Upon the invitation of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Salzburg, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave a lecture entitled: “Syriac Christianity in the face of emigration and integration in worldwide interreligious and intercultural context”.
He spoke about the current challenges and dangers that Christians are facing in the Middle East. He then linked this to the growing need for our Syriac Orthodox Church to have clergy who are born and raised in the West to better serve our communities there. Hence, he added that the new Syriac Theological Seminary in Salzburg will be a place that provides our parishes with teachers and clergy who better understand the mentality and culture in which our communities live in Europe and are therefore better equipped to serve them. He called upon the youth to join the seminary and devote their lives to the service of the church by studying theology and the Syriac heritage.
His Holiness thanked the former Archbishop of Salzburg Dr. Alois Kothgasser and offered him a cross made from Cedars’ wood as a token of appreciation for all the help he has offered in the establishment of the chair for Syriac Studies and the Syriac Theological Seminary (Beth Suryoye). He also presented the English translation of Mor Mikhael Rabo’s Chronicles to the Rector of the University.
His Excellency Archbishop Dr. Franz Lackner, Rector of the University of Salzburg Prof. Dr. Heinrich Schmidinger, Mayor of Salzburg Dr. Wilfrid Haslauer, Former Minister of Education and Culture Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Tochterle, Dean of the Faculty of Catholic Theology Prof. Dr. Dietmar Winkler, Director of the Syirac Institute in Salzburg Prof. Dr. Peter Bruck,Chairman of the Syriac Studies Program Prof. Dr. Aho Shemunkasho were the speakers in this academic event.
Their Eminences: Mor Dionysius Issa Gurbuz, Patriarchal Vicar in Switzerland and Austria, Mor Philoxenus Saliba Ozmen, Archbishop of Mardin and Diyarbakir and Environs, Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis, Patriarchal Vicar in Germany, Mor Julius Hanna Aydin, Director of External Relations in Germany, Mor Polycarpus Augin Aydin, Patriarchal Vicar in the Netherlands, His Grace Mor Georges Kourieh, Dean of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director were present at the lecture as well as many academicians and clergy.