Patriarchate News

On April 19, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Beatitude Joseph Absi, Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Damascus, Syria.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for the Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, were also present.

His Beatitude wished His Holiness a Happy Easter and offered his best wishes for the occasion. He was accompanied by His Excellency Mgr. Nicolas Antipa, Vicar of the Archdiocese of Damascus and the clergy of the Patriarchate.

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On April 19, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo on the occasion of Easter Sunday, at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma, Damascus.

During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for the Youth Affairs and Christian Education, Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary, and Armenian Orthodox Archbishop of Damascus Armash Nalbandian, as well as the clergy of the Patriarchate and the monks and seminarians of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary.

In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the resurrection which is a unique event, emphasizing on the surprise of the women who found the rock of the tomb removed and did not find the body of our Lord Jesus Christ in it. He pointed out that the resurrection is a divine truth that reveals the salvation that the Lord Jesus completed on the cross through His death, and by His victory over death, which gave us also victory over death and sin.

His Holiness assured that Jesus is living and that His resurrection is an extraordinary event because He rose with a spiritual body that can enter the upper room even though the doors were closed.

His Holiness explained the expression: “Peace to you” which the Lord uttered after His resurrection, greeting His disciples and pointing out to His resurrection that gives hope to the hopeless and preaches peace to all the earth.

He spoke about the pandemic of corona that has invaded the world and resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands. He emphasized the need for the hope of resurrection to believe that the resurrection that filled the hearts of the disciples with joy, safety, peace and hope, will also fill us with peace when we realize that the Lord Jesus is the sovereign over our lives and cares for us and protects us. He recommended that all measures should be following and prayed for the recovery of the sick and for peace in the entire world.

His Holiness recalled the painful event of the abduction of the Archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and prayed for their safe return.

His Holiness concluded his sermon by offering congratulations and best wishes to the members of the church, in Syria and everywhere, especially those who have lost members of their families.

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On April 18, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Holy Qurobo of the Easter Vigil at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma.
 
His Eminence Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, celebrated the Holy Qurobo, in the presence of His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
 
His Holiness announced the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and presided over the special service for the occasion.
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On April 18, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Holy Qurobo celebrated by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, on the occasion of the Saturday of Lights, at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral, Damascus.
 
His Eminence Archbishop Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education also attended.
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On April 17, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the services of the worship and Burial of the Cross at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma in Damascus.

His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks’ Affairs and Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, as well as the clergy, monks and seminarians. St. Aphrem Patriarchal Choir in Damascus chanted the special hymns for the occasion.

In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the last words of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross: it is finished, pointing out to the completion of the salvation on the cross. He spoke about the pain and the hope that these words carry, and how the disciples were remote from Jesus because they thought that His life ended at the cross, not remembering that He came for this act, to drink this bitter cup which He chose to drink, the cup of death on the cross. He explained that the enemies of Christ rejoiced at these words because they thought that His mission on earth had finished; they did not know that with His death He gave us peace and life. His Holiness assured that this sentence “It is finished” declares to us that with His death the Lord gave us salvation. His Holiness prayed for the sick, especially those infected with the corona virus and asked all to repent to God and enjoy the consequences of salvation, as sons of God and not as slaves, as true disciples through whom others believe in Christ by seeing our deeds which reflect love and faith.

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On April 16, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the service of the washing of the feet at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma, Damascus.

During this service, His Holiness called twelve seminarians from Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, representing the twelve Apostles and washed their feet following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ Who washed the feet of His disciples. It is a lesson in humility where we learn how serving others is greater than being served.

The service was attended by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya.

At the end of the service, His Eminence Mor Yacoub Babawi gave a sermon, in which he spoke about the personality of Judas Iscariot who, like Adam, followed the advice of the evil one and left God. He also showed that Judas resembled Pharaoh who chose death over life. His Eminence explained how Judas used the kiss, which is a symbol of love, to fulfill an evil deed, namely treason. He emphasized the Lord Jesus continuously tried to win Judas and to warn him, trying to bring him back to the flock and to the disciples. His Eminence also spoke about the love of money and greed that led Judas to act as he did and to deliver the Lord Jesus Christ to the Jews who crucified Him.

