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His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited Mor Aphrem religious center in Tabbaleh – Damascus where he met children who gathered there to celebrate the coming of Christmas. His Holiness told the children the story of Christmas and how the Lord dwelled among us to be with us.

The number of families that have been offered help by the Patriarchate has reached 1200 families. The commission relies on funding from:

Donations from church faithful (monetary and non-monetary donations)
Patriarchal income that is flagged for assisting the needy
Donations from Syrian orthodox Archdioceses and church faithful world wide
Religious institution and other charities
Regional and international organizations.

As a result of the worsening political and economic situations in Syria for more than two years, a large number of Syrian nationals both Christians and Muslims and even Iraqis from Syrian provinces (Homs, Hama and Aleppo, Daraa and Deirez-Zor and Hasaka) took refuge in the city of Damascus. Therefore, His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas instructed the formation of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee with its head office based at the Patriarchate offices in Bab Touma Damascus. It comprises sub-committees captivated in providing assistance where possible to all displaced persons and refugees starting with our brothers from Iraq who fled to Syria in 2003 and also to some Syrian nationals as well.