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St. Mary’s Syriac Orthodox Church, AlQamishly, Syria Mass on 2/20/17

A friend of mine attended mass here today and took these pictures and sent them to me.

Syriac Orthodox Church (Syriac: ܥܺܕܬܳܐ ܣܽܘ̣ܪܝܳܝܬܳܐ ܬܪܺܝܨܰܬ ܫܽܘ̣ܒ̥ܚܳܐ‎), also known as the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Eastern Mediterranean, with a diaspora spread throughout the world, notably in Sweden, India, Germany and the United Kingdom. It employs some of the oldest surviving liturgy in Christianity, the Liturgy of St James the Apostle, with West Syriac as its official and liturgical language. The church has been led by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Aphrem II since 2014.

The Syriac Orthodox Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodoxy, which has been a distinct church body since the schism following the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, although it claims its roots to the first Christian communities in Antioch in AD 37, described in the Acts of the Apostles (New Testament, Acts 11:26) and established by St. Peter the Apostle.

The Syriac Orthodox Church participates in ecumenical discussions, being a member of the World Council of Churches since 1960, where Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas served as a president, and is a member of the Middle East Council of Churches since 1974. The precise differences in theology that caused the schism in AD 451 is said to have arisen “only because of differences in terminology and culture and in the various formulae adopted by different theological schools to express the same matter”, according to a joint declaration in 1984 by the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, and the Roman Catholic Pope John Paul II. However, this view is not universally held by the Eastern Orthodox Church, one of the participants in the Council of Chalcedon. For more information, see: History of Oriental Orthodoxy.

The church presently has about 5 million members divided in 26 archdioceses and 11 patriarchal vicariates. the majority of its followers have origins in India, although they are members of an Autonomous Syriac Orthodox Church based in India known as the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, and their followers are not ethnic Syriacs, but rather an Indian ethno religious group known as Nasranis, or St Thomas Christians. A large amount of Guatemalans and Brazilians have converted to the Syriac Orthodox Church as well due to the efforts of missionaries. However, Ethnic Syriacs (or Assyrians) are from either present-day Turkey, Syria or Iraq and are the ones who follow the main Syriac Orthodox Church based in Damascus since 1959.[3] Prior to that it was located in Southern Turkey, and at other points in Antioch. Wikipedia.

About Sarah Abed (168 Articles)
Independent journalist and political commentator. For media inquiries please email

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