Life of Jesus
Encyclical Blessing Letter of His Holiness to the ChurchApril,11 2015
By the Grace of God
Ignatius Aphrem II
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church
Our Beloved Children in Christ
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
"He is not here, but He has risen" (Luke 24:6)
ܩܡ ܡܪܢ ܡܢ ܩܒܪܐ...ܫܪܝܪܐܝܬ ܩܡ ܒܬܫܒܘܚܬܐ ܘܚܝܠܐ ܪܒܐ
Christ is risen ... He is risen indeed
As we celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ponder upon the verse of the Gospel of St. Matthew: "He is not here" (28:6). Indeed, He is not among the dead, nor is He found in a grave. He will never be in the shadows of death, for He is God and the spring of life.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and gave us the power and spirit of the Resurrection. How much we need that power and spirit at this time of weakness and during these difficult days!
This is the path of faith that our Holy Church followed throughout the ages. She offered her faithful sons and daughters as martyrs to keep the faith. History itself is a witness to the great sacrifices made for the sake of keeping the faith of our forefathers. The Syriac Genocide - Sayfo - that occurred a century ago, is a witness of that. It will remain a painful mark in our memory and the world's memory.
Here is history repeating itself: attacks on the Holy Church in beloved Syria, wounded Iraq, and Lebanon; as if evil is determined to destroy our authentic Levantine Christianity because it is the beacon of the true faith on earth. The latest crimes against our villages in the north of Syria are another proof to be added to that of the abduction of our beloved archbishops Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, who are still in captivity; the attacks and destruction of the churches and monasteries, and the slaughter of the Egyptian Copts in Libya.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Let us all pray for the Holy Church everywhere, for peace and for the culture of love that it may prevail throughout the world. We pray to the Resurrected Christ to resurrect our beloved Orient from its ordeal. May He bless us with His abundant mercy through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, St. Peter the Head of the Apostles, and all the Apostles and martyrs, Amen.
May the risen Lord, the conqueror of sin and death, be a supporter to His Holiness Mor Ignatius Ephram II, and all the prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, and give them wisdom to minister the flock of the Lord, and be a supporter to all our churches, clergy and faithful in United States, especially St. Ephraim Cathedral with all its organizations.
To all of you and our homeland people I kindly say: may the risen Christ guide all of you and the whole of humanity on the paths of justice, love and peace. Amen.
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen.
The Western Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch,
providing spiritual guidance and leadership to the Syriac Orthodox
community, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization
comprised of 18 churches and parishes in 17 western states. It was
established in 1952 as the Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church
encompassing the entire United States and Canada. In November 1995 by
the Holy Synod, the Western Archdiocese was formed to exclusively
serve the 17 states of the western half United States.
417 E. Fairmount Rd., Burbank, CA 91501
Tel: (818) 845-5089 Fax: (818) 953-7203