On April 17, 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the services of the worship and Burial of the Cross at St. George Patriarchal Cathedral in Bab Touma in Damascus.
His Holiness was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Yacoub Babawi, Patriarchal Vicar for Monks’ Affairs and Administration of Mor Aphrem Theological Seminary in Maarat Saydnaya, as well as the clergy, monks and seminarians. St. Aphrem Patriarchal Choir in Damascus chanted the special hymns for the occasion.
In his sermon, His Holiness spoke about the last words of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross: it is finished, pointing out to the completion of the salvation on the cross. He spoke about the pain and the hope that these words carry, and how the disciples were remote from Jesus because they thought that His life ended at the cross, not remembering that He came for this act, to drink this bitter cup which He chose to drink, the cup of death on the cross. He explained that the enemies of Christ rejoiced at these words because they thought that His mission on earth had finished; they did not know that with His death He gave us peace and life. His Holiness assured that this sentence “It is finished” declares to us that with His death the Lord gave us salvation. His Holiness prayed for the sick, especially those infected with the corona virus and asked all to repent to God and enjoy the consequences of salvation, as sons of God and not as slaves, as true disciples through whom others believe in Christ by seeing our deeds which reflect love and faith.