 

On April 16, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo on Maundy Thursday at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.

Their Eminences Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education, attended the Holy Qurobo.

In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the meaning of Passover, and how the church celebrates today the feast in which the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament. He pointed out that this Maundy Thursday is also called the Thursday of the Sacraments because we remember in it how the Lord established the sacraments of the church through the Holy Qurbono, which is the sacrament of sacraments and through it all the sacraments are fulfilled.

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On Good Friday, April 17, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Midday Service of the Friday of Passion at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma.
 
The service was attended by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, as well as the priests and monks of the patriarchate.
 
His Holiness held the cross on his shoulder in a procession inside the Cathedral in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ’s carrying the Cross from Pilate’s palace to the Golgotha. During the procession, the clergy chanted hymns expressing sorrow and melancholy.
 
As His Holiness was reading the reading from the Holy Gospel, the left candle (symbolizing the thief crucified to the left) was put out. This service represents one of the stages of the crucifixion and is celebrated on Midday as a symbol of when the Lord Jesus was judged.
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On Good Friday, April 17, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Midday Service of the Friday of Passion at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma.
 
The service was attended by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, as well as the priests and monks of the patriarchate.
 
His Holiness held the cross on his shoulder in a procession inside the Cathedral in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ’s carrying the Cross from Pilate’s palace to the Golgotha. During the procession, the clergy chanted hymns expressing sorrow and melancholy.
 
As His Holiness was reading the reading from the Holy Gospel, the left candle (symbolizing the thief crucified to the left) was put out. This service represents one of the stages of the crucifixion and is celebrated on Midday as a symbol of when the Lord Jesus was judged.
 

On April 12, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Service of Nahire (the Feast of Lights), at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma, Damascus.

 

This service was attended by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for the Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary, as well as the clergy of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus and some of the seminarians of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary.

 

His Eminence Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub spoke about the mercy of God Who is the only one able to give us true hope and to cast away our fears. He emphasized that the church is not a building; rather, it is the faithful who are the living stones that build the community and the society. About the service of the nahire, or arrival to the port, His Eminence explained that the ten virgins represent the church and the Lord Jesus Christ had promised to given the whole church salvation. He pointed out that the scene of the ignorant virgins is painful because they stayed outside, away from the heavenly groom even though they are part of the church. He added that the reason why they remained outside is because they were holding to false hope, as many believers do when they become attached to appearances but remain remote from the Holy One. He also spoke about the importance to complete our way with the Lord with true repentance based on good hope who is Jesus Christ, not like Judas whose remorse led him to hang himself, or the woman of Loth who did not complete her journey with God. At the end of his sermon, His Eminence called the faithful to be vigil in renewing themselves spiritually through true repentance, that they may harvest true joy by being always with the heavenly groom.

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On April 12, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo on the occasion of Palms Sunday, at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma, Damascus.
 
During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness spoke about the entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ to Jerusalem and the crowds who welcomed Him as the King of Israel. His Holiness emphasized that the kingdom of Christ is not from this world, therefore He entered Jerusalem in humility and not to show power. His Holiness pointed out that the children were cheering by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit while they were receiving the Lord Jesus and saying: blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel. He also spoke about the people who think of God as a powerful god in the human sense, while the Lord is teaching us, through His modest entrance to Jerusalem, that He is near His people and that the real power is revealed on the cross by the obedience that conquered death and satan.
Concerning the Corona pandemic that is spreading throughout the world, His Holiness offered his condolences to the families of those who passed away, especially the faithful of our church living in Sweden, Istanbul, Belgium or USA, who lost a dear member of their family due to the corona virus. He prayed asking the Lord to strengthen the patients and to comfort the hearts of those who lost someone due to this disease. He assured them that the church is constantly supplicating and asking the Lord to stop this pandemic; he emphasized that, if it weren’t for the divine providence, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate this feast of Palms’ Sunday.
 
During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for the Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary.

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