Patriarchate News

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave a speech during a Plenary Session at the 3rd Global Gathering in the Global Christian Forum (GCF) – Bogota, Colombia. The session was entitled “Facing Common Challenges Together in Mutual Love”, and the title of His Holiness Speech was: “Following Christ together in discrimination, persecution, martyrdom: What does this mean for the global church today?”
In his speech, His Holiness considered that the two archbishops of Aleppo “presented no threat to anyone. As disciples of Christ, called by Him to tend His sheep, they were fully dedicated to their mission. Their care and compassion went beyond their immediate flock. It was extended to the community at large regardless of their religious affiliation, which earned them the love and respect of the entire society in Aleppo.” He added that despite the negative impact on the Christian community in Aleppo, “even after five years of their abduction, the Christian community in Aleppo – although greatly reduced by numbers, remains steadfast in its faith in Christ.” His Holiness then invited the audience to watch a 3-minute video about the two Archbishops.
His Holiness moved to speak about the persecuted Church; he said: “I come from a church, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, which faced many tribulations and genocides throughout the centuries. Some 100 years ago, a massive genocide took place in the Ottoman Empire aiming at eliminating Christianity from the land of its birthplace […]. Today, we continue to suffer persecution at the hands of terrorist groups.” He added “Because of our history of persecution and martyrdom, whenever I think of the marks of the church being One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic I immediately add to it ‘Persecuted’. The true church that is faithful to her Lord and Savior has to be a persecuted one.”
His Holiness then spoke about the suffering of Christians in the Middle East, and his continuous visits to comfort them since his installation in 2014. He then condemned the “low state of affairs which our world has reached”, referring to the recent attack on Syria by the U.S., U.K. and France.
He then brought to attention “a very sensitive matter which is affecting us. Some of our sister Churches are making use of this painful situation in Syria and Iraq by practicing proselytism.”
He also considered that what Christians and other minorities are subjected to in the Middle East and throughout the world is nothing less than “religious and ethnic cleansing.”
He concluded: “We continue to be the “light of the world”, spreading knowledge where there is ignorance, and love where there is hatred. This is our mission; this is what we are called for.”
During the session, two members gave tributes to Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim, who was a founding and active member in the GCF, on the occasion of the 5-year anniversary of his abduction along with Archbishop Boulos Yaziji.
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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the morning prayer and opening plenary session at the 3rd Global Gathering in the Global Christian Forum entitled: “Let mutual love continue” (Hebrews 13:1) – Bogota, Colombia.
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Coorilose Geevarghese, Metropolitan of Niranam, and Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
His Holiness will present at the forum a speech about following Christ together in discrimination, persecution and martyrdom.
 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo and the Ceremonial Communion at St. Georges Church in Al-Suryan area in Aleppo.

Their Eminences Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama and Tartous, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, assisted His Holiness in the Qurobo.

Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo and Environs, as well as monks, priests and deacons served the Qurobo.

In his sermon, His Holiness explained the Gospel of the Qurobo. He considered that “if we have faith in the Lord, we shall have good part with Him, for He gives abundantly to those who believe in Him.” His Holiness added “life near Christ gives us luminous eyes for He is the True Light.” The apostles didn’t know the Lord because they went away from Him, His Holiness added.

He then spoke about the two abducted bishops; he said: “we wanted to be with you today, which is a hard day for the beloved faithful in Aleppo.” He assured that “We let no day pass without praying for the sake of the bishops; thousands are united with us in this prayer, faithful of various churches, and international organizations.” His Holiness noted the hard work of the Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo, as well as all the priests, councils, and church organizations in the service of the Archdiocese; however, His Holiness considered that the absence of Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim has had a great influence on the Archdiocese.

His Holiness then congratulated the children participating in the communion, and instructed them to stay close to God and lead a life of holiness.

