Patriarchate News

On December 22, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received the children of the “Happy Child House” Kindergarten, as well as their teachers headed by Malfonitho Hedra Massouh, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
 
The children sang a few hymns they learned about Christmas and presented some of the new things they learned at the kindergarten.
 
His Holiness was happy to see the children whom he blessed and thanked their teachers for their good job and efforts to teach them.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, were also present.

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On December 21, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the Christmas Spiritual Retreat for the Clergy of Damascus, held at the Maryamite Cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East hosted the retreat and His Beatitude Joseph Absi, Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, as well as His Eminence Mario Cardinal Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, also participated in the retreat.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education as well as a number of the Reverend priests, monks, and seminarians from Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya also participated in the retreat.

During the retreat, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Choir chanted Christmas hymns and carols for the occasion.

In his word, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II emphasized that hunger and conflicts that surround us are the result of the irresponsible actions of men and of their materialistic desires. He called upon the clergy on the occasion of Christmas to meditate their ministry and have a mission of remembering the needy and visiting them to help them and serve them with joy so that they may rejoice in the Lord with us.

His Beatitude Patriarch Joseph Absi spoke about the special reverence of the feast of Nativity while reminding the clergy of their initial calling to serve the poor and marginalized with a pure heart and conscience.

His Beatitude Patriarch John X spoke about the Divine Providence that is the truth of this holy feast in which a child communicated to us the love of God and His care for His creation. He prayed for each family and asked the King of peace to spread His peace, especially inner peace, towards all people.

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On December 20, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated the Christmas Tree at the Abbasiyyin Square in Damascus. Thousands of people gathered to be part of this joyful event.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, accompanied His Holiness to the inauguration ceremony.
 
In his speech, His Holiness named the square “the square of life” pointing out to the suffering of the Syrian people that this square witnessed during the difficult times of the crisis. Then, it was restored from its ashes to be a place of gathering, uniting the Syrian people irrespective to their religions. He added that this celebration is an occasion to draw a smile on the children’s face and to give hope to all people. The lively city of Damascus is thus sending a message to the entire world that peace starts from the heart and all people have a desire for peace. He wished all a Merry Christmas and greeted the Syrian army who is giving lots of sacrifices to protect Syria and its people. He prayed for peace throughout the world and wished all the Syrian people a blessed season.
 
This event is the result of the hardwork of Sabro Team under the leadership of Very Rev. Raban Barsoum Kando who coordinated the organization of many Christmas activities including the giant Christmas Tree at the Abbasiyyin Square.
 
The event included also a performance by the orchestra of the Syrian Army which played several songs for Christmas and the holiday season. The Hymn Chanter Abeer Nehmeh also performed several chants and carols in Syriac and Arabic.

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On December 17, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Rev. Fr. Firas Loufti, Regional Superior of the monks of the Order of the Franciscans in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, with a delegation of monks from the order, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma, Damascus.
 
The meeting was attended by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
 
His Holiness spoke with his guests about the general situation in Syria. They also discussed the different ways with which the Church is ministering and attending to the needs of the refugees and those affected by the crisis.

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On December 15, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Antonios Monastery in Charleroi – Belgium.
 
His Holiness was assisted in the Holy Qurobo by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor George Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, and Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about priesthood and the spiritual ministry to serve the faithful, as well as the behavior and discipline of the priest in order to better serve the flock of Christ.
 
During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness ordained Dn. Petros Bernar and Dn. Philipos Ricci to be priests and serve at St. Antoine de Padoue Monastery in Charleroi.

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On December 15, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited St. Antoine de Padoue Monastery in Charleroi – Belgium.
 
His Holiness was received by the Abbot of the Monastery Mgr. Charles Clement Boniface (Raban Samuel) who expressed his joy to receive His Holiness and have his blessing. He took His Holiness and the accompanying delegation on a tour in the monastery where they visited the church and the large library.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor George Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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On December 14, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a Christmas Recital at Mor Izozoel Church in Brussels.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor George Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, and Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, also attended the recital as well as the clergy from Brussels.
 
After the Ramsho prayer, St. George Church Choir offered a performance of Christmas Carols in Syriac.
 
At the end of the recital, His Eminence Mor George Kourieh announced the publication of a new series of spiritual and dogmatic books published by the Archdiocese. Then His Holiness blessed the faithful present in the church.

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On December 14, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mr. Abdel Mawlah Al-Noukari, Charge d’Affaires of the Syrian Embassy in Belgium and Head of the Syrian Diplomatic Body in the European Union, at the Archdiocesan Residence in Brussels.
 
The meeting was attended by His Eminence Mor George Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary, and Media Office Director.
 
During the meeting, His Holiness spoke about the current situation in Syria and hoped that the suffering of the Syrian people due to the sanctions unilaterally imposed on Syria will end soon.
 
His Excellency welcomed His Holiness in Belgium and spoke about the services that the Syrian Embassy is offering to the citizens. He also hoped that the true image of what is happening in Syria will be brought forward to the western societies.

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On December 11, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem IImet with their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas, Archbishop of Turabdin, Mor Philoxenus Yusuf Cetin, Patriarchal Vicar in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Mor Dionysius Issa Gurbuz, Patriarchal Vicar in Switzerland and Austria, Mor Justinus Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, and Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, who were visiting the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh. Dn. Josef Onder and Malfono Issa Dogdu were also present.
 
His Holiness and their Eminences discussed general matters of the church.

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On December 9, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Eminence Mor Coorilos Geevarghese, Metropolitan of Niranam and Patriarchal Vicar of the Syrian Orthodox Jacobite Church in Qatar, accompanied by a delegation from St. James Church in Doha, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
 
His Holiness welcomed His Eminence and the accompanying delegation. He heard from them a report on the situation of our congregation in Doha. He blessed their efforts to develop the community. His Holiness blessed the members of the delegation and asked them to convey his prayers and best wishes to all the faithful of St. James Church in Doha.
 
Very Rev. Fr. Markose Abraham, Patriarchal Secretary for the Affairs of the Church in India, also attended the meeting.