With a firm hope in the Resurrection of our Savior, the Diocese offers her condolences to our brothers and sisters in the Syriac Orthodox Church for the departure of the Thrice-Blessed Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas of Antioch and All East.
Word of His Holiness’ departure was confirmed by official sources in Germany where he had been staying for treatment. His Holiness departed at precisely twelve noon on March 21, 2014 from health complications.
The Syriac (or Syrian) Orthodox Church is one of two Orthodox churches in Syria along with the Antiochian Orthodox Church. As a sister Church in Oriental Orthodoxy, Her ties to the Coptic Orthodox Church are traditionally and historically strong, as reflected in the fact that each church constantly remembers the Patriarch of the other in the Divine Liturgy.
Patriarch Ignatius Zakka was ordained as the Metropolitan of Mosul in November 1963 by Patriarch Ya`qub III . Later, he was ordained as the 122nd successor to St. Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch in 1980 and shepherded his flock with great diligence. He is remembered especially for his commitment to ecumenical dialogue and efforts to further Orthodox education through his authorship of several books and the establishment of monasteries and religious centers.
He was a great friend to the Copts, as evidenced by his close relationship to the Thrice-Blessed Pope Shenouda III. Despite his frail health in 2012, he traveled to Egypt to attend both the funeral of Pope Shenouda and the enthronement of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II.
He joins the chorus of saintly fathers who have departed to eternal rest in the month of March, such as St. Pope Kyrillos VI, the Thrice-Blessed Pope Shenouda III, Hegumen Fr. Bishoy Kamel, and many more.
The Diocese joins the Orthodox faithful throughout the world in praying for the repose of his pure soul and seeking his prayers on our behalf. We also pray that the Lord may confirm another saintly father to shepherd our sister Church.