Mar Girgis Cathedral for Syriac Orthodox in Bab Touma neighborhood in Damascus held a reception on Tuesday on the occasion of the arrival of Mar Ignatius Ifram II Karim, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Supreme Leader of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the World.
Patriarch Karim was elected as the 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East, succeeding the late Zakka I Iwas.
He stressed that followers of the Syriac Church are determined to remain steadfast in homeland and defend it with all their capacities.
I have come today after I was chosen to be patriarch to announce my love for Syria and its sons … I have come to be with you..to be patriarch elected in Damascus as if I entered Antioch… Damascus is just like Antioch for us, he added.
For his part, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for Melkite Greek Gregory III Laham stressed he will work with Patriarch Karim and all other patriarchs of Christian churches in Syria to make the church of Damascus one apostolic community that expresses Syria’s richness and diversity.
Earlier, Patriarch Karim arrived in Jdaidet Yabous crossing point on the Syrian-Lebanese borders where was received by a number of bishops.
In a statement to SANA, Patriarch expressed happiness to return to Damascus, the capital of Syria and the Syriac Church in the world.
As for us, Damascus is the Antioch which was capital of Syria at the Roman days, the Patriarch said.
He added Syria, which was prosperous almost in all fields, confronts those who try to destroy it.
Karim greeted all Syrians, Muslims and Christians, affirming the need for cooperation among each other to rebuild the Syrians who believe in coexistence and tolerance, praying to God to restore security and stability to Syria .