Patriarchate News

On August 17, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over ramsho (evening) prayer at Mor Izozoel Church in Berlin.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Mor Julius Hanna Aydin, Director of the External Affairs in Germany, and Anba Damian, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Northern Germany were also present at the prayer.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness explained the reading of the gospel, pointing out that every Christian should think about every action before doing it, so as to see if they are able to finish it or not, lest they be mocked. He also emphasized that Christianity is a life commitment and not only for a few hours or in certain places.
Click to view slideshow.
 

On August 17, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited Anba Shenouda and Anba Antonios Coptic Orthodox Church in Berlin.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, and Mor Julius Hanna Aydin, Director of External Relations in Germany.
 
His Holiness was received by His Eminence Anba Damian, the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Northern Germany as well as the priests and the faithful of the sister Coptic Orthodox Church. His Eminence Anba Berhan Abba Dionysius, Ethiopian Orthodox Bishop of Germany was also present.
 
His Eminence Anba Damian welcomed His Holiness and the accompanying delegation. He thanked him for this historical visit and conveyed to him the brotherly greetings of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II. His Eminence spoke about the role of His Holiness as a voice for the persecuted Christians in the Middle East and as a healer of their wounds.
 
In his speech, His Holiness expressed his joy to be “not in a sister church, but I feel I am in my church”. He spoke about the witness that the church is insisting on offering in the Middle East and that martyrdom is a mark of the church. He said that the present Christians are not different from their predecessors who offered their lives for Christ their Savior. He affirmed that Christians have the duty to stand together in solidarity in front of the persecutions they are enduring. He added that they should be ambassadors of Christ wherever they live.
 
His Eminence Anba Damian offered His Holiness a pastoral staff as a token of love and respect.
 
Finally, the choir of the parish performed beautiful hymns in Coptic and Arabic.
Click to view slideshow.
 

On August 15, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Mary Church in Saydnaya.

He was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for the Youth Affairs and Christian Education.

During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness ordained Deacon Gabriel Al-Khoury to be a priest in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.

After the rite of the ordination, the new priest delivered a sermon in which he thanked the Lord for the great grace of priesthood and thanked His Holiness for blessing him by laying his hands on him.

At the end of the sermon, His Holiness led the procession of the Holy Belt of the Virgin Mary, blessing the faithful.

Click to view slideshow.
 

On August 14, 2019, on the occasion of the assumption of the Virgin Mary, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at the Grotto of the Holy Girdle in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.

His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education.

In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and how St. Thomas was blessed to witness the transfer of her body to the heaven and to receive her belt as the only relic of the Virgin Mary.

He also spoke about the discovery of the holy belt by Late Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem I who read about it in an old manuscript’s cover. He reminded the faithful of the small part of the belt that is placed in the grotto for the blessing of all the visitors.

At the end of the Qurobo, the faithful received the blessing of the relic.

Click to view slideshow.
 

Statement of the Meeting of the Heads of the Christian Churches in Damascus

Mor Aphrem Monastery, Maarat Saydnaya – August 12, 2019

Upon the invitation of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, and with the participation of their Beatitudes Patriarch John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Patriarch Joseph Absi Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, the heads of the Christian Churches in Damascus met at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya – Syria, in the presence of His Eminence Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria.

The fathers present discussed the general situation in the region and the effects of the past years of crisis on the peoples of the region in general, and the Christians in particular whose number is decreasing at an alarming rate due to migration. Christians are an essential component of the national fabrics of the region. Throughout the centuries, they maintained continuous presence and played a role model of active citizens who fully observe their duties and responsibilities. The participants affirmed the necessity of remaining firmly attached to the land of the forefathers despite the dire circumstances, so that they remain the salt of this earth and its light. They prayed for the safe return of the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo: Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim.

Concerning the situation in Syria, the fathers acclaimed the victory of the leadership, army and people of Syria over terrorism which aims at weakening and dividing Syria; they emphasized the unity of the Syrian people and their solidarity with their state and its legitimate institutions. They highlighted the importance of the participation of all the components of the Syrian people in elaborating a common vision for the future of their country, within a state established on the foundations of democracy, the rule of law, equal citizenship and respect of diversity. They also emphasized the unity of Syria, its people and its territorial integrity from the Syrian Golan to the Syrian Jazeerah.

Their Holiness, Beatitudes and Eminences congratulated their muslim brothers and sisters on the occasion of the Eid Al-Adha, and prayed for peace in Syria so that all the Syrian citizens live in peace, safety and prosperity.

Click to view slideshow.
 

On August 12, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met their Beatitudes Patriarchs: John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Joseph Absi, Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, to a meeting at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.

