Damascus Countryside (SANA): Investiture ceremony of His Holiness Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim of Syriac Orthodox, Patriarch of Antioch and All East, as Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch started Thursday (May 29, 2014) in presence of representative of President Bashar al-Assad, Minister of Presidential Affairs Mansour Azzam.
Patriarch Aphrem expressed his full willingness to cooperate with Islamic and Christian clergymen and scholars, as partners in this Homeland, to serve citizens, humanity and bringing up the good Man, guide people to the correct path and get them away from narrow vision and misunderstanding of religious contexts.
"President al-Assad has showed great competence in leading the country amid the big dilemma Syria is passing through, proving to the whole world that Homeland will not collapse in front of the most fierce powers," Aphrem said.
Ministers of State Nazira Sarkis, Joseph Sweid and Jamal Shahin, Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun and Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East John X Yazigi also attended the ceremony that was held at Saint Peter's and Paul Cathedral in the Syriac Mar Ephrem Monastery in Saydnaya, Damascus Countryside.
Representatives of officials and patriarchs from Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon and a number of Christian denominations, Islamic scholars, economic and popular figures attended the ceremony.
Patriarch Karim was elected Patriarch last March at al-Atshaneh in Lebanon. He was born in al-Qamishli city in Hasaka province, Syria, in 1965, and served as archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States of America.
R. Milhem / H. Said/ Mazen
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)May 29, 2014