Pope Receives Syriac Patriarch of Antioch

Rite Maintains Aramaic of Jesus

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2001 (Zenit.org).- When he received the new Syriac patriarch of Antioch today, John Paul II described the discreet but decisive contribution of the Syrian-Catholic Church as leaven in the dough.

His Beatitude Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad, 71, arrived at the Vatican accompanied by a pilgrimage of faithful and ecclesiastics of this Christian community. He is succeeding Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, whom the Pope last year appointed prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Ignace Pierre VIII was appointed patriarch canonically Feb. 16 by the Synod of Syrian-Catholic Bishops. A few days later he received the papal approval of his election. The Pope does not choose the patriarchs of the Oriental Churches.

Now, as a sign of recognition, the patriarch, whose see is in Lebanon, visited the Pontiff. He also confirmed his obedience and fidelity to Rome, a peculiarity of this Eastern Church, which returned to communion with Rome at the end of the 18th century, separating itself from the Syrian-Orthodox Church.

Found in Lebanon since the 17th century, the Syrian-Catholic rite is followed by 30,000 Catholics in the region, along with emigrants who reside primarily in the American continent. This Church´s liturgy uses an Aramaic dialect, similar to the one used by Jesus.

John Paul II encouraged the Syrian-Catholics to combine profound theological study with the education of youth and the formation of new priests.

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a micro-donation

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a micro-donation

Subscribe to the ZENIT Daily Email Newsletter

Receive the latest news of the Church and the world in your inbox every day. 

Thank you for subscribing! We will confirm your subscription via email. Please check your spam folder if you do not receive it soon.