Ignatius Aphrem II to be Enthroned at the Mar Ephrem monastery in Ma`arat Sayyidnaya on 29th May

Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, patriarch-elect
 of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
Beirut , April 1, 2014: The Patriarch-elect of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Anthioch, Metropolitan Mar Cyril Aphrem Karim, will be enthroned at the Mar Ephrem monastery in Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus in Syria, on 29th May 2014, the day of the Ascension of Jesus Christ. He will be known as Ignatius Aphrem II Karim upon his installation.

He was selected on Monday, March 31, 2014 by the Synod of the Bishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch at the patriarchate headquarters St. Jacob's St. Jacob Baradeus monastery in the village of Atchaneh (al-Atshana or Atshaneh) northeast of the capital Beirut in Lebanon as the 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, succeeding the late Zakka I Iwas.

Aphrem Karim was born in Qamishli city , the capital of a northeastern Syrian province Hasaka, wedged between the borders of Turkey and Iraq, in 1965.

He was the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vcar of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States of America, and before that he was the secretary of late Patriarch Iwas. Patriarch Iwas passed away on March 21st in a medical center in Germany at the age of 80 and was interred in Mar Aphrem Monetary in Sednaya, Damascus Countryside.

Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim 's official title will be the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. It was not clear if Karim will be based in Syria or in Lebanon as patriarch.The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch had been residing in Lebanon since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.

The Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East is one of seven autocephalous churches under the Oriental Orthodox Church. The Syriac Church is one of the first Christian communities established by the Apostle Saint Peter. It uses Syriac as its official and liturgical language.

There are more than 1.7 million members, living in Syria, Lebanon Iraq and India although there are also significant communities in Germany, Sweden and in the United States, where immigrants from the Near East (Western Asia) introduced the faith in the late 19th century.

It belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches with the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East (the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church) since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.

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Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II of the East Conveys Prayerful Wishes to the Syriac Orthodox Church

Devalogam, April 4, 2014: Greetings Letter and wishes send to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate from the desk of His Holiness Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II of Syriac Orthodox Catholicos of the East, Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church of the East prior to the election of Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem Karim II of Antioch and All East.

The full text of the message is below:
March 31, 2014
His Eminence Metropolitan Theophilus George Saliba
Secretary of the Holy Synod
Syrian Orthodox Archbishopric
Bouschrieh, Fardous St.
P.O. Box 90420
Beirut, Lebanon.

Your Eminence,

At this time of great bereavement to the whole Church, we pray to God Almighty for divine consolation and guidance. We also send our fraternal greetings and love in Christ to all the Members of the Holy Synod, the Clergy and the people of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

We trust that Your Eminence has duly received the message of condolences that we sent to you on hearing the sad news of the demise of His Holiness Zakka Iwas I. We have had commemorative prayers in all our parish churches and Centers for His Holiness Patriarch Zakka of blessed memory.

As you are now in the process of electing a new Patriarch, we sincerely pray that the Holy Spirit of God may guide all the Synod Fathers to elect the right candidate worthy of the Apostolic throne of Antioch.

We hope in Christ, the Prince of Peace, that the newly elected Patriarch together with the whole Church of Antioch may do all that is possible to heal the wound of division in our Malankara Church, as well as help bring peace to all regions in conflict and war.

We pray together with whole Church of Malankara for the smooth process of election of a God -appointed Patriarch.

We would be very grateful if Your Eminence communicates this message of greetings and prayers to His Eminence the Kaimakham and all the distinguished Members of the Holy Synod.

With Prayers
Baselios Marthoma Paulose II

Read the PDF Letter Here

OCP News Service


President al-Assad affirms to Patriarch Karim the Patriarchate’s vital role in promoting fraternity

President Bashar Al-Assad received Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Karim

Damascus, April 02, 2014 (SANA): Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Patriarch Elect Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and the accompanying Patriarchate delegation.

President al-Assad congratulated Karim for being elected Patriarch, wishing him luck in his new post and affirming the Patriarchate’s vital role in spreading the culture of love and fraternity in the face of the threat posed by exclusionist takfiri mentality affecting the region and the world.

