His Holiness MORAN MOR IGNATIUS APHREM II
HIS HOLINESS MORAN MOR IGNATIUS APHREM II, the 123nd successor to St. Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch. Born in Kamishly, Syria, the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Issa Karim, His Eminence Metropolitan Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim lost his father at an early age and was raised ,with the rest of his family, by his late and loving mother Khanema. He entered St. Ephrem Theological Seminary in Atchaneh, Lebanon in 1977, following his primary schooling in Kamishly.
On Sunday, January 28, 1996, His Eminence was consecrated as Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar to the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern United States, by His Holiness Patriarch Zakka I Iwas, at St. Marys Syriac Orthodox Church in Kamishly. Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim arrived in The United States on March 2, 1996, and was officially installed to his position at St. Marks Cathedral in Teaneck, New Jersey.
Over the past decade, Archbishop Karim has also established himself as an ecumenist, very much concerned about Christian Unity. He has served on both, the Executive and Central Committees of the World Council of Churches.
On May 29, 2014, Mor Aphrem was consecrated the Patriarch of Antioch by name Ignatius Aphrem II, in a rite presided over by Mor Baselios Thomas I Catholicos of India along with the archbishops of the Holy Synod.
Archbishop & Patriarchal Vicar His Eminence Mor Titus Yeldho
His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas ordained Very Rev. Ramban Yeldho Pathikkal as the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vicar of the Malankara Archdiocese in North America at the solemn function held at the St.Peter and St.Paul Cathedral in the Monastery of St.Aphrem the Syrian, at Ma'arrat Seydnaya, Damascus, Syria. The new Metropolitan was entrusted with the title 'TITHUS' during the consecration ceremony.
His Grace will henceforth known by name 'Mor Tithus Yeldho'. Archbishops from different countries were present to grace the occasion: Mar Gregorios Joseph (Kochi), the synod secretary of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, Mar Julius Kuriakose- Secretary to His Holiness the Patriarch, H.G. Mor Osthathius Matharohom (Syria), Mor Severius Saka Musal (Iraq), Mor Silvanos Pathros (Homs), Mor Athanasius Elia Bahi (Patriarchal Assistant), Mor Cyril Aprem (America). Also were present the 1st secretary of the Indian Embassy in Damascus Mr.R.C.Manchanda, monks, nuns, friends and family members. At the end of the Holy ceremony, the newly consecrated Archbishop thanked His Holiness the Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and all those who were present. He pledged his fidelity to the church and promised to be faithful in imparting the teachings of the church to the faithful.
Our Vicar Rev. Fr. Joseph Varghese
Rev. Fr. Joseph Varghese is hailed from the Kizhakethil family of Vallicodu-Kottayam in Pathananmthitta District. The Kizhakethil family are members of St.Mary's Jacobite Cathedral, Vallicodu-Kottayam. Rev. Fr. Joseph Varghese migrated to USA in the 80s for the pursuit of higher education and settled in New York State. Deacon Joseph attended various educational institutions for secular and religious degrees in USA. Currently Father Joseph is a graduate student at St. Joseph's Seminary, Yonkers, New York specializing in New Testament scriptures.
Father Joseph Varghese is part of growing number of deacons indigeneously trained and ordained for serving in the churches of the Malankara Archdiocease of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the United States.
Father Joseph Varghese was ordained as a Yapodiquono on August 26, 2010 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pathanamthitta by H.G. Yuhannon Militheos, Metropolitan of Thumpamon Diocese. Deacon Joseph was ordained as Shamshono on August 6, 2011 at St. Mary's Jacobite Cathedral at Vallicodu-Kottayam by H.G. Yuhannon Militheos.
Father Joseph was ordained as Kashisho on September 17th, 2011 at St. John the Baptist Syriac Orthodox Church, 167 Scarsdale Road, Tuckahoe, New York by H.E. Titus Yeldho, the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vicar of Malankara Archdioecese of the Syriac Church in the United States
The Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church is the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. He also presides over the Holy Synod, the assembly of all Bishops of the Church.
The local head of the Church in Malankara (India) is the Catholicose of India. The Catholicose is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch and is accountable to the Patriarch, the Holy Synod and the local Malankara Synod. He is consecrated by the Patriarch and presides over the local Holy Synod in India.
The local head of every archdiocese is an Archbishop. He is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch and is accountable to the Holy Synod. The Archbishop is ordained by the Patriarch and at least two Bishops. Some Archdioceses are ‘Patriarchal Vicarates’; the Patriarchal Vicar, regardless of ecclesiastical office, is accountable directly to the Patriarch. The Malankara Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in North America is a Patriarcal Vicarate directly under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch and All The East. The Archdiocese is under the spiritual care of Archbishop His Eminence Mor Titus Yeldho who is the Patriarchal Vicar.
Each parish is assigned a vicar. He is under the direct jurisdiction of his Archbishop and is directly accountable to him. The parish is run by a board of trustees (or a committee) which is elected by the parishioners and approved by the Archbishop.
Deacons assist the Archbishop or Priest in the administration of the liturgy.
There are three ranks of priesthood in the Syriac Orthodox Church:
- Episcopate: Within it there are the ranks of Patriarch, Catholicose, Archbishop, and Bishop.
- Vicarate: Within it there are the ranks of Chor-episcopos and Priest or qasheesho.
- Deaconate: Within it there are the ranks of Archdeacon, Evangelical-Deacon (M’shamshono), Subdeacon (Apodyaqno), Reader (Qoruyo) and Singer (Mzamrono).