Patriarchate News

On September 15, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Hans-Peter Glanzer, Charge d’Affaires of the Austrian Embassy in Damascus, at the Patriarchate headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
During the meeting, His Holiness discussed with His Excellency the general situation in Syria and the different projects that the church is doing to help in the relief and development.
The meeting was attended by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary, and Media Office Director.
Click to view slideshow.
 

On September 14, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
 
He was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for the Youth Affairs and Christian Education.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the symbols of the cross as a sign of victory and salvation.
 
During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness ordained Rev. Deacon Monk Benyamen Al-Abboud to be a priest in the Holy Cross Monastery in Saydnaya.
 
At the end of the ordination, His Holiness celebrated the special service (teshmeshto) for the Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross.
Click to view slideshow.
 

On September 11th, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in a Q&A session at the Fourth Suryoyo Youth General Gathering in Syria (SYGG-Syria 2019), at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya – Syria.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, and Mor Gabriel Dahho, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, Jordan, and the Holy Lands, as well as the monks of Mor Aphrem Monastery were also present in this session.

The youth asked about the way the church can be closer to them and how they can better serve it. They also asked the guidance of His Holiness in applying the Christian values which can be seen as against the world. His Holiness explained that the church should take the Lord Jesus Christ as her model and follow His lead to be available for all and to reach out for the marginalized and the despaired. He especially explained the role of the clergy in being close to the people. He added that spirituality is not in conflict with social life and the challenge of the Christian life is to remain rooted in Christ Who strengthens us and keep us steadfast in this world.

The Syriac youth were also interested to hear about the different projects that the church is doing, especially in relation to the Syriac language. His Holiness pointed out that Antioch Syrian University is a purposeful educational project that the Patriarchate is doing to encourage the youth to invest their talents in higher education. He announced that Syriac language will be introduced in its curriculum soon and that the Syriac Institute in Damascus will also open soon and will be a place to host international conferences and give courses on the Syriac language and heritage.

Questions on abortion, euthanasia, organ donation, etc… were asked and His Holiness explained the official stand of the church on these issues related to ethics. The church supports the human life and refuses all forms of killing; this is the general principle by which the church is the guardian of human life and dignity.

At the end of the session, His Holiness blessed the participants of SYGG Syria 2019 and encouraged them to offer their lives for the service of the church by answering the Lord’s calling for them, each in their own way.

Click to view slideshow.
 

On September 10th, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurated the Fourth Suryoyo Youth General Gathering in Syria (SYGG-Syria 2019), at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya – Syria.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus,  Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, and Mor Gabriel Dahho, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, Jordan, and the Holy Lands, as well as the monks of Mor Aphrem Monastery attended the opening.

The Syriac Patriarchal Scout of Damascus performed a beautiful parade at the beginning of the opening of SYGG-Syria 2019. It was followed by St. Aphrem Patriarchal Choir performing hymns and Syriac chants.

His Eminence Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub spoke about the joy to meet together again in one spirit, united by the love of the church and by the one Syriac language. He said that Syria unites the youth who love it and live under its sky. He thanked His Holiness who sows the love of Christ in the hearts of the youth and leads them to discover their calling to serve the church in what pleases the Lord and according to His will. He promised that, at the end of the SYGG-Syria, the youth will have gained new spiritual experiences and be more rooted in Christ.

In his inaugural speech, His Holiness spoke about the meaning of true discipleship and how to follow Christ. He encouraged the youth to get to deepen their knowledge of their roots and to learn more about the history of the church and its current life. After declaring the official opening of the Fourth Syrian Youth General Gathering, His Holiness assured that the Christians in Syria are firmly attached to their country and are rooted in it because it was blessed when the Lord Jesus walked on its soil and lived in it. He reminded the youth that Antioch, our eternal capital, will remain the birthplace of Christianity and of Christian missions. He expressed his joy to gather the youth who are the present and the future of the church, and to teach them the purity of the faith. He concluded his speech by inviting the Christian youth from all over Syria to be rooted in Christ who should be the center of our lives.

Click to view slideshow.
 

On September 10th, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received their Excellencies: Member of Parliament of India P Binoy Viswam, Ex Member of the Legislative Assembly in Kerala Mr. P. Raju, and Secretary of the AITUC (Kerala) Ms. Kavitha Rajan, at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya – Syria.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, and Mor Gabriel Dahho, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, Jordan, and the Holy Lands, Very Rev. Markose Abraham, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, were also present.

