His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II arrived at the Lady of the Girdle (Zunoro) church in Homs. He was received by His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh, Metropolitan of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, as well as priests, monks, and deacons of the Archdiocese, and a crowd of faithful.
Her Excellency MP Sanaa Abou Zaid, member of Syrian Parliament, Mr. Miguel Naoum, Secretary of the First Division of the Baath Party, and the District Attorney Mr. Faris Sattouf were also present.
His Holiness entered the church where he presided over Ramsho (evening) Prayer of the Palms Sunday.
At the end of the prayer, His Eminence Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh gave a word in which he welcomed His Holiness; he said: “On this blessed day, we are happy to receive Your Holiness while crying out: ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’”. His Eminence also pointed out to the love that His Holiness has for this church as well as the whole Archdiocese of Homs. He also recalled the old visits of His Holiness to Homs, during which he consoled the broken hearts; “today, however” His Eminence added, “you came to share with us the joy of Palms Sunday, the joy of the entrance of the Messiah to Jerusalem.” At the end of his word, His Eminence congratulated His Holiness for the occasion of the 4th anniversary of his election to the throne of Antioch.
His Holiness then spoke expressing his great joy to “meet the faithful of this blessed Archdiocese, especially on this glorious feast, and in this holy church of the Lady of the Girdle which has received a special blessing from the Virgin Mary.” His Holiness expressed his joy to see life returning back to the city of Homs. He then spoke about his election; he said that it is “an occasion for me to ask God to give me success in serving His Church with loyalty and hard work. It is an occasion to thank our Lord Jesus Christ, first and foremost, for this grace and this call which I deserve not, and only by Him it is completed”; he added “I thank my brothers, their Eminences Metropolitans, members of the Holy Synod for their trust and full support for me in serving the church.”
After the prayer, His Holiness inaugurated the new center for Beth Tarbitho. He then blessed the faithful at the hall of the church, where he also received by the dignitaries of the city.
His Holiness was accompanied by Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, Very Rev. Raban Jack Yakoub, Director of the Youth Department.