The Enthronement of His Eminence Ephraim Maalouli…
The Enthronement of His Eminence Ephraim Maalouli as Metropolitan over the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, Alexandretta and Dependencies.
Aleppo, December 10, 2021
“The Enthronement is a new book in my life and the life of this parish.”
"His Eminence Paul, with his many gifts, gave the spirit a meaning when he embodied it as a letter lining up in words, thus writing books that explained the faith and leading many to It... He is the link that connects me to the chain of metropolitans over this great archdiocese and who have imprinted an honorable history”.
With these words, His Eminence Ephraim Maalouli adorned his speech at his enthronement as Metropolitan over the Archdiocese of Aleppo, Alexandretta and Dependencies in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Elijah the Prophet in Aleppo. The service was presided over by His Beatitude Patriarch John X.
The procession of Patriarch John X, the new Metropolitan, and the participating delegations entered to the sound of the Prophet Elijah scouts playing and victory arches, amid the crowds’ ululations and chants screaming “Deserving of.” The flags were raised with the word Axios inscribed on them. They were interrupted by luminous candles and Christmas decorations, which confirmed that Aleppo insisted on keeping Its head high and on shaking off the dust of pain.
Besides His Beatitude, Metropolitans George Abou Zakhem (Homs and Dependencies), Ignatius Al-Houshi (France and Western and Southern Europe), Ghattas Hazim (Baghdad, Kuwait and Dependencies), Antonios El Soury (Zahle, Baalaback and Dependencies), Nicolas Baalbaki (Hama and Dependencies) as well as Their Graces, Bishops Mousa al-Khoury, Demetrios Charbak, Gregorios Khoury, Youhanna Batsh, Arsanios Dahdal and a group of priests and deacons from different dioceses participated in the enthronement service.
The papal ambassador to Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari, and their Eminences the Metropolitans, the heads of Christian churches in Aleppo, The head of Syrian People's Assembly, Hammouda al-Sabbagh, represented by the member of the People's Assembly, Mr. Abdo Moussalli, the Minister of Religious Endowments Mohammad Abdul-Sattar Al-Sayed, represented by the Director of Aleppo Endowments, Dr. Muhammad Rami Al-Obeid, the Minister of Interior, Major General Khaled Rahmon, represented by the Aleppo Police Commander, Major General Issam Al-Shali, the Governor of Aleppo, Mr. Hussein Diab, the Secretary of the Aleppo Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, Comrade Ahmed Mansour, and the Secretary of the Aleppo University Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, Dr. Ibrahim Hadid, represented by Comrade Louay Shashi, member of the Baath branch command at the university of Aleppo, His Excellency the former The Minister of National Defense of Lebanon, Mr. Yaacoub Al-Sarraf, many members of the People’s Assembly in Aleppo, the Mufti of Aleppo Sheikh Mahmoud Akkam, and Archimandrite Isaac Bandali at the head of a delegation representing His Eminence Athanasius Metropolitan of Limassol in Cyprus, their Eminences, scholars and sheikhs, the head of the security and military committee in Aleppo, Major General Barakat Barakat, the first attorney general in Aleppo, Judge Ammar Muladi, Sheikh Hussam Katerji, the heads of security branches, army officers and general managers, the members of the Diocesan Council, the responsible for church bodies, events, institutions and charities, and a large crowd of faithful who came from Aleppo and from all the dioceses and parishes were all among the attendees.
After His Beatitude enthroned the new Metropolitan Ephraim Maalouli, the elected Bishop, Moussa El-Khasi, delivered a speech where he stated:
“Long years of suffering have passed on our homeland and our city, Aleppo Al-Shahba, thus exhausting the people and stone. Hence the question about the quality of the future and how to live it arises. The Lord divinely consoles us with the nativity of Christ. The nativity offers us a chance to shake off the dust of aches to build a stage of healing and cooperation because our archdiocese will never surrender. Yes, it is time for rest, Your Beatitude. This diocese makes a covenant before you, its new pastor, and before His Eminence Paul, who have exerted all his efforts in the archdiocese till the very end. The covenant is renewed and the archdiocese vows that it will not rest except by resurrection and rising high. The purpose of this ordination service is to inaugurate a new stage of striving and hope, with the determination and love of Its pastor, Metropolitan Ephraim Maalouli.
