Patriarchate News

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, hosted an official reception in honor of His Excellency Mr. Hammouda Sabbagh, Speaker of the Syrian Parliament, who is the first Syriac Orthodox, and the first Christian to hold the post since the 1940s.
The reception was held in the Patriarchate headquarters in Bab Touma in Damascus, and was attended by: His Beatitude Joseph Absi, Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, His Grace the Grand Mufti of Syria Dr. Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, Her Excellency Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, Political and Media Adviser to the Syrian Presidency, His Excellency Advisor Dr. Iskandar Luqa, their Eminences and Excellences bishops of Damascus, a number of priests and monks, their Excellences Syrian Ministers: Dr. Rima al-Qadiri, Minister of Social Affairs, Dr. Atef Naddaf, Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Abdullah al-Gharbi, Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection, Dr. Faisal Mekdad, Syrian Deputy-Foreign Minister, as well as several members of the Syrian Parliament. His Excellency Mr. Jayez Al-Moussa, Governor of Hassakeh, also attended the reception.
From our Syriac Orthodox Church, their Eminences: Mor Selwanos Petros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs and Hama, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khouri, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, and Very Rev. Raban Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Delegate of the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs, Patriarchal Delegate to Aleppo, as well as monks and deacons of the patriarchate attended the reception.
His Holiness welcomed his guests at the Syriac Patriarchate. He then spoke about the significance of electing a Christian to head the Syrian Parliament. His Holiness said that this assures the harmonious nature of the Syrian Society, which lived a unique experience for thousands of years, for it has welcomed people from different races, and become a beautiful rich and harmonious painting. This is what gave it strength to resist this global war that is set against us and that uses terrorism and religion trying to destroy our country”. His Holiness added that “this step is a confirmation of the role of Christians in the society that is of a Muslim majority; it is possible for all talented and experienced people to serve this dear country”. His Holiness considered the election of a Christian to this office as a sign of intellectual and political maturity because the colleagues consider the interest of the country before any other consideration. His Holiness spoke about the family of Mr. Sabbagh who come from a noble Syriac background and is known for its nationalistic role in the Syrian Jazirah as well as in Damascus.
Then, His Excellency the Grand Mufti of Syria Dr. Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun spoke about the role of the Christians in Syria and considered Syria to be the model for a country where everyone can live despite their differences. His Excellency pointed out that, in Syria, offices are not given according to denominations but according to abilities, because Syria is a country where all citizens are equal. He gave the example of the election of a Christian to the office of the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament because of his talent and ability. He called to the love of God and country and to be attached to the roots. His Excellency thanked His Holiness for this welcoming reception and wished Mr. Hammouda a fruitful and successful mission.
In turn, His Excellency Mr. Sabbagh, Speaker of the Syrian Parliament, thanked His Holiness for this honorary reception and expressed his pride to be a member of the Syriac Orthodox Church. He also expressed his pride and honor to be given this trust from the President of the Syrian Arab Republic, His Excellency Dr. Bashar Assad. He added that we were brought up in this country where the people are one; this is shown by the unity despite the crisis which lasted 7 years but could not destroy Syria. The conspiracy may be great, but our determination to resist it is greater”. Mr. Sabbagh hoped that the year 2018 is the year of complete victory which “can be celebrated in the squares of Damascus and throughout the country”.
Then, the guests were seated to a banquet in honor of Mr. Sabbagh.

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Since his installation as Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II has considered opening a Patriarchal Office in North America to facilitate the communication between the different Archdioceses and parishes and the Patriarchate, and to better serve the faithful there.
His Holiness has recently appointed Very Rev. Raban Augeen Benyamen as Director of the Patriarchal Office in North America. Very Rev. Fr. Augeen will receive correspondence from the faithful of the Syriac Orthodox Church in North America in matters directly related to the Patriarchate. He will relay all communications directly to the Patriarchal Office in Damascus to be dealt with promptly.
 

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Epiphany (Denho) Holy Qurobo in St. Jacob Baradaeus in Jaramana – Damascus.

His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarhal Archdiocese of Damascus, celebrated the Holy Qurobo, which was attended by Very Rev. Fr. Patrick who comes from Barnabas Fund Organization, along with the monks of the patriarchate, the deacons and the faithful of the parish.

In his sermon, His Eminence spoke about the baptism of our Lord Jesus, Who gave us an example, and opened for us the way to life. He then talked about the martyrdom of John the Baptist and Stephan, head of the deacons and the first martyr.

At the end of his sermon, His Eminence thanked His Holiness, on behalf of Very Rev. Raban Barsoum Kando, parish priest, and all the parish, for always being among his spiritual children.

During the Qurobo, His Holiness presided over the rite of blessing the water, special for Epiphany feast.

