On November 17, 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II attended a reception organized by His Beatitude Patriarch John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus, for a Christian-Muslim delegation from Russia.
The delegation was led by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations in the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow.
The reception was also attended by His Excellency His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Abdelsattar Al-Sayed, Syrian Minister of Endowments, as well as the heads and representatives of Churches in Damascus, and a group of Muslim Scholars.
In his word, His Beatitude welcomed the delegation and assured that “our message is that we will remain in the Middle East”.
In turn, His Excellency emphasized that the Syrian people were able to gain victory by means of their unity. He also thanked the Russian President and Russia for their support to Syria during this crisis.
His Holiness, in his word, considered that “only in Syria one can see this beautiful image of Muslim Scholars and Heads of Christian Churches meeting together”. He assured that the Syrian people are “a people who believes in the Lord and love their country”. He also emphasized that this is what pushed terrorism away from Syria. His Holiness concluded by sending his greetings to His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill, Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
Then, Metropolitan Hilarion spoke reassuring the full support of the Russian Church as well as the state and the people to Syria. He also showed his happiness to see the situation in Syria becoming better day after day.
His Holiness was accompanied by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous, and Environs, Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, as well as Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director.