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30th Enthronement anniversary celebrations of His Holiness The Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas


Program Schedule:

Venue: Monastery of St. Ephraim in Ma'arat Saydnaya, Damascus.


13 September 2010; Monday, 7:00 pm: Performance by St. Ephrem Syriac Choir, followed by Syriac Orthodox Scout March to Salute HH, Firework.
14 September 2010; Tuesday - 10:00 am Holy Qurbono - Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Enthronement day of HH the Patriarch - felicitations. 

New Guest house nearing completion to the St. Aphrem Dayro, to be consecrated on 14 September 2010


14 September 2010 - Tuesday - 6:00 pm - Consecration of the new guest house building - Saint Ignatius Patriarchal center  and also the consecration of the associated chapel devoted to Saint Ignatius of Antioch.

15 - 19 September 2010: Holy Synod

19 September 2010 Sunday - 10:00 am: Consecration of Holy Mooron (Chrism).

The Holy Moroon consecration held on 19 September 2010 at the Cathedral of St. Peter & St. Paul in the Ma`arat Sayyidnaya

19th September 2010, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus: The Holy Moroon consecration held on 19 September 2010 at the Cathedral of St. Peter & St. Paul in the Ma`arat Sayyidnaya led by His Holiness the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, assisted by His Beatitude the Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselious Thomas I and Metropolitans of the Universal Syrian Church.

For more details and photos

Holy Mooron Consecration will start at 10:00 AM

19th September 2010, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus: The Holy Moroon consecration Liturgy will start at 10:00 AM on 19 September 2010 at the Cathedral of St. Peter & St. Paul in the Ma`arat Sayyidnaya led by His Holiness the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, assisted by His Beatitude the Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselious Thomas I and Metropolitans of the Universal Syrian Church.


His Beatitude accompanied by His Eminence Mor Aphrem Mathews reached the Patriarchate yesterday and given a warm welcome at the airport by His Eminence Mor Philoxenos Mathias Nayis, the Patriarchal assistant and Rev. Dn. Joshy Abraham, the Patriarchal secretary for the Indian Affairs.


The preparation for the consecration of Holy Chrism has been started on 10th September at Patriarchal Head quarters here.


Divine Liturgy can be viewed through the Internet at the following link :

A new icon of St. Ignatius Noorono presented to the church at Ma`arat Sayyidnaya

14th September 2010, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus: A new Icon of St. Ignatius Noorono, the third Patriarch of Antioch has been presented on the occasion of the consecration of the St. Ignatius Church at the Patriarchal centre , Ma`arat Sayyidnaya. The icon was drawn by the respected sisters of the monastery of St. Demiana of the Coptic Orthodox church.  St. Ignatius was the third patriarch of Antioch after St. Peter and St. Evodios. He was a disciple of St. Peter and St. John and a friend of St. Polycarpus of Smyrna. There is a popular traditional belief that St. Ignatius was the child our Lord took on his lap amidst his disciples as seen in Mathews 18:2. He was imprisoned by the Romans and condemned to the wild beasts. The church honours him as a saint and martyr.

Source: Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate

The Annual Holy Synod Of The Church Of Antioch

Begins At The Patriarchate

15th September 2010, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus : The annual Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch started today at Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus, under the chairmanship of His Holiness the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas. The Holy Synod began at 9.30 am with special prayers by Holy Father Patriarch appealing the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church and the glorification of the Almighty. Thereafter spiritual hymns were sung marking the beginning of the Synod.

All the Metropolitans of the Synod except Mor Severios Ishak Zakka and the Mor Miltius Malke Lahdo, who could not come due to health grounds, are participating in the Synod. Metropolitans Their Eminences Mor Athanasius Geevraghese and Mor Yeldho Theethos from India were also present in the Syrian synod as special invitees of His Holiness.

The Secretary of the Holy Synod presented the prepared agenda which was approved by all members after adding few subjects to be discussed during session.


Here are some Subjects of discussion during the session.

