Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate
Saydnaya (Agenzia Fides) - Syrian President Bashar al Assad visited the temporary seat of the Syriac Orthodox monastery of the Holy Cross, under construction, accompanied by his wife Asma and other family members. He was received by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II together with Metropolita Mor Timotheos, the Syriac Orthodox Vicar of Damascus, and monks of the monastery. The official sources of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch report that President Assad's visit took place "a few days ago" without specifying the date. Assad and his wife, accompanied by the Patriarch, also met the children housed in the "Small Angel House", an orphanage supported by the Syriac Orthodox Church, he had lunch with them and with the monks of the monastery. In this context - inform Syriac Orthodox Church sources - the Patriarch informed the President "about the projects the Patriarchate is carrying out in the region".
In Saydnaya, a small town about 35 km from Damascus, there is also the female Greek Orthodox monastery of the Mother of God, founded in the Justinian era at the site of a Marian apparition, where an ancient Marian icon attributed to Saint Luke is kept. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 8/9/2017)