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Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas celebrated the Holy Mass in Antioch
Antioch for one does relived historic times. It was the most populous city and cultural centre of the Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria, it kept this reputation during its Christian period as well. This city, where the name Christians was first mentioned, occupies an important place in the thought and history of Syriac Christianity. The Syrians established the school of Antioch, which represented Aristotalian thinking in contrast to the Platonian school of thought in Alexandria. This way of thinking then influenced such leading centres Syriac cultural places like Edessa (Urfa), Harran, Nisibis and Gundeshapur as well as other cultural places. In the Christological controversies of the 5th century Aristotelian and Platonian thought undoubtedly played a great role.
Antioch, with its spiritual and cultural riches, has a different history in every Syriac Christian heart. This place acccommodated the patriarchate of the Syriac Church until 518. After the 6th century though, the patriarchate was no longer in this city. Nevertheless it continued to hold and still holds the title of Antioch and all the East until today.
These days Antioch came to be the venue for celebrations on the occasion of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ. His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and the attendants of the synod visited Antioch on Saturday 1 April, 2000. On 2 April, His Holiness, having celebrated Holy Mass in the church of St Peter, which was established in 37 AD, said the following: Christianity was spread from this city. Therefore, Antioch is regarded as Gods city. It is the most important city of Christianity after Jerusalem. It has also a special place in the heart of every Syriac Christian. Our ancestors made great efforts for Syriac Christianity in Antioch. Many fell as martyrs as a result. The reason we are here is to visit the relics of those holy people.
During the two days His Holiness stayed in Antioch, he gave a press conference and paid several official visits to the authorities accompanied by the Archbishop of Turabdin, Timotheos, and the Archbishop of Istanbul, Filoxenus, besides lay representatives of the communities in Turabdin and Istanbul. Visits were paid to the governor of Antioch, to the security chief of the province and to the mayor of Antioch.
The Mass was attended by 18 bishops, 14 monks and many other people from Antioch, Turabdin, Mardin, Elazig, Istanbul and from different countries in Europe and around the world. The people of Antioch for two days enjoyed the Syriac Hymns chanted by the whiterobed deacons in the streets of Antioch.
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