Patriarchate News

On January 19, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, along with their Holinesses and Beatitudes: Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Maronite Church, Joseph Absi Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, presided over the inauguration of the week of prayer for the unity of Christians, held at the Annunciation Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Beirut, with the participation of representatives of other Christian churches.

During the prayer, the choir of the cathedral performed several chants and hymns. Then prayers were raised for the unity of the Church and for peace to reign in the hearts of all humans that they may be one as God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is One.

The prayer was attended by His Excellency Mgr. Joseph Spiteri, Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon. Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, and Mor Chrysostomos Michael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, were also present.

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On the occasion of the Feast of St. Anthony, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Aphrem Church in Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate to the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, Mor Yakoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of the Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, assist His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.
 
During the Divine Liturgy, His Holiness tonsured the two seminarian deacons Charbel Rizk and Simon (Shemoun) Absim, and ordained them as monks.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about monkhood which the two new monks freely and voluntarily chose to become their way of life. He also spoke about the importance of prayer and devotion in the monks’ lives. He emphasized that monks always seek the salvation of their souls and should always pursue holiness and perfection following the Lord’s command.
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On the occasion of the New Year 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II invited their Excellencies the Ambassadors, Charge d’Affaires and Diplomatic Representatives of Foreign Missions in Syria to a Formal Reception at the Patriarchate in Bab Touma.

The reception was attended by His Excellency Dr. Faysal Mokdad, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, as well as the ambassadors or heads of missions of various countries.

His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem II welcomed their Excellencies in one of Syria’s homes, which is open for all and welcomes all. He said that it is a pleasure to welcome all of them into the established tradition of meeting at the beginning of each year. He wished everyone a blessed new year full of prosperity and peace. He said that this reception allows to reflect on the past year, in its happy and not-so-happy times. He affirmed that despite the insistence of many to create violence and war in Syria, good will is going to prevail and peace will reign again. He greeted those who offered many sacrifices for their countries and spoke about the sanctions imposed on Syria. He highlighted that these sanctions are causing the average Syrian people to suffer; however, he is hopeful that endurance will ultimately bring victory to the Syrian people and will help reclaiming the entire Syrian geography, united for all Syrians. He concluded by thanking their Excellencies and wishing them and their countries all the success and prosperity in this new year.

His Excellency Dr. Mokdad thanked His Holiness for gathering the diplomats in one of Syria’s house of God and hoped that all the peoples in the region will be united to lead humanity into the future. He assured that Syria is always optimistic about its future when the religious leader are preaching love and mercy to the Syrians. He addressed the ambassadors promising to facilitate their mission and hope they will also convey the real situation of Syria to their countries.

His Excellency Ambassador of Iran offered his congratulatory greetings to His Holiness and through him to Syria, hoping that this year will be the end of the crisis in Syria. The Russian Ambassador thanked His Holiness for underlining the role of Russia in fighting terrorism in Syria and promised to continue to make all efforts to eliminate war and violence from Syria. The Ambassador of Iraq expressed the common suffering of the Iraqi people and the Syrian people from religious fanatism which she considered to be a common threat to all the countries in the Middle East.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate to the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, Mor Yakoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for the Affairs of the Monks and the Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, Very Rev. Fr. Markose Abraham, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, were also present at the reception.

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On January 15, 2020, on the occasion of the Feast of the blessing of the Virgin Mary on the Plantations, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Holy Qurobo celebrated by Rev. Fr. Youhanon Yaacoub, at St. Mary Church in Damascus.
 
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, also attended the Holy Qurobo.
 
During the Holy Qurobo, His Holiness prayed the special intercessory prayer for the Virgin Mary, and spoke in his sermon about the different feasts that the church celebrates in remembrance of the Virgin Mary and seeking her blessings.
 
At the end of the Qurobo, His Holiness blessed the faithful.
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On January 6, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo of the Feast of Epiphany at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the true effect of the Epiphany, namely the revealing of the Trinity and the shining of God’s mercy on humanity. He explained the content of St. John’s Epistle concerning the Holy Trinity. His Holiness invited all to live according to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, preserving the grace we received at our baptism. He added that the symbols and analogies used by the Fathers of the church are used to explain and describe the Trinity and thus to support the Christian faith, as it was used at the beginning of Christianity, to spread the correct doctrine of Trinity.
His Holiness then presided over the procession and the special service for the Feast of Epiphany.
 

On January 5, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the meeting of the Board of Trustees of Antioch Syrian University, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.

Members of the BOT listened to a report from Dr. Rakan Razzouk, President of ASU, about the new students who joined the university in this academic year. He also spoke about the preparations that are being made to account for the growth of the university faculties and accommodate the need that arises consequently. Other reports on the different aspects of the administration of the university were also submitted and discussed. Development plans were also studied during the meeting.

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On January 1st 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Holy Qurobo on the occasion of the New Year at St. Mark Cathedral in New Jersey, U.S.A.
His Eminence Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States of America, celebrated the Holy Qurobo.
In his sermon, His Eminence welcomed His Holiness and offered to him greetings on behalf of the archdiocese for the occasion of Christmas and New Year. His Eminence spoke about the spiritual habits that we should cultivate as Christians year after year.
 

On December 25, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo on the occasion of Christmas at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.
 
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Armenian Orthodox Archbishop of Damascus Armash Nalbandian, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the names that our Lord Jesus Christ identifies Himself with, namely the two names: life and light. He specified that we have received life from our Lord Jesus Christ with His birth in the flesh which prepared and initiated the salvation on the cross. Thus, He conquered sin and gave us eternal life. He also spoke about the Lord calling Himself “Light of the world” and explained that Jesus Christ is the light that casted away darkness and death and He also gave us to become the light for others in the spirit and truth.
 
Then, His Holiness offered Christmas greetings to all Christians around the world and prayed especially for the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq that the Lord may bless them and help them through the difficult times that they are witnessing in their respective countries. He also prayed for the return of their Eminences the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo: Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim.
 
His Holiness also presided over the special rite for Christmas.
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On December 24, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Holy Qurobo for Christmas Eve in St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.
 
His Eminence Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education celebrated the Holy Qurobo.
 
During the Qurobo, Christmas procession was performed, then the Christmas Message of His Holiness was read.
 
At the end of the Qurobo, His Holiness blessed the faithful and wished them a Merry Christmas.
 
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On December 24, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Syrian Minister of Religious Endowments Muhammad Abd Al-Sattar Al-Sayyid, accompanied by a group of Muslim Sheikhs, who offered to His Holiness Christmas greetings.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yacoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, as well as the clergy of the Patriarchal Archdiocese, were also present.

His Holiness expressed his joy to see that His Excellency took an initiative calling all Syrian traders to lower their prices on the occasion of Christmas and New Year.

His Excellency congratulated His Holiness on the occasion of the Feast of Christmas and stated that the Syrian people is united and celebrates together the feast of the Birth of Christ.

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