His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, concluded a maiden apostolic visit to the Sultanate of Oman. The highlight of the five-day visit was the consecration of the new church, Mor Shmouni, in Ghala, Muscat, Oman, on 10 May.
Besides visiting Muscat, His Holiness also flew to Salalah, about 1,200 kilometres south of capital Muscat in Dhofar Governorate, and celebrated Holy Eucharist at the St John’s Church. The Patriarch also led holy liturgy at two other churches located at the compound of the Protestant Church in Oman (PCO), Ruwi, the main business district of Muscat. These were the St Thomas Orthodox Church, and St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, Ruwi. The PCO is a partnership between the Reformed Church of America and the Anglican Church and oversees more than 60 sponsor congregations that meet at the Ruwi and Ghala campuses.
His Holiness expressed his happiness to be with his spiritual children from the Syriac Indian Church in Oman, especially the consecration which is, he said, the “House of God.” The Patriarch said the consecration of the house of worship is what makes it a holy place where the faithful can gather in the name of the Lord, praise Him and offer Holy Eucharist.