HH Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II

What made this experience extremely special is the fact that I was watching in the company of my father V. Rev. Fr Boutros Touma Issa (an archpriest at the Syriac Orthodox Church) who served our brethren from India, in Jordan, and in Australia, and can relate to the personalities that were seen in the events that HH attended in India, such as His Beatitude Catholicos Mor Baselius Thomas I, (Mapheryono of India) H.E. Mor Gregorios Kuriakose—whom he met while in Jordan—Mor Gregorius Joseph, Mor Titus Yeldo, Mor Ostethaows Isaac, Mor Ireneus Paulose, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Mor Aphrem Mathews, Mor Theophilos Kuriakose, H.E. Mor Militos Youhanon, H.E.  Mor Athanasios Geevarghese, H.E. Mor Coriolis Geevarghese, H.E. Mor Severus Kuriakose, and H.E. Mor Stephanos Georges, whom we came to know in Australia or through the WCC assemblies.   

V. Rev. Fr. Issa fully understands the history of our beloved Syriac Orthodox Church, and specifically the history of our relationship with India, as told by the HH Moran Mor Ignatius Yacoub III (1980+) who served as a monk in India for 13 years and wrote books on the history of the church in India in different languages, including Malayalam.

Colorful atmosphere

As HH Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II toured Karnataka going to and touring Kerala, HH was received by tens of thousands of faithful who lined the streets despite hot and humid weather, carrying lights, palm tree leaves, flowers, balloons, patriarchal flags, and chanting welcome good shepherd.”

HH Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II said:

“… what I have seen is beyond my expectation and it only confirms to me the great love you have for your spiritual father, I am very grateful to that, and taken by emotions.  Today, we were entering this venue thousands of you were trying to push to come near to me, and that brought tears to my eyes. Here in this place as we were entering one gentleman was carrying his sick daughter and trying his best that I laid my hand on her head despite the crowd. And when I touched her, I looked at the father and his tears were flowing on his face… I, in turn, could not prevent my tears flowing. Beloved, you are very dear to our heart, I wish I could come down and embrace each one of you individually – this is not allowed – I have love in my heart for each one of you. Let me once again express my love and gratitude especially those in the leadership of the church Catholicos – HE Gregoreous, church committees, managing bodies, working bodies, all the organizations – office bearers – I appreciate your work, and I bless your work. God bless you.”

The patriarch visited India from 25 January to 12 February 2024. In Karnataka, he celebrated Divine Liturgies (Holy Qorbonos), and visited churches, communities, and projects that have been initiated by the faithful. In Kerala, he presided over the celebrations for several milestone occasions including the Patriarchal Day, and the 50th Sacerdotal Jubilee of the Catholicos of India HB Mor Basalious Thomas I, the EAE 100th anniversary, and of course the annual pilgrimage and commemoration of Saint Patriarch Mor Elias III marking the 92nd anniversary of this great saint’s eternal sleep, and at St Anthony Monastery HH tonsured seven celibate priests in monkhood. During one of these milestones, namely the Patriarchal Day and the 50th Sacerdotal celebrations HH honoured S. Somanath the ISRO chairman, who was in the group of scientists who were behind India's moon mission.

Furthermore, HH celebrated Divine Liturgies, including a Divine Liturgy at Mor Antonios Monastery in Thouthutty where HH tonsured seven celibate priests in monkhood.  This is a beautiful service that included amongst other rituals, the washing of the feet of those tonsured by HH.

In every stop, he conveyed a speech reiterating his wish for a peaceful and just world, urging the faithful to be dedicated to their original faith of the Holy See of Antioch, complimenting their charity work, and assuring them of the love of the Holy See of Antioch.

The patriarchs visit was marked with the consecration of several churches, and the blessings of several cornerstones for the forthcoming churches and projects in both Karnataka and Kerala. 

May God the Almighty grant HH the best of health, always seeking HH Apostolic Blessings, and wishing everyone all the best as they continue their service to the mother church and the Holy See of Antioch. God hear our prayers.

For further details you can refer to: 

HH facebook page

HH X account

Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch website

Theodora Issa’s Linkedin account

About the author :

Dr Theodora Issa, of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an Academic and Author, in Australia. She is a member of the World Council of Churches central committee.


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.