Patriarchate News

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.
 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Eminence Mor Athanasius Geevarghese, Metropolitan of the Simhasana Churches in South Kerala and Abbot of Mor Ignatius Dayro, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh. His Eminence was accompanied by a delegation from the Simhasana Churches. 

His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, attended the meeting. 

His Holiness discussed with His Eminence the situation of our church in India and gave the delegation his blessings and prayers.

Click to view slideshow.
 

On October 16th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited the Foundation of the Religious Sciences – Pope John XXIII, in Bologna – Italy.
His Holiness was received by Prof. Alberto Melloni, Director of the Foundation, in the presence of the Catholic Archbishop of Bologna Mgr. Matteo Zuppi.
His Holiness made a tour in the library of the foundation, which contains images of old Syriac manuscripts.
Later, His Holiness gave a word before the scholars and phd students in which he spoke about the Syriac Church history and the importance of building academic bridged and links between the East and the West, in addition to the significance of working on making the oriental studies known to the international academic society.
His Holiness was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriachal Secretary and Media Office Director.
 

On October 14th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the Opening Assembly of the International Meeting for Peace “Bridges of Peace. Religions and Cultures in Dialogue” organized by the community of Sant’Egidio in Bologna – ITALY.

During the opening, His Holiness had an intervention in which he considered that “the building of bridges of peace is not a choice for us to make, but rather a necessity to engage in for the sake of our future together and the safe future of our human race and our world.” He noted that we should build bridges of peace that strengthen the unity among all the people of God, stand strong against division and hatred, empower all against terrorism and fanaticism, accept diversity and encourage co-existence, connect East and West, and go beyond gender, race, or religion to reach the more sublime goal common to all, which is the wellbeing of all of God’s creation.

“As good Christians”, His Holiness added “we are compelled to, not only embrace the culture of love and peace-building, but also to spread it around us. In fact, we are specifically called to be makers of peace, ‘Blessed are the makers of peace, for they shall be called the children of God’ (Matthew 5: 9)”.

He noted the three aspects of peace: the peace within, peace with God, and peace with the other. He considered that “true peace starts from within our hearts”; however, he marked that “Inner peace is the result of a true Christian way of life […] (it) is the result of a total reconciliation with God and the fruit of a healthy relationship with Him”. “True peace” His Holiness added “is achieved when we go beyond the self and reach out to our fellow humans trying to bring them peace […] When there is peace to him who is far and to him who is near (cf. Isaiah 57: 19), then the whole world will be in peace”.

Speaking about destruction and war in the name of peace, His Holiness highlighted that “what is more alarming is that, nowadays, wars and conflicts are encouraged and fought in the name of freedom, democracy, justice and peace!!”

His Holiness concluded: “Without peace, there will be no future for humanity. Let us all be architects of peace and build bridges of peace. May God bless this world of us with peace and harmony.”

His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar in the Archdiocese of Eastern United States, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.

Click to view slideshow.
 

On October 9th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II and their Eminences Archbishops members of the Holy Synod of our Syriac Orthodox Church, visited His Excellency General Michel Aoun, President of the Republic of Lebanon, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda.

His Holiness gave a word in which he spoke about the mission of the Holy Synod. He also expressed his support to His Excellency in making Lebanon a center for religious dialogue. His Holiness also spoke about the great role of Lebanon in preserving Christianity in the Middle East.

His Excellency then welcomed His Holiness and their Eminences wishing them the best for the synod. He then talked about the importance of real dialogue in reaching peace, and the significance of education in this field. This is why he is working on creating and International Academy for Religious Dialogue in Lebanon, so that the culture of peace may be spread in Lebanon and through it all over the world.

Click to view slideshow.
 

Upon the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod of our Syriac Orthodox Church started its sessions at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon. Their Eminences Archbishops and Patriarchal Vicars of our Syriac Archdioceses from all over the world are attending the Holy Synod.

The Holy Synod was inaugurated with a Holy Qurobo celebrated by His Holiness; He and their Eminences prayed for the faithful of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the world; they prayed also for peace in Syria, and remembered the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, asking God that they return safe soon.

After the Holy Qurobo, works of the Holy Synod started with an opening session.

Click to view slideshow.

 

 

On October 8th 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Eminence Archbishop Nareg Alyemezian, Armenian Orthodox Primate of the Diocese of Lebanon, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.

His Holiness congratulated His Eminence for his new office. They discussed issues related to the dialogue between the various churches.

His Eminence Nareg invited delivered to His Holiness an invitation to take part in the celebration organized by the Catholicosate of Cilicia for the for the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia.

Their Eminences: Mor Julius Abdelahad Shabo, Archbishop of Sweden and Scandinavia, Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal Vicar for the Western USA, Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, Mor Titus Boulos Touza, Apostolic Nuncio to the Evangelical Churches in Brazil, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, as well as Very Rev Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Very Rev. Raban Aphrem Lahdo, Assistant to the Archbishop of Sweden and Scandinavia, attended the meeting.

Click to view slideshow.