SYRIA: Annunciation Day celebration in Zalin (Qamishli) limited to priests and deacons

ZALIN (QAMISHLI) / DAMASCUS – On the occasion of Annunciation Day, all churches of Syria celebrated the Divine Liturgy. In Zalin (Qamishli), in northeaster Syria, Syriac TV channel SuroyoTV covered the Annunciation service held with only priests and deacons present. Worshippers were instructed to stay at home in an effort to curb the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. Divine Liturgy had been published on the church’s website and broadcasted via social media.

In Damascus, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, accompanied by a number of priests, celebrated the Annunciation Divine Liturgy at the Grotto of the Belt of the Virgin Mary in the Monastery of St. Aphrem the Syriac, in Maaret Saidnaya.

During his sermon, His Holiness the Patriarch explained that the emerging COVID-19 epidemic is not a punishment from God, because God is merciful and loves his people. God wants to save everyone and takes care of every detail of our lives. His Holiness recommended that worshippers should wisely deal with this ordeal. In addition, their reliance on God should be accompanied with their general and personal responsibility.

His Holiness also talked about the importance of Annunciation Day which reminds us of the obedience of the Virgin Mary and her complete submission to the will of God, having full faith in His promises. His Holiness added that, in these difficult times, the Lord gives us a true example of faith, through the Virgin Mary who accepted the challenge that resulted in her divine pregnancy. She responded with modesty and simplicity, declaring her faith in God’s power and His love for mankind.

His Holiness prayed for all the medical staff who risk their lives helping people infected with the coronavirus. He also prayed for all the people who suffer from all kinds of diseases. His Holiness called on all worshippers to believe, like a Virgin Mary, that what is impossible for people is possible for God.