On January 15, 2021, on the occasion of the Feast of the Virgin Mary for the Blessing of the sowing, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II celebrated the Holy Qurobo and the funeral for the 40th day of the passing away of Archbishop Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh of blessed memory, at the Lady of the Girdle (Zunoro) Cathedral in Homs.
He was assisted by their Eminences Archbishops: Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar in the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus, Mor Maurice Amsih, Archbishop of Jazeera and Euphrates, Mor Anthimos Jack Yakoub, Patriarchal Vicar for Youth Affairs and Christian Education, and Mor Boutros Kassis, Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Delegate for the Archdiocese of Aleppo and Environs. The Holy Qurobo was also attended by the hierarchs of the sister churches as well as His Excellency Minister of Interior Trade Mr. Talal Barazi.
In his sermon, His Holiness explained that the Syriac church celebrates three special feasts for the Virgin Mary; according to tradition, the church learned these feasts from St. John the Evangelist who took care of the Virgin Mary during her lifetime. In these feasts, we celebrate the blessing of the sowing, the crops and the vineyard. Thus, the Virgin Mary plays an important role in the support of the faithful in their daily lives; they are encouraged to have an intercessor at the times of hardships and tribulations. His Holiness added that the Christian faithful lives heaven on earth and is a witness in this life for his or her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, even though they are different from others by living the calling of Christ to be light for the world and salt for the earth through their deeds and their love for all, manifested in their actions. He then spoke about the great history of the Cathedral of the Lady of the Girdle, which is a living witness of the work of God and the intercession of the Virgin Mary for the people of Homs of all denominations. He spoke about the late Archbishop Mor Selwanos Boutros Al-Nehmeh who served this cathedral for a long period of time, since his childhood to his death where he was taken out of this cathedral to his last resting place in his beloved hometown Sadad. His Holiness reminded that Mor Selwanos endured great pain but never lost hope or his inner peace and joy. He concluded by offering condolences to the Archbishops present as well as to the priests and all the faithful of the Archdiocese.
His Holiness also prayed the special service of the 40th day in memory of the late Archbishop.