On Tuesday, May 13, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian hosted an ecumenical gathering at the Diocesan Center in honor of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, the former Metropolitan of the Syriac Archdiocese of the Eastern United States who was recently elected as Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Leaders of the Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Episcopalian, and Eastern Orthodox churches came together at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral for a prayer service, followed by a reception to honor Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem.
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, visiting New York after having traveled to Rome, where he met with His Holiness Pope Francis, presided over the gathering.
The assembled church leaders congratulated the new Patriarch on this latest calling in his ministry, and expressed their solidarity as he embarks on leading a church that finds itself beleaguered by the conflict in Syria.
His Holiness Karekin II spoke about Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem’s commitment to serving God and his people. “We have known him as a good shepherd, well loved by his flock,” he said. “Despite all the challenges facing Syria, he has no doubt in accepting his new responsibility. This shows his endless love for the church of Christ and for his people.”