Patriarchate News

The Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East sadly announces the passing away of Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, of blessed memory. He passed away in Damascus – Syria, on the evening of Monday 7 December 2020.
Details of the funeral service will follow.
May his memory be eternal.
 

On November 25, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met the clergy of the Archdiocese of Baghdad and Basra, in the presence of His Eminence Mor Severius Hawa, Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra.
During the meeting, His Holiness encouraged the priests to remain faithful to their holy mission, and congratulated them for being distinguished in their ministry, especially during the difficult times. His Holiness appreciated the good news of their activities and assured them that conviction and self-sacrifice are the foundation of the success of any ministry and of the progress in the spiritual life. He added that the Lord blesses the various sacrifices of the priests when they show real commitment and discipline as well as humility and honesty. The priest thus becomes a role example for others and a model for the youth who are moved by a vocation to serve the church. In this regard, His Holiness also spoke about the seminaries in our church which are offering the possibility to learn the basics of theology as well as the rites and history of our church enabling the priest to teach the orthodox faith and the cultural and moral heritage passed on by our holy fathers. Finally, he encouraged the priests to continuously pursue education and make research in order to better serve the flock entrusted to them.
 

On November 24, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met the president and members of the Advisory Committee of the Archdiocese of Baghdad and Basra, in the presence of His Eminence Mor Severius Hawa, Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra.
During the meeting, His Holiness was briefed on the works of the diverse institutions in the Archdiocese as well as the different committees and associations under the presidency and guidance of His Eminence Archbishop Mor Severius Hawa. His Holiness blessed their efforts and encouraged them to continue offering their services to the society as a witness to their Syriac Orthodox faith and to the presence of the church, its great history and contribution to the different fields, especially in the field of education.
 

On November 23, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited His Eminence Mor Severius Hawa, Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra, to check on his recovery after he was infected with corona virus.
During the meeting, His Holiness listened to the doctor’s report on the recovery of His Eminence. He also listened to an overview of the various activities and events which were done for the celebration of the golden jubilee of the episcopal ordination of His Eminence to which His Holiness had sent a letter congratulating him and wishing him good health for many years to come.
 

On November 19, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited the construction site of the Lattakia Community Center.
He inspected the progress in the work as well as the plans and different stages of the project.
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.

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On November 15, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Ambassador of Austria in Syria Mr. Habs-Peter Glanzer, at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
His Eminence Archbishop Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks Affairs and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, were present in the meeting.
During the meeting, His Holiness offered his condolences to His Excellency for the people who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks in Vienna last week. His Holiness and His Excellency spoke about the current situation in Syria and the effects of the crisis on the Syrian people who are suffering from the sanctions imposed on them.
His Excellency then visited the monastery where His Eminence Mor Yacoub Babawi gave him an overview of the seminary and the services it provides. His Excellency visited the Grotto of the Holy Belt as well as the altar of the Sayfo Martyrs and the memorial of the Centennial of Sayfo Syriac Genocide.
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On November 5, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mr. Melhem Khalaf, President of the Bar of Lawyers in Beirut, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh.
His Holiness welcomed His Excellency and spoke about the current situation in Lebanon and thank Mr Khalaf for his role in the civil society and support for the Lebanese people. In turn, Mr Khalaf spoke about the new initiative proposed by the Bar of Lawyers in Beirut to help in overcoming the political and economic crisis in Lebanon. At the end of the meeting, His Holiness blessed the efforts that His Excellency is doing, hoping that he will receive the support of the political and religious leaders.
The meeting was attended by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
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On October 29, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II honored Mr. Shady Sarweh, upon his resignation from his office as Executive Director of EPDC, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Damascus.
The reception was also by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and General Manager of EPDC, Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar in the Archdiocese of Eastern USA, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus. Members of Mr. Shady’s family and friends as well as the directors of the various departments in EPDC and its employees and partners were also present in the reception.
At the beginning of the reception, His Eminence Mor Boutros Kassis spoke about the work of EPDC as well as the role of Mr. Shady Sarweh in the different stages of the development of EPDC, and the projects that it is executing in different areas. Then a video of the achievements of the EPDC in the social field was diffused.
Then His Eminence Mor Dionysius John Kawak spoke about his personal acquaintance with Mr. Shady since he was the conductor of St. Aphrem Patriarchal Choir. He also remembered the events that they organized together throughout the years. His Eminence appreciated the effective role of Mr. Sarweh in leading EPDC during the phase when it became an institution for development instead of just relief.
In his speech, His Holiness spoke about the ministry of the church and the services it offers to every human being in order to help him preserve his dignity and to live the human values in his society. His Holiness spoke about the different stages that man goes through to reach salvation that the Lord called him to. He mentioned the numerous talents of Mr. Shady Sarweh and his contributions to the works of the Patriarchate since he was a conductor of the Patriarchal Choir to the day he resigned from his office as Executive Director of EPDC. His Holiness emphasized that ministry is evangelization and it reflects the faith of the person. He pointed out that EPDC offers its services in response to the needs and it will continue to offer its services as long as there is a need, in fulfilment of its vision and the faith of the institution, its leadership and the volunteers who work in it. At the end of his speech, His Holiness offered a certificate of appreciation and an icon of the Virgin Mary to Mr. Shady Sarweh in recognition of his efforts and work in EPDC.
At the end of the reception, Mr. Shady Sarweh expressed his gratitude for all who assisted him during his work in EPDC and thanked all those who supported him and made his mission successful. He also expressed his joy to have good relations with the employees and partners of the EPDC who were all part of the mission of serving the needy.
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On October 24, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Mr. Nikolay Sukhov, Head of the Russian Cultural Center in Damascus and Counselor of the Russian Embassy in Damascus, accompanied by a delegation from the Cultural Center, at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Eastern USA, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, were present in the meeting.
During the meeting, His Holiness and his guests spoke about encouraging tourists to visit Syria to get to know its rich history, civilization and culture. His Holiness spoke of the impact of the crisis on the Syrian people who are suffering due to the sanctions imposed on Syria. In turn, Mr. Sukhov emphasized the support of Russia to the people of Syria in many areas and fields, especially in education and culture.
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On October 14, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mgr. George Abi Khazen, Latin Apostolic Vicar in Syria, accompanied by Rev. Fr. Raymond Gergess, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
The meeting was attended by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
During the meeting, His Excellency thanked His Holiness for his efforts in the case of the property of ‘Terre Sainte’ in Aleppo.
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