HIS HOLINESS PATRIARCH MORAN MOR IGNATIUS APHREM II - PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH & ALL THE EAST
Born in Kamishly, Syria on May 3, 1965, the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Issa Karim, His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II lost his father at an early age and was raised, with the rest of his family, by his late and loving mother Khanema. He entered St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Atchaneh, Lebanon in 1977, following his primary schooling in Kamishly. In 1982, His Holiness served the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, Syria, for the next two years. From 1984 to 1988, Patriarch Aphrem pursued higher studies at
In 1985, Patriarch Aphrem took the vows of a monk, and put himself in the service of the Church. He was ordained to the diaconate in Egypt, and later the same year, to the sacred priesthood in Kamishly. From 1988 to 1989, Patriarch Aphrem served as both, the secretary of His Holiness Moran Mor Zakka I Iwas, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and as a teacher at St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Damascus, Syria. In 1991, Patriarch Aphrem entered St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland, where he received a License of Sacred Theology Degree, in 1992, and his Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1994, following a defense of his doctoral thesis on The Symbolism of the cross in early Syriac Christianity.
On Sunday, January 28, 1996, His Holiness was consecrated as Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar to the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern United States, by His Holiness Patriarch Zakka I Iwas, at St. Mary ‘s Syriac Orthodox Church in Kamishly. His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem II arrived in the United States on March 2, 1996 and was officially installed to his position at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Teaneck, New Jersey.
In addition to his many talents, Patriarch Aphrem is fluent in both Classical and Vernacular (Touroyo) as well as in Arabic, French, and English.
On March 21, 2014, Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas died after a long illness. Following his death, the Holy Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch was convened to elect a successor. The synod was held at St. Jacob Baradeus Monastery in Atchaneh, Lebanon, presided over by Mor Baselios Thomas I Catholicos of India and Mor Severius Jamil Hawa Archbishop of Baghdad and Basra and Patriarchal Locum Tenens. The synod elected Cyril Aphrem Karim to be the 123rd successor of St. Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch. He was enthroned on May 29, 2014, at St Ephrem’s Monastery, Maarat Saidnaya, near Damascus, Syria. Baselios Thomas I oversaw the ceremony.
Cyril Aphrem Karim took the patriarchal name Ignatius, replacing his episcopal name Cyril and being the second patriarch to bear the monastic name Aphrem (the first being Ignatius Aphrem I Barsoum), his name became Ignatius Aphrem II. Unlike his immediate predecessors, but following older convention, Aphrem II chose not to use his family name Karim in his official title.
On May 29, 2014, His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II became the 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch when he was enthroned as patriarch in Damascus.
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