Patriarchate News

On August 1st 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II officially inaugurated the fourth Suryoyo Youth Global Gathering (SYGG 2018) held this year in New Jersey in America.

Very Rev. Raban Jack Yakoub, Director of the Patriarchal Youth Department, thanked His Holiness for taking care of the Suryoyo youth as their spiritual father and beloved friend. He greeted all the youth groups coming from more than 15 different countries wishing them a successful SYGG 2018.

Then, a play was presented illustrating the theme of this year’s gathering: “All things are lawful for me but not all things are helpful” (1 Cor 10:23).

His Eminence Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Eastern United States, recalled the past SYGGs underlining the aims of these gatherings. He then presented His Holiness and welcomed him in New Jersey – “His Holiness’s home”.

In his opening speech, His Holiness asked the youth to remain fixed to their identity, especially in a great place like America where one might be challenged in preserving one’s identity and caring for his or her spiritual life and also cultural life. He underlined the negative effect of secularism on people, recalling the question of our Lord Jesus in the Gospel: “when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8); “that question” His Holiness added “is very profound because we see the number and percentage of believing people on the decrease.” His Holiness showed his concern about that “because our people are not immune against that; our young people can easily drift away from their family life, community life, and from their religion”. He added: “We are concerned not because we want numbers, but because we want the salvation of souls”. He said that all of us are responsible for each other: “we are a family and we are here because of that”. He noted the importance of this gathering which is an opportunity for all youth to benefit.

He then spoke about the theme of this gathering, emphasizing its importance in our world where lust and greed have no end; “yes we can do everything” he said “but, should we do everything?” he stressed that we should make the right decisions and trust the Lord, and not giving up our faith. His Holiness added “we go through many situations on a daily basis, and we kneel down and we pray, but how many of us believe in the power of that prayer?”

At the end, His Holiness hoped that the coming four days will be an opportunity for all to learn something new concerning our relationship with God and with each other as brothers and sisters.

Their Eminences: Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Eastern United States, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahla and Bekaa, and Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan, attended the opening ceremony.

SYGG 2018 will be attended by more than 220 youth coming from 15 different countries all over the world. The gathering is taking place at Crystal Springs Resort in New Jersey – USA.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the meeting of the General Secretariat of the Holy Synod. The meeting was held in New Jersey.
Their Eminences, members of the General Secretariat: Mor Justinus Boulos Safar , Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Eastern United States, and Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kurdistan and Environs, were present while their Eminences Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, participated by phone in the meeting.
His Holiness opened the meeting with a prayer and then he discussed with their Eminences the different matters on the agenda.
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On July 29th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at the conclusion of the 54th Annual Convention held in Tampa, USA.
Their Eminences Archbishops Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Eastern USA, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar for the Western USA, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Bekaa, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah, assisted His Holiness during the Holy Qurobo. The clergy from both Archdioceses who participated in the convention were also present in the Holy Qurobo.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the theme of the convention: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3: 13). His Holiness stressed that faith guides the believers from sin to repentance and from spiritual death to everlasting life. He said that the goal of every Christian should be one: to know God, to participate in His passion and to believe in His life-giving resurrection. Christ should be a priority in our lives and all our deeds should spring from our faith. He also spoke about humility which is the core of Christianity.
At the end of the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness blessed the faithful and wished them success in their lives.
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On July 28th 2018, Rev. Fr. Charbel Bcheiry delivered a lecture on Mor Severus on the occasion of the 1500th Jubilee of his exile to Egypt.
After the lecture, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over Evening (ramsho) prayer at Mor Athanasius Church in Tampa – USA.
Their Eminences: Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Eastern USA, and Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar for the Western USA, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Bekaa, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, as well as the clergy of both Archdioceses, and faithful, attended the prayer.
At the end of the prayer, His Holiness blessed all the faithful who were present.
 

On July 28th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II laid the foundation stone of the new Community Hall that will be built near the St. Athanasius Church in Tampa.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the location of the new hall in the presence of their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Eastern USA, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar for the Western USA, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Bekaa, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah, and the clergy and faithful from St. Athanasius Church in Tampa.
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On July 28th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated a Sayfo Monument in commemoration of the Syriac Genocide at St. Athanasius Church in Tampa – USA.
Their Eminences: Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Eastern USA, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar for the Western USA, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Bekaa, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah were present in the meeting as well as the clergy and the Board members of the parish of St. Athanasius.
His Holiness conducted the special teshmeshto (service) for the martyrs and prayed for all martyrs who died defending their faith, especially those who were killed during the Syriac Genocide Sayfo (1915).
 

On July 27th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met the youth of the Syriac Orthodox Churches in America at the 54th Convention held in Tampa – USA.
During the Q&A session, His Holiness discussed the different issues that the youth raised and spoke about the topics that are important to our communities.
His Holiness listened to the contributions of the youth towards the discussions and themes that were raised and explained the viewpoint of our church concerning the different matters. He highlighted the importance to remain attached to the cultural and spiritual heritage that the Church Fathers and forefathers left to us, as well as ways to be witnesses of Jesus Christ among the society we live in.
Their Eminences: Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Eastern USA, and Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar for the Western USA, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahla and Bekaa, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah were present in the meeting.
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On July 27th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the general meeting of the two Archdioceses of Western and Eastern USA, at the 54th Annual Convention held in Tampa, USA.
Their Eminences Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar for the Western USA, and Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Eastern USA, reported on the work of their Archdioceses along with the representatives of the parishes, clergy and lay people, who presented different aspects of the ministries offered at the parishes and institutions of the Archdioceses.
His Holiness answered the different questions raised at the meeting. He gave his guidance on how to restructure the convention, keeping its original mission alive and improving elements of spirituality and Christian teaching.
At the end of the meeting, His Holiness blessed the delegates and representatives of the parishes asking the Lord to strengthen them in order to spread His gospel throughout the communities they serve.
Their Eminences: Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahla and Bekaa, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, also attended the meeting.
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From June 27th till July 25th 2018, upon the request of His Eminence Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Sisters Helene Samarji and Sayde Elias, from the Sisterhood of Mor Jacob Baradeaus, who work on digitizing manuscripts at the Department of Syriac Studies (DSS), completed the digitization process of 73 manuscripts kept at Mor Jacob Monastery in Warburg – Germany.

The project of digitizing Syriac Manuscripts is one of the many projects executed by the DSS, directed by Very Rev. Raban Dr. Roger-Youssef Akhrass. The work completed in Germany comes after finalizing the digitization process of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate Manuscripts kept in Damascus and Atchaneh.

His Eminence thanked the sisters and the department for digitizing the manuscripts, which were presented to the monastery as gifts from several priests and faithful, as well as for the great job they are doing to preserve Syriac Heritage and spread it all over the world.

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On July 26th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over Evening (ramsho) prayer at the 54th Convention in Northern America in Tampa – USA.
Their Eminences: Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Eastern USA, and Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar for the Western USA, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Bekaa, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, as well as the clergy of both Archdioceses, and faithful, attended the prayer.
At the end of the prayer, His Holiness blessed all the faithful who were present.