Patriarchate News

On November 21, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Regional Holy Synod of India, at Morth Shmouni Church in Muscat – Oman.

In the Synod, His Holiness and their Eminences discussed the current situation of our church in India and its future. Their Eminences the Metropolitans of the Syrian Orthodox Jacobite Church in India headed by His Eminence Mor Gregorius Joseph, Metropolitan-Trustee, were present in addition to their Eminences: Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Justinus Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, Mor Barthelmaus Nathanael Youssef, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Gulf, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II delegated His Eminence Mor Yakoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of Monks and Administration of Mor Aphrem Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, to represent the Syriac Orthodox Church at the reception held by the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman in Damascus on the occasion of the 49th National Day Commemoration.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II delegated His Eminence Mor Yakoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of Monks and Administration of Mor Aphrem Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, to represent the Syriac Orthodox Church at the reception held by the Indonesian Embassy in Damascus on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of the Independence of Indonesia.

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On November 18, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met His Excellency Mr. Victor Manuel Ziguensa, Governor of Peten at the Governorate Headquarters in Peten – Guatemala.

His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Yacoub Eduardo, Archbishop of Central America, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Western USA, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs.

His Excellency welcomed His Holiness in the presence of a delegation from our Syriac Orthodox Community in Peten.

 

On November 15, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at Ahuachapan in El Salvador.

 

In his sermon, His Holiness expressed his feeling overwhelmed by the warm welcome of the faithful in El Salvador which made him feel at home and assured the faithful that they have been in his prayers for a long time. He praised God for His marvelous work among His people whom He called and who are all dear to His heart. His Holiness added that the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch is where the disciples of Christ were first known as Christians and had under it faithful from different races and cultures and speaking different languages. In Antioch, the Church was first called catholic or universal. From it, missionaries from our church went forth and preached the gospel to the entire world, acclaiming the glory of God and the coming of His kingdom. His Holiness told the faithful that we feel the calling of God to be together with other churches, sharing the richness of our spiritual heritage abd fighting together the challenges that the world is placing on our way. Talking to the faithful about the persecution as a mark of the true church,

 

His Holiness conveyed the reality of the suffering of Christians in the Middle East which has always been engulfed in war and violence and where the Church has always been persecuted. However, he assured them that the faith grows and that the members of the church remain steadfast in their faith and firmly attached to the teachings of the forefathers. His Holiness saluted the people of El Salvador who have been going through tribulations and subject to violence which is a sign of a weak relationship with God. He concluded his sermon by praying to the beloved country of El Salvador and all its citizens and government. He asked the faithful to be good citizens in order to show that they are disciples of Christ and have a credible witness to His gospel.

 

His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Yacoub Eduardo, Archbishop of Central America, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Western USA, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Eastern USA.

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On November 14, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at the stadium of a public school in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala.
In his sermon, His Holiness expressed his joy for being able to visit this community who are beloved members of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. He told them that they should not think worldly and be afraid because they are a small community; on the contrary, they should be encouraged with God’s words to the little flock not to be afraid. They should always rejoice in the Lord Who is strengthening them and protecting them. His Holiness pointed out that the eleven apostles were alone and felt afraid; but when they received the Holy Spirit, they were able to courageously go forth and proclaim the kingdom of the Lord and make disciples to the faith. His Holiness affirmed that we are the children of God because we received the Holy Spirit and His gifts in baptism. He gave us victory of Satan and his powers, therefore we should not be afraid. He emphasized that every Christian should focus on his relationship with God and grow in the spirit by reading the Holy Bible, following the commandments of the Lord and praying constantly.
 
At the end of his sermon, His Holiness expressed to the people that he is proud of their loyalty to the apostolic faith and faithfulness to the Holy Church. He asked the Lord to give them courage to remain steadfast in the faith and work for the development and improvement of their societies and country.
 

