Patriarch of Syriac Catholics visits Holy Land and presides over installation service of Bishop Yacoub Semaan 

By: Layal Hazboun/ - Published: July 13 Tue, 2021

Patriarch of Syriac Catholics visits Holy Land and presides over installation service of Bishop Yacoub Semaan  Available in the following languages:

HOLY LAND – On Saturday, July 3, 2021, H.B. Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, presided over a Holy Mass celebrating the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, and the installation service of Bishop Mar Yacoub Ephrem Semaan as Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Catholic Church of Jerusalem, Holy Land and Jordan. The service took place at the Church of St. Thomas Syriac Catholic Church in Jerusalem.

In his homily, Patriarch Mar Ignatius Joseph III spoke about the countries of the East and Holy Land, especially Palestine and Lebanon, which have been suffering lately from many hardships, noting that “we remain the Church and people of hope, and we place our trust in the Lord Who said to His disciples: Do not fear, for I am with you”.

The Patriarch added: “We are aware of the challenges and difficulties, but your beloved Bishop, puts his trust in the Lord Jesus and walks with Him, placing all his hope in you to assist him, so that this Patriarchal Vicariate may flourish despite the small number of its faithful, and be an example of love, justice and hope,” noting that Bishop Ephrem Semaan took the name of St. Jacob “Mar Yacoub”, who was the first bishop of the Church of Jerusalem.

In his speech, the bishop expressed his joy that his installation coincided with the celebration of the Feast of St. Thomas, the patron Saint of the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle for the Syriac Catholic, as well as the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the consecration of the Church of St. Thomas on July 3, 1986. “The ordination calls repeatedly to the Bishop with the phrase “come in peace”, for the Bishop is the successor of the apostles, the good shepherd whose work is to offer peace by coming to the parish, following the example of Jesus Christ, Who by His death and resurrection gave us peace and eternal salvation,” said Bishop Semaan.

Bishop Semaan added, addressing Patriarch Younan: “From this Holy place, I renew my pledge of complete obedience to you and your good fatherly directives and wise guidance, for the good of our Antioch Syriac Church in the Holy Land. I also place myself at your disposal at all times, ready to meet every service. May God always make me worthy of your expectations”.

Concelebrating were Bishop Mar Ephrem Youssef Aba, Archbishop of Baghdad and Secretary of the Holy Synod; Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Patriarch Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan visits Rome and the Holy Land

On July 1, 2021, Patriarch Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan participated in the Ecumenical prayer for peace in Lebanon, following the invitation of His Holiness Pope Francis. The prayer was held in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, with the participation of a number of Heads of the Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Churches.

During the prayer, Pope Francis addressed the faithful saying: “We want to affirm with all our strength that Lebanon is, and must remain, a project of peace”. The Pope added that Lebanon’s vocation is to be “a land of tolerance and pluralism, an oasis of fraternity where different religions and confessions meet, where different communities live together, putting the common good before their individual interests”.

Addressing Christians around the world, the Pope added: “We Christians are called to be sowers of peace and builders of fraternity, not nursing past grudges and regrets, not shrinking the responsibilities of the present, but looking instead with hope to the future”.

In a statement made by Patriarch Younan to Radio Vatican after his participation in the Day of Meditation and Prayer for Peace in Lebanon, H.B. referred to the status of Lebanon, which is a message of civilization and coexistence among all its sons and daughters from all religions. The Patriarch called on political officials to set aside personal interests for the sake of the common good and the interest of Lebanon: “We return with our hearts full of hope, for hope is very important so that we can instill hope in the hearts of our children. We encourage them not to despair, but to remain rooted in the land of their fathers and grandfathers, the land of Lebanon which is beloved to us all, and for which we must sacrifice everything”.

On Sunday, July 4, H.B. Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa welcomed Patriarch Younan along with Bishop Mar Yacoub Ephrem Semaan and the delegation accompanying them, at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

During the visit, the two Patriarchs discussed the general situation in the Middle East and the world, before exchanging souvenirs. Patriarch Pizzaballa gave Patriarch Younan an icon of the Virgin Mary Our Lady of Jerusalem, while the latter presented Patriarch Pizzaballa with an icon of the Holy Family.

On Monday, July 5, Patriarch Younan, accompanied by Bishop Mar Yacoub Semaan and the accompanying delegation, visited the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem, in the presence of Patriarch Pizzaballa. H.E. Msgr. George Panamthundil welcomed the Syriac Catholic Patriarch, stressing the importance of his apostolic visit to the Holy Land and its role in strengthening the Christian presence.

H.B. Patriarch Younan, along with Bishop Semaan and the accompanying delegation from the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate, participated in the spiritual retreat of the priests of the Holy Land, which took place from July 5 to 9 at the Stella Maris Monastery in Haifa.