Patriarchate News

On July 23, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Justinus Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, and Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Shemoun, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.

His Holiness opened the meeting with a prayer seeking the Lord’s blessing for the safety of all the faithful and the healing of the sick, namely those who are affected by COVID19. His Holiness discussed with their Eminences the recent developments regarding the activities of the Archdioceses in Lebanon within the restrictive measures imposed by each Archdiocese to prevent the spread of COVID19. They stressed the importance to abide by the safety instructions issued by the public health department.

The Fathers discussed also the consequences of the economic crisis, reflected in the increase of the suffering of the people, as well as the increase of the rate of unemployment and poverty. They emphasized the role of the church in offering help to ease as much as possible the suffering of the members of the church. His Holiness instructed their Eminences to support all the families in every possible way because the church is the refuge of the faithful at all times, especially in times of tribulations and difficulties. They affirmed that we have to offer all that we can to help in these harsh conditions. His Holiness concluded the meeting with a prayer and asked their Eminences to convey his blessings to the parishioners in the Archdioceses in Lebanon.

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On June 29, 2020, on the occasion of the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks Affairs and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the Lord’s choice of Peter to be the head of the apostles. Peter then showed eagerness and leadership even though he denied Christ three times. His Holiness added that the Lord asked Peter three times if he loved Him more than the other to eliminate all doubt Peter might have later because of his denial. The love of Peter to Christ was so great that he even died on the cross in witness of his faith in Him. His Holiness also spoke about St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, and how he was transformed from a persecutor of the church to a promoter of faith and a preacher of the gospel. At the end of his sermon, His Holiness sought the intercession of these two great saints, the heads of the apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, for the peace in the world and the protection of all creatures.
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On June 24, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Her Excellency Ms. Marianne Gasser, Head of Damascus Office of the UN Special Envoy to Syria Mr. Geir Pedersen, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, were also present in the meeting.

During the meeting, His Holiness discussed with Her Excellency the general situation in Syria and the work of the UN in helping the Syrian people who are suffering from the sanctions imposed on them.

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On June 24, 2020, upon the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate in the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks Affairs and Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, met at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma in Damascus.
 
His Holiness opened the meeting with a prayer for the church and the safety of its faithful.
 
The meeting’s agenda included the following topics:
1- The fathers discussed the draft of the internal code of the Council of Syriac Orthodox Archdioceses in Syria. After endorsing it, they have decided to convene its first meeting in September of this year and a committee was commissioned to prepare for this meeting.
2- The Fathers discussed the topic of vocations, especially the formation of priests to serve the youth. His Holiness encouraged their Eminences the Archbishops to motivate the youth to join the ranks of the clergy and to dedicate themselves to the service of the Lord where the need is great for clergy in the East and in the diaspora.
3- The Fathers emphasized the resuming of the church activities after they were suspended due to the preventive measures taken following the spread of Covid19. They stressed the necessity to conform to the measures of public safety.
4- The Fathers discussed the difficult economic situation of which the faithful and citizens in Syria are suffering, especially after the Caesar Act and the economic sanctions imposed on the Syrian people. They highlighted the efforts that the church is doing to help the people during this crisis.
5- The Fathers showed optimism towards the upcoming parliamentary elections in Syria and emphasized that the church is equally supportive of all the candidates. They hoped that the elected new members of the parliament will be up to the aspirations and ambitions of the Syrian people.
His Holiness concluded the meeting with a prayer and convey his blessings to all the members of the Syriac Archdioceses in Syria.
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On June 18, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received their Beatitudes Patriarchs: John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Joseph Absi, Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma, Damascus.
 
Their Eminences Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, attended the meeting.
 
Their Beatitudes were accompanied by His Grace Bishop Luka Al-Khoury, Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Assistant, His Grace Bishop Nicolas Antipas, Greek Catholic General Vicar of Damascus, and Very Rev. Archimandrite Gerasimos Kabbas, Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Secretary.
 
His Holiness and their Beatitudes discussed the general situations in Syria and Lebanon, especially with the crisis of Corona Virus and the measures that were taken to prevent its spreading. They hoped that the situation will become better soon for the good of the people. They also spoke about common Church matters.
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On June 18, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Ambassador Mr. Peter Csulak, Charge d’Affaires of Hungary in Damascus, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks Affairs and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, were also present in the meeting.
 
During the meeting, His Holiness discussed with His Excellency the general situation in Syria and the different projects that the Patriarchate is doing in collaboration with the Hungarian Government to help in the relief and development.
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On June 16, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the funeral service of the Late Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Homs, Hama and Nabak Mor Theophilos Philip Barakat, at the Lady of Deliverance Church in Zeydal – Homs.

The service was presided over by His Beatitude Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch. His Beatitude Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi, and His Eminence Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, also participated in the funeral.

His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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On June 15, 2020, on the occasion of the Commemoration of the Martyrs of the Sayfo Syriac Genocide, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at the altar of the Sayfo Martyrs in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks Affairs and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the martyrs of the Syriac Genocide Sayfo, which the church is commemoration on this day every year. He pointed out that the church does not forget those who suffered for the preservation of their faith and who died during the persecutions in order to defend their faith. He encouraged the faithful of the Syriac Orthodox Church to celebrate this commemoration because the martyrs are a good example of preserving the faith at any price, because true love is the sacrifice of one’s self, even to death. His Holiness added that the blood of martyrdom continues to quench the thirst of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and it yields a blessed harvest, namely a renewed faith in the hearts of the children of the church. This renewed faith leads many to accept the faith. He also emphasized that we are all called to witness to our faith and to reveal the glory of God so that many can believe in Him through us. His Holiness concluded with a prayer for the peace in the world and asked the Lord to protect people from diseases.
During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness conducted the special service of the martyrs in commemoration of the Sayfo Martyrs. At the end of the Qurobo, the faithful were blessed by the Sayfo icon and the relics of the Sayfo Martyrs.
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On June 7, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo on the occasion of the Feast of the Pentecost, at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.

His Holiness was assisted by his Eminence Archbishop Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.

In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the Feast of the Pentecost which is the feast of the establishment of the church which was redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. His Holiness pointed out that the dwelling of the Holy Spirit on the disciples who were gathered in the upper room is an event that changed everything for them for the Holy Spirit appeared and was known to be the third person of the Holy Trinity. He is the Counselor and the Comforter; He encourages the disciples to go out and spread the gospel to the entire world. His Holiness added that the Holy Spirit protects the church from false teachings and confirms the faith of its children and comforts them during the times of tribulations and martyrdom. His Holiness continued his sermon by pointing out that the disciples fasted and prayed seeking the counsel of the Holy Spirit and His inspiration and leadership. He encouraged the faithful to seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in their lives so that the work of the Lord is apparent in our lives and the Spirit can fervently work and declare the glory of God in us.

During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness celebrated the special three services of the Pentecost and the clergy sprinkled water on the faithful as a symbol of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit on the disciples in the Pentecost in Jerusalem.

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On May 15, 2020, on the occasion of the Feast of the Blessing of the Virgin Mary on the Crops, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Mary Church in Damascus.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks Affairs and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, assisted His Holiness during the Holy Qurobo.
 
His Holiness prayed the special intercessory prayer for the Virgin Mary, and spoke in his sermon about the different feasts that the church celebrates in remembrance of the Virgin Mary and seeking her blessings. He explained how the peasants seek the blessings of the Virgin Mary Mother of God in different stages of their agricultural labor. He also spoke about the importance of man in the eyes of God, and about the laws that the Lord put for the service of man and not inversely.
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