On November 13, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at the rural area of Chel – El Quiche, Guatemala.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness pointed out that our Lord Jesus Christ does not just give us commandments and instructions of things He does not know about, for the Lord so loved the world that He shed His blood for our sake. He added that the Lord experienced hunger, thirst, persecution and death in order to save us from death. When the Lord called us to be His people, He promised us that we will suffer from persecutions and tribulations; but He assured us not to fear those who hurt the body but cannot hurt the soul. His Holiness emphasized that when we trust the Lord’s promises, we walk in the footsteps of our forefathers who were ready to become martyrs for the sake of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
His Holiness then spoke about the Sayfo Genocide which took place around one century ago where half a million Syriac-speaking faithful were martyred by people who could not accept them because they were Christians. Those martyrs refused to deny Christ, just like the martyrs of Chajul who gave their lives under the persecution during the war in the 1980s, refusing to give up their faith. He concluded praying the Lord to give all courage to be witnesses for Christ and able to bear testimony to His salvation of man to all the nations.
 
At the end of the sermon, His Holiness blessed a commemorative stone dedicated to the Martyrs of Sayfo and of Central America.
 
His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Yacoub Eduardo, Archbishop of Central America, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Western USA, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Eastern USA. 

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On November 12, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at an open park in Barillas with the participation of thousands of faithful from the region of Santa Cruz Barillas in Guatemala.

In his sermon, His Holiness gave grace to the Lord Who gives us days to consecrate a new church, a new house of God where we can glorify Him and praise His presence among His people. He added that it is obvious that the church which was consecrated today was constructed through the love, sacrifice and the solidarity of the people. It will be a home for each one of the faithful. His Holiness reminded the faithful that the consecration of the church is not just anointing its walls with the Holy Myron, but making it a special place where prayers and sacrifices are offered to the Lord. He explained how the Holy Myron, which is made of oil mixed with perfumes that were placed on the body of Christ upon burying it, was consecrated by the apostles to replace the laying of hands. His Holiness instructed the faithful to remember that their participation in the consecration is their declaration that this building belongs to God and to the people of God. His Holiness told the faithful that, when entering the open park, he felt as one of the disciples and the multitudes who were sitting at the feet of the Lord and listening to His great commission to go forth and spread the gospel. He added that wherever we go, we are faced with persecutions but we should remember not to fear those who harm the body but cannot harm our souls. He emphasized that we should not be discouraged by persecutions, but be ready to make sacrifices for the sake of our faith. His Holiness prayed for the faithful in Qamishly following the recent attacks in the city and for the rest in peace for the priest who got killed the previous day in Deirelzor.

His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Yacoub Eduardo, Archbishop of Central America, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Western USA, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Eastern USA.

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On November 11, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met crowds of faithful who gathered a the Municipal Gymasium in Barillas – Guatemala.

His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Yacoub Eduardo, Archbishop of Central America, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Western USA, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Eastern USA.

His Eminence Mor Yacoub Eduardo welcomed His Holiness and the accompanying delegation and addressed the crowds telling them how great is this historical day because the Patriarch of Antioch is among them and visiting them despite their location which is hard to reach. He told them to receive the peace and love that His Holiness brought with him from Antioch, the city where Christianity was born, and where St. Peter, the Head of the Apostles, established his see. Mor Yacoub Eduardo thanked His Holiness and asked him to bless the people who gathered to receive him.

His Holiness addressed the crowds by expressing first his thanks to the Lord for the opportunity to be able to visit this flock of Christ despite being remote and in an area that is very hard to reach. His Holiness spoke about suffering as a mark of the church and that persecution is a necessary part of the history of the growth of the church. He emphasized that the Lord’s promise that He conquered the world is an encouragement and hope for all those who suffer for the sake of the true faith. He told them that their presence in the Syriac Orthodox Church is a sign of the work of God in their lives and in the life of the Holy Church. He concluded telling them how proud he is of them and that their warm welcome touched his heart and filled him with joy and tears; His Holiness prayed that God bless them and their families and protect them, strengthening them to remain steadfast in their faith despite tribulations and persecutions.

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On November 11, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II consecrated St. Aphrem Church in Amparo Agua Tinta – Mexico. After the consecration, His Holiness celebrated the Holy Qurobo.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the building of a house for the Lord and how it is initiated by an internal calling to each member of the praying community. He reminded the faithful of the temple which was built by Solomon upon God’s request and how they become the living temple of God. He also spoke to them about the divine work which was done by the consecration of the Church and making it a house of God, a place of worship, and a place where the members of the community can gather and praise the Lord. At the end of his sermon, His Holiness prayed the Lord to accept the offerings of the faithful, especially all those who contributed to the construction of the new church.
 
His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Yacoub Eduardo, Archbishop of Central America, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Western USA, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Eastern USA.

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