The meeting was attended by their Eminences: 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 Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, as well as Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo and Director of the Financial Department, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

His Eminence Mario Cardinal Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, and their Excellencies the Christian leaders in Damascus: Armenian Orthodox Archbishop of Damascus Armash Nalbandian, Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar Aphrem Maalouli, Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Assistant Luka Al-Khoury, Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Assistant Youhanna Batch, Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Damascus Mar Youhanna Jihad Battah, Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Damascus Joseph Arnaouti, Head of the National Evangelical Church in Damascus Rev. Boutros Zaour, Rev. Fr. Raymond Gergess, General Vicar of the Latin Bishop in Damascus, Chaldean Priest in Damascus Rev. Fr. Malek Mallous also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, their Holiness, Beatitudes and Excellencies discussed the general situation in Syria and the region. They spoke about the effects of migration of Christians on their numbers in the region. They called upon the faithful to remain attached to the land of their forefathers despite the persecutions and difficulties. They also prayed for the safe return of the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo: Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim.

Concerning Syria, they acclaimed the victory of the leadership, army and people of Syria over terrorism that aims at weakening Syria and dividing it. They emphasized the importance to participate fully in establishing a common vision for the country based on the principles of democracy, rule of law, equal citizenship and respect of diversity. They also emphasized the unity of Syria, its people and its territorial integrity from the Syrian Golan to the Syrian Jazeerah.

At the end of the meeting, a statement was issued.

Click to view slideshow.
 

On August 8, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the meeting of the Administrative Board of “Renyo” (the company that owns Antioch Syrian University), which was held at the Headquarters of Antioch Syrian University in Maarat Saydnaya.
The meeting was attended by their Eminences: 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, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, as well as the President of ASU Dr. Rakan Razzouk and the members of the Administrative Board of Renyo.
During the meeting, Dr. Razzouk presented to the Board the recent developments related to the curricula and the academic staff at the ASU. The Board also discussed the plans to develop the educational services in all the faculties of the University.
His Holiness gave his instructions to work on providing the necessary education to meet the needs of society and to make use of the experience of the youth in all the areas and services provided by the University.
His Holiness had visited the Headquarters of ASU and inspected the diverse sections as well as the newly opened laboratories.
Click to view slideshow.
 

On August 7, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Dr. Tameem Malko, Deputy Head of Diplomatic Mission of Syria in Sweden, at the Patriarchate headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
His Excellency visited His Holiness to receive his blessings before going on his new mission in Sweden. He indicated to His Holiness that he desires to serve his countrymen in faithfulness and will do his best to reflect the true image of Syria and the Syrian people.
The meeting was attended by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeera and Euphrates, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary, and Media Office Director.
Click to view slideshow.
 

On August 7, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Dr. Imad Moustapha, Ambassador of Syria to China, at the Patriarchate headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
During the meeting, His Holiness welcomed His Excellency and discussed with him the general situation in Syria and the region. They spoke about the impact of the migration of Christians from Syria and the demographic changes that influence the economical situation. His Excellency expressed his admiration of Antioch Syrian University and hoped that it will be an educational center that attracts seekers of knowledge and culture from diverse countries.
The meeting was attended by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeera and Euphrates, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary, and Media Office Director.
 

On August 4, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at Mor Jacob of Nisibi Cathedral in Södertälje, Sweden, for the occasion of the feast of Transfiguration as well as the conclusion of the fifth Suryoyo Youth Global Gathering.
 
He was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Julius Abdelahad Shabo, Archbishop of Sweden and Scandinavia, Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States of America, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education.
 
The reverend priests, deacons, and choir of the cathedral served the Qurobo, in the presence of the youth taking part in the SYGG, as well as a large crowd of faithful.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the significance of the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ. He pointed out to two important aims of this event. His Holiness considered that the Lord wanted to show His disciples part of the glory that awaits the one who believes in Him; he wanted to lift their minds and thoughts towards the heavenly things instead of the materialistic and worldly things. His Holiness also said that this event aimed at making the disciples, as well as every Christian, think seriously about who Jesus was, is He just the great teacher Jesus of Nazareth Who was doing good? Or is He Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God who came for our salvation?
 
His Holiness, thanking the Lord for the success of the fifth SYGG, considered that this gathering puts the youth before the same question, and give them the chance to experience the personal relationship with the Lord Jesus and the living together with clergy and youth from the various Syriac Orthodox dioceses all over the world.
 
During the Qurobo, His Eminence Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub spoke about the main goals of the SYGG and ultimate vision of the gathering. He also thanked all those who took part in organizing and preparing for the SYGG in Sweden.
 
Several youth then gave testimonies about their participation and experience in the past few days at the SYGG; the youth considered the gathering to be a life-changing experience that brought them closer to our Lord and with their spiritual fathers and leaders.
 
Then His Eminence Mor Julius Abdelahad Shabo gave a speech in which he welcomed His Holiness as well as all their Eminences and the youth taking part in the SYGG. His Eminence also thanked His Holiness for the special care he is showing to the Suryoyo youth.
 
After the Qurobo, a memorial photo for the gathering was taken.