His Beatitude Patriarch John arrives in Latakia

His Beatitude Patriarch John arrives in Latakia and performs a prayer of thanksgiving asserting: “We have come to shake the world with the joyful cry of Christ is risen.”
Latakia, May 25, 2024
Latakia, through its land, its people, its plains and mountains, its sea and sky, have welcomed its righteous son, His Beatitude Most Reverend Patriarch John X.
Upon these words and at the invitation of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Shepherd of Latakia and its dependencies, His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios (Fahd); His Beatitude Patriarch ), His Beatitude Patriarch John X arrived in the city of Latakia for a pastoral visit that marks important milestones of rebirth in the history of the diocese.
At the sound of ringing bells, while carrying church flags and welcoming banners, adding to that the music played by the scouts, the whole city of Latakia welcomed His Beatitude Patriarch John X in a popular march decorated with hymns and songs that embraced the joy of the Resurrection.
After the reception, His Beatitude held a thanksgiving prayer in St. George’s Cathedral with the participation of the bishops: Athanasios Fahd (Latakia), Basilios Mansour (Akkar); Silouan Oner (Great Britain); Nicolas Baalbaki (Hama); Efrem Maalouli (Aleppo and Alexandretta), Gregory Khoury (Homs); Antoninos Saad (Houran) and their Graces Bishops: Romanos Al-Hannat, Moussa Al-Khoury, Dimitri Sharbak, Youhanna Batash, Arsanios Dahdal, Moussa Al Khasi and a group of clergymen.
The officials that attended the prayer: the Governor of Latakia, Engineer Amer Ismail Hilal, the Secretary of the Party Branch, Comrade Haitham Ismail, the Chairman of the Security Committee, Major General Nizar Younis, Governorate Police Commander, Major General Abdo Youssef, the Secretary of the University Branch of the Party, Dr. Mirna Ahmed Dalalah, the President of Tishreen University, Professor Dr. Bassam Hassan, the Chairman of the Provincial Council, Engineer Tayseer Habib, Chairman of the City Council, Engineer Hussein Zengerli, Attorney General Judge Bassem Saeed, heads of the security branches, honest and military leaders, members of the People’s Assembly, and members of the branch, governorate, and city councils.
As for the ecclesiastical and religious personalities: HE Archbishop George Khawam (Roman Catholic), HE Makar Ashkaryan (Armenian Orthodox); Monsignor Antoine Shbair (Maronite), the President of Waqfs, HE Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Aliou, and a group of prominent figures, reverend priests, clergymen, monks, and nuns from various churches, groups, associations, Sunday schools, church committees, the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development in Latakia, societies, and large crowds of faithful.
After the prayer, Bishop Athanasios (Fahd) delivered a speech to welcome His Beatitude and the accompanying delegation, saying:
God willing, Your Beatitude has been seated upon this great apostolic throne with all its responsibilities, in very difficult circumstances, such as this cloud of sin, which came from an evil world, has passed over us, and has been covered with its tails Syria and its people. Nonetheless, we are the children of the glory that bear witness to our prosperous history.”
His Eminence continued:
“Your Beatitude, thanks to your wisdom, your knowledge, and your love for the nation and the human being, you have shown great patience, and reliance on your Lord, and have watched over what has been entrusted to you. You have led the way to the right path and have adopted dialogue and openness. Yes, Your Excellency, Syria has presented to the world the most beautiful human mosaic, this work of art with a wide range of religions and sects that have merged into one painting called Syria, just as our churches are chanting today and saying: “Let the light of Christ shine for all”. The light of Christ is not ordinary obligations and is not letters of a certain Law; it is an overflow of love that spreads to all. It is the path of truth and life.”
He concluded: “We thank you, Your Beatitude because you have contributed and taken the initiative to support us in completing the restoration work in St. George’s Cathedral. Allow me to present to Your Beatitude this priestly garment as a memorial of this historic visit.”
After that, there was a speech by the Governor of the city of Latakia, Amer Ismail Hilal, who welcomed His Beatitude to Latakia, where everyone adheres to one religion, which is the religion of God, no matter how many religions and sects there are. Latakia is characterized by love of others and belonging to the homeland, and therefore Latakia is proud of Patriarch John X, the son of its land."
He also commended the great pastoral and social role played by Bishop Athanasios for the sake of the Church and its faithful people.
Then, His Beatitude Patriarch John responded with a word of thanks and said:
“We come today in this glorious Resurrection season. We come to renew and consecrate the Cathedral of Saint George. We come from this place to say that we are twins of this land that we love and adore. We come from this church which has shaken away the rubble of the earthquake. We come to shake the world with our cry, “Christ is Risen.”
His Beatitude added:
“Today we come to prayer for those who died in the earthquake of 2023. I address through you, O Venerable Shepherd Athanasios, the entire Archdiocese of Latakia, and all those who previously took the helm of this parish. I address this God-loving people who wanted their Pascha to be double. I address the history of this archdiocese and all of you, all those who sat on its throne, every resurrected soul. May the people of Latakia be blessed; from this holy land, we send a greeting of peace to Archbishop Paul (Yaziji), who was a servant of this parish, and a greeting of peace to Archbishop John (Ibrahim), who are together on the cross of this Eastern Christianity in their eleventh year amidst a deafening silence about their case.
Then he continued: "We have come to let the world hear our voice: it is time for the calvary of Syria to end. It is time to lift the siege on it. We have not and will not dream of emigrating. Put an end to the sinful policy of starvation. Therefore, today we pray for Syria, Palestine, Gaza, Jerusalem, Lebanon, and all the region, asking the Lord to plant His peace in these lands. We affirm that we are here steadfast, firm, and rooted.”
At the conclusion of his speech, His Beatitude presented the icon of the Virgin Mary to Bishop Athanasios as a token of love and appreciation.
After the prayer, His Beatitude unveiled the memorial plaque chronicling the restoration of St. George's Cathedral.
Then he went to the Archbishopric, where he received the crowd who came to extend their greetings and seek his paternal blessing.