Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

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His Eminence Celebrates St. Aphrem’s Day in Rhode Island

Saturday and Sunday March 12 and 13, His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim paid a visit to the parish of St. Ephraim in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to celebrate the feast of the Patron Saint of the Church with the parishioners.

His Eminence attended a special spiritual evening on Saturday, which included a presentation on the life of St. Aphrem, performed by the deacons and choir of the church. The program included singing hymns by St. Aphrem and narrating his life.

Following this presentation, His Eminence delivered a lecture, highlighting three areas St. Aphrem cared for (which are of a great concern, even today):
Education- He was a teacher in Edessa and Nisibin. He encouraged his people to acquire knowledge, which should start by knowing God. St. Aphrem was the first to form a choir, whose members were girls. He taught them hymns containing the orthodox doctrines of the church to counter the heretical teachings of his day.
Health Care- He took care of the injured victims of wars, and prepared places like hospitals to offer treatments for the sick.
Financial welfare- He provided for the needy by taking donations from the rich to help the poor.

Following the lecture, His Eminence answered questions from the parishioners. Later, everyone was invited for some refreshments.

Sunday morning, His Eminence seized the opportunity of being there to visit some sick people and to offer condolences to some bereaved families in the parish. He also had the chance to meet the Board of St. Mary’s Church of Worcester, who briefed him about the current activities, and discussed future dates for his visit to the parish.

Sunday afternoon, His Eminence presided over the Lent Sunday Evening Prayers, which was performed by the Deacons and the Choir of the church. Following the prayers, His Eminence celebrated the Holy Qurobo (Divine Liturgy). He was assisted by the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Mattias Alan Al-Shaltan and the area clergy. During the Holy Liturgy, His Eminence ordained deacons to serve on the altar of St. Ephraim’s Church. After the celebration, the congregation was invited to a Lenten Dinner.

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