.

Their Holinesses raised the prayer in front of the icon of Virgin Mary at the entrance of the monastery; they then placed a rose on the memorial of the Armenian Genocide. Afterwards, they held a brotherly meeting in the monastery.

His Holiness the Catholicos thanked His Holiness our Patriarch for hosting the twelfth meeting of the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East, and expressed his great joy to have participated in the inauguration events of the new Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh.

His Holiness our Patriarch, in turn, thanked His Holiness the Catholicos for participating in the consecration of Mor Severus Patriarchal Church as well as in the Holy Qurobo and inauguration of the new residence. At the end of the meeting, their Holinesses exchanged gifts as token of brotherly love and respect.

His Holiness our Patriarch was accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Gregorius Saliba Chamoun, Patriarchal Advisor, and Mor Severus Abraham, Patriarchal Vicar in Kuwait, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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Their Holinesses Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East: Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, and Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, visited His Excellency General Michel Aoun, President of the Republic of Lebanon, at the presidency palace in Baabda.

First, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II thanked His Excellency General Aoun for his reception: “you encouraged us, Your Excellency, by your participation today in the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence, and by your kind words; we thank you; we will always depend on leaders like you who have the concerns of the Christians of the Middle East, as part of their life and work”.

His Holiness added that the heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East meet in Lebanon to participate in the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence, as well as to hold their twelfth meeting which included on its agenda as a main concern the presence of Christians in the Middle East.

His Holiness Pope Tawadros then spoke assuring the respect of the faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Church to His Excellency, and thanking him once again for participating in the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence. He also expressed the gladness of Oriental Christians for the care His Excellency is showing them.

In turn, President Aoun welcomed the delegation and expressed his happiness to participate in the opening ceremony of the new patriarchal headquarters, wishing that “this opening will be a qualitative leap and a renewed spiritual and humanitarian step forward.” Aoun reiterated his personal care for the future of the Oriental Christian presence in this region of the world, saying that “Christianity is a testimony and an act of permanent resurrection and hope.” He added “The history of the Christians of the Orient is a permanent living in danger; yet, Christianity continues in the East, and we continue. The hierarchy of the church which takes care of the faithful is a sign of the permanence of Christianity”.

His Holiness our Patriarch was accompanied by their Eminences Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas, Archbishop of Turabdin, and Mor Gregorius Joseph, Metropolitan of Kochi, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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In the presence of His Excellency General Michel Aoun, President of the Lebanese Republic, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, their Holinesses Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches: Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, celebrated the Holy Qurobo at Virgin Mary Church.

His Excellency arrived at Atchaneh at 10 am where he received by their Eminences Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, and Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, as the music of the army played the song of glorification, then the Lebanese Anthem. Then, His Excellency and their Eminences entered the church where he was received with applause, just before the beginning of the Holy Qurobo.

Their Beatitudes Patriarchs: Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch, John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Gregoire Bedros XX, Armenian Catholic Catholicos Patriarch, Joseph Absi, Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

Rev. Salim Sahiouni, Head of the Evangelical Synod, heads of the Chaldean, Assyrian and Latin churches in Lebanon, as well as His Excellency Ivan Santos, Charge d’affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Lebanon, also attended the Qurobo, beside their Eminences and Excellencies Archbishops from various churches.

The Qurobo was also attended by His Excellency Amine Gemayel, former Lebanese President, and their Excellencies Members of the Lebanese Parliament: Ibrahim Kanaan, Agop Bakradounian, Elias Bou Saab, Eddie Abi Al-Lamaa, Antoine Pano, Asaad Hardan, as well as Ambassadors of Egypt, Syria, Hungary, Romania, and Armenia. His Excellency Ghassan Mukhaiber, Former Member of Lebanese Parliament, and Mr. Badri Daher, Director General of Customs, and Qa’em Maqam of Metn Mareline Haddad, and Mr. Habib Ephrem, President of the Syriac League, in addition to a large crowd of faithful of our Syriac Orthodox Church in Lebanon, were also present.

After the Holy Bible reading, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, gave a sermon in which he welcomed His Excellency the President and their Holinesses, Beatitudes, and Excellencies, as well as all the faithful attending “this holy Qurobo which was celebrated according to the rite of our Antiochian Syriac Church; It is the first time in Christian history that Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East celebrate the Holy Qurobo together. I thank our Merciful God who gave us this great blessing and made us worthy to celebrate this Holy Qurobo”.