His Holiness welcomed the members of the delegation expressing his joy to receive them at the patriarchate, especially that they are coming to visit Syria to see the real situation. His Holiness wished that more delegations will come to have a better and more complete idea of what is going on in Syria. He encouraged them to inspire others to come and explore Syria which is rich in its history and civilization.

The members of the group thanked His Holiness and spoke about their joy to see that Syria is on the way to recover from the crisis that affected its people. They also were happy to learn that the church is always helping all the needy and those who were affected by the crisis, irrespective of the confessional background or affiliations.

Click to view slideshow.
 

On September 8, 2019, on the occasion of the Feast of the birth of the Virgin Mary, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Holy Qurobo celebrated by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma in Damascus.

His Eminence Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education also attended the Holy Qurobo.

During the sermon, His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury encouraged the faithful to walk in the footsteps of the Virgin Mary while he talked about her virtues and qualities. He also pointed out that the Virgin Mary remained to the side of her son Jesus Christ from His birth to the cross, and witnessed His glorious resurrection. His Eminence invited the faithful to contemplate her role in bringing the people to her son, as she did at the wedding in Cana.

During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness prayed the special service of the Virgin Mary on the occasion of the Feast of her birth and prayed for peace and security in Syria, through the intercession of the Holy Mother of God. His Holiness blessed wooden crosses that will be distributed to the families of the martyrs and kidnapped, throughout Syria, in an initiative from “Aid to the Church in Need”.

 

On August 29, 2019, upon the invitation of Dr. Souraya Bachaalani, Acting General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church and President of MECC for the Oriental Orthodox Family of Churches participated in a meeting of the Presidents of MECC, hosted by His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and President of the Middle East Council of Churches for the Orthodox Family of Churches, at Saint Elias Chwayya Monastery – Lebanon.

His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and President of the Council for the Catholic Family of Churches, and Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, Senior Pastor of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut, President of the Council for the Evangelical Family of Churches, also participated in the meeting, in addition to the members of the Strategic Support Group: His Excellency Mgr. Boulos Sayyah, Dr. Jean Salmanian and Dr. Michel Abs.

During the meeting, the Presidents of the Council discussed the general situation of the various churches in the Middle East. They spoke about the preparations for the next General Assembly which will take place in Summer 2020. They also discussed the administrative issues as well as the major projects that MECC is undertaking and the different ways of financing these projects.

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

 

On August 27, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Dr. Hamad Saeed Al-Shamisy, UAE Ambassador to Lebanon, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Bikfaya – Lebanon.
 
The meeting was attended by His Eminence Mor Barthelmaus Nathanael Youssef, Patriarchal Vicar in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary, and Media Office Director.
 
During the meeting, His Holiness spoke about the good relations that exist between the Syriac people and the United Arab Emirates. He also pointed out that the UAE has a special place in the hearts of Christians, especially within the framework of the “Year of Tolerance”.
 
His Excellency spoke about the role of UAE in spreading the spirit of tolerance among the countries of the region.
At the end of the meeting, His Excellency visited the different parts of the Patriarchal Residence and a banquet was given in honor of his visit.
Click to view slideshow.
 

On August 24, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the Panel Discussion entitled: “Persecutions of Christians Today; Where We Stand”, during the International Pilgrimage for Politicians and Family Summit, organized by the International Catholic Legislators Network, in Fatima – Portugal. The panel was moderated by His Excellency Mr. Tristan Azbej, Hungarian State Secretary for Aid to Persecuted Christians.
 
His Holiness gave an overview about the situation of Christians in the Middle East over the past few years and emphasized that the International community should play a more positive role in establishing peace in the various countries of the Middle East.
 

On August 24, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the Strategy Group focusing on the region of the Middle East, during the International Pilgrimage for Politicians and Family Summit, organized by the International Catholic Legislators Network, in Fatima – Portugal.
 
The main theme discussed was the support of returning Christian families and the discussions were moderated by His Excellency Mr. Tristan Azbej, Hungarian State Secretary for Aid to Persecuted Christians.
 
His Beatitude Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al Rai also participated the group meeting.
 
His Holiness spoke about the challenges that the Syrian and Iraqi families are facing in their homeland and the obstacles that come in their way when they choose to return to their countries in the Middle East. He spoke about the role of the churches in offering help to all citizens alike, especially in helping new families and young people to establish themselves and remain in their countries.
Click to view slideshow.