At the end of the Qurobo, His Holiness greeted the parishioners and expressed his great joy to be among. He also welcomed Father Patrick, his wife, and his assistant, who are on a visit to the patriarchate.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participates in Christmas and Theophany Holy Qurobo at St. Sarkis Armenian Orthodox Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus. His Eminence Armash Nalbandian, Armenian Archbishop of Damascus, celebrated the Holy Qurobo.

His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese, Ver Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Very Rev. Raban Jack Yakoub, Director of the Suryoyo Patriarchal Youth Department, accompanied His Holiness.

The Holy Qurobo was also attended by representatives of various churches in Damascus.

In His Sermon, His Eminence Archbishop Armash welcomed His Holiness and conveyed to him his warm greetings on the occasion of Christmas and Theophany.

At the end of the Qurobo, His Holiness offered greetings to His Eminence Archbishop Armash and to all faithful of the Armenian Orthodox sister church.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inaugurates a Charity Bazar organized by Emanuel Family of the brotherhood of “Faith and Light” (Iman w Noor) at the Patriarchate in Bab Touma, Damascus.

His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, was also present.

His Holiness blessed the volunteers and workers in the family, and prayed for them asking the Lord to bless their efforts and service.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated Epiphany Holy Quroboat St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.

His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.

In His Sermon, His Holiness spoke about Epiphany as the revelation of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. He also spoke about the importance of our Lord Jesus’ baptism which opened the way for our baptism.

His Holiness then presided over Epiphany procession in the Church.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Christmas Holy Qurobo at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus.

Their Eminences: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for the Church in India, and Arminian Orthodox Archbishop of Damascus Armash Nalbandian, assisted His Holiness in the Holy Qurobo.

Their Excellences Dr. Hammoudeh Sabbagh, Speaker of the Syrian Parliament, and Ambassador Anwar Abd Al Hadi, Director of the Political Department at the Palestine Liberation Organization, also attended the Holy Qurobo.

In His Sermon, His Holiness said that on this day a new testament between God and humans started, a testament of peace and hope, which is all that humanity needs. A peace from heaven, from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, that consoles the soul.

His Holiness then asked: “How long will men fight and remain in conflict?”; he thus invited all to “open our hearts and let Christ be born again in them, so we feel the great joy, and so that our lives are filled with divine peace, reflected in good deeds and far from hatred and animosity, so that we see in the faces of every human the unseen image of God. For, if we cannot see God in the faces of others, we will never be able to see him! But when we see God’s face in the faces of others, we will love and respect others as we respect ourselves. This way peace will fill the world and God’s Name will be glorified, and human’s hope will be affirmed for a better life.”

At the end of his sermon, His Holiness prayed for peace in the world, especially in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. He finally greeted all Syriac Orthodox faithful, and all Christians in Christmas.

His Holiness then presided over Christmas procession in the Church.

After the Qurobo, His Holiness received Christmas greetings from the faithful, as well as from various political figures, in the Patriarchate Headquarters.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided the Holy Qurobo for Christmas Eve in St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma – Damascus. His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, celebrated the Holy Qurobo.

During the Qurobo, His Eminence read the Christmas Message of His Holiness. Then, Christmas procession was performed.

At the end of the Qurobo, His Holiness blessed the faithful and wished them a Merry Christmas.

After the Qurobo, St. Ephrem Patriarchal Scouts played Christmas music in the yard of the Patriarchate headquarters.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the plenary sessions during the conference: “2017 – Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue”, Held in Baku – Azerbaijan.

In the first session, His Holiness delivered a speech in which he brought to memory that our Syriac Orthodox Church was present in Azerbaijan for many centuries. He then talked about the Christian role in promoting co-existence. His Holiness stressed the fact that every human being should be respected regardless of religion and race, and that freedom of religion should be guaranteed for all human beings. He added that the principle of equal citizenship should be upheld in our society. He then emphasized the importance of knowing one another which is paramount in ensuring peaceful co-existence, and that dialogue on different levels is greatly needed to build trust among people of different faiths.

On another level, His Holiness expressed disturbance by the declaration of the president of the United States of America concerning the city of Jerusalem. Finally, He appealed to all to help the secure immediate release of the two abducted archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim.

Several speeches were delivered during the sessions which were concluded with an appeal for dialogue between religions.

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the opening ceremony of the conference: “2017 Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue” in Baku – Azerbaijan.
His Excellency President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev, His Beatitude Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al Rai, as well as representatives of various countries, churches and religions, in addition to political and public figures, also attended the ceremony.
His Excellency President of Azerbaijan Republic conveyed the opening speech in which he talked about the importance of Islamic solidarity, as well as interreligous and intercultural dialogue.
Speeches from several country presidents and some church heads were then read.
The conference is supposed to have two plenary sessions, in which His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem II will give a speech.
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