His Holiness thanked “His Excellency President of the Republic of Lebanon, for attending this Holy Qurobo, and for being the auspice of the inauguration of our new Patriarchal Residence, which the Lord helped us to build from the contribution of the faithful, in order that it becomes a headquarter of our church here in the dear Lebanon which has embraced faithful of our Syriac Orthodox Church since the first centuries, even though we are called today as minorities; however, Lebanon, holding its Syriac name Lebnon, that is, the heart of God, will remain in the hearts of every single Syriac wherever he goes all over the world.”

He assured that “what our dear East is passing through will not discourage us from continuing to give the living testimony of Christ as well as to provide the service possible to our spiritual children as well as to our Muslim brothers whom with we share the love of this land.” He stressed “the terrible hands that were extended to our churches and our monasteries and kidnapped our priests, first of who are the two dear Archbishops of Aleppo, Boulus Yaziji, and Youhanna Ibrahim, will be paralyzed by our assurance and strengthening of bonds of love between the citizens of one nation and by our strong will to remove the effects of this unprecedented barbarism that has come upon human beings as well as upon stone”. For those “who plan to uproot us” His Holiness said “our will to stay is stronger than your attempt to uproot us.”

His Holiness then noted that it is “an honor that your Excellency (Mr. President) is the auspice of this historic event, for you hold in your hearts and on your shoulders and from this dear country Lebanon the concerns of all Oriental Christians even before your election as president.”

He assured to His Excellency that “We commend and support your efforts to make Lebanon a center for religious dialogue and an example of coexistence. We also pray that God will help you to achieve your noble goals in safeguarding the dignity of our Oriental people, especially in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.”

He concluded offering “thanks on behalf of himself and their Eminences Archbishops of our Church, to our dear brothers Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, for their participation in celebrating this Holy Qurobo and the inauguration of our new Patriarchal Residence.”

After the Qurobo, His Excellency president, as well as the patriarchs and all those present, moved to the new patriarchal residence, where His Excellency unveiled the inaugural plaque and as well as the memorial of Sayfo. Then, he and the heads of the oriental Orthodox Churches cut the ribbon inaugurating the residence. After they entered, His Excellency wrote a word for the occasion in the golden book.

All then entered the Patriarchal Hall were His Excellency gave a speech in which he expressed his joy to “be present for the inauguration of the new residence of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, for what the signs this historical event carries as to remaining fixed to the land and the roots, existence and identity. It is a reply to all trials to empty the east from some of its components, and a clear message for those who kidnapped the two dear archbishops Youhanna Yaziji, member of this church, and Boulos Yaziji.” He considered that the Syriacs have offered this land “hundreds of thousands of martyrs, and so had Armenians and the Christians o Mount Lebanon […]; however, this humanly bleeding should stop, and the political and religious authorities should what is due to forbid emptying the land from its people.”

He noted that “it is wrong to approach the Lebanese state as minorities and majorities, for this country was ever since the dawn of history a land for meeting together of various peoples and religious groups, fleeing from persecution and seeks safe refuge; how many majority became minority and vice versa? In fact, we are all minorities, bound together by citizenship and identity, and we are all a major component of the Lebanese people.”

“This is why” His Excellency added “I have always sought, even when I was head of the Change and Reform bloc, that Syriacs and all other components considered as minorities, be represented fairly in the parliament, and I will continue to seek this until none of the components of our society feels injustice and that its rights in the country is not equal to the rights of others.”

Before he left, His Excellency congratulated His Holiness and the Syriac Orthodox Church for this historic event.

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On a historical event, and for the 1500 Jubilee of the Exile of Patriarch Mor Severus the Great to Egypt, their Holinesses Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East: Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, consecrated together Mor Severus Church in the new Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.

Their Holinesses entered the church in a pontifical procession, with them the relics of Mor Severus which His Holiness the Pope brought from Egypt to be kept in the new consecrated church.

After they raised the prayers altogether that God may bless this new house dedicated for worshipping His Holy Name, they anointed the sides of the altar and the church with holy Myron according to the Antiochian Syriac rite. They then put on the vestments of the altar as well as the altar vessels.

Then, the service of the saints was prayed asking the intercession of Mor Severus, before the relics were placed in their special place in the church. Finally, the two new icons of Mor Aphrem the Syriac and Mor Severus the Great were consecrated.

