Patriarchate News

On a historical event, and for the 1500 Jubilee of the Exile of Patriarch Mor Severus the Great to Egypt, their Holinesses Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East: Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, consecrated together Mor Severus Church in the new Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.

Their Holinesses entered the church in a pontifical procession, with them the relics of Mor Severus which His Holiness the Pope brought from Egypt to be kept in the new consecrated church.

After they raised the prayers altogether that God may bless this new house dedicated for worshipping His Holy Name, they anointed the sides of the altar and the church with holy Myron according to the Antiochian Syriac rite. They then put on the vestments of the altar as well as the altar vessels.

Then, the service of the saints was prayed asking the intercession of Mor Severus, before the relics were placed in their special place in the church. Finally, the two new icons of Mor Aphrem the Syriac and Mor Severus the Great were consecrated.

At the end of the rite, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave a speech in which he thanked God “for His overwhelming blessings, that He made us worthy to complete this blessed service in the presence of our dear brothers their Holinesses, and their Eminences the Archbishops, and the monks, priests, nuns, and all the crowd of faithful; He made us worthy to consecrate this house, altar and church for the great Saint Mor Severus Patriarch of Antioch, who, today, through this blessing – the relics – that was brought to us, returns back symbolically to his church in Antioch after he flee from it in 518 even though he never stopped caring for his flock”. He then thanked His Holiness the Pope and expressed his love to His Holiness and to the sister Coptic Orthodox Church.

His Holiness thanked His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, whose participation is despair for centuries of misunderstanding about Mor Severus; His Holiness expressed that he looks forward for further researches and studies that will make clear the life and teachings of Mor Severus for the Armenian Orthodox Church, and makes sure that this great Saint will always be the Saint of the all the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

At the end of his speech, His Holiness the Patriarch thanked all the faithful of our Syriac Church, as well as all individuals and organizations that made the church and patriarchal residence construction come to completion.

In turn, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II said that this is a historical day for the church. He expressed his joy that the relics have returned now to Antioch, noting the mentioning of Mor Severus in the Coptic liturgy. His Holiness pointed out that the relics of Mor Severus the great were kept at St. Mina Monastery in Egypt. He then presented to His Holiness the Patriarch an official document signed by His Holiness the Pope and the monastery’s abbot as well as the keeper of relics and monuments at the monastery.

The rite was attended by their Eminences: Mor Gregorios Saliba Chamoun, Patriarchal Advisor, Mor Philoxenus Matta Chamoun, Mor Theophilos George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas, Archbishop of Tur Abdin and Abbot of Mor Gabriel Monastery, Mor Philoxenus Yusuf Cetin, Patriarchal Vicar in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Mor Dioscorus Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Dionysius Issa Gurbuz, Patriarchal Vicar in Switzerland and Austria, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs and Hama, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahla and Bekaa, Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Gregorius Malke Urek, Patriarchal Vicar in Adiyaman and its Environs, Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Mor Julius Hanna Aydin, Head of Foreign Relations in Germany, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of Eastern United States, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kurdistan and their Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Georges Kourieh, Patriarchal Vicar of Belgium, France and Luxemburg, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates.

Morever, their Eminences Archbishops from our Church in India: Mor Gregorios Joseph, Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese, Mor Theophilos Kuriakose, Patriarchal Vicar in Europe, Mor Gregorios Kuriakose, Knanaya Archbishop of Kallissery Region, Mor Ivanios Kuriakose, Knanaya Archbishop of Ranny Region, Mor Silvanos Ayub, Knanaya Archbishop of Europe and America, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, attended the rite.

The two accompanying delegations of their Holinesses the Pope and the Catholicos, in addition to clergy and faithful from our Syriac Church, also attended the rite.

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On June 21st 2018, Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East: His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, held their twelfth meeting at the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Bikfayya – Lebanon.

The meeting was attended by the members of the standing committee, their Eminences: Anba Bishoy of Damiette, Kafr El-Sheikh, Barary and the Monastery of Saint Demiana, Anba Martirios, bishop the Diocese of Railways, from the Coptic Church; Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, from the Syriac Church; Sebouh Sarkisian, Armenian Orthodox primate of the diocese of Tehran, Nareg Alyemezian, Director of Ecumenical Relations in the Catholicosate, from the Armenian Church.

Their Holinesses started the meeting with prayer; then, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave a welcoming speech, followed by words from their Holinesses Pope Tawadros II and Catholicos Aram I. Their Holinesses congratulated His Holiness Patriarch Mor Igantius Aphrem II for the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence in Lebanon.