For his part, Patriarch Karim hoped that security and peace will prevail in Syria whose people are a shining example of national unity, asserting that the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate supports the Syrian people’s struggle against terrorism and their right to self-determination away from interference and dictation from any foreign side.

Karim was elected Patriarch on Monday at al-Atshaneh in Lebanon. He was born in al-Qamishli city in Hasaka province, Syria, in 1965, and served as archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States of America.

H. Sabbagh
Source: SANA

Additional sources for this story

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Patriarch Elect Mar Ignatius Ifram II Karim of Antioch: All Syrians are determined to remain steadfast in the homeland

Photo: SANA

Damascus: Mar Girgis Cathedral for Syriac Orthodox in Bab Touma neighborhood in Damascus held a reception on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, on the occasion of the arrival of Mar Ignatius Ifram II Karim, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Supreme Leader of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch in the World.
Patriarch Karim was elected as the 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East, succeeding the late Zakka I Iwas.
He stressed that the followers of the Syriac Church are determined to remain steadfast in the homeland and defend it with all their capacities.
“I have come today after I was chosen to be patriarch to announce my love for Syria and its sons … I have come to be with you..to be patriarch elected in Damascus as if I entered Antioch… Damascus is just like Antioch for us,” he added.
For his part,Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for Melkite Greek Gregory III Laham stressed he will work with Patriarch Karim and all other patriarchs of Christian churches in Syria to make the church of Damascus one apostolic community that expresses Syria’s richness and diversity.
Earlier, Patriarch Karim arrived in Jdaidet Yabous crossing point on the Syrian-Lebanese borders where was received by a number of bishops.
The Patriarch expressed happiness to return to Damascus, the capital of Syria and the Syriac Church in the world.
"As for us, Damascus is the Antioch which was the capital of Syria at the Roman days," the Patriarch said.
He added Syria, which was prosperous almost in all fields, confronts those who try to destroy it.
Karim greeted all the Syrians, Muslims and Christians, affirming the need for cooperation among each other to rebuild the Syrians who believe in coexistence and tolerance, praying to God to restore security and stability to Syria .

Source: Syrian TV

Additional sources for this story
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)

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Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim

The Patriarch-elect Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim

The Bishops Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Anthioch met and elected Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, as Patriarch-elect. He will be known as Ignatius Aphrem II Karim upon his installation and will be the 123rd Patriarch of Antioch.

Born in Kamishly, Syria on May 3, 1965, the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Issa Karim, His Eminence Metropolitan Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim lost his father at an early age and was raised ,with the rest of his family, by his late and loving mother Khanema. He entered St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Atchaneh, Lebanon in 1977, following his primary schooling in Kamishly. In 1982, His Eminence served the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, Syria, for the next two years. From 1984 to 1988, Archbishop Karim pursued higher studies at the Coptic Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt, graduating with a Bachelor Degree of Divinity.

In 1985, Metropolitan Karim took the vows of a monk, and put himself in the service of the Church. He was ordained to the diaconate in Egypt, and later the same year, to the sacred priesthood in Kamishly. From 1988 to 1989, Mor Cyril served as both, the secretary of His Holiness, Moran Mor Zakka I Iwas, Syrian Orhtodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and as a teacher at St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Damascus, Syria. In 1991, His Eminence entered St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland, where he received a License of Sacred Theology Degree, in 1992, and his Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1994, following a defense of his doctoral thesis on The Symbolism of the cross in early Syriac Christianity.

On Sunday, January 28, 1996, His Eminence was consecrated as Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar to the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern United States, by His Holiness Patriarch Zakka I Iwas, at St. Mary ‘s Syriac Orthodox Church in Kamishly. Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim arrived in The United States on March 2, 1996, and was officially installed to his position at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Teaneck, New Jersey.

In addition to his many talents, Archbishop Karim is fluent in both Classical and Vernacular (Touroyo) as well as in Arabic, French, and English.

