|Metropolitan Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim
(Aleppo) of the Syrian Orthodox Church welcomed the opportunity for greater
cooperation with the Seventh-day Adventist Church during a visit to the
Adventist World Church Headquarters on July 2.
"For the Syrian Orthodox Church it is a new day to have a relationship
with the Adventist Church. We need to work to develop better relationships
between Christians," said Ibrahim, who is metropolitan of Aleppo, Syria,
noting that the Syrian Council of Churches has 11 different denominational
The group has visited Adventist institutions in California, Michigan, and Florida. At the close of the meeting, Metropolitan Ibrahim presented a plaque of the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic, which he also read aloud. [98/22/01]
Historical Background: The Syrian Orthodox Church
The Syrian Orthodox Church traces its history to A.D. 37 and holds the traditions of St Peter's work. The church suffered severe persecution during the struggle against Hellenistic domination at the time of the council of Chalcedon, and later through Mongol invasions and Turkish rule. The patriarchate had to be moved several times until it was established in Damascus in this country. Syrian liturgical and theological life flourished until the 13th century but steadily declined afterwards. The monastic movement produced many universally acknowledges saints and contributed enormously to the creation of a rich liturgical tradition. In 1665, the Antiochian church came into contact with the ancient church of St Thomas Christians in India, and the West Syrian liturgy was thus introduced to the Christians in South India. Though the Syrian church is vastly reduced in number because of Muslim domination, it has a considerable diaspora in the US, Australia and Europe. The Syrian Orthodox Church joined the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 1961, at the New Delhi assembly.