  • The Archdiocese of Germany – Patriarchal Vicariate

  • The Archdiocese of Belgium, France, and Luxemburg – Patriarchal Vicariate.

  • Iraq

  • The Affaires of our Syriac church in India

  • Retired Bishops

  • Monks Convention

The Holy Synod discussed many other subjects and was suggested that future items should be reported to the Holy Synod secretary’s office before holding the next Holy Synod. These items will be on the next agenda. They will be discussed and decisions will be taken according to the rules.


Being the Dean of bishops, members of the Holy Synod, his Eminence Mor Gregorios Saliba Shamoun thanked His Holiness in person for his presence and presiding over the Holy Synod’s meeting, who by the grace of God and the blessings of His Holiness came out with suggestions and decisions for the benefit of the holy church. He asked, in the name of all bishops, for his Holiness’s health and prolonged life to shepherd the church and lead it to progress and prosperity.

He also thanked bishops in charge of serving the holy center of St. Ignatius the Illuminator and St. Ephrem the Syriac monastery, specially his Eminence Mor Philoxenos Mattias Naish, the monks and nuns for their fine service.

His Holiness the patriarch said: “Thank you, Dean of bishops, and thanks to the Holy Synod members for your presence at these important meetings in which we conferred about church matters in all our Archdioceses. We recognize the hardships faced by our people due to immigration. Wherever we go we are accompanied by these problems. We arrange for our people all kinds of spiritual, administrative, and social services. I pray that harmony and optimism prevail between the bishops as every one of them is responsible in front of God and his conscience for the benefit of the holy church. I pray that God bless our clergy and laity and protect our holy church that He may make peace reign all over the world preventing wars and confusions specially in our beloved Middle East where some regions are suffering from destitutions and dark days.”

His Holiness asked for good health and happiness for all, bestowing his apostolic blessings with his well known fatherly love. The Holy Synod was concluded by a prayer.

After the conclusion of the Synod, on Sunday the 19th the Holy Moroon consecration will be held at the Cathedral of St. Peter & St. Paul in the Ma`arat Sayyidnaya led by His Holiness the Patriarch, assisted by His Beatitude the Catholicos and Metropolitans of the Universal Syrian Church.


Source: Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate

Celebrations held at Monastery of St. Ephrem, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya,Damascus.

14 September 2010, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus: 30th Enthronement Anniversary of His Holiness Moran Mor  Ignatius Zakka 1st celebrated at Monastery of St. Ephrem, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus yesterday. Metropolitans of sister churches, various dignitaries, Metropolitans of Syrian Orthodox Church, Rembans, Priests, Nuns and faithful participated. The message from His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of Alexandrian Patriarchate was read during the function. His Eminence Geevarghese Mor Athanasius & His Eminence Eldho Mor Theethos represented Malankara. His Beatitude Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas 1 and other metropolitans of church in India will reach Patriarchate to take part in the celebrations and  Holy Chrism on Friday.

To view photos.

In Malankara the Anniversary of Enthronement of Holy Father celebrated at Puthencuriz Patriarchal Centre (Head Quarters of Syrian Orthodox Church in India). Catholicose Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I lead the Thanksgiving Holy Qurbono at St. Athanasius Cathedral here assisted by H.E Mathews Mor Aprem here. Baretho Mahero Thambu George Thukalan (Church Secretary), Rembans, Priests, Deacons, Nuns, Church officials & lots of faithful attended the Holy Mass & the celebrations held here there after. Catholicose cut the cake which marked the celebrations at the Church Headquarters in India

His Holiness  Patriarch to consecrate the Holy Mooron on 19th September

10 September 2010, Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus: The His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch & All the East Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas will lead the consecration of Holy Chrism assisted by His Beatitude Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas-I & other Metropolitans of Holy Syriac Orthodox Church on 19th September 2010. Catholicos will participate in the Holy occasion as per the special invitation of Holy Father the Patriarch.


