Patriarchate News

On October 29, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met His Excellency Mr. Peter Szijarto, Foreign Minister of Hungary, at the Headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in Budapest, in the presence of their Beatitudes: Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East John X, and Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem Joseph Absi.
 
During the meeting, His Holiness and their Beatitudes spoke about the current situation in the Middle East, especially in the countries that have crises. His Excellency assured the Patriarchs that the Hungarian Government and people will continue their support to the Christians in the Middle East.
 
His Holiness pointed out that the churches played a very important and crucial role in supporting Christian families who were affected by the crises, especially in Iraq and Syria. The Churches helped by creating projects that aim at employing young people and hence limiting migration and strengthening their attachment to their homeland.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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On October 27, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met His Excellency Mr. Alaa Ibrahim, Governor of Rif Dimashw, who visited Antioch Syrian University in Maarat Saydnaya.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Yakoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of the Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, accompanied His Holiness. Dr. Rakan Razzouk, President of ASU, was also present.

His Holiness welcomed his guest and inspected with him the classes, laboratories and different sections of ASU. Dr. Razzouk explained the mission of ASU in preparing young men and women who are highly educated, skilled in their professions and ready to serve their country. His Holiness emphasized that the goal of Antioch Syrian University is to give to the Syrian society members who are effective and can lead the progress through their education as well as the qualifications which they acquire at ASU through the teaching of the highly professional teachers and the availability of the modern labs where the students can apply the theories they learn, expand their talents and produce creative results.

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On October 23, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received a group of about 100 deaf people from the Association “Talking Hands”, at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.

The meeting was attended by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and the Patriarchal Delegate in the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of the Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya as well as Fr. Zuhri Khazaal, Priest of St. George Parish in Homs.

During the meeting, His Holiness welcomed the group and was briefed on their activities. A theatrical play was performed by the members of the Association using hand signs. After meeting each person and learning about their skills and talents, His Holiness blessed the group and prayed to the Lord to protect them and grant them health and spiritual joy.

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On October 23, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the Closing Session of the National Encounter “Medium and Reconciliation” at Antioch Syrian University.

Dr. Rakan Razzouk, President of Antioch Syrian University, and Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, President of the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue, and His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, concluded the session with a statement summarizing the major findings of the encounter as well as the recommendations that the participants discussed during the different panels of the National Encounter.

His Eminence Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of the Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, also attended the closing session.

His Holiness spoke about the service of reconciliation which is a holy ministry for the benefit of every human person, and of the society and the nation. He prayed that the institutions dealing with the humanitarian assistance would be more encouraged to enter into the domain of working for the reconciliation. He stressed that the most important step after this national encounter is to follow up and not loose time. At the end of his remarks, His Holiness hoped that reconciliation on the national level will bring forth fruits of peace and prosperity to the entire Syrian people.

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On October 22, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited the Art Exhibition entitled: “and the Fisherman is back” by Artist Mr. Haytham Shakkour at Mishwar Gallery in Damascus.
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate in the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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On October 21, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated the National Encounter “Medium and Reconciliation” organized by Antioch Syrian University (ASU), in collaboration with the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue, at Hotel Sheraton in Damascus.
The inauguration was also attended by His Excellency Minister of Endowments Dr. Mohammad Abdulsattar Al-Sayyid. 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 Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate in the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of the Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya.
 
Dr. Rakan Razzouk, President of ASU, and Rev. Dr. Riyad Jarjour, President of the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue, as well as the Minister of Endowments, spoke about the role of Reconciliation in rebuilding the Syrian society after the crisis in Syria.
In his speech, His Holiness spoke about three aspects of reconciliation: the reconciliation with God, with others, and with one’s self. He alluded to the role of the organizations that help met the needs of the people; however, he underlined the fact that there is still a need to restore the moral setting that was before the war, and to restore the trust among the people in order to maintain the harmony of the society.
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On October 21, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Mr. Hnein Kardous, member of the Parish Council of Saint Mary Church in Sao Paolo – Brazil, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma, Damascus. Mr. Hnein was accompanied by his brother Dr. Rafleh Kardous, Honorary Consul of Brazil in Syria.

 

His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus attended the meeting.

