Patriarchate News

On June 10, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended the ceremony of the legal oath of His Excellency Nechirvan Barzani as President of Iraqi Kurdistan.

He was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali.

Their Beatitudes Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, and Cardinal Mar Louis Rafael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, also attended the ceremony.

After the oath, His Excellency delivered a speech in which he promised to work hard to keep peace and security in the region, and to ensure equality and protection to all components of the region. He also spoke about his agenda with regards to developing the region.

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On June 9, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at Um Al-Nour (Mother of Light) Church in Erbil – Iraq.
 
He was assisted by Their Eminences Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, and Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, in the presence of the clergy and a crowd of the faithful.
 
In his sermon, His Holiness recalled his visit to Iraq, four years ago, like these days, to stand by the side of his spiritual who were obliged to flee Mosul and Nineveh plains leaving their houses and work and seeking shelter from persecution in Erbil and other places. His Holiness considered that the persecuted Christians in the Middle East remind us of the early Church, especially the times of the disciples, who were afraid and worried after the ascension of the Lord; however, His Holiness added, when they received the Holy Spirit, they went out and spread the Good News. Nowadays also, the Holy Spirit casts out all our fears. His Holiness also spoke about the aim of his visit, that is taking part in the ceremony of the legal oath of His Excellency Nechirvan Barzani as President of Iraqi Kurdistan.
 

On June 9, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II arrived at Erbil International Airport in Iraq, to take part in the ceremony of the legal oath of His Excellency Nechirvan Barzani as President of Iraqi Kurdistan.
 
He is accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.
 
His Holiness was received at the airport by Their Eminences Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, and Mor Timotheos Moussa Al-Shamani, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mor Mattai Monastery, as well as representatives of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan their Excellencies: Mr. Karim Sinjari, Minister for the Interior, and Mr. Pishtiwan Sadiq, Minister of Education.
 

On June 5, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II signed a contract for buying a land and property in Nyköping in order to establish a monastery for Syriac monks in Sweden.
 

On June 2, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, received His Holiness Irinej, Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch, at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Bab Touma – Damascus.

His Holiness received the Serbian Patriarch, along with His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, at the main entrance of St. Georges Patriarchal Cathedral, where the choir of St. Aphrem Patriarchal Scouts played music.

Their Holinesses and Beatitudes then entered the Cathedral in a procession with their Eminences and Graces the Archbishops, as well as the clergy.

In the Cathedral, Sutoro prayer was held.

At the end, His Holiness gave an address in which he welcomed his esteemed guest. He said “We welcome you on behalf of the faithful of our Antiochian Syriac Church, who kept the Christian faith despite the continuous hardships and persecutions, ever since they became Christians by the preaching of Sts. Peter and Paul, and till our days. And they witness to the Lord Jesus Christ by their deeds and by their blood; our church truly became the ‘mother of martyrs’”.

He added “we welcome you, on behalf of the citizens of this dear country Syria, who are still suffering the oppression of great powers and countries which helped terrorist groups… This reminds us of what you endured in your dear country in the nineties of the last century”.

His Holiness recalled the visit of the Serbian Patriarch to our Church in Sweden where he had the chance to meet with the faithful there. His Holiness added “those faithful long for the day on which we partake of the same one Eucharistic chalice, after the theologians of both churches agreed that we confess the same belief in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word”.

At the conclusion of his address, His Holiness presented to His Holiness Serbian Patriarch an Icon of the Virgin Mary carrying the Divine Child, as a token of mutual respect between both Churches.

In his address, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej thanked His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem for his overwhelming reception; he said “What unites us is love and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; we are one Church, although, sorrowfully, the historical circumstances had divided us”. His Holiness called for intensified efforts to reach the desired unity among the churches through “dialogue and agreements about all matters of faith and dogma”, something which the both “the Syriac Church and the Serbian Church yearn for”. He added that the Church needs unity “especially in these difficult times; our strength is in our unity, and our unity is not only in words but in serious action towards full unity in all spheres.”

His Holiness prayed for the Syrian people “who are suffering because of this tough war”; “We are following everything that is going on in Syria,” he said. Speaking about emigration and leaving houses and churches, His Holiness compared the situation in Syria and Serbia, “History repeats itself,” he said; “What Syria is suffering today, we have suffered in Serbia after the Second World War, where we lost more than a million people in addition to the destruction of churches and homes… History also repeats itself today unfortunately in Kosovo.” “However,” added Patriarch Irinej, “we have faith in the Lord who sees our suffering and will finally give victory to the truth”.

His Holiness Patriarch Irinej presented then to His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem an icon of the patron saint of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Afterwards, Their Holiness and Beatitudes put flowers at the memorial of the Syriac Martyrs of the Syriac Genocide Sayfo; they also lit the flame of peace. Then, they entered the Patriarchal Hall where they received the faithful.

