His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem-II issued a statement regarding republishing of caricatures in "Charlie Hebdo": "Freedom of expression does not allow hurting the feelings of others"







Patriarch's Note to Mor Gregorios Yuhanna Ibrahim


My Dear Brother Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Yuhanna Ibrahim

Happy St. John's Day

I have never thought that I would celebrate the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, which you annually observe as your personal patron feast day, without personally offering you my greetings and congratulations. Likewise, I have never thought that I would visit your beloved archdiocese of Aleppo without seeing you moving constantly around your offices and working non-stop helping your parishioners and non-parishioners alike.

My visit to Aleppo to celebrate Christmas confirmed to me what I have always known; the love of your entire archdiocese and the longing to have you with them at the earliest. They continue to shed their tears and offer their prayers for your immediate release together with your brother Metropolitan Paul Yaziji and other abductees.

My dear brother, together with all your friends, I remain hopeful that you will come back to us soon, because we know that you are in God's care and under His divine protection. I assure you that we are doing and will do all that we can to secure your release. Your release is our priority and the cause of the whole church and the entire peace-loving people throughout the world.

Tomorrow, as we celebrate the Holy Qurobo (Divine Liturgy) in observance of the feast of your personal patron saint, St. John the Baptist, we will pray for you that you may be among us soon. We also ask you to remember me and the entire church during your prayers in your captivity. Once again, happy St. John's Feast. See you soon.

Yours truly

Ignatius Aphrem II



Apostolic Blessings to the Church in India on the occasion of Christmas




Page 2....





Christmas Message from His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II





Letter of Holy Father to His Excellency Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of United Nations on the crime against humility in Mosul, Iraq




Page 2....


Letter of Holy Father on the crime against humility in Mosul, Iraq


Dear Ms. Pillay,

I am writing concerning the current situation in Iraq and the Middle East, especially the incidences that have been taking place since Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took control of a dear region of Iraq which is the cradle of humanity and the birthplace of our civilization. 

First of all, I would like to thank your excellency for the press release, issued on 25 July 2014, mentioning the grave human rights violations committed by ISIS against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq.

ISIS systematically forced Christians, Shia, Shabaks, Turkmen, Yazidis and other religious minorities out of the city of Mosul, labelling them with racist signs and symbols, humiliating and luting them. The last Christians have left Mosul after ISIS gave them a choice between conversion to Islam, ruinous taxation, exile, or death. Many have since fled their homes, and for the first time since nearly 2,000 years there is no longer a Christian population in Mosul, the city that used to be the largest Christian city in Iraq and was considered the nucleus of Christian presence for many centuries. 

Today, widespread violence and aggression against Christians and minority groups in both Iraq and Syria is intensifying; ISIS is threatening similar Christian and Muslim communities in different parts of Syria, especially in the east and north-east of Syria, yet the response to this threat by the international community has been totally inadequate and unacceptable. 

The forced displacement and continuous threat that religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are facing, the taking over of our churches, the destruction of our sacred shrines, and the stealing of the properties and of the future of our people is all against the heavenly and human laws. We believe these actions constitute a flagrant violation of fundamental freedoms and human rights as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights instruments. We insist that what has been inflicted on our people in Mosul is mass cleansing against religious and ethnic minorities, which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, that require punishment. 

As the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, we, therefore, call on the international community to stand together against those who continue to supply weapons and finance ISIS and similar organizations. 

We urge the United Nations to take responsibility in protecting the lives and dignity of the persecuted and displaced minorities in Iraq and other parts of the regions where extremist religious groups inflict daily horror on peaceful population. 

The displaced people of Mosul took refuge in the Kurdistan region and nearby Christian villages. They are still in dire need of humanitarian assistance and protection. As two UN human rights experts stated on Friday, if protection measures are not taken urgently the impact could be devastating and irreversible.
Having full confidence in the work of the United Nations for the respect, protection and promotion of human rights around the world, we urge you, your Excellency, to use your good offices to ensure the protection of the human rights of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, and the protection of their rights to remain in their land and live with dignity.

We expect the High Commissioner to ask the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief, the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons undertake an emergency visit to afflicted communities and to write a report in order to present it to the upcoming 27th session of the Human Right Council. Furthermore, we request to designate an annual day or a panel discussion on the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities by ISIS and affiliated groups during the up-coming Human Rights Council. 

The heads of churches in the Middle East are planning to convene an urgent meeting to discuss and take decisions for joint action regarding what is happening to the Christians of the Middle East. We will form a high level delegation to carry this issue to the United Nations and other international fora, and we are looking forward for this delegation to meet with you in Geneva before the upcoming Human Rights Council session. 

We expect you to be involved with us during this crisis and to follow up and give moral support and technical assistance throughout this crisis.


Source:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=657895947639086&id=100606280034725




  Patriarchal Bull from the Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II to pray for Iraq on August 3rd, 2014 in all the Syriac Orthodox churches all over the world.

19-July-2014   H.H. Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II Condemns the Killing and Displacement of Christians and Burning of Churches in Mosul

A Statement Issued by the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East Patriarchal Residence Atchaneh, Bikfaya, Lebanon July 19, 2014

The pace of the threats in Northern Iraq has escalated recently and the attacks and killing of Christians and others in Mosul have increased. Some terrorists called upon them publicly to leave their homes in the city of Mosul and get out of the city. The seizing of the properties and confiscation of houses have not stopped since the beginning of this campaign against them. ISIS gave Christians of Mosul a a deadline to leave the city because their leaders refused to accept the unreasonable demands and unacceptable conditions which could be summarized by forcing the Christians to renounce their faith or pay jizia tax in order to keep their lives.

We strongly condemn these terrorist acts directed against our Christian people, clergy and laymen. We reject the burning of churches and their complete destruction. We demand immediate action to stop these assaults and threats. Moreover, we appeal to the international community, organizations and all people of goodwill to work together to put an end to these devastating acts in Iraq in particular and in the Middle East in general. We demand to stop the financing of extremist groups which spread the spirit of horror among the citizens and aim at dividing the Iraqi people who has a long history of common living and working together. We recommend our spiritual children to deal wisely with the recent developments and be in solidarity with one another. We advise them to cling to the land of our forefathers until a way out of this ordeal is found.

We pray for peace and security to prevail in the region. We also pray that the suffering of all people of Iraq will end so that they may live in peace and with dignity.

Source: http://syrian-orthodox.com/readnews.php?id=1827

Arabic: ==> http://syrian-orthodox.com/readnews.php?id=1826