Patriarchate News

On May 17, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II consecrated St. Mark Cathedral in New Jersey – Eastern USA.

His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States of America, Mor Theethose Yeldo, Metropolitan of the Malankara Archdiocese of North America, Mor Silvanos Ayub, Knanaya Archbishop of Europe and America, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.

Their Eminences Archbishops: Khajag Barsamian, Former Archbishop of the Eastern Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Church in America, Anba Macarios, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchal Exarch of the Eritrean Congregation in the USA, and Anba David, Diocesan Bishop of the Holy Diocese of New York and New England and all Northeastern States, also assisted His Holiness in the consecration rite.

At the end of the rite of the Consecration, His Holiness congratulated the community and spoke about the importance of building a place where they can worship God and glorify His Holy Name.

His Eminence Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak thanked the Lord for bringing this project to completion. He considered it as the dream of His Holiness since he was the Archbishop, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese. His Eminence then spoke about the project of the Cathedral and its importance for the parish and archdiocese.

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On May 16, 2019, upon the invitation of His Beatitude, The Most Blessed Tikhon (Mollard), Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and Board Chairman of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited the seminary where an official dinner was hosted in his honor.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States of America, Mor Silvanos Ayub, Knanaya Archbishop of Europe and America, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
 
The dinner was attended by St. Vladimir’s Seminary’s Board of Trustees.
 
In his word, His Holiness spoke about the importance of theological education in raising a generation of well educated seminarians and servants for the Lord. He also spoke about the significance of cooperation among the Orthodox Churches. He also considered that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a persecution against Orthodoxy.
 
At the end, gifts were exchanged as a token of respect and appreciation. His Holiness presented to the Seminary a valuable icon for the Virgin Mary and the Divine Child from the Holy Lands of Jerusalem.
 

On May 16, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II delegated His Eminence Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, to represent him at the funeral of the blessed Thrice Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Dignitary Patriarch of the Maronite Church, at the Maronite Patriarchate Headquarters in Bkerki – Lebanon.
 
His Beatitude and Eminence Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Raï, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Maronite Church, presided over the funeral service, in the presence of their Holinesses and Beatitudes Patriarchs of the various Churches, as well as His Eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Personal Representative of His Holiness Pope Francis of Rome at the funeral.
 
Their Excellencies: General Michel Aoun, President of the Republic of Lebanon, Mr. Nabih Berri, Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, and Mr. Saad Al-Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon, attended the funeral, along with a crowd of official figures and people from the various components of the Lebanese society.
 
His Excellency Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Foreign Minister, as well as representatives of various countries also took part in the funeral.
 
Their Eminences: Mor Theophilos George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, and Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, also attended the funeral.
 
His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited Bkerki last Tuesday to offer condolences to His Beatitude Patriarch Al-Raï, and the Maronite. He apologized for not attending the funeral personally due to his apostolic visit to the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States.
 

On May 14, 2019, upon the invitation of the President of the Lebanese Republic His Excellency General Michel Aoun, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a special Iftar Dinner on the occasion of Ramadan, at the presidential Palace in Baabda.

His Eminence Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, was also invited and attended the dinner. Lebanese Religious leaders or their representatives also attended this event as well as many politicians.

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On May 14, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II offered his condolences to His Brother in Christ His Beatitude and Eminence Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, Maronite Patriach of Antioch and All the East, on the passing away of the thrice blessed Late Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, at the Maronite Patriarchate Headquarters in Bkerki – Lebanon.
 
His Holiness was accompanied by a delegation from their Eminences Archbishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church: Mor Theophilos George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Bekaa, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, and Mor Timotheos Matthew, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Very Rev. Raban Cyril Babi, Director of the Department of Legal Affairs and Spiritual Courts.
 
His Holiness held there the special service for the departed patriarchs (teshmeshto d-Kumre).
 
His Holiness will not be able to attend the funeral of the Late Patriarch Sfeir due to previously determined apostolic visit to the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States.
 