 

His Holiness inquired about the situation of St. Mary Church in Sao Paolo and the developments and activities in the parish. His Holiness conveyed his blessings and prayers to the faithful in Sao Paolo.

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On October 21, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma, Damascus.
 
Their Eminences 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 Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate in the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, attended the meeting.
 
His Beatitude Patriarch John X was accompanied by His Grace Bishop Luka Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Assistant, and Very Rev. Archimandrite Georges Yacoub, Patriarchal Secretary.
 
His Holiness and His Beatitude discussed the general situations in Syria and Lebanon, especially the current events in Lebanon and hope that the situation will become better soon for the good of the Lebanese people. They also spoke about common Church matters.

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On October 18, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at the altar of the Martyrs of Sayfo in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
 
During the Qurobo, His Holiness consecrated Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis as Archbishop, Patriarchal Assistant and Very Rev. Raban Yacoub Babawi as Archbishop, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of the Monks and for the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya.
 
His Holiness was assisted in the Qurobo by their Eminences: Mor Gregorius Saliba Shemoun, Patriarchal Counselor, Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Matta Monastery, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, Mor Georges Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar of Belgium, France and Luxemburg, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, also assisted His Holiness in the consecration rite.
 
His Eminence Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, and His Eminence Armenian Orthodox Archbishop of Damascus Armash Nalbandian, and their Graces Greek Orthodox Archbishops: George Abou Zakhm, Saba Isber, Mousa Khoury, and Maronite Archbishop of Damascus Mgr. Samir Nassar, as well as Rev. Fr. Habib Mrad, Representative of His Beatitude Syriac Catholic Patriarch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, and clergy from the Christian Churches in Damascus, Homs and Aleppo, were also present in the consecration.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. He also spoke about the joyous occasion of the consecration of the two new Archbishops. At the end, he congratulated the new archbishops wishing them a fruitful service for the church.
 
During the Qurobo, according to the rite of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, the new archbishops declared their Orthodox Faith and signed it before His Holiness the Patriarch. His Holiness prayed the prayer of the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the laying on of the hand. He laid on his right hand on the head of Raban Boutros and Raban Yacoub and ordained him as archbishops. Then, His Holiness gave the new archbishops the fatherly names (Mor Boutros and Mor Yacoub), and started to put on them the bishopric vestments. The new Archbishops sat on the bishopric chair; His Holiness placed his right hand over their shoulders and declared thrice: “Axios (worthy)”, while the crowd of faithful repeated the same each time. The new Archbishops were then carried on the chair so they read the special reading from the Holy Bible. At the end, His Holiness gave them the crosier (pastoral staff).
 
Mor Boutros Kassis spoke about the divine calling and recalled the different stages of his life where the Lord called him to join the seminary, and become a monk, then he was ordained a priest and served in different parishes like Sadad and Aleppo until he was given new responsibilities in the Patriarchate. He thanked the Lord for all His graces.
 
In turn, Mor Yakoub Babawi spoke about the Grace of God that fills the person with power to do the will of God. He thanked the Lord for all His blessings and prayed to be like the prophets who were always strengthened by the Lord and were able to win the spiritual fights.
 
After the Qurobo, His Holiness, their Eminences the Archbishops, and the two newly consecrated Archbishops entered the Patriarchal Hall where His Holiness put on the new archbishops the turban and the black robe with red hems, and gave them the small staff. Congratulations were then offered to the new archbishops.

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On October 16, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mr. Anou Jawhar Abdoka, Minister of Public Transport in Kurdistan – Iraq, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
 
His Holiness welcomed His Excellency and discussed with him the current situation. His Holiness emphasized the importance of preserving the Christian presence in the Middle East despite the difficulties. He stressed that Christians ensure the diversity in the societies of this region. His Holiness encouraged the efforts that lead to strengthening the sense of partnership and citizenship which leads to a stronger attachment to the land.
 
In turn, His Excellency Minister Abdoka spoke about the efforts that the Government of Kurdistan is doing, under the leadership of His Excellency Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, to deepen the relationships among all the components of the society. He also spoke about the role of the Christian religious leaders in protecting the Christian heritage and active presence of Christians in the Middle East.
 
His Eminence Archbishop Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, attended the meeting.

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