The preparation for the consecration of Holy Chrism has been started on 10th September at Patriarchal Head quarters here. The holy father along with H.E Philexinos Mathias Nayis (Patriarchal Assistant & Director of St. Ephrem Theological seminary here), the Rembans & Priests combined the materials for preparing Holy Chrism on 10th September in an atmosphere filled with prayers & hymn.


To view photos.

Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the 122nd successor to St. Peter in the
Apostolic See of Antioch.

Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the 122nd successor to St. Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch, completes 30 years in the Patriarchal See on the day of the Feast of Holy Cross, 2010. The Universal Syrian Church with its flocks spread over many nations, celebrates this unique historic occasion, of His Holiness's Silver Jubilee of the Patriarchal enthronement, with great fervour and enthusiasm. It was on September 14, 1980, the Holy father was enthroned as the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. He is one of the very few primates of the Syrian Church who have been in the Patriarchal office for an entire quarter of a century.  As a true Shepherd, His Holiness has led the Holy Church to greater glories in these years of his Patriarchal See.


His Holiness was born on April 21, 1933 into the faithful family of 'Iwas' in Mosul, Iraq. He was born as the fourth child and was named 'Seenaherib' (name of the father of St. Behnam). His Holiness had three brothers and three sisters. The forbears of Patriarch Zakka, the Iwas family, originally belonged to Jessera on Tigris; they migrated to Mosul about three hundred years ago. Some of his ancestors adorned very important posts in the Kingdom. His grand father has received an award from King Faisal I of Iraq for his excellence in his job as Chief craftsmen and architect of the State.


The father of His Holiness, Basheer Iwas, who graduated from the University in Istanbul, the then capital of Ottoman Empire, later became a Professor in the Military Engineering College there. A faithful member of Church, he was very enthusiastic in attending the Church Services regularly and also inspired others to follow his path. It was his ardent desire to mould one of his sons as a priest to serve the Holy Church. After a few years of teaching, he left for his home state in Iraq where he started a wood-working factory of his own. But unfortunately, misfortune struck the family a few years later; Basheer Iwas died of a Cardiac arrest. His Holiness was only 10 at that time. Two years later in 1945, his wife, the mother of His Holiness, also passed away. Thus the young Seenaherib, who later came to be known as Zakka, becomes parentless at a tender age of 12.


Ecclesiastical life & Graduation


After the death of his parents, Young Zakka decided to enter into the ecclesiastical life, thus fulfilling the wishes of his beloved father. But then some of his family members who felt bad about the parentless child being dragged into  difficult circumstances, tried to discourage him. However our holy father, who from the age of six dreamt of becoming a monk, remained determined in his choice which finally paved the way for the family too to comply with his decision. Thus he joined the St. Ephrem Theological Seminary in Mosul in 1946 at the age of 13 and was henceforth came to be called 'Zakka'.


On November 28, 1948, young Zakka was ordained 'Koroyoo' (Deacon) by H. E. Mor Athanasius Touma Kasseer and on February 8, 1953, he was elevated to the rank of 'Afodyaknoh' (Half Deacon) by H.E. Mor Gregorios Paulos Behnam.  The very next year he graduated with a diploma from the seminary.


June 6, 1954,  is an important date in the life of His Holiness. The Holy father accepted the order of monastic life on that day. He was then 21. It was Mor Gregorios Paulos Behnam who ordained him Rabban (monk). His Holiness recalls this as a very special day in his life. He used to say that he always felt the God caring him greatly though his parents left him in his childhood;  he prayed to God and He cared him greatly.


On December 18, 1955, the new monk was promoted to the rank of full deacon by H.E. Mor Divanasious Jirges Behanam. In the year 1955, he joined the Patriarchal Staff in Homs as an assistant to the Patriarchal Secretary.


Young Zakka's performance in schools was always excellent; he consistently scored high marks. His elementary education was in the schools at the Al-Tahra Al-Dakhilyah's church (Our Lady's church) and Mor Touma's school (St.Thomas school) at Mosul. In 1957 he graduated from the college with 97 % of marks.  Thus he completed his studies with success on the fields of history, philosophy, theology and church-law. He advanced in Syriac, Arabic and English languages, and received diplomas in each of these fields.


