Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II invited the Patriarchs of Antioch to participate in an ecumenical meeting held on Saturday, June 13, at the end of the Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church celebrated in Maarrat Saidnaya, a village thirty kilometers from Damascus. Three other Patriarchs also participated: Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Yohanna X, the Greek-Catholic Patriarch Grègoire III and the Syrian-Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssef III. All the guests were welcomed at the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, and took part in an ecumenical prayer and a meeting to discuss the need to face together the emergency experienced by Christian communities in the Middle East.

In particular, the Patriarchs and Bishops prayed for peace in Syria, for the release of the two Bishops of Aleppo – the Syrian Orthodox Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and the Greek-Orthodox Boulos Yazigi – kidnapped in April 2013, and to ask the Lord "for the Churches of Antioch to live together for a common witness to Christ in this region".
On Saturday evening, June 13, the four Patriarchs, together with Bishops and representatives of other Churches, took part in a joint commemoration of the centenary of the "Assyrian Genocide", after a hundred years since the systematic massacres of Christian Syrians, Assyrians and Chaldeans carried out in Anatolia at the instigation of the Young Turk government. The ecumenical commemoration took place with the inauguration of a monument near the Syrian Orthodox monastery of St. Ephrem, dedicated to St. Ephrem, in Maarrat Saidnaya. Last April, in Damascus, close to the district of Bab Tuma, also the Syrian government had entitled a garden to "Syrian martyrs", in honor of the victims of mass eradication programs implemented in Turkish territory in 1915.


Source: Fides News