On Saturday 16, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Mr. Alexander Efimov, Russian Ambassador to Damascus, and a delegation from the Russian Embassy, at Mor Aphrem Monastery in Maarat Saydnaya – Rif Dimashq.
Their Eminences Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, and Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Religious Education, attended the meeting.
His Holiness welcomed his guest, and showed his happiness concerning the supporting position of Russia to Syria during the whole crisis, in face of terrorism and black political agendas. He spoke about the projects executed by the patriarchate to relief and help all who suffered in Syria regardless of their belief. He also assured that the Church seeks through these projects to strengthen the Christian presence in Syria, which is related to security and safety, yet also to having job vacancies and opportunities.
His Excellency thanked His Holiness for his welcome, and expressed his respect to the Syriac Orthodox Church, and his happiness to see the Church projects. He also stressed the significance of supporting Christians to remain fixed in the Middle East.
His Eminence Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, then, gave an overview of the work of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC) throughout Syria, and the humanitarian projects of the patriarchate, especially Antioch Syrian University (ASU).
Later, His Eminence, His Excellency, and the delegation, made a tour in ASU where they were informed about the various academic programs offered.
At the end, His Holiness his esteemed guest for lunch.