Patriarchate News

On December 14, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a Christmas Recital at Mor Izozoel Church in Brussels.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor George Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, and Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, also attended the recital as well as the clergy from Brussels.
 
After the Ramsho prayer, St. George Church Choir offered a performance of Christmas Carols in Syriac.
 
At the end of the recital, His Eminence Mor George Kourieh announced the publication of a new series of spiritual and dogmatic books published by the Archdiocese. Then His Holiness blessed the faithful present in the church.
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On December 14, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mr. Abdel Mawlah Al-Noukari, Charge d’Affaires of the Syrian Embassy in Belgium and Head of the Syrian Diplomatic Body in the European Union, at the Archdiocesan Residence in Brussels.
 
The meeting was attended by His Eminence Mor George Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary, and Media Office Director.
 
During the meeting, His Holiness spoke about the current situation in Syria and hoped that the suffering of the Syrian people due to the sanctions unilaterally imposed on Syria will end soon.
 
His Excellency welcomed His Holiness in Belgium and spoke about the services that the Syrian Embassy is offering to the citizens. He also hoped that the true image of what is happening in Syria will be brought forward to the western societies.
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On December 11, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem IImet with their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas, Archbishop of Turabdin, Mor Philoxenus Yusuf Cetin, Patriarchal Vicar in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Mor Dionysius Issa Gurbuz, Patriarchal Vicar in Switzerland and Austria, Mor Justinus Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, and Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, who were visiting the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh. Dn. Josef Onder and Malfono Issa Dogdu were also present.
 
His Holiness and their Eminences discussed general matters of the church.
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On December 9, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Eminence Mor Coorilos Geevarghese, Metropolitan of Niranam and Patriarchal Vicar of the Syrian Orthodox Jacobite Church in Qatar, accompanied by a delegation from St. James Church in Doha, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
 
His Holiness welcomed His Eminence and the accompanying delegation. He heard from them a report on the situation of our congregation in Doha. He blessed their efforts to develop the community. His Holiness blessed the members of the delegation and asked them to convey his prayers and best wishes to all the faithful of St. James Church in Doha.
 
Very Rev. Fr. Markose Abraham, Patriarchal Secretary for the Affairs of the Church in India, also attended the meeting.
 

On November 27, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the official ceremony of signing a memorandum of understanding between Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Hungary and Antioch Syrian University in Damascus, at the Rector’s Office of Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Budapest.
 
Dr. Rakan Razzouk, President of Antioch Syrian University, signed the memorandum and hoped that this step will strengthen the collaboration between both universities and will be the beginning of further cooperation in presenting better education for the students in Syria and Hungary.
 
His Holiness blessed this step which is the fruit of collaboration with the State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians which is giving special attention to the university through the Patriarchate. He hoped that it will bring about further advances and that it will be an opportunity to work on establishing institutes of specialized studies.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director also attended.
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On November 26, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met His Holiness Abune Mattias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, at Budapest.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, were also present at the meeting.

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inquired about the situation of the Christians in Ethiopia, especially those who are being persecuted for their faith in the Lord. He assured his love and solidarity with the sister Ethiopian Orthodox Church and prayed for peace and security in Ethiopia. Their Holinesses also discussed the relationship between the two sister Oriental Orthodox Churches and ways of promoting common interest and support for each other.

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On November 26, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met His Excellency Mr. Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, in Budapest.
 
His Holiness and His Excellency discussed the situation of Christians in the Middle East.
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On November 26, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the opening session of the 2nd International Conference of Christian Persecution which was held in Budapest.
 
In his speech, His Holiness spoke about the lack of interest of the international community in helping the suffering Christians in the Middle East. He added that there should be a support of the strong secular state where all citizens are equal as well as lifting the sanctions unjustly imposed on Syria.
 
His Excellency Mr. Victor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, spoke about the responsibility that Hungary took to support the Christian communities in the Middle East to remain in their homeland.
 
His Excellency Mr. Tristan Azbej, State Secretary for the Aid of the Persecuted Christians spoke about the program that Hungary Helps is providing in support of Christians and thus showing that actions are needed to help the Christians in their own countries overcome the difficulties in order to remain there.
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Statement of the Regional Episcopal Synod of India
November 21-22, 2019 – Muscat, Oman

The Regional Episcopal Synod of India was held on 21 and 22 November 2019, at the Morth Shmouni Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church in Muscat, Oman, presided over by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East – the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, with the participation of 31 Archbishops – members of the Regional Holy Synod in India and their Eminences 6 members of the General Secretariat of the Holy Synod of Antioch.