Their Eminences Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Gregorios Saliba Chamoun, Patriarchal Counselor, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education, as well as the Very Rev. and Rev. Frs., monks, and deacons of the Patriarchate and of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary, participated in the reception.

His Excellency Mr. Milan Vijatovic, Charge d’Affaires of the Serbian Embassy in Damascus, and Dr. Thuraya Bachaalani, Acting General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), were also present.

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On June 2, 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, Mor Gregorios Saliba Chamoun, Patriarchal Counselor, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education.
 
During the Qurobo, His Eminence Mor Gregorios Saliba Chamoun delivered a sermon in which he spoke about the virtues of Christian life. He considered that an individual to be real Christian, he should abide by the Lord and keep His words and commandments.
 
On the occasion of the golden jubilee of His Eminence’s Episcopacy, His Holiness honored him and presented to him a Holy Cross as a token of appreciation to his long years of service, and wished him long healthy life.
 

On June 1st, 2019, upon the invitation of His Beatitude John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem Il, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, attended the official reception of His Holiness Irinej, Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch, at the Mariamite Cathedral in Damascus.

His Beatitude Joseph Absi, Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, as well as their Eminences, Graces and Excellencies Archbishops and representatives of the Christian Churches, in addition to clergy, officials, and faithful, attended the reception.

His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II was accompanied by their Eminences Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, and Deacon Imad Syryany.

Prayer was raised in the Cathedral; then His Beatitude Patriarch John and His Holiness Patriarch Irinej delivered addresses in the occasion.

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On May 26, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II consecrated St. George Syrian Simhasana Church in Pampra – India.
 
His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Dioscoros Kuriakose, Metropolitan of the Simahasana Churches in the North of Kerala and Abbot of Malecuriz Dayro and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education, in the presence of their Eminences Archbishops Members of the Patriarchal Delegation and of the Regional Synod in India.
 
At the end of the rite of the Consecration, His Holiness addressed the faithful saying: “My last word to you beloved children in the Lord [during this visit] is to pray and do not stop praying for the church, the spiritual fathers of the church, and every faithful, and for peace in our Church here in Malankara, that everyone may be able to worship freely, to declare his/her allegiance and loyalty to the Holy Throne, and that God may bring back peace and tranquility in our community here in Kerala”.
 

On May 26, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met with His Excellency Mr. Oommen Chandy, Previous Chief Minister of Kerala. They spoke together about the third Apostolic visit of His Holiness to India.
 

On May 26, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo at St. Georges Church in Malecuriz Dayro in Puthencruz, India.
 
He was assisted by their Eminences: Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, 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 the presence of their Eminences Archbishops members of the Regional Synod in India, as well as the Very Rev. and Rev. fathers, nuns, deacons, and a large crowd of the faithful of our Church.
 
During the Qurobo, His Holiness decorated Rev. Fr. Markose, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, with the Holy Pectoral Cross in appreciation of his service to the Church.
 
At the end of the Qurobo, His Holiness addressed the faithful making it clear to all once again that “we will never abandon our people here in Malankara”. He added “We affirm our commitment to have peace and reconciliation between both factions of the Church as much as we can, and we will try to do that. But in case that doesn’t work, then you are going to be taken care of by your spiritual father and by the entire Church, because you are very dear to our heart and you are blessed members of the Church.”
 
His Holiness assured that the door for peace is still open, and will remain open, until an agreement that takes care of everyone and preserves the dignity of everyone, and the rights to have free worship and free conscience to be loyal to the Holy See that they want to be. However, His Holiness remarked “a time will come when that peace does not happen, when we see more grabbing of our Churches by force, when we see injustice done to our people, then a time will come when we’ll say enough is enough! We have to take care of our own and we have to strengthen our Church here”.
 
“The ordinary people, the young, the old, all of you, and from both sides” His Holiness illustrated “deserve to have peace of mind, peaceful worship, and peaceful places where you can go and worship God, deserve to have dignity for your beloved departed ones when the time comes for them to be buried.” He assured that “it is the responsibility of the leadership of both groups to come together, to sit, discuss, dialogue, and find the peaceful way of doing this”.
 
His Holiness emphasized that “as the spiritual father and patriarch of both factions, we want all of you to be in peace, to live together in harmony, and be able to worship in the Churches that your forefathers have built, and we want the entire Church, both factions to be in peace here in Kerala as a witness to the others, because when we are divided, we cannot witness to our faith and to the Lord. This is our wish, and this is our desire as the spiritual father for all”.
 
He restated that “while we respect the law and the courts of this country, we repeat again, the court may solve legal issues – issues about property, but they cannot solve the problem that we have in the Church here, what we need for this problem to be solved is faith and prayer from everyone: prayer is the best means for us to bring about peace and reconciliation”.
 
At the end, His Holiness blessed all the faithful who were present.