Eglise Syriaque Orthodoxe

Communiqué du Synode, 30.5.2014

A statement by the Universal Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch held at St. Aphrem the Syrian Monastery – Maarat Saydnaya , Damascus – Syria  *

Following the enthronement of His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II as patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Throne of Antioch and Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, and under his presidency, the prelates of the Church held a holy universal synod in Maarat Saydnaya on 30/5/2014. This Holy Synod was attended by His beatitude Mor Baselius Thomas I, Catholicose of India, and by the majority of metropolitans of the holy apostolic Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch. This Holy Synod is marked to be the first to be convened by His Holiness Aphrem II.

The meeting started with prayers and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, His Holiness inaugurated the sessions of the Holy Synod. He thanked God for the gift of electing him to be the father of all the Syrians all over the world. Moreover, he asked for divine assistance to undertake and continue the pilgrimage of his great predecessors who led the Church with wisdom and the fear of the Lord. The prelates of the Church, in turn, assured their obedience to the head of the Church; they also expressed their complete readiness to assist His Holiness for the good of the Holy Church and for the salvation of the souls.

His Holiness gave an overview of his plans for the future of the church emphasizing the urgency of the relief efforts for our people in Syria. He also highlighted the need to reorganize the patriarchal office with specialized departments in order to be able to serve the faithful more efficiently. In addition to the challenges that the Church and its parishioners are facing, not only in the Middle East but also in the Diaspora, His Holiness insisted that we ought to fulfill many and various duties and obligations. His Holiness mentioned the characteristic relations between Antioch and India, the Pearl in the crown of the Antiochian See. Praising the unique role of His Beatitude in keeping the faith and complete loyalty to the mother Church of Antioch and its Supreme Head, His Holiness listened to the opinions, suggestions and expectations of the Synod’s prelates.

The fathers of the Synod thanked the Divine Providence that allowed this historic Universal Synod to be held in Damascus, the capital of Syria and the only headquarter of the Holy Apostolic See of Antioch. They thanked the efforts and the cooperation of the Syrian Government which contributed to the success of the installation ceremony and the fulfillment of the fathers’ wish to have the Holy Synod convened in our beloved country Syria. On this occasion, also, the fathers of the Holy Synod telegraphed His Excellency Dr. Bashar Al-Assad, the President of the Syrian Arab Republic, and thanked him for his love and care for the Syriac people and his support for their active presence in Syria. Asking the Lord to make His peace prevail in Syria, they also raised prayers for the souls of the Syrian martyrs.

Then, the fathers discussed the following matters:

1.The case of the absence of H. E. Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and its environs, and H. E. Paul Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and Alexandretta. His Holiness assured that he, with the collaboration of H. B. John X and all the true friends will spare no time or effort to follow the case in order to hasten the two Archbishops’ release. He asked the faithful to multiply the prayers for their safe return.

2.The necessity for commemorating the first centennial of the Syrian Genocide (Sayfo 1915), in which the number of martyrs was approximately half a million. The Synod decided to form a committee to prepare for this painful remembrance.

3.The importance of teaching and spreading the Syriac language which our Lord Jesus Christ sanctified and the revival of the profound Syriac Heritage. Hence, the prelates requested the Syrian people to uphold the land of the fathers and forefathers and avoid leaving their homeland referring to the implicated danger of migration on the Syriac people. They also renounced the migration and the uprooting of our people from their countries of origin in the Middle East.

4.Ecumenically, His Holiness assured that he will continue the more vibrant ecumenical collaboration with other Christian Denominations to achieve Christian Unity fulfilling Christ’s wish that we all may be one. As for the Islamic – Christian relations, the fathers of the Synod insisted on the necessity of living together and accepting one another, which is the essence of all true heavenly teachings.

At the end, the fathers of the Holy Synod offered prayers for the sake of the Church and its faithful. They prayed also for the soul of the Late Lamented Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. They asked the Lord to spread His peace and tranquility in the world. His Holiness the Patriarch blessed the members of the Holy Synod and asked them to convey his apostolic benedictions and love to the Syrians all over the world.

End of statement.


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© Farés Melki 2013