Patriarchate News

On December 20, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the Christmas Spiritual Retreat for the Clergy of Damascus, held at the Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.

His Beatitude Joseph Absi, Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, hosted the spiritual retreat at the Lady of Dormition Cathedral in the Patriarchate.

His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Pratriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as a number of the Reverend priests, monks, nuns and deacons of ous Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate and of Mor Aphrem, Mor Baradeus and Holy Cross Monasteries, also participated in the retreat.

His Eminence Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, along with the Archbishops and clergy of Damascus also attended the retreat.

During the retreat, His Grace Bishop Nicolas Antipa gave a meditation about the new perspective on life that our Lord gave us being born in a manger.

In his word, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II emphasized that our Lord Jesus is the greatest gift of the Heavenly Father to humanity. He is the only reason for Christmas. His Holiness added that decorations and celebrations should not grab our attention away from the real meaning of Christmas. He considered that our Lord is in control and He is the Governor of all the world even when He was born a Babe in a manger. His Holiness continued that we should worry or be afraid, since, amid all the destruction and wars that surround us, our Lord is the Almighty God, He is our Loving God who will never forsake us. His Holiness concluded with a prayer for the Prince of Peace to spread His peace throughout the globe, especially in the Middle East.

During the retreat, His Eminence Cardinal Zenari, as well as a number of their Eminences and Excellencies contributed speaking about the role of the Church as an outgoing Church; they also spoke about Virgin Mary as the new Eve, the decorations which are good sign that peace is back to Syria, the piece of wood of the manger and that of the cross, Emanuel – God with us, casting all fears away, and Christmas eve as a heart-transforming eve.

His Beatitude Patriarch Absi then spoke welcoming all the clergy present. He also invited them to keep their eyes directed towards the Baby born, especially as clergy.

Several meditations and chants from the various liturgies were also presented during the retreat.

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On December 19, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma, Damascus.
 
He was assisted by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
 
During the Qurobo, His Holiness ordained 24 new ‘qoruye’ (readers) to serve the church in Damascus.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about getting ready for Christmas. He said that this ordination today is a gift offered to the Child of the manger, and a gift to the new qoruye and their families. He also instructed the qoruye to lead a life of holiness and live by God’s fear and following his will. He prayed that some of them will one day dedicate their lives for the service of the Church of God and His people.
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On Sunday December 16, 2018, His Eminence Mor Severius Malke Mourad was installed Patriarchal Vicar in Brazil at St. Mary’s Church in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Delegated by His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, His Eminence Mor Titus Boulos Touza, Apostolic Nuncio to the Evangelical Mission Churches in Brazil, presided over the Rite of the Synthronise (Installation), in the presence of the clergy and faithful of the Patriarchal Vicariate in Brazil. During the rite, the sustatikon was read, declaring the official appointment of His Eminence Mor Severius Malke Mourad as Patriarchal Vicar in Brazil.
His Eminence Mor Severius Malke Mourad addressed the faithful of the Patriarchal Vicariate in Brazil praying the Lord to bless his ministry and the flock that was entrusted to his spiritual and administrative care.
 
Faithful from all the parishes of the Patriarchal Vicariate attended this special rite and congratulated His Eminence for his new mission.
 

On December 16, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated a Christmas Charity Bazaar organized by the women’s group of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, at Sayfo hall in the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma, Damascus.
 
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, was also present.
 
The bazaar continues till Tuesday evening (Dec 18), and aims at fundraising for charity works organized by the women’s group.
 

On December 14, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended an advent meditation held in Budapest for the holders of scholarships from the State Secretariat for the aid of persecuted Christians.
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
The event was attended by His Excellency Mr. Tristan Azbej, State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians, and His Excellency former Minister of Human Capacities Mr. Zoltan Balog.
His Excellency Minister Azbej spoke about the importance of helping Christians in the Middle East. He also commended the huge efforts of His Holiness to support all Christians and all those affected by the crises in the Middle East.
His Holiness spoke about the role of education in promoting humanity, emphasizing that the support of the government of Hungary in educating young Christians is very important for the reconstruction of our countries. He expressed his happiness to meet the students who have received scholarships from the Hungarian government.
He hoped for the continuation of the cooperation with the Hungarian people and government in support of all the persecuted Christians in the world.
The students present at the meditation recited hymns from different traditions and in various languages.
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On December 13, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the evening prayer at the Greek Catholic church in Budapest.
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
In his spiritual message, His Holiness spoke about martyrdom and the persecution of Christians, especially in the cradle of Christianity. He also spoke about the true message of Christmas, which is love and mercy, indicating that the incarnation of our Lord is a message of peace for humanity.
At the end of his message, His Holiness thanked the churches in Hungary for their support for the suffering people in Syria and Iraq.
At the conclusion of the prayer, His Holiness presented His Excellency Metropolitan Fulop Kocsis with a cross as a token of appreciation for his efforts in helping the suffering Christians in the Middle East.
 

On December 13, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in a roundtable discussion on the persecuted Christians, at the Public Service University in Budapest, upon the invitation of Members of the European Parliament as well as Members of the Hungarian Parliament.

His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar at the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.

His Holiness spoke about the current situation of Christians in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria. He emphasized that the massive exodus of Christians from their homeland has drastic effects on the region and that there is a need to support Christians remain in their homeland. He renewed the appeal to the International Community to help in all ways possible to the return of the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim. He also spoke about the different humanitarian projects that the Patriarchate is implementing, mostly through EPDC, to support the suffering people in Syria and Iraq and thanked the Hungarian government for their continuous support for the churches in the Middle East.

 

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On December 13, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited the Hungarian Institute of Musicology.
 
He was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Mata Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
 
His Holiness was received at the institute by Prof Pál Richter, Director of the Institute, and Prof Balázs Déri, leader of Eastern Liturgy Research Group.
 
His Holiness was informed about the archiving processes held by the institute for the Syriac music and liturgy. He praised the great efforts made by the institute to preserve the Syriac heritage, and discussed means of collaboration between the institute and Antioch Syrian University, as well as the Syriac Cultural Center being built in Damascus.
 

On December 12, 2018, upon the invitation of the Hungarian Government, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met His Excellency Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, in Hungary.
 
His Excellency Tristan Azbej, State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians, also attended the meeting.
 
His Holiness discussed with their Excellencies matters related to the situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq. He also thanked the Hungarian Government for the support it provides to the persecuted Christians, and assured that helping Christians remain fixed in their lands and live in dignity is the best way to show support and love.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.Click to view slideshow.

 

On December 11, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II and His Beatitude Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, visited the Holy Cross Monastery near Vienna – Austria.
 
They were received by the Rev. Abbot of the Monastery Fr. Maximilian Haim, and the monks of the monastery. He expressed his joy to receive His Holiness and His Beatitude and have their blessing.
 
During the meeting, His Holiness and His Beatitude noted the good relations between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Syriac Catholic Church. They also spoke about the situation in the Middle East, reassuring the importance of protecting the presence of Christianity in the region.
 
Then, His Holiness and His Beatitude presided over evening (Ramsho) prayer in the Church of the monastery. At the end, they gave their blessing to all the monks of the monastery.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.Click to view slideshow.