Patriarch of Antioch arrives on a State visit

Likely to meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II arrived here on Friday to a rousing reception at the airport. Hundreds of faithful thronged the airport as he was formally welcomed by head of the Malankara Church Baselios Thomas I Catholicos along with 25 bishops.

MLAs in the district took part in the reception as representatives of the State to greet him on his arrival.

The government has declared the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch as a State guest.

His itinerary included visit to Kumarakom in the afternoon and from there to Manjinikkara Dayara where he inaugurated a new building. He would be staying there for the night.

On Saturday, after a few engagements in the morning, he would leave for Puthenkurisu at 1 p.m. to attend the Holy Synod at 3 p.m. at the Puthenkurisu Patriarchal Centre.

Later in the evening, he will reach Malecuriz Dayara. On Sunday morning, the Patriarch will also attend a wedding among other engagements. He would stay the night there and leave for the airport early Monday morning.

Spokesperson for the Malankara Church said that a meeting with the Chief Minister is also likely during the course of the stay of the Patriarch. The church authorities are probing the possibilities of a suitable time and date.

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