Soon after the graduation, he joined the faculty of the seminary where he taught Syriac, Arabic and the Bible.  Little later, Rabban Zakka was called to the Patriarchate by the then Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem I, one of the most erudite scholars and efficient administrators the Church has seen in modern times.  Rabban Zakka became the second, and later the first, Secretary to the Patriarch. After the demise of Moran Mor Aprem I, he continued as First Secretary to the new Patriarch, Moran Mor Ya`qub III


On November 17, 1957, Patriarch Mor Ya`qub III ordained him a priest. On  April 15, 1959, the Patriarch decorated him with ‘the Holy cross of the grand monk.


From 1955 to 1958 Rabban Zakka studied journalism as a part-time student and took a diploma in journalism. In 1960, he joined the General Theological College of the Episcopal Church in New York in the United States, where he studied oriental languages, philosophy and pastoral theology and mastered in the English language.  The college, later in 1983, offered His Holiness an Honorary Doctorate in theology.


Rabban Zakka travelled widely, both on his own and in the company of Patriarch Ya`qub III. He was at that time fortunate to visit all the countries in the Middle East and the America.  In 1962 and 1963 he was delegated by the late Patriarch to attend the two Sessions of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council as an observer. It was while at the Vatican that he was called to the Episcopal office.




On November 17, 1963, Rabban Zakka was ordained Metropolitan by the Patriarch Mor Ya`qub III for the Mosul Archbishopric with title 'Severious'. Thus he came to be known as Mor Severios Zakka.


The very next year in 1964 he visited India along with the Patriarch where he participated in the Universal Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church, held in Kottayam. He later assisted the Patriarch Mor Ya`qub III during the consecration of the first canonical Catholicos of Malankara, Mor Baselios Augen I, on May 21, 1964.


Discovery of St. Thomas relic.


On September 1, 1964, during the renovation of the Madboho of the ancient St.Thomas Church at Mosul, Mor Severious Zakka discovered the remains of Apostle Thomas in the sanctuary wall.  It was a memorable event in the Episcopal life of the Holy Father.  In the first sermon of the Holy father when he visited India as Patriarch of Antioch in 1982 he said, “When we think of St. Thomas, our heart is particularly thrilled because we are very closely connected to St. Thomas. Even though St. Thomas enjoyed his martyrdom here in India, and was entombed in Mylapore, we were the Metropolitan of the church in which the holy relics of St. Thomas have been kept for the past many centuries. One day, unexpectedly, by the grace of God, we were led to reveal the Holy Relics of St. Thomas once again to humanity. It was unknown to the present generation, as to where the holy relic of St. Thomas was kept. But in 1964, according to the will of God, we were able to discover the Holy Relics which were kept in the walls of the sanctuary of our St. Thomas’ church in Mosul, Iraq which is the Cathedral church of our Archdiocese of Mosul."


A portion of this Holy relic discovered by Mor Severios Zakka was presented to Malankara Church when Catholicos Mor Augen I paid a visit to the Patriarchate in 1965. In 1994, a small portion of the Holy Relic was again presented to Malankara to be kept at the ancient Mulanthuruthy Marthoman Church which is known as the 2nd  Jerusalem of the Syrian Church. Three fathers of the Syrian Church who arrived from Near East were entombed in this church. The Holy Mooron was consecrated in this church once by Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Abded 'Aloho, in 1911. This ancient church has also been the venue for two historical Synods of the Malankara Church, one in 1876 and the other in 2004; both were held under the auspices of the Patriarchs of Antioch.


Additional charges as Metropolitan


As Metropolitan of Mosul the Holy Father took special interest in youth activities. Under him, the diocese flourished spiritually and materially. In 1967 he was given additional charge of the European Diocese. In 1969 he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Baghdad and Basra, perhaps the most prestigious archbishopric in the Middle East.  In Baghdad he built churches and opened secondary schools and high schools. As in Mosul, in Baghdad also he took keen interest in the spiritual life of the youth.


