Patriarchate News

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.
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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.
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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.
 

On August 3, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over ramsho (evening) prayer at St. Mary Church in Orebro.

His Holiness was received by the Syriac Scouts and then the members of the Choir and the deacons entered in a procession while they chanted the hymn of the entrance of the Fathers.

His Eminence Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, received His Holiness. He welcomed His Holiness, the successor of St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth. He thanked the Lord for the projects that His Holiness is doing on many levels: educational, developmental, social, and for taking care of the spiritual needs of his flock.

His Holiness spoke about the responsibility of every Christian to spread the faith and to work together for the growth of the church in the glory of the Lord. He expressed his joy to visit St. Mary Church in Orebro for the second time and emphasized the need to preserve the spirituality of the Fathers who transmitted it to us. He said that we can do this through education and prayer which are the pillars of the Christian life of the community.

After the prayer, the committee of St. Mary Church organized a dinner during which they offered to His Holiness the donations they have raised in support of the new monastery in Sweden, the Holy Cross Monastery.

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On August 1st 2019, during SYGG 2019, a Questions and Answers session was organized with His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II.
 
The aim of the session is to give the youth the opportunity to personally ask their spiritual father whatever question they have.
 
The Session was led by Mr. Yohannes Evis and Miss Nour Younan who asked His Holiness several questions concerning the faith and traditions of the Syriac Church as well as about the youth. The opportunity was given then to all the youth to ask His Holiness their questions.
 
The questions were mainly about the role of the youth in building the Church, as well as the role of woman in the life of the Church. They also asked several questions about the Orthodox faith and about the liturgy.
At the end, His Holiness distributed trophies to the youth who participated in all five SYGGs, since 2015.
 

On July 31, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II officially inaugurated the fifth Suryoyo Youth Global Gathering (SYGG 2019) held in Stockholm – Sweden. The opening ceremony was held at St. Aphrem Cathedral in Sodertalje.

Their Eminences: Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Julius Abdelahad Shabo, Archbishop of Sweden and Scandinavia, Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Matta Monastery, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Eastern United States, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, attended the opening ceremony as well as the clergy and laypeople from both dioceses.

At the beginning, His Eminence Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub welcomed the youth to the fifth SYGG, he said: “Dear young friends, the most hope-filled result of this encounter will not be a final document, a joint letter or a program to carry out. The most hope-filled result of this meeting will be your faith and prayer. Each of you will return home with the new strength born from every encounter with one another and with the Lord”. Speaking about the theme of this year’s gathering – “Rooted in Him” – His Eminence said: “Wherever we may be and whatever we may do, we can always look up and say, ‘Lord, teach me to love as you have loved us, Lord teach me to be rooted and grounded in You’.” He concluded by thanking the organizing committee of the SYGG formed of members from the two youth organizations in the two dioceses in Sweden Soku and Souf.

Then, His Eminence Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, gave a welcoming address in which he expressed his happiness to receive in Sweden His Holiness, their Eminences, and the youth participating in the gathering. He wished the youth a blessed and fruitful gathering, as well as all success in their lives.

A welcoming word was then delivered by Very Rev. Fr. Youssef Atas, parish priest of Mor Aphrem Church.

At the end, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave the inaugural speech of SYGG 2019. He thanked the Lord God for the opportunity of being gathered for the fifth SYGG. He asked the blessing of God to all the youth. His Holiness thanked His Eminence Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub and the organizing committee for their efforts in organizing the gathering. He emphasized the importance of unity despite the different views. “When we come to the Church” His Holiness said “we should always be one”. He added “there is a great need to strengthen spirituality in Sweden, especially among the youth”. He also spoke about the different projects that the Church is doing to enhance the participation of the youth in the life of the Church. He told the participants of SYGG 2019 that they are the Church, and without them there is no future. In connection with the theme of this year’s SYGG, Rooted in Him, His Holiness emphasized the significance of remaining truthful to the traditions of our Church and its history which teaches us how to preserve the orthodox faith, to live it, and to transmit to the next generation.

The choir of the cathedral and the “Kenoro d-Ruho” Choir performed beautiful Syriac hymns and songs throughout the ceremony.

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Due to the devoted service and dedicated ministry of Very Rev. Raban Dr. Boutros Kassis, the Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo and Environs, and his success in offering humanitarian assistance and in managing projects to develop and help the needy, and in response to the growing need of the Patriarchate for assistance in these fields, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II appointed Very Rev. Raban Dr. Boutros Kassis as the Director of the Financial Department at the Patriarchate and the General Manager of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC), replacing His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, who served these departments with all devotion.

His Holiness directed Very Rev. Raban Boutros to cooperate with the different committees and staff in this respect for the good of the Church and in the best way of serving the faithful.

We congratulate Very Rev. Raban Boutros and wish him a fruitful ministry.

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On July 29, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Dr. Hafz Al-Rahman, Ambassador of India to Damascus, at the Patriarchate headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
During the meeting, His Holiness welcomed His Excellency and discussed with him the situation in Syria. He thanked him for the support of India to the Syrian people. His Holiness and His Excellency also spoke about the projects executed by our church to relief the suffering ones and reduce their pain. They hoped for cooperation on the level of education, especially between Antioch Syrian University and the universities and educational centers in India. His Excellency also was also interested in learning about the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India.
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, Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo and Environs, Very Rev. Fr. Markose Abraham, Patriarchal Secretary for the Church Affairs in India, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary, and Media Office Director.
 

On July 28, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya His Excellency Mr. Maher Mahfouz, Chargé d’Affaires of the Syrian Embassy in Argentina with his esteemed family.
His Holiness welcomed his guests and spoke with them about the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church and the projects executed by the patriarchate to support the presence of Christians in Syria and the Middle East, as well as to help rebuild and develop the Syrian society and all its components.
 
His Holiness and his guests visited Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Lady of the Holy Girdle Grotto, Sayfo monument, and the Altar of the Martyrs of Sayfo.
 
Then, His Holiness and his guests visited Antioch Syrian University (ASU), where they were received by Dr. Rakan Razouk, President of ASU. Dr. Razouk accompanied His Holiness and his guests in a tour in the university facilities and informed them about the various academic programs provided by ASU.
 
His Holiness and his guests visited also Melkart Pharmaceutical Factory, as well as the Holy Cross Monastery, and the Little Angel’s House Orphanage.
 
Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo and Environs.