H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Aprem II
(Patriarch Of Antioch and All the East)
Formerly, Cyril Aphrem Karim, who served as bishop in the United States, replaces Patriarch Ignatius Zakka Iwas.
Karim’s official title will be the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. His church, known as the Syrian Orthodox Church, was founded in the year 452 after a schism with the bulk of the world’s Christians.
There are more than 4 million members, living in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq although there are also significant communities in Germany, Sweden and in the United States, where immigrants from the Near East introduced the faith in the late 19th century.
The new patriarch was born in Qamishli.
He studied in St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Atchaneh, Lebanon in 1977. In the 1980s, he served the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo and pursued higher education at the Coptic Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt.
He also served in Damascus, where his church is based, before his predecessor, Iwas, appointed him bishop of the east coast of the United States in 1996. Since then, Karim has been living in Teaneck, New Jersey.uncertainty for Christians in the Middle East.
Thousands have left Iraq, following the 2003 U.S-led invasion of the country that unleashed unprecedented sectarian violence.
In Syria, recent assaults on predominantly Christian towns by rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad’s rule have fueled fears among the country’s religious minorities about the growing role of Islamic extremists in the revolt.
H.B. Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I (Catholicos of All East)
The term ‘Catholicos’ (Katholikos) is derived from the Greek words ‘Kath-Holikos’, meaning ‘General Primate’ or ‘General Vicar’.
Even before the primates of the Church adopted this title, it existed in the Roman Empire where its Government representative who was in charge of a large area was called ‘Catholicos’.
The Government servant, who was in charge of State treasury, too was known by that name. In due course, the secular administrative heads in Persian Empire also adopted this title.
The Churches (mainly outside the Roman Empire) started to use this term for their Chief Bishops much later, probably by 4th or 5th centuries. Now the primates of the Orthodox Churches in Armenia, Georgia, Iraq and India, use the title ‘Catholicos’.
‘Maphryono’ (Maphrian) is derived from the Syriac word afri, “to make fruitful’, or “one who gives fecundity”. This title came to be used exclusively for the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the East (Persia) after the prelates who occupied the office of the Catholicate since late 5th century adopted Nestorian Christology and separated from the mother Church. From the mid 13th century onwards, a few occupants of the Maphrianate were referred also as ‘Catholicos’, but the title never came into extensive usage.
However in the 20th century when this office of the Maphrianate under the Holy See of Antioch was established in India, the chief of the local church assumed the title ‘Catholicos’. It is this title that is being used in India today.