Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Apostolic Visit to Greece

From 16 to 22 May 2009, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas went on an official visit to Greece, as the guests of the Greek Government and the Greek Orthodox Church. His Holiness was accompanied in this visit by His Eminence Mor Philexinos Mathias Nayis, Patriarchal Assistant, His Eminence Mor Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, and two monks: V. Rev. Fr. Mata Khouri, and Dr. Georges Khouri. The main purpose of the visit was to congratulate the new archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church: His Beatitude Irenemos, and to renew the relationship between both the churches.

His Holiness was received at the Athens airport by Archimandrite His Eminence Gabriel, secretary of the Archbishop and Professor Christos Voulgaris, a representative of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Rev. Fr. John Gasali of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Greece, all the monks and nuns who are pursuing higher theological studies at the universities of Greece and the Syrian Orthodox faithful there.

His Holiness visited the Greek Foreign Minister and then His Beatitude Irenimos, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, where there was a friendly meeting between the two. On this occasion His Holiness the Patriarch presented the Grand Cross of the order of St. Ignatius Noorono to the Archbishop, as well as decorated the Ambassador Christodoulos Lazaris with the decoration of commander of the order of Mor Aphrem the Syrian.

On Sunday, His Holiness the Patriarch presided over the Holy Mass at the Armenian Orthodox Church, which was attended by His Eminence Khorin Korean, the Armenian Orthodox Archbishop of Greece, representatives of His Eminence the Archbishop, priests, monks, nuns and representatives of the diplomatic corps, led by Mrs. Huda al-Homsi, the Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador in Greece, as well as the distinguished ambassadors of Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Poland. In the speech during the mass, His Holiness thanked God, for the opportunity to visit Greece again, and also thanked the Greek government and the Greek Orthodox Church for receiving His Holiness and the delegation as the official guests.

On Wednesday, His Holiness visited Professor Huda al-Homsi the Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador in Greece, who hosted a banquet in honour of His Holiness at the residence of the Ambassador.

On Thursday, His Holiness paid an official visit to the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Archbishop praised the good relationship between the two churches and called for more dialogues to further improve the relations. His Holiness, in his speech thanked His Eminence Archbishop for inviting to Greece, and also expressed his gratitude to the Greek Orthodox Church for the help and support being extended for the students of the Syrian Orthodox church.

Holiness also reviewed the relationship between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox and especially during the last quarter of the last century and the considerable efforts made by Prof. Christos Voulgaris to consolidate the relationship between them.

On Friday, His Holiness and the delegation returned back to Syria.

source: http://socmnet.org/Apostolic_Visit_Greece_2009.htm

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