At the end of the rite, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave a speech in which he thanked God “for His overwhelming blessings, that He made us worthy to complete this blessed service in the presence of our dear brothers their Holinesses, and their Eminences the Archbishops, and the monks, priests, nuns, and all the crowd of faithful; He made us worthy to consecrate this house, altar and church for the great Saint Mor Severus Patriarch of Antioch, who, today, through this blessing – the relics – that was brought to us, returns back symbolically to his church in Antioch after he flee from it in 518 even though he never stopped caring for his flock”. He then thanked His Holiness the Pope and expressed his love to His Holiness and to the sister Coptic Orthodox Church.

His Holiness thanked His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, whose participation is despair for centuries of misunderstanding about Mor Severus; His Holiness expressed that he looks forward for further researches and studies that will make clear the life and teachings of Mor Severus for the Armenian Orthodox Church, and makes sure that this great Saint will always be the Saint of the all the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

At the end of his speech, His Holiness the Patriarch thanked all the faithful of our Syriac Church, as well as all individuals and organizations that made the church and patriarchal residence construction come to completion.

In turn, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II said that this is a historical day for the church. He expressed his joy that the relics have returned now to Antioch, noting the mentioning of Mor Severus in the Coptic liturgy. His Holiness pointed out that the relics of Mor Severus the great were kept at St. Mina Monastery in Egypt. He then presented to His Holiness the Patriarch an official document signed by His Holiness the Pope and the monastery’s abbot as well as the keeper of relics and monuments at the monastery.

The rite was attended by their Eminences: Mor Gregorios Saliba Chamoun, Patriarchal Advisor, Mor Philoxenus Matta Chamoun, Mor Theophilos George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas, Archbishop of Tur Abdin and Abbot of Mor Gabriel Monastery, Mor Philoxenus Yusuf Cetin, Patriarchal Vicar in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Dionysius Issa Gurbuz, Patriarchal Vicar in Switzerland and Austria, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs and Hama, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahla and Bekaa, Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Gregorius Malke Urek, Patriarchal Vicar in Adiyaman and its Environs, Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Mor Julius Hanna Aydin, Head of Foreign Relations in Germany, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Eastern United States, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kurdistan and their Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Georges Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar of Belgium, France and Luxemburg, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates.

Morever, their Eminences Archbishops from our Church in India: Mor Gregorios Joseph, Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese, Mor Theophilos Kuriakose, Patriarchal Vicar in Europe, Mor Gregorios Kuriakose, Knanaya Archbishop of Kallissery Region, Mor Ivanios Kuriakose, Knanaya Archbishop of Ranny Region, Mor Silvanos Ayub, Knanaya Archbishop of Europe and America, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, attended the rite.

The two accompanying delegations of their Holinesses the Pope and the Catholicos, in addition to clergy and faithful from our Syriac Church, also attended the rite.

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On June 21st 2018, Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East: His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, held their twelfth meeting at the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Bikfayya – Lebanon.

The meeting was attended by the members of the standing committee, their Eminences: Anba Bishoy of Damiette, Kafr El-Sheikh, Barary and the Monastery of Saint Demiana, Anba Martirios, bishop the Diocese of Railways, from the Coptic Church; Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, from the Syriac Church; Sebouh Sarkisian, Armenian Orthodox primate of the diocese of Tehran, Nareg Alyemezian, Director of Ecumenical Relations in the Catholicosate, from the Armenian Church.

Their Holinesses started the meeting with prayer; then, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave a welcoming speech, followed by words from their Holinesses Pope Tawadros II and Catholicos Aram I. Their Holinesses congratulated His Holiness Patriarch Mor Igantius Aphrem II for the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence in Lebanon.

During their meeting, their Holinesses discussed several issues of common interest, including the presence of Christianity in the Middle East, the situation of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India, the official theological dialogues with the churches, and the work of the subcommittees and signed an official common declaration, covering these issues of common interest, as usual in this meeting.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, received at the new Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, their Holinesses Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, before the beginning of the meeting of the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East.

Their Eminences Archbishops from our Syriac Church, as well as the delegation accompanying His Holiness the Pope were also in the reception.

His Holiness the Catholicos was accompanied by their Eminences: Archbishop Sebouh Sarkisian, Armenian Orthodox primate of the diocese of Tehran, Bishop Nareg Alyemezian, Director of Ecumenical Relations in the Catholicosate, Bishop Shahe Panossian, Armentian Orthodox primate of the diocese of Lebanon, as well as Rev. Frs. Hovagim Panjajian and Bedros Manouelian, Patriarchal Secretaries.

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