His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II: Our duty as Member Churches is to support and empower the Council of Churches

MECC Secretary General Dr Souraya Bechealany met His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church as the final stop of her visits to the Heads of the Churches in Syria at the Patriarchate Headquarters in Damascus. Dr. Bechealany reported to His Holiness about the theological, ecumenical, and humanitarian projects by MECC in the different regional Headquarters. They also discussed the agenda of the next MECC Executive Committee Meeting which will be hosted by His Holiness in Atchaneh – Lebanon next January and other administrative matters concerning MECC.

Dr Bechalany informed His Holiness about the process of relaunching the Association for Theological Institutes in the Middle East (ATIME), and the preparations for the Youth Meeting in collaboration with the Churches of Lebanon and the Taize Community. This meeting is to gather around 1600 youth from the Middle East.

Furthermore, MECC country director in Syria, Mr. Ghassan Chahine, gave an overview about the relief and help projects executed by MECC in Syria with the collaboration of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC) as well as all the relief committees of the member Churches.

Then Ms. Huguette Salameh, the MECC Communication Director, gave an overview of the Communication and Media Department’s strategy, in building bridges between Church, Arab, and Western media. She also noted the department’s aim to move on from informative media towards stance media.

On his part, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem gave his blessings for the work of the Secretary General and expressed his support to the MECC message in the present situation, commending MECC’s mission of empowering the Christian presence in the Middle East, in order to stand against all the forces that try to eradicate Christians from the region.

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”, he said. “We ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest. Our duty as Member Churches is to support and empower the Council of Churches MECC so that it can fulfill its crucial mission of securing the Christian presence in the region of the Middle East in our days, and then extend to the world.”

Dr Bechealany presented a trophy to His Holiness, who, in turn, offered a Syriac “Our Father” Plate.