At the end, His Holiness expressed his sorrow for the loss of Patriarch Sfeir, who was a great Oriental and Lebanese figure, who has devoted his life for Lebanon. His Holiness considered that, by his passing away, Late Patriarch Sfeir unifies the Lebanese altogether for the love and service of the country.
 

On May 10, 2019, upon the invitation of his brother in Christ His Holiness Catholicose Karekin II, Catholicose-Patriarch of All Armenians, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the Holy Qurobo and consecration of three new Archbishops for the sister Armenian Apostolic Church at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
 
This is the first time in modern history where the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church participates in the episcopal ordination of Archbishops in the sister Armenian Apostolic Church as a sign of strong relationship between the two sister churches.
 
Their Eminences: Mor Theethose Yeldo, Metropolitan of the Malankara Archdiocese of North America, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States of America, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, were also present.
 
At the end, His Holiness and the accompanying delegation, offered their congratulations to His Holiness Catholicose Karekin II, to the new archbishops, and to the sister Armenian Church for this occasion.
 

On May 10, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II arrived at Armenia for an official visit to the sister Armenian Orthodox Church, upon the invitation of his brother in Christ His Holiness Catholicose Karekin II, Catholicose-Patriarch of All Armenians.
 
His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II was warmly received by His Holiness Catholicose Karekin II at the Holy Mother of Etchmiadzin in Armenia, along with a number of their Eminences Archbishops of the sister Armenian Orthodox Church.
 
His Holiness is accompanied by their Eminences: Mor Theethose Yeldo, Metropolitan of the Malankara Archdiocese of North America, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States of America, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus.
 

On May 10, 2019, 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, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education.

During the Qurobo, children from St. Aphrem Center for Religious Education – Tabbale, Damascus, participated in the ceremonial communion.

In his sermon, His Holiness commented on the reading from the Holy Gospel, where the Lord Jesus says: “I am the Bread of life”. His Holiness explained what our Lord meant, and spoke about the Holy Communion in the tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch; he reassured that this is a ceremonial communion, for a child partakes of the Holy Mysteries right after Baptism and Confirmation. He also added that one who approaches to partake of the Holy Mysteries should approach readily, and in due manner.

Finally, the Children and all who were present partook of the Holy Mysteries.

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On May 6, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received a group from the Patriarchal Vicariate of Germany, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh – Lebanon.
 
The delegation was led by His Eminence Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, and consisted of adults and youth who are on a pilgrimage trip to Lebanon.
 
First, His Holiness presided over Ramsho (evening) prayer at Mor Severus Church in the Patriarchal Residence, in the presence of His Eminence and the delegation.
 
At the end of the prayer, the group took the blessings of the relics of Mor Severus kept in the Church.
 
During his meeting with them, His Holiness welcomed the group and spoke to them about the Church, and the importance of staying firm in their faith and serving the Holy Church. He then answered the questions of the group.
 

On May 6, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral, for the Commemoration of St. Georges, Patron Saint of the Cathedral, and the ceremonial communion of children from the Patriarchal Center for Religious Education – Bab Touma, Damascus.

 
He was assisted by their Eminences Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness recalled the martyrdom of St. Georges, and asked the intercession of the Great Martyr. He then spoke about the Holy Communion in the tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch; he assured that this is a ceremonial communion, for a child partakes of the Holy Mysteries right after Baptism and Confirmation.
 
His Holiness spoke about the meaning of communion and how Bread and Wine become the Body and Blood of Christ by the act of the Holy Spirit Whom the priest invokes during the Qurobo.
 
His Holiness added that he who approaches to partake of the Holy Mysteries should approach readily, in due manner, and with humbleness. He then congratulated the Children, their parents, the Patriarchal Center for Religious Education, for this occasion. He finally concluded by commanding the Children to be disciples for the Lord, listen to His words, and always do what pleases Him.
 
During the Qurobo, His Holiness presided over the Service (Teshmeshto) of the Martyrs before the icon of St. Georges in the Cathedral.
 
Finally, the Children and all who were present partook of the Holy Mysteries.