Patriarchate News

On January 22, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated the sessions of the Executive Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), hosted by our Syriac Orthodox Church on behalf of the Oriental Orthodox Family of Churches, and held at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Lebanon.
 
His Holiness, along with His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans, Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, Senior Pastor of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut, and Dr. Souraya Bechealany, Acting Secretary General of MECC, presided over the inaugural session.
 
His Holiness opened the session with prayers and chants from the Syrian tradition. Prayers from the different Church members of the Family of Oriental Churches were then raised.
 
A video for the commemoration of the Late Archbishop Anba Bishoy, member of the executive committee was then screened.
 
In his inaugural speech, His welcomed His Beatitude and their Eminences and Excellencies as well as all who are present at the patriarchal residence. He spoke about the common challenges facing the Churches in the Middle East. He also emphasized that Christians should always seek peaceful coexistence with other components of the societies. His Holiness considered that Christian leaders should meet continuously and unify efforts against extremism and terrorism, and work altogether to spread the Christian values and morals.
 
His Holiness also raised several questions about the Divine Justice, that they may be discussed during the theological panel to follow. He also hoped that the MECC may be able to reach common answers for the various questions, as well as to reach to celebrate altogether all Christian feasts, and to unify the witness for the one Holy Church of the One Almighty God.
 
Dr. Bechealany gave a welcome speech in which she thanked His Holiness and the Syriac Orthodox Church for hosting the meeting, and spoke about the aims of the MECC. She stressed that justice is the stone on which peace and stability are built.
 
A theological panel about justice then took place.
 
His Eminence Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Lebanon and Member of the Executive Committee of MECC, and Rev. Fr. Jimmy Danho, Associate General Secretary of MECC for the Oriental Orthodox Churches Family, were also present.
 

On January 21, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Beatitude and Eminence Cardinal Mar Louis Rafael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Lebanon.

His Holiness warmly welcomed His Beatitude and had a cordial meeting with him.

His Beatitude, along with His Holiness, will preside over the meetings of the Executive Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), hosted by our patriarchate and held in the coming two days at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met the members of the Syriac Benevolent Association in Amman.
Their Eminences Mor Severius Hawa, Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as Very Rev. Raban Gabriel Dahho, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, Jordan and the Holy Lands.
His Holiness expressed his joy to meet the members of the Syriac Association in Amman and encouraged them to work together with clergy for the best interest of the people they are serving.

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On January 20, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a reception held in honor of his first apostolic visit to Amman – Jordan at St. Aphrem Cathedral.
Their Eminences: Mor Severius Hawa, Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as Very Rev. Raban Gabriel Dahho, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, Jordan and the Holy Lands, the Reverend clergy and deacons, and a large crowd of the faithful of our church, attended the ceremony.
Their Excellencies the Archbishops and Vicars of the sister churches in Amman also attended the reception. His Excellency Dr. Iman Alloush, Ambassador of Syria in Amman, and the Ambassador of France in Amman were present in addition to many dignitaries from Amman

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On January 20, 2019, upon the invitation of His Excellency General Michel Aoun, President of the Lebanese Republic, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the opening session of The Fourth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, hosted by the Republic of Lebanon, and held in Beirut.
 
The session was attended by official delegations representing twenty Arab countries, including Presidents, Ministers, and officials. Lebanese officials, as well as various religious leaders also attended the opening session.
 
His Excellency General Michel Aoun presided over the summit. In his opening speech, His Excellency spoke about the general situations in the Arabian countries, as well as the common challenges that face them. He also spoke about the economic and social development in these countries.
 

On January 19, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated Eastern Epiphany Holy Qurobo at Jordan River in Jordan.
 
It is the first time that the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East celebrates Epiphany Holy Qurobo at the very place where our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized on the Jordan River.
 
His Holiness was assisted by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, in the presence of Very Rev. Raban Benjamin Chamoun, Parish Priest in Jordan, and the reverend priests, monks, deacons, and a large crowd of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Jordan.
 
His Eminence Mor Dionysios Issa Gurbuz, Patriarchal Vicar in Switzerland and Austria, Very Rev. Raban Gabriel Dahho, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem and Jordan, as well as a crowd of the faithful of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the Holy Lands, also participated in the Holy Qurobo from the other side of the river.
 
During the Qurobo, His Holiness made the special rite and procession of Denho.
 
He then offered his greetings and blessings to all the faithful present, expressing his extreme joy to celebrate the Holy Qurobo at Jordan river, especially that it is the first time the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East celebrates the Qurobo there.
 
At the end, His Holiness visited the place where St. John the Baptist Syriac Orthodox Church at the Jordan River will be built in the near future.
 

After the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated St. Mark Social Center in Al Swaifyeh, Jordan.
 
First, His Holiness conducted a small prayer, then he took curtain off the inaugural plaque.
 
Their Eminences Mor Severius Hawa, Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as representatives of the various churches in Jordan, and a large crowd of the Syriac Orthodox faithful, were also present.
At the end, His Holiness met the faithful at the large hall at the Center, and gave them his Apostolic benedictions.
 

On January 18, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Ephrem Cathedral in Al Swaifyeh, Jordan.
 
He was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Athanasius Touma Dakama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, in the presence of His Eminence Mor Severius Hawa, Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra.
 
His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Emeritus Archbishop and Patriarch of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as Archbishops and representatives of the various local churches in Jordan, attended the Holy Qurobo.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness thanked the Lord God Who gave him the opportunity to visit his spiritual children in Jordan, and witness their sincere faith and great love, which they inherited from their forefathers, who arrived to Jordan after the genocides. His Holiness praised the efforts of the parishioners in Jordan, who built for themselves a Cathedral and are now inaugurating St. Mark Center.
 
His Holiness prayed the Lord to keep them and provide them with health and success, and to bless Jordan, that it remains a country where citizens of all denominations can live with harmony.
 
His Holiness also welcomed His Beatitude Patriarch Twal, and all the archbishops and clergy present in the Church.
 
He also spoke about the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, emphasizing the fact that the Holy Trinity was revealed on the Jordan river as One True God. His Holiness also invited the faithful to recall their baptismal vows and be aware of the fact that their baptism is for salvation, not repentance as was John’s baptism. He considered that in baptism, we die with Christ to be risen with Him, and be reborn with a new nature similar to that of Adam before sin.
 

On January 18, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II was received at the Jordanian Borders, for the First Apostolic Visit to the Syriac Orthodox Church there.
 
Very Rev. Raban Benyamen Chamoun, Parish Priest in Jordan, as well as a number of officials, received His Holiness.
 
The delegation accompanying His Holiness consists of: His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, Very Rev. Raban Jack Yakoub, Director of the Suryoyo Patriarchal Youth Department, and Very Rev. Raban Barsoum Kindo.
 

On January 12, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received a delegation of Zacharias Institute which is affiliated with the Barnabite fathers in Milan, Italy, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma, Damascus.
 
The delegation was led Rev. Fr. Ambrogio Valzasina from the Barnabite order, and the meeting was attended by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Mr. Shadi Sarweh, Executive Director of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC).
 
The delegation presented to His Holiness as a symbolic gift, the first model painting of the historical drawing of the Mother of Providence which is kept in Rome and dates back to the sixteenth century.
 
His Holiness spoke with his guests about the general situation in Syria. The institute will contribute to the various educational projects led by EPDC in Syria.