Letter of Congratulations from Bishop David to H H Mor Aphrem

DAVID, BISHOP OF NEW YORK & NEW ENGLAND
COPTIC ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE
3 SWIM CLUB ROAD
STONY POINT, NY 10980

March 31, 2014

His Most Reverend Holiness
Patriarch Elect Mor Ignatius Aphrem II Karim
Bab Touma, P.O. Box 22260
Damascus, Syria

Most Holy Father and Master,

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. (Psalm 128:2)

AXIOS! AXIOS! AXIOS!

It is with great joy that I write to Your Holiness offering my most sincere congratulations upon the announcement of your appointment as the 123rd successor of St. Peter upon the Apostolic Throne of Antioch and all the East.

As Your Holiness knows, I have enjoyed the great blessing of laboring with you as a fellow servant here in the Lord’s vineyard in the Northeastern United States for the better part of the past two decades. I am truly grateful for the warm and fraternal relationship we have shared. In your former role as Prelate of the Syriac Orthodox Diocese of the Northeastern United States, Your Holiness made every effort to cultivate a deep and abiding brotherly love, not only between our Syriac and Coptic communities, but within the Oriental Orthodox family of Churches at large. Indeed, it is in great part due to Your Holiness’s tireless efforts as a part of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches that our communities here on the East Coast have truly begun to regard one another as members of the same family.

We are confident that Your Holiness will maintain and redouble these efforts in your new role as Patriarch, and that your reign will be one in which the bonds between our Churches, sharing the same Orthodox and Apostolic Faith, will further strengthen. We glorify our merciful God at the news of your elevation, and pray that He will strengthen you for this wonderful and blessed burden which you have undertaken for His name’s sake. On behalf of myself and the clergy and faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of New York and New England, I again offer heartfelt congratulations and prayers that God may keep and confirm Your Holiness upon your throne for many years in peaceful times, and endow you with strength and wisdom to see the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church through this present period of trials, which endures but for a time, while the mercy of God endureth forever (Psalm 136).

Asking for Your Holiness prayers on our behalf,

DAVID, BISHOP OF NEW YORK & NEW ENGLAND
COPTIC ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE

24 Paremhat 1730 A.M. (31 March 2014 A.D.)
The Commemoration of the Departure of St. Cyril of Jerusalem