Do you use Palm Oil? : Lighter Moments with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch

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Ajesh T Philip (OCP Delegate of Indian Sub-Continent)
OCP News Service – February 2015

Also Read : OCP Delegation holds historic meeting with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II at Puthenkurish

OCP Delegation honors Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II with unique Indian icon of St Peter and St Thomas Written by Fr Bobby Varghese

India/Kerala: The Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE (Society) delegation had fun filled moments with His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II – Patriarch of Antioch and All East on 7th February 2015 at Puthenkurizhu- headquarters of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India. The delegation was blessed enough to meet the Patriarch on the first day of his arrival to Malankara. The meeting was historic in all manners.

Abune, your picture is in the book.

The Patriarch wholeheartedly welcomed OCP Delegation with a loving smile. The primate was so excited to receive the rare pan-orthodox book titled ‘Collected Writings on Orthodox Christianity’. Holding the book in his hands, he read out thirty chapter contents. The Patriarch called the OCP Secretary George Alexander by his name and congratulated him for the publication as well. He invited the attention of  Metropolitan Mor Timotheos Matta Al Kohury who was sitting on a sofa nearby and showed his picture in the book (Metropolitan Matta Al Kohury has contributed in the book – Chapter titled ‘Letters from Syria’). The Patriarch said “Abune your picture is in the book”. The Primate of the Church of Antioch was happy.

The delegation also presented the Patriarch with the first Indian icon of St Peter and St Thomas and also a very special memento which depicts the anniversary of the three important events of 2015- (Seyfo- Addis Abba Conference-Eastern-Oriental Orthodox Joint Commission). The Patriarch read the details on the memento and enquired about the origin of the icon. Patriarch said he knew Fr Booby Varghese who wrote the icon.

Do you use Palm Oil?

A couple of people approached the Patriarch for pictures in between. Before posing for the pics, the Patriarch told OCP Secretary, “George I am with you”. Later, a traditional lamp of  Kerala (Nilavilakku) with cross mounted on its top was gifted to the Patriarch which he received with a broad smile. The Patriarch held the lamp in his hands and took a good look at it. His Holiness said, “Let the light spread everywhere”. After that the Primate commented, “Where is the oil and light?” The OCP Chairman K C Jacob responded that the oil and light should come from the Church of Antioch. “So do you use Palm oil to light the lamp?’ asked the Patriarch. Secretary George replied, “Your Holiness we use coconut oil.”

His Holiness posed for a group photo with the OCP Delegation. The Patriarch commented, “Shijo is their photographer, let him take beautiful pictures”. The brotherly encounter was filled with humor, smile and laughter. It was a great blessing for the OCP delegation to meet and seek blessing from the successor of St Peter in Antioch.