During the Holy Qurobo, the common statement issued by His Holiness our Patriarch and His Beatitude Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East John X, for the 5-year commemoration of the two abducted archbishops.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in a prayer night on the occasion of the five-year commemoration of the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo, Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi.
The prayer took place at St. Elias Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Aleppo, and included prayers for peace and for the safe return of the two abducted Archbishops as well as all the abducted people. Chants were also performed by Mr. Gabriel Abdelnour.
In his word, His Holiness thanked the faithful of Aleppo for their steadfast love and loyalty towards their abducted shepherds; he said: “I wanted to be with you today on this 5-year commemoration to pray together for the return of the two Archbishops and all the kidnapped people.” He considered that “the Archbishops have served Aleppo without discrimination, and they have paid the price of their love, and were abducted while completing a humanitarian mission”. His Holiness added that “their abduction and expulsion cannot be reduced to personal level. It is against all Syrians and aims to justify the establishment of a country with a single religion.”
“However”, he said “the kidnappers did not succeed, because Syria will remain one with its values and the love of its people”.
His Holiness added that “we miss the two Archbishops, but we have faith that they will return to us safe”. He pointed out that “we have made and will continue to make all efforts to ensure their return; and we will pray unceasingly because we are children of hope.”
His Holiness concluded saying that “their return is soon, and I believe that this prayer is heard because it comes out from the heart of all faithful”.
The prayer was also attended by their Eminences: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama and Tartous, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo and Environs.
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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Evening prayer (Ramsho) at Mor Aphrem Cathedral in Sulaimaniya area – Aleppo.

Their Eminences Archbishops Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama and Tartous, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate in Aleppo and Environs, were also present.
At the end of the prayer, His Holiness blessed the deacons all the faithful who participated in the prayer.
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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received a delegation from our Church in Switzerland, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Lebanon.

The delegation was headed by Very Rev. Fr. Karim Asmar. They offered Easter Greetings to His Holiness.

His Holiness encouraged the delegation to stand firm in their faith and witness to the word in their society, working hand in hand with the Church and keeping its faith, traditions and cultures. The meeting was attended by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

Click to view slideshow.
 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo on New Sunday, at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.
He was assisted by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patrirarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
His Eminence the Right Reverend Bishop Michael Langrish, Former Anglican Bishop of Exeter, as well as members of the British delegation, attended the Qurobo.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the character of Thomas the Apostle as an example of brave faith that seek the truth and fear not to go anywhere to preach the Gospel.
After the Qurobo, His Holiness received the delegation and the faithful at the Patriarchate headquarters. The floor was open for the members of the delegation and the faithful who were present to discuss the current situation in Syria, and the role of western countries, in addition to the mission of the delegation and the aim of their visit.Click to view slideshow.

 

The Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch hosted a formal reception in honor of a delegation from the United Kingdom.
The delegation, led by Baroness Caroline Cox, is on a visit to Syria upon the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II.
His Holiness welcomed the delegation, conveying to them Easter Greetings; he said: “Christ’s Resurrection means new life to humanity; this itself is a sign of hope without which we cannot live”. He added that the delegation’s “visit to Syria during these days is a sign of friendship between us, which we hope it was the case between the governments of the two countries.” His Holiness considered that “this war is not a civil war, but a war of countries who want to impose on the Syrian people a way of life”. He emphasized that “even before the crisis, we Christians had the full freedom to practice our religion the way we want, just as all other religions.”
His Holiness then read the statement issued by the patriarchates of Antioch and all the east for the Syriac Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and Greek-Melkite Catholic.
Several members of the delegation spoke expressing their solidarity with the Syrian suffering people, and condemning the negative role of western media in conveying false news concerning the real situation in Syria.
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, attended the reception, as well as Christian leaders from Damascus, dignitaries from the civil society, representatives from the Syrian Ministry of Endowments and Muslim Sheikhs.
 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Beatitude Joseph Absi, Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, at the Patriarchate headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.
His Beatitude conveyed Easter greetings to His Holiness. They discussed together the recent developments in Syria after US, France and UK strikes.
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Deacon Imad Syryany attended the meeting.
 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited His Beatitude Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus.
During their meeting, His Holiness conveyed to His Beatitude Easter greetings and discussed several church issues.
His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Deacon Imad Syryany.
The meeting was also attended by their Graces Patriarchal Assistants Bishop Moussa El-Khoury and Bishop Luka El-Khoury.