Then His Beatitude Patriarch John X said:
“I wanted to be with you and among you in Aleppo to enthrone a dear brother and hand him the tasks of the archdiocese in this wounded city by the kidnapping of its pastor. Yes, we enthrone you and tell you to be encouraged and strengthened so that you can crack the waves of the sea and lead your new people from every fault or impurity. This enthronement represents ministry and responsibility, and we have handed over to the new Metropolitan, the citizen of Jdeideh, Artouz, Damascus, and my witness in him has been undoubtful and justified since the day I knew him until the present day”.
His Beatitude continued:
“Antioch who is loving for its Lord, Jesus Christ, has been cracking the waves. Allow me to convey my appreciation to everyone who has contributed to alleviating the suffering of the parishioners, especially Archimandrite Moussa Al-Khasi and the nuns. Our message today is to remain steadfast on earth despite everything because we are a rock originating from this East. I also address our parishioners in Alexandretta and Antioch with a good salutation, and I convey to you the salutation of Damascus: You are always mentioned in our hearts and prayers.”
Then, the Mufti of Aleppo, Dr. Mahmoud Akam, delivered the speech of the Minister of Religious Endowments Abdul-Sattar al-Sayyid, saying:
“I address your Beatitude and His Eminence the new Metropolitan Ephraim Maalouli and the elected Bishop Moussa Al-Khasi with greetings and congratulations, and we say to the new Metropolitan that we are supporting you and we will work hand in hand for the wellbeing of our society, for it to become a society of love and peace.”
In a related context, Metropolitan Youhanna Janbart delivered the speech of the heads of the Christian churches in Aleppo, mainly saying:
“Dear Archbishop Ephraim Maalouli, we have been informed that you are one of the pioneers of ecumenical work, that you are aware of the remarkable ecumenical path in our city, and that your eleven brethren Bishops of Aleppo meet periodically throughout the year. Thus, you notice us waiting for you together, hoping to see you adding your acclaimed energies to ours, so we can improve the effectiveness of service work for the sake of people of this country.”
A speech by Professor Naseem Afisa from the Diocesan Council followed:
“The election of the new Metropolitan Ephraim Maalouli is a new joy for the diocese, which has suffered for many years of harsh trials. Today, with your presence, Your Beatitude, the joy is doubled with the presence of the righteous father. We hope that Aleppo remains in your thoughts and hearts”.
As for the closing speech, the new Metropolitan Ephraim Maalouli addressed with words sparking the hearts of the attendees with a flame of hope with the diocese’s nativity. After thanking His Beatitude, the members of the Holy Antiochian Synod, and Archimandrite Moussa Al-Khasi and his family, His Eminence said:
“The ordination is a response to the call of the Lord who has called me to carry out pastoral care. Thus, the Lord has crowned me with responsibility entrusted by His Beatitude. I decided to make it a crown of glory and pride for the city of Aleppo. The ordination is the joy of the meeting between the pastor and his parish in this ecclesial wedding. It is the meeting of hearts that will cry together and rejoice together”.
The enthronement is a new book in my life and the life of this Archdiocese. On the first page, God writes the title: “I am the Good Shepherd, and the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” That is why our journey together in Aleppo will begin, and the archdiocese’s door will be open to everyone, and I along with the priests of this Archdiocese will be at your ministry, and we will work together, clergy and laity, for the wellbeing of our church. Consider me an Aleppian and every citizen of Aleppo will be close to me, as well as every person who desires to make of his heart an altar to the Lord and to his neighbor, where he sacrifices himself as an offering of love for God and every brother in humanity.
During the recitation of his official speech, Metropolitan Ephraim Maalouli presented a cross of blessing to His Beatitude John X, to raise It in His right hand, and to continue with the blessing of Metropolitan Ephraim and the faithful people of Antioch.
He also presented to Metropolitan Paul Yazigi an icon that will remain in Aleppo, the city, to which he has always contributed and loved.
Finally, he gifted his mother the first cross that His Beatitude had given him when he was ordained, Archimandrite.
After the prayer, His Beatitude and the new metropolitan accepted the congratulations of the faithful people in an atmosphere that confirmed that the nativity of Aleppo emerged early to pull the city out of silence and to announce the true nativity in Aleppo.
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