Patriarchate News

On November 4, 2018, for the Occasion of the Sunday of Consecration of the Church, 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.
In his sermon, His Holiness noted that our Lord Jesus did not care for what the people say about Him; rather, He cared to do the will of God the Father. His question, thus, had a specific goal and wisdom. People used to see Jesus only as a good teacher or a prophet; however, He wanted to make the Disciples know the level of conviction they have reached in their faith. St. Peter, therefore, declares that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. He implicitly declared Him God from God, the Incarnate Word, of the same essence as God, Who was begotten from the Father eternally, and born from Mary when the time had fully come.
His Holiness then spoke about the rock of faith on which the Holy Church is built. He assured that the Church is built on one Faith which is in Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.
He also spoke about the Divine promise that the gates of hades shall not prevail against the Church no matter what.
Finally, His Holiness remarked that this is the first Sunday in the liturgical year, wishing that all of us would grow stronger in our faith, and in our relationship with God, leading lives of holiness.
 

On November 2, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the 54th anniversary of St. Aphrem Patriarchal Scout, at the Patriarchate Headquartes in Bab Touma -Damascus.
In his word, His Holiness congratulated the patriarchal scouts recalling the values they teach and their service for the church and the society.
Tokens were then distributed as a sign of honor from the scouts.
Then, several comedy plays were presented for the occasion.
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdioces of Damascus, attended the event.
 

On October 30, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Emincence Mor Dionysius Geevarghese, Abbot of Gatzeeman Dayra in Piramadom in Kerala, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Bikfaya, Lebanon.
His Eminence reported to His Holiness about the monastery, and discussed with him several church issues.
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matthew, and Rev. Fr. Markose, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, attended the meeting.
 

On October 28, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Holiness Assyrian Patriarch Mar Gewargis III Sleewa, in London, United Kingdom.
His Holiness Sleewa was accompanied with a delegation from Archbishops from the Assyrian Church.
Later, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, received representatives from the various churches in London, as well as the faithful of our Syriac Orthodox Church there.
The meetings were attended by their Eminences: Mor Athanasius Touma Dakama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
His Holiness also held a meeting with His Eminence Mor Athansius Touma Dakama and the Archdiocesan Council of the Patriarchal Vicarate in the United Kingdom.
 

On October 28, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Thomas Cathedral in London, United Kingdom.
He was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
During the Qurobo, His Holiness ordained Apodyacno Dawood Al-Shamani as Deacon.
Click to view slideshow.
 

On October 27, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a reception held in his honor by Mr. Munzir Nazha, at his house in London, United Kingdom.
The reception was attended by their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Patriarchal Vicar in the United Kingdom, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
Very Rev. Fr. Patrick, Director of Barnabas Fund, in addition to several members of the house of Lords, and academic and public figures also attended the reception.
 

On October 26, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over a workshop about the Academic Plan of Antioch Syrian University (ASU) at King’s College London in England.
His Holiness was accompanied by a delegation from our Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate and from ASU. The delegation met with a group from the administrative body of King’s College.
This first meeting will be followed by several meetings in the future in order to strengthen the collaboration and relationship between the two universities.
King’s College London was established in 1829, and is ranked 31st in QS World University Ranking for the year 2019.
 

Anglican–Oriental Orthodox International Commission

Communiqué 2018

 

 The Anglican–Oriental Orthodox International Commission held its seventh meeting from 22–26 October 2018 at the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Residence, Atchaneh, Lebanon.

 

The Commission greatly appreciated the generous hospitality of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and the kindness of the sisters of the Mor Jacob Baradeus Convent, and all those assisting His Holiness.

 

The Commission noted with deep sadness the recent passing of one of its founder-members and its former Oriental Orthodox Co-Chair, His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta. The Commission gave thanks for his contribution to Anglican–Oriental Orthodox relations, and for his leadership in the ecumenical movement. The Commission offered prayers for the repose of his soul, and continues to hold his diocese in its prayers.

 

The Procession and Work of the Holy Spirit, the agreed statement of the 2017 meeting of the Commission, was published in October 2018. It is dedicated to Metropolitan Bishoy,

‘monk, bishop, theologian, champion of the Orthodox faith and unity of the Church’.

 

The members of the Commission welcome the unanimous elections, by its Oriental Orthodox members, of His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos of London as the new Oriental Orthodox Co-Chair and of the Very Revd Dr Roger Akhrass as the new Oriental Orthodox Co-Secretary.

 

The Commission resumed its work on Authority in the Church, with papers on bishops and synods (councils), and the Ecumenical Councils. It seeks to draw on established ecumenical agreements in the framework of this Commission, and the distinctive characteristics of the two families of Churches. The Commission hopes to finalise and make available the fruits of its work on Ecumenical Councils in 2019.

 

The Commission was received in audiences by His Holiness, Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia, in which they both spoke about the present critical situation of Christians in the Middle East, particularly on difficulties in Iraq and Syria.

