Patriarchate News

On December 23, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited Al-Kalima School, which is affiliated with our Archdiocese in Aleppo, and which was damaged during the war in Aleppo.

His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate of the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and the clergy.

His Holiness made in tour in the school’s building and inspected the damage. He wished that the school will be renovated so soon, and that it will reopen and continue its service for the society of Aleppo.

He then inaugurated the playground of Al-Kalima School, which will be a space for the children of Aleppo to exercise and organize various sports activities.

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On December 23, 2018, upon the invitation of His Excellency Governor of Aleppo Hussein Diab, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a ceremony on the occasion of the second commemoration of the liberation of Aleppo, at Al-Assad Stadium in Aleppo.

His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate of the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

During the ceremony, several musical and sports programs were presented, in the presence of public figures and large crowds from Aleppo.

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On December 23, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Aphrem Cathedral in al-Sulaymaniyye – Aleppo.
 
He was assisted by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, in the presence of Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate of the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, as well as the clergy, deacons, and a crowd of the faithful.
 
in his sermon, His Holiness expressed his gladness to meet his spiritual children in Aleppo, and thanked the Lord who gave him this opportunity to be with them and express his love to them, especially in the absence of their shepherd Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim. He considered that the abduction of the two bishops of Aleppo as well as the clergy and innocent people leads us to question this decaying world and the aim of doing any evil and harm.
 
His Holiness greeted the faithful for the occasion of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus, and prayed for the release of all the abducted, and that Aleppo may fully recover from the crisis.
 
He also commented on the reading from Holy Gospel of the Sunday of genealogy of our Lord Jesus. He said that St. Matthew aimed at making it clear for the Jews that Jesus is the Son of David, and that all prophecies come to completion through Him.
 
After the Qurobo, His Holiness inaugurated a Christmas exhibition organized by the Center of Christian Education in the Cathedral. He then received the faithful who offered him Christmas greetings.
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On December 22, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended an event organized by St. Aphrem Patriarchal Choir for the second anniversary of the liberation of the city of Aleppo.
 
During the event, Christmas chants as well as national and cultural songs were presented by the choir in different languages.
 
In his word, His Holiness considered that Christmas is a priceless feast that brings to us peace every year, even in times of hardship. It is a feast that brings joys to the heart of all people and reminds them that life is stronger than death. His Holiness added that it was meant for us in Syria to be dead, but we love life, not any life, but the life that is according to the will of God, it is the life of heaven on earth, full of heavenly peace. His Holiness also praised their great performance of the choir, and congratulated all the crowds present for the occasion of the second anniversary of the liberation of Aleppo. Today, His Holiness elaborated, is a chance for us to live once again the peace that we have missed for years, not an external peace but a peace that springs out from the bottom of the heart.
 
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in Damascus, as well as their Excellencies representatives of the various churches in Aleppo, and a number of political and public figures and a crowd of people, attended the event.
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On December 22, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received at the Diocesan Headquarters in al-Sulaymaniyye their Excellencies: Mufti of Aleppo Sheikh Mahmoud Akkam, Governor of Aleppo Hussein Diab, as well as the Director of Endowments Rami Obeid, visited His Holiness to offer their congratulatory wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
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On December 22, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received Heads of the Christian Churches in Aleppo, at the Diocesan Headquarters in al-Sulaymaniyye.
 
The delegations included their Excellencies Archbishops: Archeparch of the Maronite Archeparchy of Aleppo Joseph Tobji, Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo Jean-Clement Jeanbart, Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo Mor Dionysius Antoine Shahda, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo for the Latins Goerges Abou Khazen, Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo Antoine Audo, Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo Boutros Marayati, as well as Archimandrite Mousa al-Khasi, Vicar of Metropolitan of Aleppo and Environs for the Greek Orthodox Church Boulos Yaziji, and Rev. Ibrahim Nseir of the Arab Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Aleppo.
 
The delegations welcomed His Holiness in Aleppo, and conveyed to him Christmas greetings, wishing him all success in his visit.
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On December 22, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II arrived to Aleppo on a short visit to the Archdiocese of Aleppo.
 
He was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury.
 
His Holiness was welcomed by Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate of the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, and the clergy of Aleppo, along with a crowd of the faithful.
 
His Holiness entered St. Aphrem Cathedral in al-Sulaymaniyye neighborhood, where he raised prayer.
 
Then, His Holiness gave a word in which he greeted the faithful of the Archdiocese of Aleppo on the occasion of Christmas. He assured that our joy remains lacking the presence of His Eminence Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim, abducted Archbishop of Aleppo. He prayed for his release along with Archbishop Boulos Yaziji, priests, and all who are abducted.
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On December 21, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a Christmas meditation night entitled “Christmas: Light for the World”, organized by all the youth organizations in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.

His Holiness Presided over Ramsho (evening) Prayer in St. Georges Cathedral, in the presence of His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, priests and monks of the patriarchate, and a large crowd of faithful.

In his sermon, His Holiness meditated on the shepherds, and how the Good News was preached first to the simple and meek rather than the philosophers and rich. He said that the shepherds went searching with fear for the Baby born; however, when they found Him, they were comforted, thus they went preaching to all whom they met what they have seen. His Holiness also spoke about the message of peace that the angels brought to the earth. He thanked the Lord for the security and safety which are back to Syria, and expressed his gladness to see Christmas decorations and celebrations all over Syria once again. Nonetheless, His Holiness urged the faithful to keep in their mind and heart that Jesus is the reason of all these celebrations.

After the prayer, a Christmas meditation play was presented by the youth, in which they raised prayer altogether.

Then, His Holiness and all the crowds of people moved to Sayfo garden where he lit the Christmas decoration.

A Christmas celebration then took place in which several Christmas Chants, as well as other activities were presented.

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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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