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In June 2019, the representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), visited the Patriarchate of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Damascus and met with Patriarchal Vicar Bishop Jack Yakoub, head of the Patriarchal Youth Department.

They discussed in particular some academic projects. It was agreed to begin in the next academic year a students exchange between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church. This Church’s theological seminary located in Saidnaya, Syria, is ready to admit this year a student from Russia and organize a study for him under a special program providing of an in-depth study of the Syriac language and Christian manuscripts in Syriac. In her turn, the Russian Orthodox Church, as Hegumen Arseny confirmed, is ready to admit students from the Syriac Orthodox Church for training in theological schools in Russia. An agreement on this had been reached in principle at the meeting of the Commission for Dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church which took place last February in Atchane, Lebanon. Bishop Jack and Hegumen Arseny are the commission members responsible for the development of joint academic projects.

DECR Communication Service