During his years as hierarch of the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern United States, His Eminence, Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim has overseen the establishment of several new parishes:

St, Aphraim’s Church (Washington D.C.)
The Mother of God of the Zunoro Church (Jacksonville, Florida)
St. Jacob of Urhoy’s Church (Orlando, Florida)
St. Stephen’s Church (Miami, Florida)
St. John’s Church (Atlanta, Georgia)
St. Helen’s Church (Indianapolis, Indiana)
St. Barsawmo’s Church (Wyckoff, New Jersey)
St. John Bar Aphtonia’s Church (Cranbury, New Jersey)
St. George’s Church (Brooklyn, New York )
St. James of Nisibin’s Church (Corpus Christi, Texas)
St. Philoxenus of Mabug’s Church (Roanoke, Virginia)

Thanks to Almighty God and to His Eminence’s fatherly and tireless leadership, the Archdiocese now directs twenty parishes. Throughout the years, Mor Cyril has visited, on a regular basis, all the parishes, and formed a new Archdiocese Advisory Council to assist with the administration of the Archdiocese and its various programs; working closely with the parish boards and clergy to see that the spiritual and church needs of the faithful are fulfilled.

His Eminence had a special concern for the youth of the Archdiocese; in his first year as an Archbishop, he established the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocesan Youth Organization (SOAYO), which coordinates the ministry of all youth organizations of the parishes of the Archdiocese. His commitment to them was shown right from the start, when he immediately held a number of youth gatherings and conferences, as well as being instrumental in establishing an Archdiocesan Scholarship Program to benefit the students. His Eminence shared the youth with the Church’s deep concern for them, and fielded many questions related to faith and other specific concerns they had. He encouraged them to do their best to work together as one family for the growth and advancement of the Holy Church. Mor Cyril, likewise, helped organize Annual Youth Retreats throughout the Archdiocese, for both younger and older youth. He was also responsible for the creation of a special Monthly Youth Liturgy, to bring the young people of the various parishes in the New Jersey/New York area, to give them a chance to participate fully in the Eucharistic Celebration. Consequently, His Eminence called for the establishment of the Archdiocesan Choral Society, comprised of musically talented children from different parishes of the Archdiocese. This group performed in several concerts and produced two Hymnal recordings; one for Christmas and the other for Maundy Thursday Service.

The Syriac Orthodox Scouts of America is another organization of the youth that is dear to His Eminence’s heart, and he does his best to attend all their activities and he always appeals to our people to encourage them.

Likewise, His Eminence showed his great concern to the adult members in our community. Under his guidance and leadership, a Pre-marital Counseling Program has been created in the parishes of the Archdiocese, to help young people prepare for their Christian married life. This includes an opportunity for them to meet with His Eminence and local clergy, to discuss matters of common concerns, that help assure lasting and successful marriages.

Mor Cyril also realized how important is to respect and honor the elderly. In this regard, he established an Annual Elderly Liturgy Service, that brings together the elderly members of local parishes to share in the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and to spend a special time of recognition and appreciation.

In the field of education, Archbishop Karim blessed and encouraged the establishment of the Archdiocesan Sunday School Committee; a body of Sunday School principals and teachers, who had been working together with His Eminence and local clergy, in the creation of a Unified Sunday School Program for the parishes. As a result of the Committee’s outstanding efforts, a series of unified lesson plans and materials have been prepared, and have proven invaluable in helping to introduce students to the Orthodox faith and traditions of the Holy Church.

Moreover, His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, has been responsible for the publication of a series of books and articles related to the Church:

Essays on Syriac Theology and Spirituality. This series included English translations of various articles written by His Holiness, the Patriarch, as well as articles contributed by local clergy.
New Liturgical Books, to help the people follow and more actively participate in the Holy Liturgy.
The Church’s Morning and Evening Prayers for the use and convenience of the faithful.
The Book of the Order for the Burial of the Clergy, the last of the series of liturgical texts produced under the editorship of the late Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel of blessed memory. The volume was published as a special memorial to the remembrance of the late beloved Archbishop.
The Shorter Catechism of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch (1999) by the late Patriarch Ephrem I Barsom.
The Book of Scripture Readings for Sundays and Feasts Day (2000), originally published by the late Mor Philoxenus Yuhanon Dolabani of Mardin.
The Symbols of the Cross in the Writings of the Early Syriac Fathers, authored by His Eminence and published by Gorgias Press in (2004).

