In response to the call by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, and despite the major earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria in February 2023, and the other ongoing uncertainties in the Middle East that took an unprecedented development in October 2023, which affected the world, adding to the woes in Europe of the war, the Syriac Orthodox community worldwide answered the call, and learned more about this great saint and savvy theologian throughout the year 2023.
The clergy, as always, were eager to teach and the faithful were very keen to know more about such a great saint.
For example, the St Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Church in Perth, Australia, under the leadership of V. Rev. Fr. Boutros Touma Issa, featured Mor Philoxinous of Mabough’s image on the 2023 calendar, providing a brief glimpse on this saint’s way of thinking. Also, the church published on its website a brochure on the life and writings of this great saint.
Still in Perth, in western Australia, an official personalized Australian stamp was ordered and displayed at the church on this saint’s feast in December 2023 when special prayers were held. An image of the saint (that was used to produce the stamp) was distributed to the faithful in December 2023, as a blessing to their homes. This image was designed to include few lines of the life of this saint to always remind the faithful of the greatness of this saint in our Syriac Orthodox Church.
At the Syrian Orthodox church in Germany, H.E. Mor Philoxinous Mattias Nayis was extremely active, and continued teaching about this saint by touring some of the churches in the archdiocese (some 100 churches around Germany) communicating with the faithful about this great saint’s life, theological thoughts, writings, and sacrifices for the beloved church.
The Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, including the St Ephraim the Syrian Seminary, led by the seminary president H.E. Mor Yacoub Babawi, and the Department of Syriac Studies led by the director H.E. Mor Severus Roger Akhras, were hubs of activities, with different conferences and documentaries providing information about this great saint. For example, H.E. Akhras was the main researcher and contributor in a six-part documentary of six hours “Lover of Strangers” that was aired during December 2023 and early January 2024 on the Patriarchal TV channel Suboro TV. In this documentary, H.E. Akhras talks about the early life of Mor Philoxinous, his writings specifically to the monks, his theological thoughts, his orthodoxy, and the influence of this saint’s thoughts on the Christian and Syriac way of thinking. Throughout the series, H.E. Akhras highlights the simplicity yet the complexity of the theological thoughts of Mor Philoxinous.
In addition, and in co-operation between the St Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Seminary in Ma’arat Sednaya and the Department of Syriac Studies, on 21 October 2023, under the patronage of H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, an academic conference was held at the seminary. The conference was attended by the clergy and seminarians as well as guests from other communities. The talks given in this conference were recorded and later published on Suboro TV.
Another academic conference was held on 2 December 2023 by the Department of Syriac Studies, in cooperation with the Archdiocese in Eastern US, and Beth Mardutho in the US with the full participation from the Patriarchate in the person of H.E. Mor Severus Roger Akhras, and other clergy. The speakers were clergy from the Syrian Orthodox Church, as well as representatives of American academia.
The topics in these two conferences ranged from the biography of Mor Philoxinous of Mabough to more complex spiritual thoughts and inspirations.
Some of these conference lectures were aired on Suboro TV, and some of the speakers were guests at the Urhoy channel in India talking about this saint.
May the prayers and supplications of Mor Philoxinous of Mabough (523+) be with all. Amen.