Syriac Catholic Church
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Syriac Catholic Church
Founder Traces ultimate origins to Apostle St. Peter. Patriarch Ignace Michael III Jarweh
Independence Apostolic Era
Recognition 1783 with the Catholic Church
Primate Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians Ignace Joseph III Younan
Headquarters Beirut, Lebanon
Possessions United States, Canada, France, Sweden, Venezuela, Brazil and Australia
Language Syriac, Arabic, French, English.
Website — http://www.cnewa.us/default.aspx?ID=65&IndexView&pagetypeID=9&sitecode=US&pageno=1
The Syriac Catholic Church, or Syrian Catholic Church, is a Christian church in the Levant having practices and rites in common with the Syriac Orthodox Church. They are one of the Eastern Catholic Churches following the Antiochene rite, the Syriac tradition of Antioch, along with the Maronites and Syro-Malankara Christians. This is distinct from the Greek Byzantine rite of Antioch of the Melkites, both Orthodox and Catholic. Their head, the Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, lives in Beirut. They have a separate church organization from the Melkites, Maronites, and Chaldeans, which are other communities of the Levant also in full communion with Rome.
The Patriarch of Antioch of this church has the title of Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians and resides in Beirut, Lebanon.
In 2009, the newly-elected Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan became the head of the Syriac Catholic Church.
The Syriac Catholic Church belongs to the See of Antioch (which, prior to his departure to Rome, Saint Peter had established) and extends it roots back to the origins of Christianity in the Orient. And in the Acts of the Apostles we are told that it is in Antioch where the followers of Jesus for the first time were called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
In the time of the first Ecumenical Councils, the Patriarch of Antioch held the ecclesiastical authority over the Diocese of the Orient, which was to be extended from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. Its scholarly mission in both languages: the Greek and Syriac was to provide the world and the Universal Church with eminent saints, scholars, hermits and pastors. Among these great people are Saint Ephrem (373), Doctor of the Church, Saint Jacob of Sarug (521) Dionysius Bar Salibi (1171) and Gregorius X Bar Hebraeus (1286).
In modern history the leaders of the Syriac Catholic Church have been among others: Patriarch Michael III Jarweh, Archbishop Clemens Daoud, Patriarch Ephrem Rahmani, Vicomte de Tarrazi, Monsignor Ishac Armaleh, Ignatius Gabriel I Tappouni, Chorbishop Gabriel Khoury-Sarkis, Ignace Antoine II Hayek, Ignatius I Daoud, Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad and presently Ignace Joseph III Younan
The Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians presides upon the Patriarchal Eparchy of Beirut and leads spiritually all the Syriac Catholic Community around the world.
The community includes two archdioceses in Iraq, four in Syria, one in Egypt and Sudan, a Patriarchal Vicariate in the Holy Land, a Patriarchal Vicariate in Turkey and our Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance in the United States and Canada.
The Syriac Rite is rooted in the old tradition of both the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch and has ties with the ancient Jewish Berakah and is usually called the Western Syriac Rite. The main Syriac Liturgy is called the "Anaphora of Saint James" (brother of the Lord).
Their ancient Semitic language is known as Aramaic (or "Syriac" after the time of Christ since the majority of people who spoke this language belonged to the province of "Syria"). It is the same language that was spoken by Jesus, Mary and the Apostles and is still the language used during the liturgy. Many of the ancient hymns of the Church are still maintained in this native tongue although several have been translated into Arabic, English, French and other languages to benefit the faithful.
Syriac is still spoken in some few communities in eastern Syria and northern Iraq, but for most, Arabic is the vernacular language .
The Syriac Catholic Church was formally and officially united with Rome in 1781.
Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese in the United States and Canada has nine parishes; seven in the United States and two in Canada.
The formation of the Church
During the Crusades there were many examples of warm relations between Catholic and Syriac ("Syrian") Orthodox bishops. Some of these bishops seemed favourable to union with Rome, but no concrete results were achieved. There was also a decree of union between the Syriac Orthodox and Rome at the Council of Florence November 30, 1444 but the effects of this decree were rapidly annulled by opponents of the union among the Syriac hierarchy.
