His Grace Mar Awa Royel Attends the Second Symposium Syriacum in Vienna, Austria

His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East for the Diocese of California (USA), attended the ‘Second Symposium Syriacum’ in Vienna, held under the patronage of the Pro Oriente Foundation, from November 4 to 6, 2009. Accompanying His Grace, was Cor-bishop Auchana Kanoun, priest of Mar Gewargis Parish, Ceres, California.

With its studies in the Syriac tradition, the PRO-ORIENTE FOUNDATION of Vienna, Austria, intended to facilitate mutual understanding and exchange as well as to promote the common heritage of the various churches belonging to the historical Syriac Tradition. In continuation of its former “Syriac Dialogue” (1994-2005), the PRO-ORIENTE, fourth Forum Syriacum was held in Vienna from November 2-7, 2009. Under the auspices of the Forum Syriacum, the “Second Symposium Syriacum” was held at the Palottihaus, Vienna. The theme this year dealt with the contributions of Syriac Christianity in the Middle East and India, and the challenges it faces in the same areas. The following were the invited experts and Church representatives:

A.  Expert Scholars from the Churches of Syriac Tradition:-
1. Mar Boulos Matar, Archbishop, Beirut, Lebanon (Maronite Catholic Church)
2. Mar Joseph Powathil, Metropolitan, Changanassery, India (Syro-Malabar Catholic Church)
3. Mor Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, Metropolitan, Aleppo, Syria (Syrian Orthodox Church).
4. Prof. Dr. Mor Theophilose Kuriakose, Metropolitan, Erankulam, India, The Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary,(Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church
5. Dr. Mar Awa Royel, Bishop, Modesto, California (Assyrian Church of the East)
6. Cor-Bishop Auchana Kanoun, Modesto, California (Assyrian Church of the East)
7. Prof. Dr. Fr. Gevargees Chediath, Kattakada, India (Syro-Malankara Catholic Church)
8. Dr. Fr. Khoshaba Georges, Archdeacon, London, Great Britain (Ancient Church of the East)
9. Dr. Fr. Karukaparambil Cherian, Austria (Syro-Malabar Catholic Church)
10. Prof. Dr. Fr. Rizk Karam, Kaslik, Lebanon, Holy Spirit University (Maronite Catholic Church)
11. Prof. Dr. Fr. Baby Varghese, St. Ephram Ecumenical Research Institute Kottayam/India (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church)
12. Prof. Dr. Mons. Pierre Yousif, Paris France (Chaldean Catholic Church)
13. Dr. Mar Louis Sako, Kirkuk, Iraq, (Chaldean Catholic Church) attended the inauguration session only
14. Dr. Aho Shimun Kasho, University of Salzburg,Austria. (Syrian Orthodox Church)
B.   External Expert Scolars:
1. Prof. Dr. Sebastian Brock, Oxford University, Great Britain
2. Prof. Dr. Fr. Sydney H. Griffith, Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.
3. Dr. Anthony O’Mahony, Heythrop College University of London.
4. Prof. Dr. Martin Tamcke,  University of Göttingen, Germany.
5. Prof. Dr. Herman Tuele Herman, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands

C.  Guests:
1. Fr. Petrus Bsteh, Austrian Bishops Conference Office for interreligious Dialogue
2. Fr. Gabriel Quicke, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City
3. Dr. Fr. Philip Nalpuraparambil, Changanassery, India.

D.  Pro-Oriente Foundation:

1. Fr. Bouwen Frans, Jerusalem, Israel.
2. Dr. Johann Marte, President of the Pro Oriente Foundation, Vienna, Austria
3. Prof. Dr. Dietmar Winkler, Salzburg Universty, Austria

On Wednesday morning, November 4, 2009, the Archbishop of Vienna, H.E. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn presided over the opening prayer and the inauguration session of the ‘Second Symposium Syriacum’, and he cordially welcomed the participants from the various regions of the Middle East, India, Europe and the USA.  During the course of the sessions, from Wednesday to Friday, November 4-6, 2009, the expert scholars read their papers. All focused on Syriac Christianity in the Middle East and India today: Contributions and Challenges. For spiritual guidance, the participants came together in the morning prayer according to the Church of the East liturgy (Hudra) and the Syrian Orthodox liturgy (Sh’imo).

The Participants were also invited for a reception by the Apostolic Nuncio, H.E. Archbishop Peter Zubriggen at Apostolic Nunciature in Vienna, on Wednesday, November 4, 2009. The Scholars also were welcomed for a dinner-reception by the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq, Mr.  Tariq Aqrawi, on the evening of Thursday, November 5, 2009. A final statement (communiqué) of the Symposium was drafted on Friday, November 6, 2009 and will be shortly released by the Pro Oriente Foundation.

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