Very Rev. Fr. Shamoun Asmar Honored with Mor Ignatius Nurono Patriarchal Medal
His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, at the highlight of a dinner banquet honoring Very Rev. Fr. Shamoun Asmar, called on the Corepescopos and proceeded to ask all guest to rise as he read a resolution issue by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, which decreed that Fr. Asmar is the recipient of the Ignatius Nurono Medal, the highest recognition award bestowed by His Holiness and the Church. His Eminence assisted by Archbishop Gregorious Saliba Shamoun, of Mosul Iraq, proudly said, “This comes as a result of Fr. Asmar’s sixty years of dedicated and unselfish service to the Holy Church. We sincerely congratulate Fr. Asmar on this noteworthy achievement and pray that the Almighty bless and shower him with good health as he continues with his ministry.” His Eminence proceeded to decorated Very Rev. Fr. Shamoun Asmar with the Ignatius Nurono Medal, pinning it to his lapel. Cheers and applause followed from a very emotional crowd.
Sunday, March 10th was no ordinary day for St. Barsawmo Syriac Orhtodox Church. In a very befitting tribute to their pastor, the Very Rev. Fr. Shamoun Asmar, the parish worked and collaborated closely with the Archdiocese in putting forth a program second to none. The Social Hall of the Church of the Virgin Mary, in Paramus, New Jersey, housed over four hundred guests and clergy, including the entire parish of St. Barsawmo and representatives for many parishes of the Archdiocese. Immediately after the grand entrance of His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, His Eminence Mor Gregorius Saliba Shamoun, Very Rev. Fr. Shamoun Asmar and an entourage of clergy chanting along with local church choirs the traditional To Bashlom, the program was underway. Video clippings and letters from clergy who could not be present were tended to. A slide presentation, covering the life of Fr. Asmar, was also shown and enjoyed by everyone. Several speeches from family members and noteworthy individuals from Fr. Asmar’s tenure as a clergyman were eloquently delivered.
His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, in his address, complimented the parish of St. Barsawmo for honoring their pastor. He also noted that through divine providence, His Eminence Mor Gregorius Saliba, a long time spiritual mentor, teacher and advisor of Fr. Asmar, appropriately came to be here at this particular time to share in the joy of this celebration. The Archbishop acknowledged Fr. Asmar’s dedication and loyalty to his church, community and family emphasizing his love for education and his knowledge of the church. The Archbishop said, “Fr. Asmar is a true example of a priest.” His Eminence also took this opportunity to compliment Fr. Asmar’s amazing voice and deep rooted understanding of traditional church melodies and hymns.
At this point in the program, Rev. Fr. Shamoun Asmar was invited to the podium and took center stage. The enthusiastic audience gave the honored guest a well-deserved standing ovation. He began by noting that he was a cancer patient presently receiving dialysis. He thanked His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, our Patriarch, for his leadership and his spiritual guidance and also thanked him for the honor to wear and be the holder of the Ignatius Nurono Medal. He asked that the Almighty bless His Holiness with good health so he can continue to lead our church with fortitude during these difficult times. He also thanked our Archbishop, His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim saying, over the years it has been an absolute pleasure, honor and privilege to work with him on church matters, especially on issues relating to our youth. He looked at the Archbishop saying, “Your Eminence, I love you so much for all that you do. God Bless you as you continue leading our church.”
Fr. Asmar, turned to his parish of St. Barsawmo, thanking them for all they have done for him over the years, saying, “You have been loving, supportive, generous and patient. You are truly the ideal parish.” He turned to the members of his family thanking them for their uncompromising support.” In conclusion, Fr. Asmar thanked all those who have traveled from distant places to be present at this celebration. At this juncture His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem gave the benediction and blessed all those in attendance asking the Almighty to keep Fr. Asmar and the parish of St. Barsawmo in His tender loving care.