Moran Mor Ignatuis Aphrem II, the 122nd successor to St. Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch, Born in Kamishly, Syria on May 3, 1965, the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Issa Karim, His Holiness 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’s Theological Seminary in Atchaneh, Lebanon in 1977, following his primary schooling in Kamishly. In 1982, His Holiness served the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, Syria, for the next two years. From 1984 to 1988, as Archbishop Karim he pursued higher studies at the Coptic Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt, graduating with a Bachelor Degree of Divinity.
In 1985, His Holiness took the vows of a monk, and put himself in the service of the Church. He was ordained to the diaconate in Egypt, and later the same year, to the sacred priesthood in Kamishly. From 1988 to 1989, His Holiness served as both, the secretary of the late His Holiness, Moran Mor Zakka I Iwas, Syrian Orhtodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and as a teacher at St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Damascus, Syria.
In 1991, He entered St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland, where he received a License of Sacred Theology Degree, in 1992, and his Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1994, following a defense of his doctoral thesis on The Symbolism of the cross in early Syriac Christianity
On Sunday, January 28, 1996, Hewas 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. Mary ‘s 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. Mark’s Cathedral in Teaneck, New Jersey.
He had a special concern for the youth of the Archdiocese; in his first year as an Archbishop, he established the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocesan Youth Organization (SOAYO), which coordinates the ministry of all youth organizations of the parishes of the Archdiocese. His commitment to them was shown right from the start, when he immediately held a number of youth gatherings and conferences, as well as being instrumental in establishing an Archdiocesan Scholarship Program to benefit the students. He shared the youth with the Church’s deep concern for them, and fielded many questions related to faith and other specific concerns they had. He encouraged them to do their best to work together as one family for the growth and advancement of the Holy Church. He, likewise, helped organize Annual Youth Retreats throughout the Archdiocese, for both younger and older youth. He was also responsible for the creation of a special Monthly Youth Liturgy, to bring the young people of the various parishes in the New Jersey/New York area, to give them a chance to participate fully in the Eucharistic Celebration. Consequently, He called for the establishment of the Archdiocesan Choral Society, comprised of musically talented children from different parishes of the Archdiocese.This group performed in several concerts and produced two Hymnal recordings; one for Christmas and the other for Maundy Thursday Service.
The Syriac Orthodox Scouts of America is another organization of the youth that is dear to His Holiness’s heart, and he does his best to attend to encourage them.
Likewise, He showed his great concern to the adult members in our community. Under his guidance and leadership, a Pre-marital Counseling Program has been created in the parishes of the Archdiocese, to help young people prepare for their Christian married life. This includes an opportunity for them to meet with His Eminence and local clergy, to discuss matters of common concerns, that help assure lasting and successful marriages.
He also realized how important is to respect and honor the elderly. In this regard, he established an Annual Elderly Liturgy Service, that brings together the elderly members of local parishes to share in the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and to spend a special time of recognition and appreciation.
In the field of education, He blessed and encouraged the establishment of the Archdiocesan Sunday School Committee; a body of Sunday School principals and teachers, who had been working together with His Eminence and local clergy, in the creation of a Unified Sunday School Program for the parishes. As a result of the Committee’s outstanding efforts, a series of unified lesson plans and materials have been prepared, and have proven invaluable in helping to introduce students to the Orthodox faith and traditions of the Holy Church.
Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas I(July 22, 1929) is Maphriyono/Catholicos of Syriac Orthodox Church and the regional head of Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church. His official Title is Catholicose of India although sometimes called Catholicose of the East. It was on 26th July 2002 His Beatitude was enthroned as the Catholicos and the head of the Church in India. He is the regional head of the 1.5 million Syriac Christians of India, a Christian community believed to have been established by Apostle St. Thomas in a place called Maliyankara, near North Paravur in South India in AD. 52.
