The Holy Father sent a message this morning to the new Syrian-Orthodox Patriarch, Ingnatius Aphrem II, congratulating him on his election as the supreme head of the universal Syrian-Orthodox Church, and to all the East.
The Pope extended to the patriarch and the faithful and clergy of the patriarchy “good wishes” and “prayerful solidarity.” He said he was “asking the Holy Spirit to bestow his abundant blessings upon your lofty ministry.”
“I thank the Almighty for the bonds of fraternity between the Catholic Church and the Syrian-Orthodox church and I hope and pray that our continuing friendship and dialogue may be further developed and deepened.”
Francis wished that the patriarch “may be a spiritual father for your people and an untiring builder of peace and justice, serving the common good and the good of the entire Middle East in today’s difficult circumstances.”
Pope Francis concluded his message, saying: “May our heavenly father fill your holiness with peace and strength for the noble task that awaits you.” (D.C.L.)