Jesuit and Capuchin missionaries began to work among the Syriac Orthodox faithful at Aleppo in 1626. So many of them were received into communion with Rome that in 1662, when the Patriarchate had fallen vacant, the Catholic party was able to elect one of its own, Andrew Akhidjan, as Patriarch of the Syriac Church. This provoked a split in the community, and after Akhidjan’s death in 1677 two opposing patriarchs were elected, one being the uncle of the other, representing the two parties (one pro-Catholic, the other anti-Catholic). But when the Catholic Patriarch died in 1702, this very brief line of Catholic Patriarchs upon the Syriac Church's See of Antioch died out with him.
The Ottoman government supported the Syriac Orthodox's agitation against the Syriac Catholics, and throughout the 18th century the Syriac Catholics underwent suffering and much persecution. There were long periods when no Syriac Catholic bishops were functioning, and the community was forced to go entirely underground.
In 1782 the Syriac Orthodox Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Michael Jarweh of Aleppo as Patriarch. Shortly after he was enthroned, he declared himself Catholic and in unity with the Pope of Rome. After this declaration Jarweh took refuge in Lebanon and built the still-extant monastery of Our Lady at Sharfeh. Since Jaroueh there has been an unbroken succession of Syriac Catholic Patriarchs.
In 1829 the Turkish government granted legal recognition to the Syriac Catholic Church, and the residence of the Patriarch was established at Aleppo in 1831. Catholic missionary activity resumed. Because the Christian community at Aleppo had been severely persecuted, the Patriarchate was moved to Mardin (now in southeast Turkey) in 1850.
The steady Syriac Catholic expansion at the expense of the Syriac Orthodox was ended by the persecutions and massacres that took place during World War I (Assyrian genocide). More than half of the 75,000 Syriac Catholics were massacred by Turkish nationalists (especially so-called Young Turks). In the early 1920s the Catholic Patriarchal residence was therefore moved to Beirut, to which many Syriac Catholics had fled from Turkish and intra-Syria terror.
The Syriac Catholic Patriarch always takes the name "Ignatius" in addition to another name. Although Syriac Catholic priests were bound to celibacy by the Syriac Catholic local Synod of Sharfeh in 1888, there are now a number of married priests. A patriarchal seminary and printing house are located at Sharfeh Monastery in Lebanon.
The Syriac Catholic Church uses the West Syrian Rite.
Patriarchal Archeparchy of Beirut
Metropolitan of Damascus
Metropolitan of Homs
Archeparchy of Aleppo
Archeparchy of Hassaké and Nisibi
Archeparchy of Baghdad and Kuwait
Archeparchy of Mosul
Eparchy of Cairo
Patriarchal Exarchate of Bassorah and Kuwait
Patriarchal Exarchate of Jerusalem and the Holy Land
Patriarchal Exarchate of Turkey
Patriarchal Territory of Sudan
Rest of the World
Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark (United States and Canada)
Apostolic Exarchate of Venezuela
Patriarchal Vicariate of Brazil
Patriarchal Vicariate of Australia and New Zealand
Patriarchal Vicariate of Sweden
Patriarchal Vicariate of France
Patriarchal Procurate vis-a-vis the Holy See in Rome
As of 2010, the Church is estimated to have 159,000 faithful, 10 bishops, 85 parishes, 106 secular priests, 12 religious-order priests, 102 men and women in religious orders, 11 permanent deacons, and 31 seminarians.
Claude Sélis, Les Syriens orthodoxes et catholiques, Brepols (col. Fils d'Abraham), Bruxelles, 1988, OCLC 20711473
Jean-Pierre Valognes, Vie et mort des Chrétiens d'Orient, Fayard, Paris, 1994, ISBN 2-213-03064-2
1.^ a b Syrian Catholic Church
3.^ The title of Patriarch of Antioch is also claimed by four other churches.
