Patriarchate News

On October 13, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Eminence Armash Nalbandian, Armenian Orthodox Archbishop of Damascus, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
The meeting was attended by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
During the meeting, His Holiness welcomed His Eminence and the accompanying clergy and spoke about the challenges that the churches are facing during the times of Corona. His Eminence reported on the current situation in Nagorno Karabagh.
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On October 13, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency the Charge d’Affaires of the Austrian Embassy in Syria Mr. Hans-Peter Glanzer, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma, Damascus.
His Eminence Archbishop Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant, 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 current situation in Syria and the region. They also spoke about the fires that devastated large areas of agricultural fields and forests in the Syrian coast region.
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On October 11, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Ambassador of Pakistan in Syria General Said Mohammad Khan, at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
His Eminence Archbishop Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks Affairs and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, Very Rev. Fr. Markose Abraham, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, were present in the meeting.
His Excellency the Ambassador was accompanied by a delegation from the administrative and teaching bodies of the Pakistan International School in Damascus.
During the meeting, His Holiness and His Excellency spoke about the history of Pakistan and Syria, especially the cooperation that exists between both countries in the field of education and culture. His Holiness spoke about the effects of the crisis on the Syrian people who are suffering from the sanctions imposed on them. In turn, His Excellency assured that Pakistan is supporting the people of Syria and offers all possible help in different fields. His Holiness also listened to the delegation about the high level of education that the Pakistan International School is offering to its students in Syria since the1980s.
His Excellency then visited the monastery where His Eminence Mor Yacoub Babawi gave him an overview of the seminary and the services it provides. His Excellency and the accompanying delegation visited the Grotto of the Holy Belt as well as the altar of the Sayfo Martyrs and the memorial of the Centennial of Sayfo Syriac Genocide. Afterwards, His Excellency visited Antioch Syrian University where he was received by the President of the University Dr. Rakan Razzouk. They inspected the different sections and labs of the university where they listened to a detailed overview of the the programs and classes offered at the university. His Excellency wished that cooperation would be established between Antioch Syrian University and the Pakistan International School in the near future.
 

On October 11, 2020, His Holiness celebrated the Holy Qurobo of the 4th Sunday after the Feast of the Holy Cross at Mor Aphrem Church in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
His Eminence Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks Affairs and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo which was also attended by the monks and seminarians.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the Sundays that follow the Feast of the cross and how the church uses them to remember the Virgin Mary as well as the saints. This period is also used in preparation before the start of the liturgical year with the Sunday of the Consecration of the Church. His Holiness emphasized that this period is an opportunity to return to one’s self and prepare in modesty and humbleness to be sanctified and renewed in the spirit. He pointed out that education and knowledge of man should aim at getting closer to the knowledge of God. If it fails in doing so, then it is a reason for pride which distances man from God.
 

On October 2nd, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited the construction site of the Lattakia Community Center.
He inspected the different areas of the construction site and the work that is being done as well as the plans and different stages of the project. This stage of the construction work is funded by the Hungarian people and government.
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate of the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates.
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On October 2nd, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the inauguration of “Dr. Farzat Ayoub University Hospital” at Al-Hawash Private University.
Their Beatitudes Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East John X, and Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, Joseph Absi, also participated in the inauguration ceremony.
Following the welcoming and inaugural speeches, His Holiness went on a tour inspecting the different parts of the hospital where a brief overview of the different sections and departments was given, as well as a presentation of the different services offered by the hospital.
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates.
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On September 18, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated the sessions of the Executive Committee of the MECC, hosted by the Maronite Church at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerke.
 
His Holiness presided over the inaugural session in the presence of His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, Senior Pastor of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut, as well as Dr. Souraya Bachaalany, Acting Secretary General of MECC. His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, co-hosting the meeting in Cairo, gave a welcoming speech through the internet with the participation of His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Louis Rafael Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babel and President of MECC for the Catholic family. His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Raii, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, welcomed the participants in Bkerke and wished them the best in their meeting.
 
After the opening prayer, Dr. Bachaalany gave a detailed report on the work of the council and its current situation. Since her mandate is over, the participants thanked her for her role and work in the council and gave her the honorary title of “honorary General Secretary of MECC”. The participants elected the new General Secretary Dr. Michel Abs. They congratulated him and wished him the best in his service in the council. At the end of the meeting, a statement was issued and published.
 
His Eminence Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Lebanon and Member of the Executive Committee of MECC, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Mr. Adel Syryany, the Associate General Secretary of MECC for the Oriental Orthodox Churches Family, were also present.

 

On September 16, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Lebanon Rev. Fr. Timon Alsuryani, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
Very Rev. Raban Carlos Babi, Director of the Legal Department, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director were also present in the meeting.
During the meeting, His Holiness congratulated Rev. Fr. Timon on his appointment to the ministry of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Lebanon as a successor of the late lamented Fr. Rowais Alourashalimy who passed away recently. He wished him success in his ministry and discussed with him ecumenical matters that are of interest to the two sister churches. At the end of the meeting, His Holiness presented Fr Timon with a pectoral cross and a book on the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
 

On September 14, 2020, on the occasion of the Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at Mor Severius Church at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
 
His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chemoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the holy cross which was transformed from a symbol of disgrace and death to a symbol of victory and life. His Holiness pointed out that the church celebrates the feast of the discovery of the cross where, according to tradition, Queen Helen, mother of the Roman King Constantine, searched for the cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. After digging in the location where they told her, she found three crosses. After putting these crosses on a dead body, she was able to discern which one was the holy cross, because it brought the dead person back to life. King Constantine used the sign of the cross to win over his enemies during wars. His Holiness emphasized that we all need the power of the cross which is our spiritual weapon that leads us to victory against our spiritual enemies, namely sin, satan and death. He added that the cross became a symbol of reconciliation between earth and heaven, man and God, and thus became a sign of pride for us as St. Paul writes: as for me, may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord. At the end of his sermon, His Holiness asked the faithful to contemplate in the meaning of the cross each time they do the sign of the cross, because it is the power of God. He also prayed and asked the Lord to deliver us from the diseases and calamities and to bless us with His grace.
 
During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness prayed the special service of the cross according to the rite of our Syriac Orthodox Church.
 

 

On August 29, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II wrote to their Excellencies: the President of India, the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Kerala about the recent developments in the Syriac Orthodox Church in India, especially the repeated aggressions against the members of our church in India which also targeted some of their Eminences the Archbishops there. His Holiness urged their Excellencies to take the necessary measures to lift the suffering of our people there.

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