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Forum Syriacum

The PRO ORIENTE Forum Syriacum is dedicated to the research of the history and intellectual as well as cultural heritage of the churches of Syriac traditions and their relationships to other cultures and religions. It is composed of 17 members from different countries:

Academic direction:Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dietmar W. WINKLER, Roman Catholic Church, Austria
Univ.-Prof. DDr. Pablo ARGARATE, Roman Catholic Church, AustriaErzbischof Mar Boulous MATAR, Maronite Catholic Church, Lebanon
Bishop Mar Antoine AUDO, Chaldean Catholic Church, SyriaMsgr. Habib MRAD, Syrian Catholic Church, Lebanon
Metropolitan Mor Polycarpus AYDIN, Syriac Orthodox Church, The NetherlandsRev. Dr. Philip George NELPURAPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, India
Suffragan Metropolitan Joseph Mar BARNABAS, Malankara Mar Thomas Syrian Church, India (observer)Metropolitan Mar Joseph POWATHIL, Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, India
Rev. Frans BOUWEN M.Afr., Roman Catholic Church, JerusalemPD Dr. Aho SHEMUNKASHO, Syriac Orthodox Church, Austria
Bischof Mar Shimun DANIEL, Assyrian Church of the East, IraqRev. Dir. Dr. Jacob THEKEPARAMPIL, Syro-Malankar Catholic Church, India
Rev. Dr. Hyacinthe DESTIVELLE OP, Roman Catholic Church, Vatican (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity/Observer)Rev. Prof. Dr. Baby VARGHESE, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, India
Bishop Mar Theophilose KURIAKOSE, Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, IndiaMost Reverend Mar Awraham YOUKHANIS, Assyrian Church of the East, Vereinigtes K├Ânigreich
Forum Syriacum (c) Aho Shemunkasho

PRO ORIENTE Forum Syriacum (2019) | Aho Shemunkasho


The dialogue with the churches of the Syriac traditions was initiated by the PRO ORIENTE Foundation in 1994. The special feature of this dialogue format is that it from the beginning has not only included the Oriental Orthodox churches, but also those Eastern Catholic churches originating from the Syriac traditions. This format makes the PRO ORIENTE dialogue with the churches of the Syrian traditions unique in the world.

In the context of the unofficial consultations of PRO ORIENTE, an ecumenical exchange between the churches of the Syriac traditions, above all from the Middle East and from India, took place for the first time. These contributed significantly to paving the way for an official dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the churches of Syrian traditions and played a prominent role in shaping the dialogue.

The results of the academic conferences were published in the PRO ORIENTE series Syriac Dialogue. They are still considered milestones in the ecumenical dialogue between the churches of Syrian traditions.

After the beginning of the official dialogue, the PRO ORIENTE Forum Syriacum was reconstituted in the mid-2000s to continue the unofficial dialogue. Since then, the academic conferences, which have continued to be held on a regular basis under the title Colloquium Syriacum.

The primary focus of the Colloquia Syriaca is the exchange on an academic level between experts from different disciplines (e.g., history, language, theology) for the churches of the Syriac traditions and representatives of these churches. The aim is to strengthen and deepen the awareness of the rich cultural, theological, spiritual, and liturgical heritage of these great and important church traditions, whose existence today is endangered in their original areas.