4.^ Ronald Roberson (source: Annuario Pontificio) (August 22, 2010). "The Eastern Catholic Churches 2010". Catholic Near East Welfare Association. http://www.cnewa.us/source-images/Roberson-eastcath-statistics/eastcatholic-stat10.pdf.
Syrian Catholic Church - from the website of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
Giga Catholic page on the Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch
Opus Libani site: Syriac Catholic Church in Lebanon (French)
Encyclopaedia of the Orient – Syrian Catholic Church
Catholic Churches (German)
And this, fromthe CNEWA website:
The Syrian Catholic Church
During the Crusades there were many examples of warm relations between Catholic and Syrian Orthodox bishops. Some Syrian bishops seemed favorable to union with Rome, but no concrete results were achieved. There was also a decree of union between Syrian Orthodox and the Catholic Church at the Council of Florence (Multa et Admirabilia of November 30, 1444), but this also came to nothing.
Jesuit and Capuchin missionaries began to work among the Syrian Orthodox faithful at Aleppo in 1626. So many Syrians were received into communion with Rome that in 1662, when the Patriarchate had fallen vacant, the Catholic party was able to elect one of its own, Andrew Akhidjan, as Patriarch. This provoked a split in the community, and after Akhidjan’s death in 1677 two opposed patriarchs were elected, an uncle and nephew, representing the two parties. But when the Catholic Patriarch died in 1702, this brief line of Syrian Catholic Patriarchs died out with him.
The Ottoman government supported the Oriental Orthodox against the Catholics, and throughout the 18th century the Catholic Syrians underwent much suffering and persecution. There were long periods when no Syrian Catholic bishops were functioning, and the community was forced underground.
In 1782 the Syrian Orthodox Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Michael Jarweh of Aleppo as Patriarch. Shortly after he was enthroned, he declared himself Catholic, took refuge in Lebanon and built the still-extant monastery of Our Lady at Sharfeh. After Jarweh there has been an unbroken succession of Syrian Catholic Patriarchs.
In 1829 the Turkish government granted legal recognition to the Syrian Catholic Church, and the residence of the Patriarch was established at Aleppo in 1831. Catholic missionary activity resumed. Because the Christian community at Aleppo had been severely persecuted, the Patriarchate was moved to Mardin (now in southern Turkey) in 1850.
Steady Syrian Catholic expansion at the expense of the Syrian Orthodox was ended by the persecutions and massacres that took place during World War I. In the early 1920s the Patriarchal residence was moved to Beirut, to which many Syrian Catholics had fled.
The Syrian Catholic Patriarch always takes the name Ignatius in addition to another name. Although Syrian Catholic priests were bound to celibacy at the Synod of Sharfeh in 1888, there are now a number of married priests. A patriarchal seminary and printing house are located at Sharfeh Monastery in Lebanon.
The largest concentrations of Syrian Catholics are found in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. The common language is Arabic, although Syriac is still spoken in a few villages in eastern Syria and northern Iraq.
A community of nuns, known as the Ephremite Sisters or Daughters of the Mother of Mercy, was founded by the Syrian Catholic Patriarch in 1901. The community was dispersed during World War I, and reestablished in 1958. In 2003 the order had 11 sisters in Lebanon and six in Syria, along with ten novices. Since 1970 it has directed St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Batha, Lebanon, which over the years has given shelter to some 900 girls.
A diocese for Syrian Catholics in the United States and Canada, Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark, was founded in 1995. The first bishop is Joseph Younan (502 Palisade Avenue, Union City, New Jersey 07087). The diocese includes five parishes and four missions in the United States, and two parishes and one mission in Canada. In Australia contact Msgr. Michael Berbari, 60 Kingsland Road, Beralla 2141.
Location: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, diaspora
Head: Ignatius Joseph III Younan (born 1944, elected 2009)
Title: Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians
Residence: Beirut, Lebanon
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2009