Patriarchate News

On November 20, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II arrived to Bahrain International Airport.
He was accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Rev. Fr. Markose, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs.
His Holiness and the accompanying delegation were received by His Excellency Mr. Samir Sadiq al-Baharna, Member of the Shura Council, delegated by His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain.
Their Eminences: Mor Coorilos Geevarghese, Patriarchal Vicar in Bahrain, Mor Gregorios Joseph, Metropolitan of Cochin and Secretary of the Regional Synod, Mor Anthimos Matthews, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom and Ireland, also received His Holiness at the airport.
 

On November 19, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received an official delegation from the parliament of Jordan, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
The delegation was led by His Excellency Mr. Abed Al-Karim Al-Dighmi, Member of the Parliament.
The delegation was also accompanied by an official Syrian delegation led by Mr. Boutros Marjanah, Head of the Committee of Arab, External and Expatriates Affairs.
His Holiness welcomed the delegation in Syria.
In his word, he gave an overview of the current situation in Syria, and the improvement and security which is getting back to the country. He also wished that the diplomatic relations between Syria and Jordan will get back to their normal state, especially after the positive sign of reopening the borders between the two countries.
His Holiness also spoke about the role of the Church during the crisis and the projects executed by the patriarchate to help the people remain in their country.
His Excellency Mr. Al-Dighmi thanked His Holiness for his warm welcome and expressed his happiness to see the reality of the situation in Syria.
Their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Jack Yakoub, Director of the Suryoyo Patriarchal Youth Department, attended the meeting.
 

On November 19, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, received His Beatitude Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
His Beatitude Joseph Absi, Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, His Eminence Cardinal Mario Zenari, the Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus, were also present.
 
Their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, along with their Eminences, Graces, and Excellencies, Archbishops heads and representatives of the Churches in Damascus, as well as the priests, monks and deacons of the patriarchate, also attended the reception.
 
His Beatitude Patriarch Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan was accompanied by their Graces: Mor Aphrem Youssef Aba, Archbishop of Baghdad, Patriarchal Vicar in Basra and the Arabian Gulf, and Secretary of the Holy Synod, Mor Youhanna Jihad Battah, General Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Beirut, Mor Mattias Charles Mrad, Bishop of the Patriarchal Department, Rev. Fr. Habib Mrad, Patriarchal Secretary, Rev. Fr. John Hayek, Rev. Fr. Amer Al-Qassar, and Deacon Karim Kalash.
 
His Holiness welcomed His Beatitude “dear brother and partner in the old Antiochian Syriac spiritual heritage which dates back to the dawn of Christianity”. He added that “we hope to reach full communion between our two sister Churches, through the unity of our two families of Churches, and all the Christians”. His Holiness expressed his great joy to receive His Beatitude; “This is your house”, he added, and “our relationship with you is a deep relationship that will always remain as such”. He remarked that “we work together for staying firm here in the lands of our forefathers”. His Holiness also welcomed His Beatitude Patriarch Joseph Absi, noting the common responsibility they share in leading the Holy Church in Damascus. He also welcomed His Eminence Cardinal Zenari, and all the esteemed guests present.
 
In turn, His Beatitude Patriarch Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan thanked His Holiness for his warm reception and overwhelming love. His Beatitude emphasized the importance of reaching full communion and “reaching that day when we all celebrate the Holy Qurobo at the same altar and share the same common chalice of life”.
 

On November 18, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the Holy Qurobo celebrated by His Beatitude Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan, at the Lady of Fatima Church in Al-Qusur, Damascus, on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the church.
He was accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Maurice Amsih, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali.
 

On November 18, 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 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 Timotheos Matthew, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates.

During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness ordained Rev. Qashisho Youhanon Yaacoub to be a priest in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.

In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the Sunday of Annunciation to Zachariah. He considered that Zachariah and Elizabeth did not have a baby, not because they were not righteous; on the contrary, they were at a high level of righteousness; however, the importance of their son to be – John the Baptist – required that he be born in a special way. This proves clearly that “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). His Holiness added that the greatest lesson we learn from these two who were well advanced in years is that our confidence in God should be strong. He said that as humans, we are weak, no matter how big our faith was, especially when the promises of God do not come to actualization according to our timings. This is because we have a short sight; God, however, knows what is good for our lives, and He has a suitable timing for everything.

His Holiness then congratulated the new ordained priest wishing him a fruitful service in the yard of the Lord, despite the fact the way is narrow and hard. However, His Holiness added, Fr. Youhanon knows very well that God will always be by His side and will accompany him in his service.

At the end of the ordination rite, Fr. Youhanon gave a word in which he considered that he finds himself weak before the great sacrament of priesthood. However, he puts his faith in the Lord, asking the prayers of His Holiness and all who are present, that our Lord Jesus may give him, as John the beloved, to lean back on Jesus’ breast, and kneel before His cross, and preach His great love to all the people. The new priest then thanked the Lord for this great blessing. He also blessed His Holiness the Patriarch, and His Eminence the Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as all their Eminences the Archbishops present, and the priests, monks, nuns, deacons, in addition to his family, wife, and all who had a positive role during his formation years.

After the Qurobo, the new priest received congratulations in the Patriarchal Hall.

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On November 17, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a reception organized by His Beatitude Patriarch John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus, for a Christian-Muslim delegation from Russia.

The delegation was led by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations in the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow.