During their meeting, their Holinesses discussed several issues of common interest, including the presence of Christianity in the Middle East, the situation of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India, the official theological dialogues with the churches, and the work of the subcommittees and signed an official common declaration, covering these issues of common interest, as usual in this meeting.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, received at the new Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, their Holinesses Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, before the beginning of the meeting of the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East.

Their Eminences Archbishops from our Syriac Church, as well as the delegation accompanying His Holiness the Pope were also in the reception.

His Holiness the Catholicos was accompanied by their Eminences: Archbishop Sebouh Sarkisian, Armenian Orthodox primate of the diocese of Tehran, Bishop Nareg Alyemezian, Director of Ecumenical Relations in the Catholicosate, Bishop Shahe Panossian, Armentian Orthodox primate of the diocese of Lebanon, as well as Rev. Frs. Hovagim Panjajian and Bedros Manouelian, Patriarchal Secretaries.

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Upon the invitation of our Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, arrived at the Hall of Honor at Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport.

His Holiness was welcomed at the airport by a delegation from our Syriac Orthodox Church, representing His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II. The delegation included their Eminences: Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahla and Bekaa, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Very Rev. Raban Yacoub Babawi.

His Eminence Anba Antonios, Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East for the Coptic Orthodox Church, and Rev. Fr. Rowais Al-Ourashalimi, Priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Lebanon, as well as His Excellency Nazih al-Najjari, Ambassador of Egypt to Lebanon, also welcomed His Holiness the Pope at the airport.

His Holiness is accompanied by their Eminences: Archbishop Anba Bishoy of Damiette, Kafr El-Sheikh, Barary and the Monastery of Saint Demiana, Anba Cyril, bishop and abbot of the Monastery of Saint Mina, Anba Martiros, Bishop of the Churches East of the Railway, Rev. Frs. Angelos Isaac and Amonios Adel, Secretaries of His Holiness the Pope, and Dr. Gerges Saleh, Honorary General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Church.

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the accompanying delegation, are guests of our Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate, where His Holiness will participate in the Consecration of Mor Severus of Antioch church and the inauguration of the new Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, as well as to participate in the meeting of the Heads of the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East hosted by our Patriarchate.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received a delegation from the Archbishop of the Catholic Church in the U.S.A., at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Lebanon.

The delegation included their Excellencies Archbishops: Abdallah Elias Zaidan, Eparch of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, Gregory John Mansour, Eparch of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services in USA, Samuel Aquila, Fifth Archbishop of Denver, and Oscar Solis, Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah.

His Holiness welcomed his guests and discussed with them issues related to the situation in the Middle East, and the persecution of Christians and minorities, aiming at uprooting them from the lands of their forefather. He wished that their Excellencies would convey the real image of what is happening in the Middle East to their parishioners as well as to the officials and public of the U.S.

Their Eminences: Mor Gregorios Kuriakose, Knanaya Archbishop of Kallissery Region, Mor Ivanios Kuriakose, Knanaya Archbishop of Ranny Region, Mor Silvanos Ayub, Knanaya Archbishop of Europe and America, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrate, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, attended the meeting.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma, Damascus, on the occasion of the Dukhrono of the Syriac Martyrs of Sayfo and the 103rd Commemoration of the Syriac Genocide Sayfo.

Their Eminences Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.

During his sermon, His Holiness spoke that we have forgiven those who killed us during the Sayfo Genocide, but we will not forget the sacrifice of our forefathers. He said that to forget we should continue to commemorate their feast until justice is reached and the Genocide is confessed by countries worldwide. He also remembered all the martyrs who remained steadfast in their faith and sacrificed their lives preferring to die than to renounce their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness and their Eminences led a walk of candles from the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma to the Syriac Martyrs Garden near Bab Sharqi. There, he lit the flame in front of the Sayfo Memorial and prayed the service of the Martyrs in memory of the Syriac Martyrs of Sayfo.

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His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited his brother in Christ His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia for the Armenian Orthodox Church, at St. Mary’s Monastery in Bikfaya, Lebanon.
His Holiness was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Mr. Elias Halabi.
His Holiness congratulated Catholicos Aram I for the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination, and presented to him the book of Mor Michael the Great, as a token of respect.
They discussed several church issues and inter-church relations, as well as the program of the meeting of the heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches which will be held at the new patriarchal residence in Atchaneh during this month.