His Eminence Mor Titus Yeldho
Born On: July 22, 1970
Family Name: Pathickal Family of Perumbavoor (Ankamaly Diocese), Kerala, India
Education: Bachelors and Masters in Mathematics from the U.C. College, Alwaye, Kerala, India;
Bachelors in Education (B.Ed) from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India
Theological Studies: Theological Seminary at Damascus, Syria;Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary, Udaygiri, Kerala, India;
Master’s of Divinity from the St. Vladmir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, New York, USADeacon: Ordained as Reader (Qoruyo) on October 28, 1982 by the late His Grace Mor Athanasius Paulose (Kadavil)Ordained as Sub-Deacon (Apodyaqno) on March 20, 1998 by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Was
Ordained as Full Deacon (M’smshono) on December 6, 1998 by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
Ramban (Monk): Ordained on September 26, 1998 by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
Kassiso (Priest): Ordained on September 5, 1999 by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
Metropolitan (Bishop): Consecrated on January 4, 2004 by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas as the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vicar of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch and All The East, Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas consecrated Very Rev. Ramban Yeldho Pathickal as the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vicar of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America on January 4, 2004 at the solemn function held at the Monastery of St. Aphrem the Syrian, at Ma’arrat Seydnaya, Damascus, Syria. The new Metropolitan was given the Episcopal name ‘TITUS’ during the consecration ceremony. Archbishops from different countries were present to grace the occasion: H. G. Mor Gregorios Joseph (secretary of the Regional Synod in India), H. G. Mor Julius Kuriakose (First Secretary to His Holiness the Patriarch), H. G. Mor Osthatheos Matta Roham (Jazira & Euphrates, Syria), H. G Mor Severius Isak Saka (Mosul, Iraq), H. G. Mor Silvanos Pathros (Homs, Syria), H. G. Mor Athanasius Elia Bahi (Patriarchal Assistant, Damascus), H. E. Mor Cyril Aprem Karim (Eastern U.S.A). 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 Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and all those who were present. He pledged his allegiance to the Holy Syriac Orthodox Church and promised to be faithful in imparting the teachings of the Church to the faithful. Born in 1970 to Pathickal P. M. Kuriakose and Sosamma, His Eminence belongs to the Perumbavoor Bethel Suloko Cathedral of the Ankamaly Diocese in India. His primary education was at the Asram High School, Perumbavoor. He studied at the Union Christian College in Alwaye, Kerala for B. Sc and M. Sc in Mathematics. Later he acquired his B. Ed degree from the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. His Eminence Mor Titus Yeldho was ordained Deacon (Qoruyo) at the age of 12, on October 28, 1982 by Mor Athanasius Paulose (Kadavil), the late Metropolitan for the Evangelical Association of the East. In 1997 he was invited to the St. Ephrem Patriarchal Seminary in Damascus, Syria. On September 26, 1998 he was ordained Ramban by His Holiness the Patriarch and on September 5, 1999 ordained as Priest. His Eminence had his theological education from the Patriarchal Seminary at Damascus and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary at Udayagiri, India. During this period he had the opportunity to stay in the Syrian Orthodox Monasteries of Jerusalem, Turkey, Holland, Germany and Switzerland. After the demise of Mor Gregorios Geevarghese (Perumpally) in 1999, he was appointed as the Administrator of the Perumpally St. George Simhasana Church and its institutions. From 1995 to 2001, he was actively involved in YMCA organization as its State Vice- Chairman and also as its National Executive Board Member. His Eminence was later deputed to New York and was serving different churches of the Malankara Archdiocese of North America till the end of 2003. He also completed his Master of Divinity degree in 2003 from the St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, New York. On January 4, 2004 His Eminence was consecrated as the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vicar of the Malankara Archdiocese in North America. His Eminence is currently pursuing his Doctoral program in US. His Eminence is the only prelate from Malankara to receive five ordinations (Sub-deacon, Full Deacon, Ramban, Priest & Metropolitan) from the Supreme Head of our Church, the Patriarch His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas.
Rev. Fr. Joseph Varghese
Vicar from September 2014 to May 2020