Patriarchate News

On December 11, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met with His Excellency Austrian Chancellor Mr. Sebastian Kurz, at the chancellery of Austria.
 
Their Beatitudes Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, and Cardinal Mar Louis Rafael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, and His Eminence Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, also attended the meeting.
 
His Excellency welcomed His Holiness and their Beatitudes, and expressed his full support to the persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
 
They assured that what is needed is to help Christians remain fixed and live with dignity in the land of the forefathers.
 
His Holiness expressed his worries that the Middle East, which is the cradle of Christianity, is being emptied of Christians according to political agendas. He also showed his disturbance from the international indifference concerning the case of the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji. He also stressed that the priority in Syria and Iraq is for humanitarian resolutions rather than political or military solutions.
 
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 Their Beatitudes Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, and Cardinal Mar Louis Rafael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, held a common interview with the media, at the residence of the Archbishopric in Vienna – Austria.
 
They assured the importance of preserving the presence of Christians in the Middle East.
 
His Holiness stressed the significance of having governments that ensure equality between all citizens of one country, regardless of their faith and denomination.
 

December 11, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met His Eminence Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, at the residence of the Archbishopric in Vienna – Austria.

Their Beatitudes Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, and Cardinal Mar Louis Rafael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, also attended the meeting. His Eminence welcomed His Holiness and their Beatitudes and discussed with them matters related to the presence of Christians in the Middle East. They assured that all efforts should be unified to protect this presence, and ensure the basic rights of Christians as original citizens of the region.

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 9, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Mr. Marc-André Hensel, Regional Director – Syria Crisis Response at World Vision, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.

His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Mr. Shadi Sarweh, Executive Director of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC), attended the meeting.
During the meeting, His Holiness discussed with his guest the relief and development projects executed by our Patriarchate through EPDC, and ways of cooperation between the committee and World Vision.Click to view slideshow.

 

On December 9, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Dr. Thuraya Bachaalani, Acting General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.

She was accompanied by Ms. Huguette Salameh, Communication and Public Relations Department Director, and Mr. Ghassan Shahin, Director of MECC-Syria.
 
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, attended the meeting.
 
Dr. Bachaalani reported to His Holiness about the administrative and theological projects led by MECC. They also discussed the agenda of the next meeting of the Executive Committee of MECC which will be hosted by our Syriac Orthodox Church next January.
 
Mr. Shahin gave an overview about the relief and help projects executed by MECC in Syria with the collaboration of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC) as well as all the relief committees of the member churches.
 
Then, Ms. Salameh reported about the work of the department of communication and public relation, remarking the department’s aim of moving from the informative media towards media of positional media.
 
His Holiness assured that the role of the member churches is to support the work of the council for what important mission it has in strengthening the presence of Christians in the Middle East in the face of all agendas that aim at the opposite.
 

On December 8, 2018, on the occasion of the International Volunteers Day (Dec 5), His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met a group of volunteers who serve various projects at St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC), at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.Mr. Shadi Sarweh, Executive Director of EPDC, welcomed His Holiness, and gave an overview about the work of EPDC.

His Holiness encouraged the volunteers to continue serving their fellow human beings, carrying to them a message of love, service, sacrifice, and self giving.He emphasized the role of volunteers, who spend their spare time serving others, in the relief and support of people affected by crises, especially children and vulnerable people.

At the end of the meeting, His Holiness presented tokens of appreciation for the distinguished volunteers who showed leadership and enthusiasm in their work.

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

Click to view slideshow.
 

On December 4, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Mr. Antoine Mrad, Counselor of the Executive Chairman of the Lebanese Forces for the Presidential Affairs and Coordinator of Church Affairs, accompanied by Mr. John Al-Alam, Ex-Coordinator of Church Affairs, and Lawyer Elie charbetji, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Bikfaya – Lebanon.
 
During the meeting, Mr. Antoine conveyed to His Holiness the love of Dr. Samir Geagea, Executive Chairman of the Lebanese Forces, to the Syriac Orthodox Church.
 
His Holiness and his guests stressed the importance of working together for to preserve the presence of Christians in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon which plays a great Christian role in the region.
 
They also discussed the general situation in Lebanon and assured the significance of forming a new government, which will help keep the security and economy stable, as well as help improve the living conditions in the country.
 
The meeting was attended by their Eminences Mor Chrysostom Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus. His Eminence Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahle and Bekaa, also joined the meeting.
 

On December 3, 2018, upon the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, a workshop about Antioch Syrian University’s regulatory compliance plan was hosted at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, BIkfaya – Lebanon.
 
The workshop was organized by a team of specialists from the King’s College London in the United Kingdom.
 
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Dr. Rakan Razouk, President of ASU, as well as members of the administrative board of ASU, and a number of representatives of the academic bodies in Syria and Lebanon, also attended the workshop.
 
During the workshop, the participants shared ideas about the regulatory landscape influencing ASU’s future strategy in Syria, Lebanon, the region, and internationally, as well as establishing ASU’s regulatory compliance plan and priorities for Syria, the wider region and establishing relationships with potential university partners in the UK and other countries.
 

 
On December 2nd, 2018, which is the Sunday of the visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Aphrem Church in Tripoli – Lebanon.
 
Their Eminences Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, and Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Shemoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness thanked the Lord who gave him the opportunity to visit St. Aphrem Church in Tripoli. He prayed for Lebanon, so that God may protect the country and all its citizens from all bad. His Holiness recalled the long history of Syriacs in Tripoli, especially that St. Severus of Antioch was baptized in its Church. He also described how the faithful of our Church came to Tripoli at the beginning of the 20th century, fleeing Sayfo genocide. He also praised the role of Tripoli citizens, especially the faithful of St. Aphrem Church, in receiving the refugees from Syria and Iraq.
 
His Holiness also commented on the scripture reading, and spoke about the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, and how this event joins a young virgin with an old barren, both pregnant. This assures that with God nothing is impossible. He also spoke about the role of John the Baptist as forerunner before his Lord and Master who comes to redeem humankind.
 
After the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness received the guests who came to welcome His Holiness in Tripoli, including mnay distinctive figures, headed by His Excellency the Mufti of Tripoli and the North Sheikh Malek Shaar and His Excellency Mgr. Georges Abou Jaoude, Maronite Archbishop of Tripoli. His Holiness also blessed all the faithful who came to receive his benediction.
 
Before the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness had lit the Christmas tree which His Eminence Mor Theophilus George Saliba named “Tree of the King of the World”, at the public square in front of the church.

 

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On November 29, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received at the Patriarchate in Bab Touma, His Excellency Mr. Alexander Ponomarev, Ambassador of Belarus, on the occasion of the end of his diplomatic mission in Syria.
His Excellency thanked His Holiness for his warm reception and recalled the good and steadfast ties between Belarus and the Syriac Orthodox Church.
His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem II appreciated the important role of His Excellency and the Government of Belarus in promoting peace in Syria as well as in conveying the reality of what is going on in Syria to their people. He also wished His Excellency all success in his new mission.
The meeting was also attended by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

Click to view slideshow.