Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Aphrem II inaugurates church hall in Merke village in Nineveh Plains, Iraq

MERKE, Iraq — Following his visit to several villages in Nineveh Plains, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II headed to Merke village on Monday. People of the village greeted him with songs performed by the local scout regiment.

The Patriarch celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Mor Zakay Church, which was attended by a number of parishioners, priests, and deacons.

He spoke of the greatness of the faith of generations of Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrian who were courageous and died in order to preserve their faith, refusing to give up their religion.

The Patriarch encouraged the parishioners of Mor Zakay to continue working together to uphold the Christian faith and allow the Church to prosper.

Bishop Moses presented Patriarch Aphremwith a symbolic gift: a special altar pot for use in the Divine Liturgy.

The Patriarch also visited Mor Yacoub Church in Al-Maghara and opened the church hall in Merke, which was named after the Patriarch in remembrance of his first visit to the church and the village.