 

 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II holds an Iftar on the occasion of Ramadan at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
The Iftar was attended by His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East as well as the Representative of His Excellency President Bashar Assad, Minister Mansour Azzam.
His Excellency Syrian Prime Minister Mr. Imad Khamis and His Excellency Speaker of the Syrian Parliament Mr. Hammouda Sabbagh were present as well as their Excellencies: Dr. Mohammad Abdelsattar Al-Sayyid, Minister of Endowments, Grand Mufti Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, Mr. Atef Naddaf, Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Ahmad Qadri, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Nizar Yaziji, Minister of Health, Mr. Bishr Yaziji, Minister of Tourism, Mr. Najdat Anzour, Vice Speaker of Parliament as well as members of the Syrian Parliament and parties representatives and Muslim scholars from Damascus and its countryside.
Their Eminences: Mor Selwanus Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartus, and Environs, Mor Justinos Paulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahla and Bekaa, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for the Indian Affairs, were also present, as well as a number of priests, monks, and deacons from our church.
In his speech, His Holiness welcomed the guests at Mor Aphrem Monastery and considered that this “gathering today at this Iftar in Ramadan at a Christian Monastery is the strongest message to be sent to the entire world about the Syrian way of living which is a paradigm of the relations among a nation’s people despite their various ethnic and religious backgrounds”. He added that “ our message today is that we will not let go of our values in living together, agreeing to love our country and defend it despite our differences, because this is what protected us during the crisis and what will guarantee for us a peaceful future for the generations to come”.
His Holiness pointed out that “with this great victory, our battle to rebuild our dear country Syria begins… the biggest challenge is to rebuild the Syrian citizen because wars and crises affect hugelythe souls of people and leads to their moral and social corruption”.
His Holiness spoke about the “important role that the churches are doing in Syria facing the crisis” which is proportionally equal and efen greater to what the other social entities are offering in raising aware and guiding the people towards keeping higher moral standards.
His Excellency Minister of Endowments Dr. Mohammad Abdelsattar Al-Sayyid thanked His Holiness and spoke about the common history of Christians and Muslims, and their relationship together which is the greatest message that can reach the west and the entire world.
His Excellency the Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun spoke about Syria and how it is paying the price of the good relations between Christians and Muslims.
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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.

His Beatitude was accompanied by their Excellencies Bishop Aphrem Maalouly of Seleucia, Bishop Moussa Khoury of Daraya, and Auxiliary Bishop John Batch.

The meeting was attended by their Eminences: Mor Selwanus Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartus, and Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for the Indian Affairs, as well as the monks of the Monastery.

During the meeting, His Holiness and His Beatitude spoke about different issues related to the Church. His Holiness informed His Beatitude about the progress of the work in the Antioch University which is located near the Monastery.

His Holiness and His Beatitude also visited the Grotto of the Lady of the Belt where they prayed and received the blessing of the relics. They also prayed at the tombs of Patriarchs where the remains of Patriarchs Mor Ignatius Jacob III and Mor Ignatius Zakka I are.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave the Keynote Address at the General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches gathered in Novi Sad – Serbia under the title of: “You Shall be My Witnesses”.

In his speech, entitled “Hospitality”, His Holiness emphasized that “through His incarnation, Jesus reveals to us the nature of God Who is hospitable and kind to the stranger. God’s hospitality emanates from His divine essence as love.”

He added that our Lord “clearly identifies Himself with the needy, thus He becomes the stranger and the foreigner.”

His Holiness spoke about the roots of hospitality in the Scriptures, and assured that “Christians are dwellers of this earth but they do not belong to this world; they are strangers to its logic and foreigners to its ways”.

“This”, His Holiness added, “motivates us to be good ambassadors of our Lord, holding firm to our faith which drives us to give without limits and love unconditionally without judging others.”

His Holiness brought to attention that “Today, we live in a world where people become more self-centered; even a brother can be a stranger to his own brother. Egoism and personal interest guide people’s relations to one another towards alienation and estrangement.”

He then spoke about the hospitality shown by churches towards emigrants or refugees, irrespective of their ethnic or religious backgrounds, in different countries due to wars and conflicts. “However”, His Holiness noted, “the generosity and hospitality of Europe towards refugees should make churches in Europe concerned about Europe’s religious and cultural identity and its values which are Christian values. This is especially important in light of the spread of secularism and atheism in the world.”

His Holiness then stressed that “Hospitality is sometimes exemplified in the spreading of hope to a person feeling alienated and hopeless; sharing the hope that death and darkness shall not prevail, rather love and kindness unite us all and last forever.”

His Holiness concluded: “let us all invite the Lord into our lives and allow Him to work through us in helping our less fortunate brethren. Let us not be afraid from opening our hearts, churches and homes to the needy who seek refuge and survival. Let our minds be open to host the will to love one another the way our Lord loved us.”

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