BALAMAND, Lebanon – After a two-year interruption due to the Corona pandemic, the Holy Synod of Syriac Antiochian Orthodox Church convened between October 5-7 at the Balamand Monastery, the Patriarchal residence in northern Lebanon. Several ecclesiastical issues were on the agenda of the Holy Synod and the conditions of parishes and public affairs issues were discussed.
The episcopal Holy Synod was headed by Patriarch Mor Youhanna X, the brother of bishop Boulos Yazji. Bishop of Aleppo Boulos Yazaji and Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo Youhanna Ibrahim were kidnapped in 2013 on their way back from Turkey by an unknown party. Their fate is still unknown despite the efforts made by many parties. The Syriac Antiochian Holy Synod decided to transfer Bishop Boulos Yazaji to be Bishop of the honorary diocese of Diyarbakir, and to elect Bishop Aphrem Maalouli, the Patriarchate’s deputy and secretary of the Holy Antioch Council, to become metropolitan over the diocese of Aleppo and Iskenderun and their Environs.
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The Holy Synod announced several other episcopal appointments. Bishop Gregorios Khoury was elected as the Patriarchal Vicar and Secretary of the Holy Synod. Archbishop Niphon Saykali of Shehba was elected Metropolitan and a member of the Holy Synod. The Holy Synod also elected Archimandrite Arsanios Dahdal as an Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch, with the title of Bishop of Hierapolis (Jarabulus). Likewise, Archimandrite Mousa al-Khasi was elected as an Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch, with the title of Bishop of Larissa (Shaizer).