Universal Syrian Orthodox Church head to visit Delhi

New Delhi, Feb.16 (ANI): The Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem-II, will be isiting New Delhi and will call on President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi as part of a two-day mission for global peace.

The 49-year-old patriarch of the Damascus-headquartered church will be received by his followers at the IGI Airport where he would fly down from Chennai.

His India tour began with a ten-day visit of Kerala, where His Holiness facilitated improved relations between two factions in the Malankara Church that form part of his community.

Enthroned nearly nine months ago as the 122nd successor of Jesus Christ's Apostle St Peter, this is his debut trip to India as the patriarch of the church which employs the oldest-surviving liturgy in Christianity and has members spread throughout the world.

Christian religious leaders in the capital hailed the patriarch's first-ever visit after his installation on May 29 last year. "The community will be infused with fresh energy," said Issac Mor Osthatheose, Metropolitan of Delhi Diocese, Jacobite Syrian Church.

Accompanied by His Beatitude Catholicose Mor Baselios, who is the regional head of Kerala's Jacobite Syrian Church, the delegation will also feature various other bishops from the coastal state down-country.

One highlight of the visit will be a felicitation meeting on Tuesday evening. To be held at Siri Fort Auditorium at 6.30 p.m., it would be attended by several eminent religious heads and leaders of various walks of life.

The function would be held after His Holiness meets Prime Minister Modi at the Prime Minister's House in the evening.

Earlier, the patriarch will visit the St. Peter's Cathedral on Bhai Veer Singh Marg.

On February 18, the patriarch will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her 10,Janpath residence in the noon after visiting St. Gregorius Jacobite Church in Chhattarpur and St. Mary's Knanaya Church at Vasant Kunj.

At 7 p.m., he would call on President Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan before taking part in a dinner hosted by the Syrian embassy.

The 1985-ordained clergy, who is a national of Syria, will fly back on February 19, morning. (ANI)