His Holiness opened the sessions of the Holy Synod with prayer asking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead the shepherds of the church in wisdom throughout the meeting. He also prayed for the health of His Beatitude Mor Baselios Thomas I, Catholicos of India, thanking him for his leadership and devoted service for the Church in India during many years and especially in these difficult times. His Holiness thanked His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the governing authorities in the Sultanate of Oman for the spirit of tolerance and religious freedom shown to our community, especially for facilitating the arrangements for convening the synod in Muscat.

His Holiness underlined the suffering of the faithful in India to preserve the apostolic faith and traditions handed over by the forefathers and their loyalty to the Holy Throne of Antioch. He affirmed that, even if only one person remain loyal to the Holy Throne of Antioch, the Patriarch will do whatever it takes to support and care for that person.

Mor Gregoriose Joseph, Metropolitan Trustee, gave an overview of the current situation of the Church in India, and the Archbishops expressed their opinions and discussed the matters related to the situation and present crisis in the church in India.

The Synod affirmed that whatever be the difficulties and the losses, the Church in India will uphold the apostolic faith and traditions and will remain faithful to the Holy See of Antioch and to His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

The Fathers of the Synod decided that the Dialogue Committee which was formed in the Holy Synod in 2015 during the First Apostolic Visit of His Holiness to India, consisting of: Mor Timotheose Thomas – Convener, Mor Gregoriose Joseph, Mor Athanasiose Geevarghese, Mor Theophilose Kuriakose, and Mor Coorilose Geevarghese, is still in existence and that they will make use of all possibilities for dialogue to resolve the issues and to achieve peace and reconciliation in the church in India.

In this regard, His Holiness and the Fathers of the Synod appreciated the initiative taken by the Government of Kerala by forming a cabinet sub-committee to resolve the conflict between the two factions of the church in India and the efforts taken by the Governor of Kerala for an amicable solution agreeable to both factions. The Synod affirmed their wholehearted support to and cooperation with the cabinet sub-committee and the Governor.

An Episcopal Advisory Committee was formed to assist the Holy Synod in taking appropriate decisions and actions for upholding the faith and the welfare of the church and to address the challenges that the Church is facing. The members of the committee are: Mor Timotheose Thomas – the Synod Secretary, Mor Athanasiose Geevarghese, Mor Theophilose Kuriakose, and Mor Coorilose Geevarghese. His Eminence Mor Gregoriose Joseph – the Metropolitan Trustee, will be the convener of the Epispocal Advisory Committee.

The Synod decided that, in emergency situations, all affected churches should conduct matters, especially legal affairs, with the knowledge and the consent of the present office bearers of the Church in India, namely, Mor Gregoriose Joseph – the Metropolitan Trustee, Mor Timotheose Thomas – the Synod Secretary, Clergy Trustee, Lay Trustee and Lay Secretary of the Church.

His Holiness appreciated the support of the general public and the media in Kerala as well as the leaders and members of sister churches and the people of other faiths in India in the struggle of protecting the churches and the cemeteries and the fundamental rights and human dignity of our faithful in India.

At the end of the Regional Synod, His Holiness thanked their Eminences for their spirit of unity, the commitment to the Holy See of Antioch and their sacrifices to preserve the true faith and traditions of our church in India. A special note of thanks was conveyed to the vicar and the faithful of Morth Shmouni Church in Muscat for making the arrangements for the meeting of the Regional Episcopal Synod.

 

On November 22, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at Morth Shmouni Church in Ghala – Oman.

In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the important Regional Holy Synod which is convened to discuss the situation of the Church in India and the recent developments there. His Holiness then spoke about the annunciation of the angel to the Virgin Mary about the birth of the Lord and he pointed out the greatness of the mystery of God’s incarnation of the Lord and His love towards mankind.

His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Gregorius Joseph, Metropolitan of Cochin and Metropolitan Trustee of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India and Mor Ireneos Paulose, Metropolitan of Kozhikod and Patriarchal Vicar in Oman, in the presence of their Eminences the Archbishops members of the Regional Holy Synod in India.

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