About the theme Shifting the Patriarcate... of the Syrian Orthodox, really its something unthinkable.
We must understand that the raids that invaded the Middle East didn't begin with the arabs or the othomans but that they began with the Persians, Greeks, Romans and that our Syrian Communities that are formed by the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church (Nestorians), the Syrian Catholic Church and the Chaldean Church in reality formed the ancient Assyrian people. As was stated by the Late Bishop Philoxinos Youhanon Dolabani of Mardin, when asked by the English soldiers that also, invaded the Middle East, he affirmed we are descendants of the ancient Assyrian people, and complementing the information, here in Brazil, more speciffically in São Paulo I had the opportunity to see documents emitted by the English Mandatory Government in the Palestine with the identification cards of people of our Syrian Orthodox Community and also Nestorian families informing their nationality as Assyrians.
Thus our community is established in Turkey, Irak, Persia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine for milleniums and we look forward that although today we are minoritarians we must be respected due to Human Rights, and basicaly due to the fact that we yet speak and maintain the language, customs and traditions of our ancestrals in our land.
If we look in history we find out that the priests and bishops of our churches where those who translated to the arabic language works like those of the Greek philosophers, brought form Indian the Indian algarisms and taught them to the arab invadors. The Genisars, special personal guards of the Sultans where always from the Eastern Orthodox comunity, and also the Christians all over the Middle East in many governements have ministers and secretary, etc...
Unfortunatelly there are radical religious groups that doesn't represent the majority of the arab sense and those are having excelent space actually in the midia thus, another time putting in risk the minorities.
We must not forget that it was the British Empire that at the end of the XIX century created the Assyrian Levies promising to these communities a piece of land. The late Patriarch Aphrem BArsoum represented the Syrian Orthodox Comunity at the meeting in Louvain - France and has letters reffering to these commitments.
We cannot come out of the Middle East mainly because we are the first habitants of those lands and even today in Turkey we are called Syriani Kadim or Ancien Syrians.
Finally the name Syrian is derived from Assyrians and was used by the Roman Empire to designate the region of Mesopotamia or part of the actual state of Turkey, Syria, Irak...
Although my ancestors were killed by kurds and other muslim tribes, it is important to see that today even what we call arab nations are looking forward trying to bring equality and liberty to their people. Let us at least applaud this iniciative and observe what comes afterwards. Let us not be like the fanatic groups, Let's give peace a chance!
Aniss Ibrahim Sowmy
São Paulo - Brazil