ATCHANE, Lebanon – On the occasion of the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God on 15 August, Syriac Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Church of Our Lady in Atchane, Lebanon. His Holiness was assisted by Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Charitable Institutions Archbishop Mar Chrysostomos Michael Shamoun. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Divine Liturgy was limited to a few believers.
In his sermon, the Syriac Patriarch spoke about the dormition of the Mother of God, i.e. God-bearer, and her bodily assumption to heaven and that this Feast is celebrated since the early Church. His Holiness also highlighted the only relic of the Virgin Mary, i.e. the sacred girdle which was received by the Apostle Thomas. Patriarch Aphrem II stressed the importance of the Virgin Mary for Church Tradition, ritual and faithful which is emphasized by the Feast of Dormition but also by the Feast of Blessing of the Crop by the Virgin Mary.
In related news, while in the patriarchal residence in Atchane, Lebanon, Patriarch Aphrem II received the Syriacs Jacqueline Yacoub Boutros, Head of Personnel of the Civil Service Council and Antoine Pano, Strong Lebanon Bloc Member of the Lebanese Parliament and retired Army General. His Holiness congratulated Jacqueline Yacoub Boutros on her new position and wished her success. They discussed the general dire situation in Lebanon and the position of the Syriac Orthodox denomination.