On Thursday August 20, 2009, His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan, the Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, made his first official visit to Supreme Patriarch of Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas I at the St. Aphrem Monastery in Ma`rrat Sayyidnaya, Damascus. At a reception meeting held soon after in honor of the visiting Syrian Catholic primate, the holy father expressed his warm greetings to Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan who assumed the office in early 2009. Mar Ignatius Joseph III in his reply speech thanked the holy father for hospitality and honor given to him and also presented a Gift of Holy Cross to His Holiness.
Earlier the visiting Syrian Catholic Patriarch and his entourage was received at the entrance of the Monastery by Their Eminences Mor Philoxinos Mattiyas Nayis (the Patriarchal Assistant), Mor Dionnasios Behanam Jajavi, Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim (Archbishop of Aleppo & Environs), Mor Theophilos George Saliba (Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and the secretary of the Holy Synod) Mor Osthatheos Matta Rohum (Metropolitan of Euphrates) Mor Selwanos Petros AL-nemeh (Metropolitan of Homs & Hama), Mor Clemis Daniel of Beirut diocese, Mor Yulios Kuriakose (Senior Metropolitan of the Simhasana churches & Institutions in India) and Mor Gregorios Joseph (Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese).
The Syrian Catholic Church separated from the mother Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch in the late 18th century to join the Roman Catholic communion under Roman Pope and since then is being ruled by a separate Patriarch. Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan, the visiting Syrian Catholic Patriarch was born at Hassaké, Syria on November 15, 1944 and was ordained priest on September 12, 1971. In June of 1991, he was elevated to the rank of "Corbishop" by the Patriarch, Mar Ignatius Antoun II Hayek. On November 6, 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him first Bishop (Eparch) of the newly established Diocese for Syriac Catholics in the United States and Canada and was consecrated Bishop on January 7, 1996. Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan assumed the office of Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch on January 20, 2009.
Source: Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Damascus