IN THE NAME OF THE SELF EXISTANT
SEMPITERNAL OF NECESSARY EXISTENCE THE ALMIGHTY
IGNATIUS PATRIARCH OF THE HOLY SEE OF ANTIOCH AND ALL THE EAST
SUPREME HEAD OF THE UNIVERSAL SYRIAC ORTHODOX CHURCH
ZAKKA 1ST , IWAS
We offer apostolic benediction and benevolent prayers and peace in the Lord to our brethren, their eminence the Metropolitans, our spiritual children, priests, monks, nuns, deacons, and our blessed Syriac Orthodox people worldwide. May the divine providence embrace them through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and St. Peter the head of the Apostles, and the rest of the martyrs and saints, Amen.
After asking for your well being we are pleased to inform you that our Holy Synod was held under our leadership on 1st , 2nd & 3rd of December 2009 at St. Ephraim the Syriac monastery, Ma'arrat Saidnaya. It was attended by most members of the Holy Synod and we discussed church matters from every angel: Spiritual, moral, and administrative as well as the problems facing our church worldwide especially the suffering that our people are enduring in some areas such as Iraq and Palestine and the agony of their calamities, needs, and difficulties for which we ask God the Almighty to eliminate.
We discussed the subjects of some Archdioceses where church service is stumbling directly or indirectly, especially matters related to the management of these Archdioceses.
We thank God and we applaud the efforts of the members of the Holy Synod who did not pause in facilitating our duty in the missions we delegated to some of them particularly in Germany, and we thank God that it ended in peace with an appropriate solution.
Regarding the Patriarchal Vicariate in Belgium, France, and Luxemburg which is also facing administrative problems, we also reached positive resolution that will limit its problems.
We also discussed the problems of the Patriarchal Vicariate of Argentine. We studied the matter and we are in the process of solving it.
We also discussed the role of our church in the ecumenical movement related to the Eastern Orthodox churches and our relationship with the Catholic Church and the Universal Council of Churches and the Council of the Middle Eastern Churches, and others. We applaud the
leading role of our church in this regard.
We studied the situation of the patriarchal magazine and we thank those in charge of its administration, writings, publishing, and distributing with valuable efforts. We listened to the positive reports and the message that it conveys since its inception in 1962. We urge you to encourage this magazine in all aspects whether by reading it or by writing in it or by directing the good writers to participate in articles and publishing the news of the archdioceses and the activities of their institutions, in being members, in distributing, and supporting both morally and financially. This is a church shining spot and it expresses her life and her message which is
required from us all. We thank their eminence for their response and for their utter readiness to fulfill duties related to the magazine because the media is the best tool to preach the word of God and boost up our holy church.
We studied the situation of our monasteries and our children, the monks, nuns, and St. Ephraim the Syriac clergy school (theology college is the beating heart of the church) appreciating the efforts and loyalty of those serving at the patriarchate, monasteries, and
archdioceses in the fields of religious education and command while continuing their scientific studies with awareness to support the word of God and the position of the church. In mid 2010 God willing, we will meet with them all at St. Ephraim the Syriac monastery in Ma'arrat Saidnaya in spiritual and theological sessions which are also included in their holy service.
About the laity and according to requests we received regarding their role in the church, we studied the matter during the Holy Synod sessions, knowing that our holy Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch is among the churches that encourage laity and offers them participation
and decision making as members of the parish councils or in organizations or in institutions or in cultural, educational and financial committees. We are pleased to add to their responsibilities according to a study prepared by the Holy Synod. This study is now in the hands of every archbishop who will make it known to you, hoping to have more positivity and interaction leading to the success of the church work on both sides : clergy and laity. And we seize the opportunity of the upcoming Christmas fast, Christmas, new year, and Epiphany to convey to you our apostolic blessing and heartedly congratulations praying for you, your children, and your beloved delightful feasts with the best of health, joy, success, and happiness. May the grace of the Lord be with you, ...
W'ABOON DBASHMAYO WSHARKHO. . .
Issued at our patriarchal house in Damascus Syria
On the fourth day of December, in the year Two Thousand and Nine of our Lord, Which is the 30th year of our patriarchal reign.