Following the demise of H.E. Thimotheos Yacoub, Metropolitan Mor Severious Zakka was given the additional charge of the ancient monastery of St. Mathew  (Mor Mattai Dayro) in Iraq.  In 1976, he was appointed as the Metropolitan of Middle Europe and Scandinavian countries and in 1978 Mor Severios Zakka was given additional responsibility for the new diocese in Australia. He consecrated several churches and organized congregations in Melbourne, Sydney and a few other places.

On June 26, 1980, the Patriarch Mor Ya`qub III passed away and was entombed at the St. George Cathedral, Damascus. Consequent to this, the Episcopal Synod was called to choose the new successor to the Apostolic See.  The Holy Synod held on July 11, 1980, with His Beatitude the Catholicos of the East Mor Baselios Paulose II in the chair, unanimously elected Mor Severios Zakka, Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra as the new Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. This marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the Church.

Catholicos Mor Baselios Paulose II presiding the session of the

Holy Episcopal Synod at Damascus which elected

Mor Severios Zakka as the 122nd Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

Patriarchal Enthronement

On September 14, 1980, Mor Severios was installed as the 122nd Patriarch of Antioch & all the East, by name IGNATIUS ZAKKA I, in a rite officiated by the late lamented Catholicos of the East Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II, along with the archbishops of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church.  It was for the first time in the history of the Universal Syrian Church that the chief celebrant for the Patriarchal enthronement was an Indian.

Catholicos of the East H.B. Mor Baselios Paulose II heading the Enthronement ceremony of

His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Iwas as the 122nd Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

at the Patriarchal Cathedral, Damascus, on 14th September 1980.


Since that blessed day, the Syrian Orthodox Church has witnessed a remarkable revival through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the pastoral care of H. H. Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. The 25 years of Mor Ignatius Zakka's Patriarchate have been eventful and significant. In his very first address after adorning the Patriarchate, he stressed the need for a major seminary and centre for the Church. This was a great dream of the new Patriarch.  The Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate after moving from the Monastery of Mor Hananyo (Deir ez-Za`faran/Kurkumo Dayro) in Turkey, to Syria in the last century, lacked a proper centre in the new circumstances. It was the Holy fathers' vision that filled this gap. He acquired extensive lands, about 20 miles away from Old Damascus, where he built a magnificent Seminary with all facilities for theological students, accommodations for the visiting dignitaries, residence of the Patriarch etc.. Though officially, the Patriarchate still functions in the St. George Cathedral, Bab Touma, in the city of Damascus, His Holiness resides at the Mor Ephrem Seminary in Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, in the suburb of Damascus, Syria.

The Church which was in turmoil for a while because of persecution, is now witnessing a revival with establishment of churches and institutions in all parts of the world where the Syrian Christians has migrated. The largest congregation of the Church outside the Middle East and India is now situated at Germany where about 100,000 Syrian Orthodox Christians has settled. Similarly the Church has grown to other nations like Holland, Australia, USA, Canada and South America. And in all such countries, Monasteries, churches and other institutions have come up. Young bishops selected and ordained by the Holy father increased the pace of growth in all these place.

On July 26th 2002, His Holiness installed Mor Dionysius Thomas, the president of the Episcopal Synod of Indian Church, as the Catholicos of India with the title Baselios Thomas I.  This was a great event in the history of the Church in India.

is Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East consecrating His Beatitude the Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I

The new Catholicos was consecrated as the immediate successor to the late Mor Baselios Paulose II who led the enthronement ceremony of His Holiness in 1980. Now the Holy Synod of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church consists of 64 prelates besides the Patriarch and the Catholicos, of which 34 were ordained by our Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas.


Biography of the Holy father

prepared by
John Philip Kottapparambil, India

Malankara Syriac Christian Resource

















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