 

The Commission was acutely mindful that its meeting took place in Lebanon, itself home to over a million of refugees from war and conflict in the region. The Commission holds before the wider oikumene the costly witness of the Churches in this country, offered in love and service to the dispossessed and the victims of war.

 

The members of the Commission assured Their Holinesses that their prayers would be matched by concrete actions, visible support and solidarity on the part of their respective Churches. In particular, the urgent need for pastoral and ecumenical visits to Syria is vital at this time, and Churches in both families are strongly encouraged to respond in this way. Both Co-Chairs pledged themselves to facilitate such a visit in the near future, as a concrete sign of the faith, trust in and love and for the people who have remained in Syria, at considerable danger to themselves throughout the period of war.

 

The Commission realises that its own theological work requires the practical expression of love as an outworking of the theological convergence already discerned around Christology and the Holy Spirit. Members of the Commission recognise that it is no longer a question of speaking of the Churches of ‘the East’ or of ‘the West’, as we have become truly global communities. Moreover, today we experience one another in different regional contexts and share together in Christian witness and civic engagement in a wide range of countries where Anglicans and Oriental Orthodox are living together.

 

In the course of the meeting, members of the Commission had the opportunity to encounter local Christians, which included visits to the Monastery of St Maron, Annaya, where they were welcomed by the Abbot and brothers of the Lebanese Maronite Order, and to the Armenian Theological Seminary, Bikfaya, where students were introduced to the work of the Commission, and had the opportunity to ask questions about the Anglican tradition.

 

The members of the Commission continue to hold in their prayers the two bishops of Aleppo abducted in April 2013, Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi of the Greek (Rüm) Orthodox Church of Antioch.

 

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Commission thanks the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the mutual understanding and friendship that has been experienced and shared, and looks forward to continuing its work.

 

 

Present at the meeting in 2018 in Atchaneh

 

Anglican Communion

 

The Rt Revd Gregory K Cameron                    Church in Wales (Co-Chair)

The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut                    Anglican Communion Office (Co-Secretary)

The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson                 Church of Ireland

The Ven Dr Edward Simonton OGS               Anglican Church of Canada

The Revd Stephen Stavrou                               Church of England

The Revd Canon Dr William Taylor                Church of England

The Revd Neil Vigers                                       Anglican Communion Office (Staff)

 

Oriental Orthodox

 

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos of London, United Kingdom (Co-Chair)

 

Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

His Eminence Metropolitan Polycarpus Augin Aydin, The Netherlands

The Very Revd Fr Dr Roger Akhrass, Syria (Co-Secretary)

 

Armenian Orthodox Church –Holy See of Cilicia

The Very Revd Boghos Tinkjian, Lebanon

The Very Revd Zareh Sarkissian, Lebanon

 

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

The Revd Fr Dr KM George, India

Click to view slideshow.
 

On October 24, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met with the members of the Anglican–Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC), which holds its sixth meeting at our Syriac Orthodox Church in the Patriarchal Residence – Atchaneh, Lebanon.
His Holiness welcomed the members and wished them a successful meeting. He highlighted the major stages of not very old dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Church, as well as the significant fruits of the dialogue. He also spoke about the importance of dialogue in bringing Churches together until we reach complete unity as one body whose Head is our Lord Jesus Christ.
In turn, the members of the commission thanked His Holiness and our Syriac Orthodox Church for hosting the seventh meeting, and gave an overview about their work.
Their Eminences: Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Severus Malke Mourad, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahle and Bekaa, Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, and His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, attended the meeting.
His Eminence Mor Polycarpus Augin Aydin, Patriarchal Vicar in Holland, and Very Rev. Raban Roger-Youssef Akhrass, Director of the Department of Syriac Studies, who are the representatives of our Syriac Orthodox Church in the commission, also attended the meeting.
 

On Sunday October 21, 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, and Very Rev. Fr. Patrick, Director of Barnabas Fund foundation.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the importance of readiness, especially that of a priest who is responsible for the salvation of his soul as well as that of all his parish. His Holiness invited the faithful to not focus on what is for the flesh, for the Lord is Faithful to give all who ask from His grace. He also spoke about watchfulness, instructing all to care for what is above with the Lord, and forget about what is below. His Holiness added that we are called to use our gifts and abilities for the glory of God’s Name, and learn from the parable of the fool rich, who, despite working hard and with loyalty, focused on this life and forgot to think about eternal life. His Holiness considered that this life gives us the opportunity to work for our salvation and that of the others. He invited all to trade wisely to win eternal life and build for themselves houses in heaven.
His Holiness then welcomed Fr. Patrick, noting his efforts in serving the church, especially through charity work.
He finally announced the opening of the academic year at Antioch Syrian University, thanking the Lord for this great grace, and praying for ASU to be a great center for education.