Upon the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, and under his presidency, a meeting of their Eminences the Archbishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Europe was convened at Mor Augin Monastery in Switzerland on Thursday July 13, 2017. Their Eminences the Archbishops: Mor Dionysius Issa Gurbuz Patriarchal Vicar in Switzerland and Austria, Mor Julius Abdelahad Shabo Archbishop of Sweden and Scandinavia, Mor Nicolaos Matta Abdelahad Patriarchal Vicar in Spain, Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Mor Julius Hanna Aydin Director of Foreign Affairs in the Diocese of Germany, and Mor George Kourieh Patriarchal Vicar in Belgium, France and Luxembourg attended the meeting and were accompanied by priests and lay people from the Archdioceses.
His Holiness and their Eminences as well as the participants of the meeting discussed the issues relevant to the Syriac Orthodox Church in Europe in general. They especially studied the role of the church in preserving her flock, particularly the young people who are joining different sects who lure them with financial means and baptize them anew. They also discussed ways to attract the youth to the church as well as how to transmit to them the apostolic teachings and ecclesial traditions that were passed onto her by the Holy Fathers. They emphasized the importance that the Church resists the attacks of some groups who desire to deceive the faithful and separate them from their mother church. These groups are using the lack of religious education in some cases, as well as the difficult circumstances of some refugees in the diaspora, to reach their goal.
His Holiness and their Eminences presented practical solutions and encouraged the clergy and laypeople to work on increasing their theological and spiritual education according to the needs of the present time as well as deepening their knowledge of the Holy Bible and the writings of the Holy Fathers, in order to be able to resist proselytism and deception. It was also decided to have another meeting, on a larger scale, which will include young people from all Syriac Archdiocese throughout Europe, as well as special local seminars for the clergy for their spiritual benefit.
At the end of the meeting, His Holiness prayed for the preservation of the faithful from misleading teachings and from those who seek to separate them from the church and thus desire to lead them to their perish. He also conveyed his apostolic benediction and fatherly prayers to the priests, members of the councils and parishioners of the church in Europe.