The reception was also attended by His Excellency His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Abdelsattar Al-Sayed, Syrian Minister of Endowments, as well as the heads and representatives of Churches in Damascus, and a group of Muslim Scholars.

In his word, His Beatitude welcomed the delegation and assured that “our message is that we will remain in the Middle East”.

In turn, His Excellency emphasized that the Syrian people were able to gain victory by means of their unity. He also thanked the Russian President and Russia for their support to Syria during this crisis.

His Holiness, in his word, considered that “only in Syria one can see this beautiful image of Muslim Scholars and Heads of Christian Churches meeting together”. He assured that the Syrian people are “a people who believes in the Lord and love their country”. He also emphasized that this is what pushed terrorism away from Syria. His Holiness concluded by sending his greetings to His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill, Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

Then, Metropolitan Hilarion spoke reassuring the full support of the Russian Church as well as the state and the people to Syria. He also showed his happiness to see the situation in Syria becoming better day after day.

His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous, and Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

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On November 16, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited Aposolis (Mission) Ngo which helps refugees that arrive in Greece.

His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous, and Environs, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali.
His Holiness and the accompanying delegation were received by their Graces Bishop Nikolaos and Bishop Ioannis from the Church of Greece, as well as Mr. Costis Dimtsas, General Director of Apostoli, as well as the board of the organization.
His Holiness was given an overview of the work of “Apostoli” in the field of helping refugees and emigrants; in particular those from Syria, and the programs and actions that were done in recent years at the level of first reception, humanitarian level, and at the level of refugee education.
In his address, Mr. Costis warmly welcomed His Holiness, and referred to the traditional relations of between the Greek and Syriac people from Hellenistic antiquity to the present day. He also expressed his deepest respect for the martyrs of Syrian crisis, underlining the importance enforcing the Christian presence and witness in the Middle East.
In turn, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Church of Greece and the Greek people for the authentic testimony of the Christian love they showed to the Syrian refugees who arrive in Greece fleeing persecution. His Holiness praised the work of Apostolis over the recent years, and the testimony of love, indulgence and solidarity it has showed to all refugees. His Holiness also spoke about the current situation in Syria and the projects executed by the Church to help relief the suffering people.
His Holiness and the General Director of Apostolis discussed then means of humanitarian cooperation for the sake of the Syrian refugees arriving in Greece, as well as Syrian Christians who remained firm in their country.
 

On November 15, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a reception held in his honor by Her Excellency Ms. Dona Barakat, Ambassador of Lebanon to Athens, at the Lebanese Embassy in Athens, Greece.

His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous, and Environs, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali.

Their Graces Bishop Nikolaos and Bishop Ioannis from the Church of Greece, as well as Mrs. Rania Abdullah, Counselor of Her Excellency, were also present

During their meeting, Her Excellency welcomed His Holiness and expressed her respect to him and to the Syriac Orthodox Church. She spoke about the great role of His Holiness in serving the persecuted Christians in the Middle East and making their voice heard all over the globe. She also spoke about the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, wishing that their case would come to a good end so soon.

His Holiness, in turn, thanked Her Excellency for her warm welcome and for being present at various parts of his visit to Greece. He also wished all what is good for the Lebanese community in Greece, and for the prosperity of Lebanon.

At the end, a dinner was offered for the occasion.

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On November 15, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II and His Beatitude Ieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, visited Maria Kokkori Down Syndrome Foundation in Greece.

They were accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous, and Environs, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, and His Grace Bishop Ionannis from the Church of Greece, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

They were received by the Very Rev. Archimandrite Nicodemos Farmakis, Director of the Foundation.

The foundation is directly under the authority of His Beatitude and takes care of those who suffer from down syndrome.

His Holiness and His Beatitude visited the premises and facilities of the foundation and were informed about the work, activities, and programs in the institution. They also had the chance to talk to the sick and the supervisors taking care of them.

Very Rev. Archimandrite Nikodemos welcomed His Holiness and gave an overview about the history of the Foundation, and the service it offers, he stressed that the foundation takes care of a very sensitive population that the state is currently unable to take care of. He also prayed for the persecuted Christians and that peace would reign in the Middle East. He also emphasized the importance of working together to protect the religious freedom against terrorism and fanaticism.

At the end, a gift made by the people with Down syndrome at the foundation was presented to His Holiness as a token of love and respect.

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On November 15, 2018, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II and His Beatitude Ieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, met His Excellency Alexios Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece in the Maximos Palace in Athens in Greece.

His Holiness thanked the Greek government and the Greek people for hosting the refugees, and assured to His Excellency his prayers “that you remain united and strong for the sake of the Greek people and also for the sake of Christians in the ME”. He emphasized that “We need peace in our land, and we need to be able to live in dignity and equal citizenship”. His Holiness asked the help of the Greek government in the case of the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji. Finally, he spoke about the Antioch Syrian University wishing to have cooperation and support from Greek universities.

In turn, His Excellency assured that “we are following the dramatic events happening in Syria; the entire humanity is affected because the crisis has taken a worldwide dimension”. He also assured that “from the first moment, the Greek people embraced the refugee crisis, despite its heaviness on Greece”, for “I can imagine that Christians were on the frontline of those who are suffering”. “I would like to assure you” His Excellency stressed “that Greece will always stand by the Christians and wishes to play a constructive role without intervention in internal affairs”.

Their Eminences archbishops: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous, and Environs, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, His Grace Bishop Ioannis from the Church of Greece, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, accompanied His Holiness and His Beatitude.

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