On March 8, 2019, for the occasion of the sixty-years anniversary of devotional life of His Eminence Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II presided over the Holy Qurobo, which was celebrated by His Eminence in Mor Jacob of Serugh Cathedral in Sabtieh, Mount Lebanon.
His Beatitude Mor Ignatius Joseph III Younan attended the Holy Qurobo along with their Eminences and Excellencies Archbishops representatives of the various Churches. His Excellency Amine Gemayel, Former Lebanese President, and their Excellencies Members of the Lebanese Parliament: Majed Eddy Abi Lama, Edgar Traboulsi, and Antoine Pano, as well as representatives of the formal body, and the Church organizations, in addition to a large crowd of faithful.
In his sermon, His Holiness considered that the best way to celebrate is by being gathered around the table of the Lord. He spoke about the life of consecration, considering that “consecration is submitting one’s self for the service of the Lord; in this is the greatness of the Lord revealed, in choosing a normal man and making him a shepherd for His flock, servant of His Holy Mysteries, and steward on His household”. He added: “His Eminence Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba has consecrated himself for the service of the Lord and that of man, for one cannot fulfill the first without completing the latter”. His Holiness then described His Eminence and his love for the Holy Church, and steadfast faith, and defending the Church against all offenders.
His Holiness then moved to talk about the leading role of His Eminence in Lebanon, especially during the Lebanese civil war, when His Eminence used to go to the streets to help the wounded regardless of their doctrine and faith. Speaking to His Eminence, His Holiness said: “The Lord God has sent you to this country and to this dear Archdiocese during days of hardship, where man was worth only one bullet, for He does not leave Himself without witnesses and faithful servants.”
His Holiness noted that Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba has made the commandment of the Lord his slogan: “that you shall love your Lord… and you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
He concluded saying: “You are dear brother, whom we all love, their Eminences the Archbishops, and all the beloved ones. In the name of all of those, we congratulate you on this occasion, and thank God who gave your to the Church and to the country. We pray that you stay ministering to this dear archdiocese and to the Holy Church for long years to come.”
His Eminence Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba wrote a word for the occasion in which he spoke of his sixty years of Church service. He said: “I tried through these sixty years to work, teach, and learn; I failed sometimes yet succeeded others; I admit my weaknesses which are the orbit of my stay in this existence.”
His Eminence added: “I lived all these years aspiring the remaining city, heavenly Jerusalem, which is the desire of every true Christian. I thank and praise God for everything.” He continued: “I have never hesitated to do good, offer good counseling and generously give from the bottom of my heart, keeping in mind the saying of Solomon the Wise: ‘Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so’ (Proverbs 3:27).”
He explained: “I did not withhold offering help to any needy or seeker, whether spiritually, morally, or materially. My motto has always been the commandment of the Lord Jesus: ‘Freely you have received, freely give’ (Matthew 10:8).”
Finally, His Eminence thanked His Holiness for his overwhelming love: “I pray the Lord God to keep His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II a Shepherd, primate, and wise father for our Church.” He also thanked all those who showed love to him, especially “the faithful of my beloved Archdiocese of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, and all the friends and beloved.”
Their Eminences: Mor Theophilus Georges Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, Mor Dioscoros Benjamin Atas, Patriarchal Vicar in Sweden, Mor Severius Malke Mourad, Patriarchal Vicar in Brazil, Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nemeh, Archbishop of Homs, Hama, Tartous and Environs, Mor Athanasius Elia Bahi, Patriarchal Vicar in Canada, Mor Justinos Boulos Safar, Patriarchal Vicar in Zahleh and Bekaa, Mor Gregorius Malke Urek, Patriarchal Vicar in Adiyaman and its Environs, Mor Clemis Daniel Kourieh, Archbishop of Beirut, Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern United States of America, Mor Chrysostomos Mikhael Chamoun, Patriarchal Vicar and Director of the Patriarchal Benevolent Institutions in Atchaneh, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and Environs, and Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Al-Jazeerah and Euphrates, attended the Qurobo.