On Thursday August 18, 2016, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mr. M.J. Akbar, Indian Foreign Minister, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh, Bikfaya – Lebanon. Foreign Minister Akbar is on an official trip to Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
His Holiness congratulated His Excellency on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of India’s independence and on his new appointment to this delicate office. He also exchanged with his guest on matters of religious conflicts in India as well as the issues of democracy in the country. He mentioned the historical relations that connect the Syriac Church to India, especially to the southern region of Kerala.
His Holiness further discussed the situation in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon, Syria and northern Iraq. He hoped that peace can prevail in these countries and that all citizens can live in harmony. His Holiness asked Minister Akbar’s help in the matter of the abduction of the two Archbishops of Aleppo Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji.
His Excellency thanked His Holiness for receiving him and said that his visit to the Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church is a blessing to him and of great importance to better understand the conflicts of the region, especially in areas where Christians are suffering from wars or conflicts.
Their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon, Mor Dioscoros Kuriakose, Metropolitan of the Simhasana Churches and Malecuriz Dayro, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Beqaa, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Metropolitan of Beirut, Mor Philoxenos Zachariah, Metropolitan of Idukki, Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Shemoun, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, Mor Timotheos Matthew, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian Affairs, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, also attended the meeting.
Fr. Joseph Bali
Media Office Director
Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch