Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

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The Archdiocesan Executive Council Holds Its Semi-Annual Meeting

The Archdiocesan Executive Council held its all day semi-annual meeting on Saturday March 2nd at the Upper Hall of St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese. At the opening of the morning session, His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim led the traditional morning prayers and asked all present to participate in the recitation and hymn singing of the service. Clergy members present included Very Rev. Fr. Gabriel Adde, Rev. Fr. Aziz Hadodo, Rev. Fr. Joseph Chamoun, Rev. Fr. Alan Shaltan and Rev. Fr. George Somi. Also included were representatives from eight parishes, membership of the Archdiocesan Council and Chairs of committees who were on hand to brief and be briefed on issues that have been dealt with over the previous six months.

The meeting, chaired by Ben Isik, Council President, without delay heard reports that set the tone of the meeting. Jack Darakjy gave an update on the Archdiocesan By-laws which was followed by a detailed report on the relief initiative and the activities and collaborative involvement of the International Christian Outreach which is chaired by Julie Jabaly. Next on the agenda, was an update given by Ramona Malki on the Sunday School curriculum, book printing and distribution. His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim remarked that this was perhaps one of the most important initiatives of the Archdiocese. The Archbishop noted that nothing of this magnitude has been attempted and accomplished in the past siting that the Sunday School Children who will be taught this curriculum are the future of our church. These books will guarantee that our youngsters will be taught correctly in the tradition of our church. The Archdiocesan Youth Director, Gabriel Bar-Sawme, ended the first half of the meeting with his presentation on the Activities of the Youth throughout the Archdiocese and his expanded plans for the future.

Due to the length of the agenda, the group worked through lunch and viewed a video presentation prepared on the Midland Avenue Project. This production is intended to tell the story and will be used to publicize the initiative. The video served as an effective segue for Semir Sirazi’s presentation on the Midland Avenue Project. The chairman of the initiative, moved quickly to give a status report and discuss a construction time lime that will move in tandem with the fund raising campaign. He effectively outlined the series of events that will take place over Spring, including a “road show” throughout the Archdiocese. Semir Sirazi and Sait Samuel, Archdiocesan treasurer, jointly gave a financial report on both the project and the operations of the Archdiocese.

Elias Sarkar, chair of the Public Relations Committee, gave a status report of the “Voice” the Archdiocesan Quarterly Magazine. He also reported that the theme of the 2013 Archbishop’s Appeal has been finalized.

Sait Samuel, Chairman of the Parish and Clergy Committee, reported on the committee’s findings for a clergy pension plan. The chairman offered several options and offered a recommendation for consideration.

In his closing remarks, His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, thanked everyone for attending and asked everyone to keep our brothers and sisters in Syria in their prayers. The Archbishop also asked everyone to pray for our beloved Patriarch, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the bishops throughout the world and all those who work and give of their time in the service of our Hoy Church. In the benediction, the Archbishop asked the Almighty to watch over those who traveled from far distances and watch over them during their return trip home.

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