Patriarchate News

On August 31, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated the Program of Masters of Religion and Theology Studies at the University of Lugano. This inauguration came within the International Conference “Christian Churches and Communities in Near East” organized virtually by the Faculty of Theology, the Institute of Religions and Theology (ReTe) and the Frederica Spitzer Foundation.
In his lecture, His Holiness gave a historical overview of the Christian presence in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He spoke about the emergence of Christianity in this region and the spread of Christian values throughout the world. He also mentioned the role of the Churches in the spread of knowledge to the entire world. His Holiness then spoke about the historical events that affected the Christian presence and pointed out that Christians have suffered from persecutions throughout the centuries. He emphasized that, in modern times, a genocide was committed against the Christians at the beginning of the twentieth century. Moreover, many countries of the Middle East have witnessed the emigration of a large percentage of their Christian population from the land of the forefathers. In the lecture, His Holiness spoke about the deterioration of the economic situation which increased the suffering of Christians, especially with the spread of COVID-19 and the recent explosion that took place in Beirut.
At the end, His Holiness congratulated the Faculty of Theology for its new Masters program and hope that the students who will enroll in this program will benefit from the knowledge that will be taught in it and will be able to better serve their communities and societies once they graduate.
The President of Antioch Syrian University Dr. Rakan Razouk, as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Economy and Business Administration Dr. Bassam Assaad, participated in the Conference. Antioch Syrian University has recently signed a partnership agreement with the University of Lugano as a first step towards deep collaboration between the two universities and improvement of the academic level of their students.
 

Following 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 Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II corresponded with their Holinesses the Heads of the sister Oriental Orthodox Churches: Pope Tawadros II Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, Catholicos Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians and Supreme Head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and Patriarch Abune Mathias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, about the matter.
In his correspondence, His Holiness explained the situation of our church in India and gave an overview of the immense efforts that the Patriarchate made to have peace and agreement among the members of the church in India and the schismatic group, and how these efforts were rejected. His Holiness called upon their Holinesses to have a clear stand regarding the various aggressions in order to safeguard the full communion that exists among the Oriental Orthodox Churches.
 

On August 22, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Mr. Ibrahim Mrad, President of the Syriac Union Party in Lebanon, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh.
His Holiness discussed with Mr. Mrad the current situation in Lebanon, especially after the blast that took place at the Beirut Port. They also spoke about ways of cooperation between the church and the associations to better help the people who were affected by the blast.
 

On August 21, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over an online meeting of the General Secretariat of the Holy Synod. Their Eminences, members of the General Secretariat: Mor Justinus Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar in the Archdiocese of Eastern USA, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, participated in the meeting.
His Holiness opened the meeting with a prayer and then he discussed with their Eminences different topics related to our churches throughout the world, especially with the spread of the COVID19. They also discussed the preparations of the meeting of the next Holy Synod. Furthermore, the fathers spoke about the current developments in the issue of our church in India.
 

On August 18, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, as President of the MECC for the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches, presided over a virtual meeting of the Presidents of MECC. His Beatitude Patriarch Cardinal Mar Rafael Louis Sako, President of MECC for the family of Catholic Churches, and Dr. Sourayya Bachalany, General Secretary of MECC, also participated in the meeting as well as the members of the MECC Strategic Support Group.
His Holiness and the Presidents of MECC discussed the situation of the churches in the Middle East and matters concerning the council, especially in relation to the General Assembly. They also discussed the role of the MECC in helping the churches in Beirut to recover after the blast that took place in Beirut Seaport.
 

On August 17, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Ambassador of Hungary in Lebanon Mr Geza Mihali, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director was also present in the meeting.
His Holiness discussed with His Excellency the current situation in Lebanon and the Middle East. They also spoke about further developing the cooperation between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the government of Hungary through Hungary Helps in order to offer humanitarian aid to the needy though the different programs and projects.
 

On August 15, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, at St. Mary Church in Atchaneh.
His Holiness was assisted by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Shemoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Benevolent Patriarchal Institutions in Atchaneh.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the dormition of the Virgin Mary and her assumption, which is a feast celebrated by the church since the early centuries. He pointed out that the holy girdle is the only relic of the Virgin Mary, given to the Apostle St Thomas when she was taken to heaven because he was late to the funeral. His Holiness spoke about the feasts of the Virgin Mary for the blessing of the sowing, crops and vines, and explained how the faithful ask for her intercession in all seasons and how the church introduced her feasts to her liturgy. His Holiness spoke about the lack of faith of some who do not believe in the intercession of the saints while the apostolic faith, which is founded on the Holy Bible and the teachings of the Fathers, confirms the great intercession of the saints.
Moreover, His Holiness spoke about the blast in Beirut Seaport which resulted in many deaths and injuries as well as the displacement of thousands of citizens from Beirut. He thanked those who are offering help, especially the faithful from our church who called or gave immediate help. He encouraged them to channel their help through the church which will give the aid to the needy.
 

On August 14, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Miss Jacqueline Boutros, Director General of the Public Employees in the Council of Civil Service, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
His Eminence Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, was present in the meeting.
His Holiness congratulated Miss Boutros on her appointment to this office and wished her success in her new responsibility. They also discussed the current situation and spoke about the damage caused by the blast of the Beirut Seaport.
 

On August 14, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency MP Antoine Pano, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
His Eminence Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, was present in the meeting.
His Holiness discussed with His Excellency the current situation in Beirut, especially after the blast that took place in Beirut Seaport and the damages it left behind.
 

On August 11, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Mr. Habib Afram and a delegation from the Syriac League in Lebanon, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh.
His Holiness discussed with his guests the current situation in Lebanon, especially after the blast that took place at the Beirut Port. They also spoke about ways of cooperation between the church and the associations to better help the people who were affected by the blast.