With great sorrow, we announce the passing away of our Holy Father, and faithful shepherd, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church. His Holiness passed away today, Friday the 21st in Germany.

Ignatius Zakka I Iwas

Ignatius Zakka I Iwas (21 April 1933, Mosul – 21 March 2014, Kiel, Germany) was the 122nd reigning Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and, as such, Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church.

Also known by his traditional episcopal name, Severios, he was enthroned as patriarch on 14 September 1980 in St. George’s Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus. He succeeded Ignatius Ya`qub III. As is traditional for the head of the church, Severios has adopted the name Ignatius.

Iwas was known for his involvement in ecumenical dialogue. He was a president of the World Council of Churches[1] and also a prolific author. He was an observer at Second Vatican Council before becoming metropolitan bishop of Mosul. At the time of his election as patriarch, Iwas had beenarchbishop of Baghdad and Basra.

As patriarch, he established a monastic seminary, met with Pope John Paul II during the Roman Pope’s trip to Syria in 2001, and installed numerous metropolitans, including Baselios Thomas I as Catholicos of India. He celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 2005.

Ignatius Zakka I Iwas was admitted in a hospital in Germany since some weeks ago and died on 21 March 2014.

We request all of you to kindly pray for the repose of His Holiness and for the Church, in these hard times.

May God rests him in peace and his memory be eternal.


This Sunday, March 30, 2014, the Syriac community, in the presence of his friends, celebrated a Mass in memory of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas.

Here are some pictures of the event which takes place in St. Mary’s Church in Brussels:

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The official announcement about the newly elected Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II by the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Here’s a photos of Patriarch Elect Aphrem II Karim (Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States of America ), 123rd Patriarch of Universal Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Mor Aphrem Karim