Patriarchate News

On February 9, 2020, upon the invitation of His Excellency Archbishop Samir Nassar, Maronite Archbishop of Damascus, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the Holy Qurobo for the Feast of St. Maron according to the Calendar of the Maronite Church. His Excellency Archbishop Nassar celebrated the Qurobo at St. Antonios Maronite Cathedral in Damascus.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
 
The Qurobo was also attended by His Eminence Cardinal Mario Zenari, the Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, as well as representatives of the Christian Churches in Damascus.
 

On February 5, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mr. Jorgen Lindstrom, Charge d’Affaires of the Swedish Embassy in Damascus, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma, Damascus.

His Holiness welcomed His Excellency and discussed with him issues related to the situation of Christians in the Middle East as well as the effects of immigration on their presence in their homeland. He also spoke about the work of development and humanitarian assistance that the Patriarchate is offering.

His Excellency spoke about the role of Sweden in supporting Christians who are persecuted. He also spoke about the Swedish society which welcomes emigrants and offers a suitable environment for preserving their national cultures as well as their native languages. He expressed the pioneer role of Sweden in guaranteeing freedom of religion to all those who live there.

The meeting was attended by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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On February 2nd, 2020, on the occasion of the feast of the Presentation of the Lord to the Temple, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma, Damascus.
 
He was assisted by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the tradition of presenting the firstborns to the temple and its origins in the Old Testament. He mentioned how the Lord hit the Egyptians during Moses’ times because Pharaoh did not free the people of God and resisted His command; as a result, all firstborns were to perish. However, the Lord saved the firstborns of His people by the blood of the lamb, which symbolized the sacrifice of the cross which is the salvation of man. His Holiness also reminded the faithful of the important witness of St. Simon the Elder who was alive to see the salvation of God’s people and the prophecy which he found hard to believe, namely that the Virgin will give birth to a child.
 
During the Qurobo, His Holiness presided over the rite of blessing the candles according to the tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.
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On January 28, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited His Beatitude Patriarch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, upon his invitation to the International Joint Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, at the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate in Beirut.
 
Their Eminences: Cardinal Kurt Koch, Co-Chairman of the Commission for the Catholic Church, and Anba Kyrillos, Co-Chairman of the Commission for the Oriental Orthodox Family of Churches, as well as the members of the Commission, and His Excellency Mgr. Joseph Spiteri, Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon, attended the meeting.
 
His Beatitude Patriarch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan welcomed His Holiness and his guests. He spoke about St. Aphrem the Syriac, the Doctor of the Universal Church, and mentioned that the Catholic Church is celebrating this year the 100th anniversary of his declaration as a saint of the Universal Church. He also spoke about the importance of the theological dialogue in bringing the churches closer together.
 
After the reception, His Holiness, His Beatitude and their Eminences and Excellencies went to St. Ignatius Chapel where they prayed for peace in the countries of the Middle East. At the end of the meeting, the guests were seated to a banquet in their honor.
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On January 28, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the Spiritual Summit held at the Maronite Patriarchate Headquarters in Bkerke upon the invitation of His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.
 
The meeting was also attended by their Holinesses, Beatitudes and Excellencies: Aram I, Armenian Orthodox Catholicos of Great See of Cilicia, Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Gregory Bedros XX Gabroyan, Armenian Catholic Patriarch, Joseph Absi, Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Michel Kassarji, Chaldean Archbishop of Beirut, Bishop Cesar Essayan, Apostolic Vicar of Beirut, and Rev. Dr. Joseph Kassab, Head of the High Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon,
 
His Holiness was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
 
Following their meeting, their Holinesses, Beatitudes and Excellencies issued a statement in which they expressed their relief to see ministers with expertise in their ministries in the newly formed Lebanese Government. They called for the fight against corruption and to retrieve the public funds, insisting on the right for peaceful demonstration. They condemned the chaos in the Lebanese streets. The fathers encouraged the international community to support Lebanon economically and financially. They urged the international community to work on establishing peace in the region and prayed for the safe return of the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim.
 
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On January 27, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met the Co-Chairmen and members of the International Joint Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which holds its international meeting at our Syriac Orthodox Church in the Patriarchal Residence – Atchaneh, Lebanon.

After the evening prayer which was attended by the members of the International Commission, His Holiness welcomed his guests and highlighted the importance of the dialogue between the churches, its different stages as well as the progress it made in bringing the churches closer together towards unity in Christ. He emphasized the role of the apostolic churches in keeping the faith and the teachings of the apostles and the fathers. His Holiness prayed that the Church can remain the one body of Christ, Who is her head and high priest. He appreciated the work of the committee and encouraged them to continue their efforts to bring together the different traditions of the church.

In turn, the members of the commission thanked His Holiness for his hospitality and the Syriac Orthodox Church for hosting the meeting. His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Co-Chairman of the Commission, briefed His Holiness on the work of the Commission and the theme of their current meeting.

Their Eminences the members of the Commission from both the Catholic churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, were present at the meeting.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Theophilose Kuriakose, Patriarchal Vicar in Europe, and Mor Polycarpus Augin Aydin, Patriarchal Vicar in the Netherlands (Observer), who are the representatives of our Syriac Orthodox Church in the commission, also attended the meeting.

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On January 21, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met his brother in Christ His Beatutide Archbishop Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus. Their Beatitudes John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Cardinal Mar Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans, Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, Senior Pastor of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut, as well as Dr. Souraya Bachaalany, Acting Secretary General of MECC, participated also in the meeting.
 
His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II welcomed His Holiness and their Beatitudes to Cyprus, wishing them success in the meetings of the MECC Executive Committee. Their Holiness and Beatitudes discussed the current situation in the Middle East, especially the severe economic situation that is affecting Christians as well as their compatriots in all the countries of the Middle East. They hoped that the churches would be able to offer a common witness in these difficult times.
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On January 21, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II and the Presidents of the MECC inaugurated the sessions of the Executive Committee of the MECC, hosted by the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus on behalf of the Orthodox Family of Churches.
 
His Holiness, along with His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans, Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, Senior Pastor of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut, as well as Dr. Souraya Bachaalany, Acting Secretary General of MECC, presided over the inaugural session.
 
After the opening prayer, Dr. Bachaalany gave a welcome speech in which she thanked His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Cyprus, and the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus for hosting the meeting. She also announced the appointment of Mr. Adel Syryany as the Associate General Secretary of MECC for the Oriental Orthodox Churches Family replacing Fr. Jimmy Danho. She also spoke about the working groups as well as the scheduled agenda of the meeting of the Executive Committee.
 
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.
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On January 19, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, along with their Holinesses and Beatitudes: Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Maronite Church, Joseph Absi Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, presided over the inauguration of the week of prayer for the unity of Christians, held at the Annunciation Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Beirut, with the participation of representatives of other Christian churches.

During the prayer, the choir of the cathedral performed several chants and hymns. Then prayers were raised for the unity of the Church and for peace to reign in the hearts of all humans that they may be one as God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is One.

The prayer was attended by His Excellency Mgr. Joseph Spiteri, Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon. Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, and Mor Chrysostomos Michael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, were also present.

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On the occasion of the Feast of St. Anthony, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Aphrem Church in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate to the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, Mor Yakoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of the Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, assist His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.
 
During the Divine Liturgy, His Holiness tonsured the two seminarian deacons Charbel Rizk and Simon (Shemoun) Absim, and ordained them as monks.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about monkhood which the two new monks freely and voluntarily chose to become their way of life. He also spoke about the importance of prayer and devotion in the monks’ lives. He emphasized that monks always seek the salvation of their souls and should always pursue holiness and perfection following the Lord’s command.
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