Patriarchate News

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Christmas Holy Qurobo at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.

Their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for the Church in India, and Arminian Orthodox Archbishop of Damascus Armash Nalbandian, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.

Their Excellences Dr. Hammoudeh Sabbagh, Speaker of the Syrian Parliament, and Ambassador Anwar Abd Al Hadi, Director of the Political Department at the Palestine Liberation Organization, also attended the Holy Qurobo.

In His Sermon, His Holiness said that on this day a new testament between God and humans started, a testament of peace and hope, which is all that humanity needs. A peace from heaven, from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, that consoles the soul.

His Holiness then asked: “How long will men fight and remain in conflict?”; he thus invited all to “open our hearts and let Christ be born again in them, so we feel the great joy, and so that our lives are filled with divine peace, reflected in good deeds and far from hatred and animosity, so that we see in the faces of every human the unseen image of God. For, if we cannot see God in the faces of others, we will never be able to see him! But when we see God’s face in the faces of others, we will love and respect others as we respect ourselves. This way peace will fill the world and God’s Name will be glorified, and human’s hope will be affirmed for a better life.”

At the end of his sermon, His Holiness prayed for peace in the world, especially in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. He finally greeted all Syriac Orthodox faithful, and all Christians in Christmas.

His Holiness then presided over Christmas procession in the Church.

After the Qurobo, His Holiness received Christmas greetings from the faithful, as well as from various political figures, in the Patriarchate Headquarters.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided the Holy Qurobo for Christmas Eve in St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus. His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, celebrated the Holy Qurobo.

During the Qurobo, His Eminence read the Christmas Message of His Holiness. Then, Christmas procession was performed.

At the end of the Qurobo, His Holiness blessed the faithful and wished them a Merry Christmas.

After the Qurobo, St. Ephrem Patriarchal Scouts played Christmas music in the yard of the Patriarchate headquarters.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the plenary sessions during the conference: “2017 – Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue”, Held in Baku – Azerbaijan.

In the first session, His Holiness delivered a speech in which he brought to memory that our Syriac Orthodox Church was present in Azerbaijan for many centuries. He then talked about the Christian role in promoting co-existence. His Holiness stressed the fact that every human being should be respected regardless of religion and race, and that freedom of religion should be guaranteed for all human beings. He added that the principle of equal citizenship should be upheld in our society. He then emphasized the importance of knowing one another which is paramount in ensuring peaceful co-existence, and that dialogue on different levels is greatly needed to build trust among people of different faiths.

On another level, His Holiness expressed disturbance by the declaration of the president of the United States of America concerning the city of Jerusalem. Finally, He appealed to all to help the secure immediate release of the two abducted archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim.

Several speeches were delivered during the sessions which were concluded with an appeal for dialogue between religions.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the opening ceremony of the conference: “2017 Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue” in Baku – Azerbaijan.
His Excellency President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev, His Beatitude Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al Rai, as well as representatives of various countries, churches and religions, in addition to political and public figures, also attended the ceremony.
His Excellency President of Azerbaijan Republic conveyed the opening speech in which he talked about the importance of Islamic solidarity, as well as interreligous and intercultural dialogue.
Speeches from several country presidents and some church heads were then read.
The conference is supposed to have two plenary sessions, in which His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem II will give a speech.
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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a Christmas Recital by St. Ephrem Patriarchal Choir, at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.

The Recital was entitled: “Because We are Sons of Life 3”, and included Christmas chants from more than ten different languages and traditions.

In his word, His Holiness congratulated the Choir for their great work, and talked about Christmas emphasizing the fact that Jesus was not a man who became God, but He is God who became man to spread peace in the hearts of humans and thus all over the world. At the end, His holiness prayed for peace in Syria, Palestine and the whole Middle East.

Their Eminences Mor Selwanos Petros Al-Nemeh, Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khouri, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as representatives from the various churches in Damascus and a crowd of faithful, attended the Recital.

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On the occasion of Christmas, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II hosted the annual Christmas Retreat for the Clergy in Damascus.

His Beatitude Greek Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi, and His Excellency Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, also participated in the retreat.
The Christian hierarchs, priests, monks and nuns participated in the retreat which was held at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma.

The theme of this Christmas’ spiritual retreat was: “A Nativity Beyond Nature”. The prayers and meditations included Hymns from Mor Aphrem, Mor Jacob of Serugh, and St. John Chrysostom.

From the Syriac Orthodox Church, their Eminences Mor Selwanos Petros Al-Nemeh, Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khouri, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, participated in this spiritual retreat.

The clergy also prayed together for peace in Syria, Palestine and the Middle East.

During the retreat, Very Rev. Raban Jack Yakoub, Director of the Youth Department, gave a sermon in which he talked about Christmas as a cornerstone for salvation and Christian faith.

At the end of the retreat, His Holiness read a statement issued by the heads of Churches in Damascus concerning Jerusalem. The statement reassured the rejection of Church Leaders for the decision of the American President Trump, and emphasized the fact that Jerusalem is an important capital for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, and should remain a city for all.

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Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a Forum on Jerusalem. He was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs and Hama, Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo, Lattakia and Environs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Rev. Fr. Luke Awad. His Grace the Grand Mufti of Syria Dr. Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun also attended the Forum. In his speech, His Holiness emphasized the fact that Jerusalem is older than Jews, and that it is a Syrian city as tells us the Bible. He also assured his rejection of the decision of the American President Trump. At the end, His Holiness prayed for peace in Jerusalem and all over the world. The governor of Latakia as well as the Party’s secretary in Latakia also spoke about Jerusalem.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited the governor of Latakia Mr. Ibrahim Khodr Al-Salem.
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs and Hama, Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo, Lattakia and Environs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
His Grace the Grand Mufti of Syria Dr. Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun was present at the meeting.
During the meeting, His Holiness discussed with the governor the current situation in Syria and ways to help the persecuted to overcome their trouble
.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Risha Church in Latakia. His Holiness was assisted by His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs and Hama.
Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo, Lattakia and Environs, as well as priests, deacons, and faithful, participated in the Holy Qurobo.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the righteousness of Joseph, and how he refused to expose her because of her pregnancy, not to harm her; his humility then and righteousness led God to choose him to be the raiser of Jesus.
At the end, His Holiness expressed his joy to visit his beloved spiritual children in this bessed city.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a recital at the Lady of Lattakia Maronite Church in Lattakia. The Christmas carols performed by the various choirs of the different churches in Lattakia were mainly about peace and joy that Christmas brings in this season. The choirs had also meditations prepared on Christmas and the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In his speech, His Holiness expressed his joy to be among the faithful of Lattakia, especially during Christmas time. He also spoke about peace between heaven and earth and the reconciliation that is given by the Lord to all mankind through His birth. He encouraged the faithful to pray and ask for peace.

His Holiness met with the Governor of Lattakia Mr. Ibrahim Khodr Al-Salem, and the Party’s Secretary in Lattakia Dr. Mohammad Shrayteh, who wished him all the success in his visit.

His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs and Hama, and Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo, Lattakia and Environs, also attended the recital.

His Holiness was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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