Mor Cyril encouraged the American Foundation for Syriac Studies to publish several issues of a quarterly entitled “Syriac Studies”, and helped in co-sponsoring a series of public lectures by outstanding scholars on Syriac Theology, culture, history, and literature.

Over the past decade, Archbishop Karim has also established himself as an ecumenist, very much concerned about Christian Unity. He has served on both, the Executive and Central Committees of the World Council of Churches, attending the 1991 Canberra, Australia WCC General Assembly, the 1998 WCC General Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe and the 2006 Assembly of Porto Alegre, Brazil, as a member of the Syriac Orthodox delegation. Moreover, he has been an active member of the Executive and Governing Boards of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and he also serves as a Vice- Chairman of the Standing Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in America. In recent years, His Eminence has been instrumental in the establishment of a new and promising ecumenical body, Christian Churches Together in the USA, of which the Syriac Orthodox Church is a founding member. In all his ecumenical activities, Archbishop Karim has most capably represented the Holy Church and has won the admiration and respect of his colleagues and confreres.

Among the most important accomplishments of His Eminence, over the recent years, was the purchase of two very valuable properties in New Jersey:

The Beth Antioch property in Wantage, which is a large piece of land, with many options, in
cluding building units or malls, whose revenues will help support all future plans and programs of the Archdiocese.
The New Archdiocese Center on Midland Avenue, Paramus, which will fulfill many dreams and plans the Archdiocese needs to serve the Community appropriately: Church, clergy center, Syriac School, youth center, library, elderly facilities, spiritual retreats center and a hostel to receive out-of-town Suryoye. This center will hopefully become a reality in the near future, to help preserve the Orthodox faith and spiritual and social heritage of our Church for the years to come.

Source: Syrian Orthodox Church

The official announcement about the newly elected Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II

Patriarch Elect Ignatius Aphrem II Karim
The official announcement about the newly elected Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II by the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Declaration Issued Following the Election of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II

Declaration Issued Following the Election of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church

On Monday 31 March 2014, the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church convened in St. Jacob Baradeus Monastery in Atchaneh – Lebanon presided by His Beatitude Mor Baselius Thomas I Catholicose of India and His Eminence Mor Severius Hawa Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra and Patriarchal Locum Tenens with the presence of all the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch to elect a new patriarch upon the passing away of the Thrice blessed Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas.

After all preparations and procedures to elect the new patriarch in conformity with the constitution of the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Catholicose and the Bishops voted each in turn. The majority of the votes were to His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, Archbishop of Eastern United States of America who received the name Mor Ignatius Aphrem II. The new patriarch blessed the members of the Synod and clergy along with the entire the world.

He prayed the almighty to preserve the church and the faithful. He prayed for the Middle East region to have peace especially in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and the rest of the world. He stated that he will work for the sake of the church and strengthen the faith cooperating with the Holy Synod, heads of sister churches, ecumenical movement, Christian unity and the victory of good over evil.
He concluded with granting the apostolic benediction to all.

Severius Hawa Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra Patriarchal Locum Tenens
Theophilus George Saliba Archbishop of Mount Lebanon General Secretary of the Holy Synod

Source: Syrian Srthodox Church

Results of the Patriarchal Election of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch
The majority of the votes were to His Eminence Mar Cyril Aphrem Karim.
The votes received are as follows:
  1. Mar Cyril Aphrem Karim, Patriarchal-Vicariate of Eastern USA- 23 votes
  2. Mar Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Patriarchal-Vicariate of Western USA - 13 votes
  3. Mar Yostinos Boulos Safar (Mar Justinos Paulos Yousef Safar), Patriarchal-Vicariate of Zahle and Bekaa, Lebanon.-4 votes
  4. Mar Severios Malke Mourad, Patriarchal-Vicariate of Jerusalem and Jordan - 1 votes
  • Total=41 votes

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